18 Dumb TV Shows That Critics Argue Are a Complete Waste of Time

Not every TV show can be a masterpiece. For every gem that captivates audiences and critics, there are bound to be a few flops that fall flat. From offensive to cliché, we’ve rounded up the worst TV shows of all time according to critics. 

Baywatch Nights (1995-1997)

Photo Credit: Syndication.

A spin-off of the much-loved lifeguard drama Baywatch, Baywatch Nights fell short of its predecessor with unexpected themes of mystery, science fiction, and the paranormal. The show followed the adventures of Mitch Buchannon, played by David Hasselhoff, who transitions from lifeguarding to running a private detective agency called Baywatch Nights Investigations. One common criticism was that it strayed too far from its roots, with a crime-solving storyline that felt forced and unnatural to many viewers.

The Chevy Chase Show (1993)

Photo Credit: Fox.

As a much-loved actor and comedian, you’d think that a show hosted by Chevy Chase would be nothing short of a success. But due to Chase’s awkward performance and forced jokes, The Chevy Chase Show failed to connect with viewers. Critics condemned the show for being uninspiring and bland and criticized Chase for recycling old material. 

Insatiable (2018-2019)

Photo Credit: Netflix.

Netflix is home to some of the greatest TV shows in modern history, but unfortunately, Insatiable isn’t one of them. This dark comedy-drama revolves around Patty Bladell, played by Debby Ryan, a once overweight and bullied high school student who undergoes a dramatic transformation. Critics slammed Insatiable for its unethical handling of sensitive topics such as body image, eating disorders, and LGBTQ+ representation. 

The Jerry Springer Show (1991-2018)

Photo Credit: Syndication.

Beginning as a political talk show but soon notorious for its offensive topics, The Jerry Springer Show often fell under the critical microscope during its 27-year run for its unethical standards. Lacking serious discussion, the show relied on shock value as guests aired their dirty laundry in a degrading spectacle. 

I Wanna Marry Harry (2014)

Photo Credit: Fox.

An unusual take on the reality-dating genre, I Wanna Marry Harry featured 12 American women competing for the affection of a man they believed to be Prince Harry. Of course, the twist of the show was that they were competing for a look-alike named Matthew Hicks. Critics panned the show for its misleading premise, the exploitation of its contestants, and its portrayal of outdated stereotypes of women desperate to do anything for affection.

The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (1998)

Photo Credit: UPN.

The show was a humorous take on historical events in the White House during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer received immediate backlash from critics and audiences for its problematic premise and obvious insensitivity to historical events, particularly the Civil War and slavery. Many critics argued that the show belittled the tragedies of slavery and racial injustice by using them as material for comedy rather than presenting them with the seriousness and respect they deserved.

Rob (2012)

Photo Credit: CBS.

Starring comedian Rob Schneider, the show followed the life of Rob, a former lifelong bachelor who marries into a Mexican-American family. Despite its promising premise, Rob received largely negative reviews from critics due to its reliance on tired stereotypes and clichés about Mexican-American culture. Critics argued that the show reinforced harmful tropes and failed to provide realistic depictions of its characters, and instead relied on lazy humor and predictable jokes.

Partners (2012-2013)

Photo Credit: CBS Entertainment.

From the creators of Will & Grace, Partners followed the lives of two lifelong friends and business partners Joe and Louis. But their friendship is put to the test when Joe becomes engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Ali, leaving Louis feeling rejected. Despite having an experienced creative team behind it, Partners failed to resonate with critics, with many condemning its portrayal of outdated LGBTQ+ stereotypes. Many argued that the characters felt one-dimensional and lacked depth, with Louis often defined solely by his sexuality rather than being fleshed out as a complex individual.

Friends with Better Lives (2014)

Photo Credit: CBS.

Following a group of friends in their thirties navigating the ups and downs of relationships and careers, Friends with Better Lives failed to live up to its sit-com predecessors. One of the main criticisms of the show was its reliance on tired sitcom tropes and clichés. Critics argued that the characters felt derivative and lacked depth, with storylines that often felt recycled from other, more successful sitcoms.

The Will (2005)

Photo Credit: CBS.

Reality TV is no stranger to pitting family members against each other for entertainment value. But The Will took a darker, and rather morbid turn with each episode featuring a different family grappling with the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, as they gathered to hear the contents of the deceased’s will. The show failed to capture the interest of viewers and critics, with many criticizing its exploitative nature by sensationalizing the deeply personal process of dealing with inheritance and family dynamics in the aftermath of death.

Work It (2012)

Photo Credit: ABC.

Work It followed the misadventures of two unemployed men who decided to dress as women to secure jobs as pharmaceutical sales representatives. Despite its attempt at humor, the show faced significant criticism for its reliance on outdated and offensive stereotypes about gender and cross-dressing. Critics argued that the premise of the show was inherently transphobic and reinforced harmful stereotypes about gender identity and expression.

Bridalplasty (2010-2011)

Photo Credit: E!.

Bridalplasty revolved around a group of engaged women who competed in various challenges to win their dream wedding. The winner of each challenge would receive a plastic surgery procedure of her choice, ranging from breast augmentation to liposuction. Unsurprisingly, Bridalplasty received significant backlash due to its promotion of unrealistic beauty standards and the normalization of cosmetic surgery as a solution to personal insecurities.

We Are Men (2013)

Photo Credit: CBS.

Following the lives of four recently single men sharing an apartment, We Are Men aimed to explore themes of friendship, masculinity, and navigating life after divorce. But due to its use of tired sitcom tropes and clichés, the show failed to resonate with critics and audiences. Critics described the show as uninspired, filled with jokes that fell flat and forced character dynamics.

Stalker (2014)

Photo Credit: CBS.

Starring Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q as detectives working for the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit, Stalker failed to live up to its intriguing premise. The show faced criticism for its portrayal of violence and stalking behavior, with many claiming that it dramatized and exploited the trauma of real-life victims. Critics also accused Stalker of relying too heavily on shock value and prioritizing cheap thrills over meaningful storytelling and character development.  

There’s Something About Miriam (2004)

Photo Credit: Sky1.

There’s Something About Miriam left critics in a state of uproar, and for good reason. The show revolved around a group of men competing for the affection of a woman named Miriam. The twist? Miriam was transgender: a fact that wasn’t revealed to the contestants until the end of the show. Critics accused the show of being exploitive and toying with contestants’ emotions, while also perpetuating harmful stereotypes about gender and sexuality.

Dads (2013-2014)

Photo Credit: Fox.

Very few sitcoms in recent years have been able to live up to classics such as Friends and Cheers, and Dads was no exception. Filled with cringe-worthy jokes and flat humor, critics slammed the show’s use of tired sitcom tropes and offensive gags. But it was Dads portrayal of racial stereotypes that drew particular fury, with many critics accusing the show of stumbling through sensitive topics without a hint of nuance.

Cavemen (2007)

Photo Credit: ABC.

Loosely based on the Geico insurance commercials, Cavemen followed the lives of three cavemen living in modern-day San Diego. But the attempt to stretch a 30-second commercial into a full sitcom fell flat, with many critics believing that the show lacked depth and followed a predictable storyline with cheap jokes.

Do Not Disturb (2008)

Photo Credit: Fox.

Set in a boutique hotel in New York, Do Not Disturb followed the lives of the hotel staff as they dealt with bizarre guests. But the show failed to resonate with critics and audiences, due to its recycled storylines and one-dimensional characters. Many criticized the use of forced character dynamics and flat punchlines. As a result, the show was canceled after only three episodes. 

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Amy Watkins

Writer & Blogger

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