Thursday Open Thread: What Show Do You Despise?

ABC Family channel was on the TV sometime last week. It’s not a channel that I particularly like, but it’s often on in the background. One show ended, and then an episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager started. I couldn’t dive across the room fast enough to change the channel.

I HATE this show. I DESPISE IT. The over-dramatic commercials for the show that run non-stop on ABC family are enough to drive me crazy. The show was on for less than a minute as I struggled to find the remote and then another channel, and in that short time, I was overwhelmed by the ridiculously melodramatic music (hey, dumb kids: this is a sad scene because the music is sad!), atrocious acting, and completely over-the-top dramatic conflict.

I don’t watch the show, but I think I’ve learned three important things about it from the promo commercials and from my unwilling exposure to it last week. 1) A lot of dumb people keep getting pregnant, 2) Birth control apparently doesn’t exist in this weird parallel universe, 3) Every episode is a SPECIAL EVENT filled with tears and swelling music!

If you like this show as a guilty pleasure… Well, fine, we all need those. If you like this show because you think it is well-written, acted, or plotted, or because you think it is a realistic depiction of American life, then you must be an idiot. I hate this trashy show and its ham-handed attempts at capturing emotion. I find it inexplicable that it remains on the air, and would much rather watch a lifetime of Raven Simone sitcoms than sit through another thirty seconds of this steaming turd. If I had a time machine, killing Hitler would have to wait. The FIRST think I would do is go back and prevent this series from ever being made.

So, what shows on TV now do you hate with a fiery passion? Your hate can be justified or unjustified, just let us know what’s eating you in the comments below.



2010 Awards, Part 1

Ok, guys, we’re nearing 2011. That means it’s time to honor those best and worsts of 2010. With the help our readers, I present to you the first part of the 2010 Awards here on Raked.

As you can see, we’ve got a good mix of reader nominations (marked by an asterisk*) and my own. For the most part, I tried to keep the reader’s reasoning with the award, but if nothing was there (or if I have my own thoughts), I did add a little myself. Keep in mind that this is just for 2010, shows that aired during that time period. Unfortunately, that put some good shows out of the running that might’ve ended before the cutoff last year–but it also gave us a good selection of bad shows to destroy, too.

So without further ado…

The 2010 Awards!
Part 1

Best Use of an Underused Character: Caroline, The Vampire Diaries. Caroline was a pathetic, superficial, shallow sidekick in last season’s Vampire Diaries. Now she’s a badass vampire who’s gained confidence–and screen time. Definitely worth the transition.

* Best Animation: Community’s stop motion Christmas special. Can’t argue with this reader’s pick. A mixing of humbugs, humor, song, and creativity provided us with one great holiday treat.

* Best Leave of Absence: Olivia Wilde, House. I’ll leave this explanation to our reader: “I call this the best because she is left to do some awesome scifi movies [Tron Legacy, Cowboys and Aliens, Now aka im.mortal], and also it allowed Amber Tamblyn to take her spot for a bit.” As for me, I second this, if only to get Amber Tamblyn back on TV.

Best Badass I Should Be Watching: Nikita, Nikita. I’ve heard good things, and the commercials are really tempting. Why am I not watching? I have no reason.

* Best Zombies: The Walking Dead. A reader’s pick, and to be fair, I can’t help but agree. But in the interest of complete transparency, I also don’t know what other shows had zombies this year. 😉

* Best Guest Star: Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee. As much as I’m tired of hearing about her, I can’t deny that people loved Gwyneth on Glee.

Read more awards after the jump! Continue reading

Damn you, ABC Family!

I had today off in honor of Presidents’ Day. Like most people, it’s not every day that you get a day off from work. In fact, the last day I had off was a few weeks ago…when I was sick. Therefore, I spent most of the day with my eyes closed and sleeping, next to empty bowls of soup.

But before that, it was New Year’s. Get my point?

One of the best things about having a day off, though, is watching hours and hours of syndicated reruns of various comedies you’ve forgotten about. Ok, maybe that’s not the case for everyone, but for a TV blogger, it’s great.

So on my day off, I was thrilled to catch a rerun of Gilmore Girls at 11:00 and then even caught an episode of Full House at noon. Being a day off from work, I then had to do adult things, like run errands and eat food, but I was certain to be home by 4:30 so I could catch the last episode of What I Like About You and then watch yet another episode of Gilmore Girls. Oh, what a nice day that would have been.

But I forgot. It’s a holiday. That means ABC Family has to put on a marathon of the worst television show currently on TV. Yes, we’re talking a marathon of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

I hate this show. I’m not even kidding about it being the worst television show on the air. I seriously think that it is.

Uggh! Call me terrible, but I’d much rather watch reruns of Family Matters, the later years, than Secret Life. The writing his horrendous. It’s completely unbelievable. And my god, it’s just so incestuous! Can’t any of these people find anyone other than this little circle of five people to have sex with? Uggh. Soon we’ll have Secret Life: The Next Generation where Amy’s kid John sleeps with Grace’s kid Bill–and then they find out they’re both children by Ricky, and poor Uncle Ben cries himself to sleep.

But don’t worry. It’s Brenda Hampton. I’m sure some sappy music will play, and they’ll all hug it out–right before they all have phone conversations with the rest of the cast, recapping over and over everything that just happened.

I just feel my blood rise seeing commercials for this show, and here we are having marathons every other month. Ok, do you watch this show? Can you please tell me what the appeal is? Because I find it a waste of time, money, and film.

And it just really bugs me that my peaceful day of syndication was ruined by this mindless crap. And the fact that I’m call this mindless crap over early 1990s family sitcoms should really mean something.

It really should.

Ruby and the Rockits: Done but fun

RUBY AND THE ROCKITS: 1.06 “Hot for Spanish Teacher”

It occurred to me last night at the Red Sox game, as I was watching David Cassidy sing the national anthem (what?!), that I didn’t post my thoughts on Ruby and the Rockits this week.

And I wanted to. Because I feel like this was the best episode yet.

Now, let me explain. The premise? It’s been done before. I mean, let’s name some various shows that had a parent dating a teacher: Full House (and that was actually a Spanish teacher), Gilmore Girls, Hannah Montana, Good Morning Miss Bliss. Those are just four off the top of my head.

But to supplement the “done” status, the show had a great amount of one-liners that seemed to impress me. I mean, every time the uncle spoke about the teacher (yes, he thinks she’s hot, we got it–oh, and his wife is standing right there), he actually said clever things. I mean, having Jordan ask about what the teacher was wearing and having his father use the word “slingbacks”–it was pretty funny!

And the dinner conversation, when Ruby’s asking her father if it’s ok to meet someone online, that was just hilarious. We knew that her father was a bad influence, but just hearing him recommend that she see the online acquaintance–number one on the “do not do in high school” list–was just great. Especially when Ruby immediately responds with, “The answer to that is ‘no,'” and David returns to the table and brags to her teacher that she met someone new. How horrifying! And hilarious!

And actually having David come into the classroom to serenade the teacher. Well, it was a little lame, but at least it was original after the cliche heartfelt talk between him and Ruby. (By the way, the teacher loses points for breaking up with David on a voicemail.)

So I’ve got to give mad props to the show for improvement. I’m not saying this show is suddenly number one on the sitcom list. It’s not original. It’s not new. But it is cute, and it’s making progress.

Of course, I wasn’t too thrilled with the subplot. I mean, the kids giving tours of the house for Rockits fans? Eh. It could use some work.

I did look up to see if there are more new episodes, since IMDB didn’t exactly list any other episodes after this one. It looks like there’s at least one more, when looking at the upcoming TV Guide listings. I’m curious to see if the original one-liners (man, I’m a sucker for one-liners) continue.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts–about this episode and about whether you’re still watching (and why). This show is certainly not getting the hype that 10 Things I Hate About You is getting (which upsets me since I hate that show), but it is cute.

I’m wondering if it will get renewed. I mean, I can never really tell with ABC Family shows. The ones I like get canceled. The ones I don’t live on forever. I blame Secret Life. It sets the standards all wonky.

I wouldn’t trust Ruby (of the Rockits)

RUBY AND THE ROCKITS: 1.04 “It’s My Party and I’ll Lie if I Want to”
RUBY AND THE ROCKITS: 1.05 “Papas Don’t Preach”

What do these two episodes tell you? Don’t trust Ruby.

But let’s backtrack. In the first of these two episodes, Ruby’s aunt and uncle leave for the weekend and leave Ruby in charge of the boys. Why? Well, because last time the boys were left by themselves, they gave someone a mohawk.

Clearly, not because, say, Jordan got drunk. Somehow I think that’s the bigger deal.

Anyway, Ruby decides to throw a party instead to try to improve her reputation at school. Didn’t appear to have any alcohol, but it was still behind her guardians’ backs.

Then, a week later. Ruby wants to date a guy in her band. To go with the sitcom cliche, not only was this guy 19 years old, but he had a record. Too old. Bad news. Yawn.

So Ruby sneaks out to see him.

Are we seeing a pattern here? For someone who was afraid that you could get evicted from a family, she sure is quickly learning to bend the rules for her own pleasure, with sitcom predictability in tow (“You look like you’re for sale,” her cousin says to her cheap outfit).

I know that we’re pretty new to Ruby, but this all seems really out of character. I mean, we know who everyone is: Her uncle is the responsible one. Her aunt, the responsible-yet-fun one. Her dad, the irresponsible, selfish one. Ben, the sarcastic one. And Jordan, the pathetic one. Oh, and the one who’s in love his his cousin.

By the way, that storyline has got to go. I mean, it’s really crossing over to sick. The way he was so jealous while Ruby was going after her bass player was getting a little extreme. It must stop. It’s not funny or cute. It’s sick.

Anyway, I can’t really say the show has gotten any better. It’s still a cute show, but it’s predictable and odd. David Cassidy is getting a little better at acting, but clearly, he’s still stuck in the style of acting that was popular…well, popular when he was. It’s just not realistic. And I can’t quite identify why Ruby likes him. I mean, I know he’s her dad, but after he stole her party, he didn’t exactly redeem himself.

Meanwhile, it bugs me that the aunt looks like she couldn’t have had a three-year-old, let lone a teenage son. Casting was a bit off on that one, whether she used to be a dancer or not.

Oh, and when the theme song starts. Uggh. The song’s not bad, but just the sequence of introducing the actors. How ’90s! Haven’t they noticed that barely anyone has theme songs anymore anyway?

Ok ok, so the show is stuck in the ’90s–just with newer clothes. But it is better than some of ABC Family’s other choices to grab the teenage crowd (say, 10 Things or Secret Life which just suck, especially the latter).

If I could only pinpoint exactly what it was that made it so off…

By the way, little piece of trivia. The actress who plays the aunt once played a stripper in How I Met Your Mother. How nice.

Dear ABC Family, your show is bad

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU: 1.02 “I Want You to Want Me”

The best part of this episode was the commercials. Not only did we get a break from this show, but there weren’t even any commercials about Secret Life. So congratulations, ABC Family, you succeeded in eight minutes of not-bad television.

At this point, we’re just not even watching 10 Things I Hate About You. I mean, now it’s just a show about a high school with two sisters. In the movie, these two girls would never talk to each other in public. What’s more? Kat would never just be quiet while her sister was upset over the flowers. She’d be telling her directly why she’s so stupid to be upset and how it’s commercialism at its worst. And that since she started it, she should be staked through the heart with said carnations, Scrooge-style.

More so, she would not be upset that Patrick Verona didn’t get her a flower. In fact, she would be avoiding his advances still, not hoping for them. (Though I did appreciate her subtle insult at the Twilight fans out there, though I suppose that was more of a characterization statement and less a true insult to fans.)

The only good part of the episode was the newcomer that played the “perv” (sadly, I couldn’t find who this was on IMDB). He was actually entertaining. I mean, he acted like a real high schooler.

But what of the end? The black eye that supposedly Mandella gave him. It was sad, and I kinda feel like it was out of place. I mean, I guess I can see that Mandella wants to be Kat, but to hit him? I guess we haven’t quite seen why she did it yet. Was it to make up for the way he was hitting on Kat? Did he hit on her, Mandella? Did he not hit on her? It seemed…out of place.

And then there was Bianca. I’ve noticed that she’s quickly transforming into a character that’s just as flat and fake as Grace on The Secret Life. In case you’re new to this blog, that’s not a good thing. She’s just a blonde, chipper, one-dimensional character. Nothing new. And ultimately boring.

As for the flower plot? It’s been done. Now, I did appreciate that Michael was the one that would buy himself all the flowers in some vast popularity scheme (he does seem to try to reach the original Michael a little bit in his mannerisms, too, which helps). But being forced to bring them the next day? That just seemed like a forced joke.

I don’t think that Michael was ever that desperate to be popular. I don’t think Bianca ever had to try so hard to be popular. Where is her confidence? Bah! Chastity might’ve been this b*itchy, but she hid it under a facade of niceness, so you really thought she was a friend until you realized too late otherwise.

Where are the real characters? Why is it that we’ve dumbed this premise down just because it’s on television? Is that saying something about the next generation of teenagers? They’re just too stupid to look for quality and depth in television–is that what ABC Family is trying to say?

Bah! I’m so frustrated by this. So I look to you: What’s your opinion? Did you grow up with the original? Is it breaking your heart? Is it good for you? Tell me. Please.

The initiation into ‘In Plain Sight’

IN PLAIN SIGHT: 2.11 “Jailbait”

Dear god. Can Francia Raisa possibly be in any show without taking her clothes off? I mean, sure, she was in lingerie in this one, and I can’t promise how much she’s actually taken off in Secret Life (I avoid that show at all costs), but either way, apparently this girl’s quite comfortable with promiscuity on television. Anyway…

I’m not sure if it’s an evil twist or just a coincidence that my first exposure to In Plain Sight happened to feature someone from one of the most detestable dramas on TV. But then again, we also had Carlos Gomez, who played one of the evil demons in Charmed. But I’ll ignore past associations so I can get to the real thing: the show itself. (Though I will say, Mary McCormack already impresses me since her appearances in The West Wing, so I’ve got a positive position already.)

You know, I really didn’t know what to expect with this show. I never really had a reason to check it out (thanks to my smart commenter who suggested I watch it, by the way), but I never had a reason not to either. I never really knew what it was about in the first season. I thought it was just another cop show. It wasn’t until the second season started that I found out it was about the witness protection program. And then, of course, I feared that I missed too much to catch up.

But it’s very accessible. And clever! The conversations outside the case really make you identify the character, and I really like the relationships. It’s something that gets lost pretty easily in many traditional cop shows. And while this might not fall in that category anyway, it’s an added bonus.

Anyway, this particular case didn’t grab my attention beyond the first few gunshots. I’m not entirely sure why. It might be because I found the daughter annoying (true, Raisa could act better than she does in Secret Life), but it seemed like the relationship between her and Cesar just didn’t seem to be all that important after her mother was gunned down in the street and the two were taken into witness protection. And the overprotective father bit? I mean, the scene where he was ready to kill Olivia’s friend for seeing her try on lingerie was funny, but by the time he was threatening Cesar, it just seemed forced.

However, the choice to say good-bye to her father forever or to stay with Cesar, that was a rough one. And it definitely made for an emotional scene in the end. It was something that you really didn’t think about as you watched things unfold. Now she’s lost both parents.

And in the end, they reconnect. It was brave of her to stand up against them, but I’m not 100% content. It seemed a little predictable, and a little too easy for Jesus once he sees her change seats. A true 180 in 60 seconds.

My question is this: What’s to prove that they still wouldn’t track down Olivia and kill her after his testimony anyway? Whether she’s with Cesar or not, she’s still in danger of being killed. With the menacing look between father and son, I could definitely see the father pulling Cesar’s puppet strings.

But hey, that’s what witness protection is for, right? I assume they have to go back in, even though they got their happy end. You can correct me if I’m wrong (I’m a newbie, remember?). Plus, even  Mary got a happy ending–and you know that suckered me in.

So my initiation? Successful. At least for another week (and maybe even checking out a few from the past season or so).

Oh, and the goat jokes? Loved them.