Literature: What Were They Thinking The 100 Dumbest Events In Television History
2004 book by David Hofstede celebrating the worst of television. Anything goes: individual plot points or elements, or even entire shows. Naturally, a must-read for anyone who visits the So Bad It's Horrible
or the Dethroning Moment of Suck
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- The Star Wars Holiday Special
- Dallas' infamous "Bobby in the shower"/All Just a Dream cop-out note
- The Jerry Springer Show turning from a decent talk show into a freak show for violent, sexually deviant human trash
- Jackie Gleason's flop game show You're in the Picture (1961)
- CNN tries to promote new journalist Paula Zahn as "sexy"
- The 1950s quiz show scandals note
- The inclusion of Scrappy-Doo in the Scooby-Doo franchise (1979-88)
- Geraldo Rivera reports on the discovery of Al Capone's vault and finds nothing (1986)
- Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? note
- The Heidi Bowl note
- The Brady Bunch Hour note
- My Mother The Car
- Televangelist Oral Roberts announces that God will "call him home" if he does not receive $8,000,000 from his flock
- The Anna Nicole Show note
- How flawed the Emmy Awards are when it comes to picking winners
- Rampant Product Placement, particularly in televised sports
- William Shatner's notorious take on Elton John's "Rocket Man" at the 1977 Science Fiction Film Awards
- Dateline's 1992 report on exploding General Motors trucks note
- TV movies on Amy Fisher note
- Supertrain note
- Life with Lucy note
- The Goddess of Love note
- FOX After Breakfast note
- Lost in Space episode "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" note
- Turn-On note
- The Magic Hour note
- St. Elsewhere's All Just a Vision in an Autistic Kid's Mind ending note
- The $1.98 Beauty Show note
- Cop Rock
- Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell note
- The epilogue of Michael Jackson's 1991 "Black or White" music video note
- Dynasty re-casting Emma Samms as Fallon (beginning April 1985)
- Pink Lady And Jeff note
- Twin Peaks' second season
- Drudge note
- Moonlighting's poor handling of Dave and Maddie as a couple
- Chuck Cunningham's disappearance on Happy Days
- Colby losing to Tina on Survivor: Outback (2001)
- CBS' repeated attempts at morning shows (Morning Show, Calendar, The Morning Program)
- The Dana Carvey Show and how ABC screwed it over (1996)
- Several TV versions of films, including a Casablanca adaptation (1983) with David Soul as Rick Blaine
- Burger King's "Where's Herb?" commercials note
- Small Wonder note
- The Dukes of Hazzard replacing Bo and Luke with Coy and Vance (1982-83)
- Fish Police note
- The Reagans note
- Cousin Oliver joins The Brady Bunch for its final season
- The XFL note
- 1960s TV rule against showing navels on women, which affected such shows as Gidget, Gilligan's Island, and I Dream of Jeannie.
- Thicke of the Night note
- Shelley Hack taking over for Kate Jackson on Charlie's Angels
- The 62nd Academy Awards telecast note
- Dan Rather using "Courage" as his signoff on the CBS Evening News note
- The Secret Diary Of Desmond Pfeiffer note
- NBC's Fall 1983 schedule note
- The Brothers Grunt note
- NBC failing to let David Letterman use the names of his NBC-era segments on CBS' Late Show
- The New Monkees note
- Dusty's Trail note
- The Wilton North Report note
- Dark Shadows' "Leviathan" storyline note
- WWF Raw's Mark Henry/Mae Young storyline note
- Land of the Lost's third season note
- Madonna's "Like a Prayer" music video debut note
- Joanie Loves Chachi note
- Roger Ramjet and Underdog both getting bashed by Moral Guardians due to allegations of drug abuse
- Days of Our Lives deals with the Devil note
- Attempts to Americanize Fawlty Towers (Amanda's and Payne)
- The erasure of countless TV shows
- The Chevy Chase Show note
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Spock's Brain"
- Shows with talking babies (Happy, Baby Talk, Baby Bob)
- Roseanne Barr butchering the National Anthem at a San Diego Padres game in 1990
- Nick At Nite's Network Decay
- The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island note
- Paul Lynde as a bachelor on The Dating Game
- Harold Robbins' The Survivors note
- Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII note
- Bewitched recycling scripts after The Other Darrin takes over
- The Flying Nun
- Woops! episode "Say It Ain't So, Santa" note
- Battle of the Network Stars #18 note
- Me and the Chimp note
- ABC's 1974 Wonder Woman TV movie
- Connie Francis performing poorly as a celebrity partner on The $10,000 Pyramid
- Elvis Presley being shot only from the waist up (due to Standards and Practices rules at the time that found Elvis' swiveling hip dances to be too risqu้) on The Ed Sullivan Show
- Recycled IN SPACE! cartoons (Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, Partridge Family 2200 AD, Yogi's Space Race, and Gilligan's Planet)
- Laverne and Shirley writing Shirley out of the show
- QVC selling the Poopin' Moose note
- Bad Ronald note
- USA Network Up All Night note
- The Aldrich Family's note chronic case of The Other Darrin
- The Dick Van Dyke Show episode "The Bad Old Days" note
- 3's A Crowd note
- The Western saturating television with thirty shows on the schedules of the Big Three in the late 1950s
- Farrah Fawcett's awkward interview on The Late Show with David Letterman in 1997
- The addition of Dawn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Connor on Angel
- AMC "going commercial" note
- Professor Price note
Tropes present in this book:
- All Just a Dream: Entries 27 (St. Elsewhere) and 2 (Dallas) are derided as misuses of this trope.
- Award Snub: Invoked. Entry 15 discusses how the Emmys are horribly broken.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Entry 37 is about the Trope Namer.
- Cousin Oliver: Entry 47 is on the Trope Namer himself, while Entry 98 discusses the trope in the Buffyverse.
- Creator Provincialism: Because the book focuses on American television, it does leave out some of the most infamous television events, including the British Heil Honey I'm Home (a sitcom about Adolf Hitler) and Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos (which primarily featured animals having sex and was pulled off the network in the middle of its only airing).
- Executive Meddling: Referenced in entry 23, on FOX After Breakfast "A gaggle of new producers micromanaged every aspect of the show, certain they knew what worked on the network better than the original cast and creative team."
- Jumping the Shark: Invoked. Twin Peaks' second season is cited as an example in entry 34. Interestingly, the trope-naming Happy Days episode doesn't make the list.
- Network Decay: Examples are cited for AMC and Nick At Nite.
- The Other Darrin: Entries 92, 51, and 32 are about this on The Aldrich Family, Charlie's Angels, and Dynasty respectively.
- Product Placement: Entry 16 laments the increased appearance of it in society as a whole.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Entry 19 cites ABC, CBS, and NBC's rushing to create a TV movie on Amy Fisher as a Real Life example of this. Hofstede finds NBC's take sympathetic to Fisher (Amy Fisher: My Story, based on her autobiography) and well-acted but boring; CBS' (Casualties of Love) more sympathetic to Buttafuoco; and ABC's The Amy Fisher Story as the most even-handed but also most lurid. However, he shames all three networks for their shamelessness in all rushing to try and beat each other in tackling the subject.
- Recycled Script: Entry 79 calls out Bewitched on this.
- The Scrappy: Invoked. The Trope Namer is number 7.
- Self-Deprecation: The foreword was written by Tom Bergeron, who openly expresses his Old Shame (FOX After Breakfast).
- Shipping Bed Death: Invoked. Entry 36 highlights the notorious example on Moonlighting.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Hofstede has a tendency to use "it's" where he should be using "its".