We've all been there: Everyone around you is gushing about some must-watch TV show, so you try and watch a couple of episodes, are not into it at all, but still struggle through the rest of the season hoping you will eventually understand why everyone is having so much more fun with said show than you.
But we're here to tell you a little secret: Sometimes people pretend to like or care about a TV show more than they actually do because they have FOMO or they want to be able to participate when everyone is talking about it at parties. This is how things spiral out of control, and mediocre television shows develop unearned audiences and legacies. Let's never let this happen again, starting with:
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Always Sunny has managed to get 11 seasons and a permanent (yet somewhat marginal) place in the cultural dialogue for reasons that completely escape us. This show is not funny. Help us understand. (Actually, don’t. We don’t care.)
Yes, this is sacrilegious in certain circles but even die-hard Lost fans agree that the series finale was whack. We welcome a show that explores existential mythology but at some point we should have some idea of whatever Big Idea you’re trying to get at. Still, we forgive Damon Lindelof for any past transgressions because of season 2 of The Leftovers (which, we concede, doesn’t always makes sense, but it embraces the beautifully absurd in a way that Lost never did, or even tried to).
Saturday Night Live
It’s funny about 20 percent of the time. That is not enough. I’m not suggesting we get rid of it altogether, but if SNL only has an hour’s worth of decent material a month, maybe it should only air for one hour a month.
There was a time when Grey’s Anatomy was a fine show, when there was genuine sexual tension and something dramatically tragic happening to a main character was dramatically tragic, and not just routine. But as much as we love Shonda Rhimes, the behind-the-scenes personal politics has penetrated the show in an unfortunate way, and 12 seasons would be too damn long for almost any show (except Mad Men). It’s time to call it.
Earth to Homeland: It is possible for a show to address serious themes (war, terrorism, Damian Lewis’ hairline) without taking itself half as seriously as you do. The first two seasons were admittedly pretty gripping, but since then it’s become increasingly hard to GAF about this backstabbing group of careerists we’re supposed to think of as heroes. But bring Jessica Brody back and we might take another look.
Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold was the only redeeming quality of this vapid garbage show, but that’s undercut with the knowledge that the IRL Jeremy Piven is equally or more terrible than the worst Hollywood actor stereotype that Entourage tried to satirize but instead glorified, because morons. NOPE.
True Detective Season 1
Now that we all hated True Detective Season 2 together and have seen Nic Pizzoletti for the overstuffed hack that he is, can we concede that season one wasn’t really as brilliant as we wanted to believe? It’s time to face the truth: True Detective Season 1 tricked us into thinking there was a much deeper philosophical underpinning to the story than there actually was, and the H.P. Lovecraft threads were mostly red herrings. If you disagree, I urge you to rewatch the season finale one more time.
Repeat after me: Just because Andy Sandberg is on a TV show does not mean it’s good. Or even watchable.
Friends become one of the most successful television shows in history by presenting a group of boring, whiny, self-absorbed people with aspirational hair and a totally unrealistic social life living in a completely fake New York City where they never needed to take the subway and made the rest of feel like we were doing something wrong by not being best friends with the neighbors across the hall from the 4,000 square foot West Village apartment we lived in while working at a coffee shop that was always busy but still had the best seats in the house available whenever our friends walked in.
Is Modern Family sometimes — even frequently — funny? Yes, yes it is. But what it isn’t is “Modern,” at least not in the way it congratulates itself on being. If an aging rich man is married to a hot, much younger woman, that’s still a trophy wife stereotype. Same goes for the bickering, flamboyant gay couple with the adopted baby. And the heteronormative family at the center of Modern Family is a study in First World Problems, which come to think of it, would have been a better name for this show.