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Time’s Worst TV of 2014: ‘The Simpsons Guy,’ ‘Stalker’ and More

Time's Worst TV of 2014: 'The Simpsons Guy,' 'Stalker' and More

Time’s James Poniewozik has picked the year’s worst TV shows and moments, or at least “the worst things that someone who watches a lot of TV for a living can recall seeing.” Here are his selections, alphabetically:

“The Brittany Murphy Story”
How “How I Met Your Mother” Treated the Mother
“I Wanna Marry Harry”
“Marco Polo”
“The Mysteries of Laura”
“The Simpsons Guy”

The year’s worst range from exploitative (“The Brittany Murphy Story”) to crassly sexist (“I Wanna Marry Harry”), but “Stalker,” arguably the most risible, infuriating new series this year, managed to be both.

Even by the standards of TV’s most exploitative crime stories, this lurid women-in-peril drama was slimy. Naturally, it’s been picked up for a full season.

If “Stalker” wasn’t the most depressing show on television this year, it was only because it had stiff competition from the much-derided “The Simpsons”/”Family Guy” crossover, which mixed all of the worst qualities of late-period “The Simpsons” and any period “Family Guy” without any of the former show’s virtues, making for a truly mean-spirited episode of television.

Introducing the Simpsons into a bloated episode of “Family Guy” was like having the Sistine Chapel repainted by the guy who draws “Mallard Fillmore.”

Sometimes a particularly bad episode is enough to sour viewers on a whole season of television, and this year had more than its fair share. Plenty of critics have noted their ire about the infamous penultimate episode of “The Newsroom” and its “don’t believe the rape accuser” stance, but Poniewozik was just as irritated with the poor handling of “How I Met Your Mother’s” finale.

“HIMYM “itself wasn’t the worst comedy of the year, and for much of its run it was one of the best sitcoms on air. But its final story arc, which introduced, then killed off, a love interest in order to got Ted and Robin together, was an example of the danger of sticking to a show’s original plan no matter what.

Finally, Poniewozik knocked the dunderheaded detective drama “The Mysteries of Laura,” which at least has a lasting legacy in inspiring NPR’s Linda Holmes’ mocking theme “Copmom Momcop.” 

NBC’s detective drama was at heart an unremarkable, old-fashioned, corny whodunit. But the premise–she’s a cop and she has kids! can you believe it!–managed to have it all, in all the wrong ways.

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