by Matthew Thompson
I’ve talked about all kinds of good things TV brought us in 2014, but I feel the need to talk about some of the bad too. Now I try to only watch quality TV. While I’m not always successful in this venture, I’m sure I miss out on the real bottom of the barrel stuff. So this just happens to be some of the awful moments, storylines and shows I happened to catch last year plus a little bit about why I thought they were so bad (Warning: These will contain spoilers for the shows in question, so you might want to skim by if you haven’t seen them or just read on and be happy you didn’t have to suffer through them like I did).
Bruce and the Bearded Best Friend (Mixology)
I’m not sure why I made myself suffer through the entire season (now series) of Mixology, but I did. It’s an all-around bad way to spend your time. It is home to a collection of unlikable characters, some awful humor and you can take my word for the fact that sticking around to the end of the night doesn’t offer up any kind of satisfying conclusion. The worst of a show full of worsts is definitely Bruce. He’s the gross best friend that is all about getting laid. He’s the bearded schlub that spews charming lines like, “That waitress is so hot. I kinda wanna eat off her butt” and “Look at that chick over there throwing up… I’m gonna bang her out.” Maybe they were going for Barney Stinson but shanked the kick far, far to the right. I’m also just going to throw Bruce, however unfairly, under the bus and blame him for the slew of obnoxious, bearded best friends (Stu on A to Z, Gil on Marry Me, seemingly a million more, etc.) that followed this year. It’s all your fault Bruce. Thanks for nothing Mixology.
Wait there’s another reason to hate Mixology: And didn’t this replace Happy Endings because Paul Lee said it had broader appeal? Yeah, maybe it’s actually all his fault.
The Guilty Remnant (The Leftovers)
I spent a season being frustrated by the chain-smoking Guilty Remnant on The Leftovers whose asshole-ish behavior was matched only by their complete disregard for Labor Day’s very clearcut fashion guidelines. But then they revealed their motivations and… it didn’t make any sense at all. But hey we love watching nonsensical cults right? That’s why we love to watch The Following… oh wait, yeah we hate that show too. Well at least the town finally lost their collective shit on them at the end. That was a plus.
The silver lining: Carrie Coon is a wonderful actress and I admit I was a sucker for those sad piano tunes. So watching The Leftovers wasn’t a total loss.
Kurt Sutter’s Lack of an Editor (Sons of Anarchy)
Has there ever been a show more in need of some trimming than Sons of Anarchy? From the never-ending musical montages to the overly long episodes, there was just so much bloat here. It’d be one thing if there was just simply too much to do for normal length episodes, but the final season was just a series errands and stalling so they could get us to the confrontations that the end of Season 6 set up. Which means about ten episodes of nothing. Hell, the whole series would have been better if it had lasted about three fewer seasons. I may tune in for your next series Kurt, but someone needs to be looking over your shoulder at all times to keep you in check.
And that ending: While I got the bare minimum I wanted from the ending (Jax and Gemma die, Nero and Wendy get away safe), the final sequence was some real garbage. I’m not sure what was worse: the horrid CG or Jesus/religious imagery. Yuck. And just like everything else in Sons of Anarchy, that final police chase took forever.
Laurel Lance (Arrow)
I think what makes Laurel so bad is that Arrow is otherwise a very good, extremely fun show. In 2014, we finally started to see the transition we all knew was coming, but didn’t want to believe would actually happen: Laurel replacing Sara as Black Canary. Let’s be honest, no one is buying this and a few cardio-kickbox classes at the local gym isn’t going to change our minds. It doesn’t help that Arrow is just filled to the brim with dangerous females that make Laurel’s attempts at badassery look as ridiculous as Roy flipping into a dart to the neck. Well maybe she is at least a good love interest for our hero? Or maybe not. Probably not the best sign that any girl who walks on set seems to have better chemistry with Ollie… even the one who plays his sister. It is really no wonder Laurel resorted to popping pills. At least that resulted in the funniest battle with addiction since Mark Benford on Flashforward.
Another super-bad character: Barbara Kean on Gotham only just started being an awful television character this Fall, but she may already be worse than Laurel. That is worth drinking to Miss Lance.
Max, the Charter School and Bad Parenting (Parenthood)
The Bravermans creating a Charter School so their son and other kids like him would have a place where they might get the attention they need is an admirable idea, but always seemed a bit ridiculous. It got even more absurd when this season rolled around and the educator who was going to be their headmaster up and disappeared (maybe he is hanging out with Robin and Dean from The Good Wife who also vanished earlier this season). Now Adam is a lunch lady/cooking teacher and kids are being used as free labor in lieu of actual money to spend on staff/prepared lunches. To make matters worse, it led to a really icky storyline where Kristina ends up enabling Max’s bad behavior (what else is new) with another student at school. Even good old Adam ends up sticking his foot in his mouth at the parents’ day. Max is completely out of control and his parents aren’t doing much to help matters. I realize dealing with a child with Asperger’s must be a difficult thing, but this show has been a mess in portraying this whole debacle. I usually steer clear of any kind of touchy subjects like this, so if I have somehow offended you feel free to piss in my canteen.
To their credit: Parenthood has done an excellent job on the Hank with Asperger’s storyline and I still enjoy the show a lot. This storyline and the Joel/Julia stuff has really brought it down a few notches this past year though.
How I Met Your Mother
I didn’t put these in any particular order, but I did save the absolute worst for last because nothing can top the disaster that was the end to How I Met Your Mother. There are just so many layers to it. It isn’t just that Ted ended up with Robin. It’s that they stuck to that ending years past the point where it would have made any sense. It is how comically bad the old footage came off when fit in with the new stuff. It is how quickly they glossed over an emotional moment like the mother’s death. Or how quickly they shoved her to the side after endearing her to the audience throughout that final season (she was easily the best part of Season 9). It’s how gross it was for Ted to use the mom as a baby machine before poisoning her so he could get back to his one true love, Aunt Robin. Okay maybe that last one didn’t happen, but it’s a testament to how horribly handled the last five minutes were that I could try to sell that to you if I wanted to. But the truth is Bays and Thomas don’t need help making this ending the worst, it already is. And that final few minutes is just a small part of what was a master class in how not to end your television series that the entire ninth season of HIMYM was. Like spending the whole year on a wedding that you undo in a couple of minutes during the finale. Or having one of the major characters literally phone in his performance via Skype. How I Met Your Mother was simply THE WORST thing on television in 2014.
To add insult to injury: Not that it would have fixed the final season as a whole, but the alternate ending would have been a nice way to end the series. The fact that they had it in their back pocket and still went with the original ending… ugh. Just… ugh.
Obviously I was having a little bit of fun here and I hope you enjoyed it. That will conclude my look back at television from 2014. I’ll be highlighting some new shows to keep an eye on in 2015 some time next week. Feel free to let me know what rubbed you the wrong way on television last year in the comments below. Just don’t start trying to defend How I Met Your Mother‘s ending. You don’t want to be that guy. As always, thanks for reading!