Hate watching: A summer of enjoying bad TV
Binge hate watching, or the excessive consumption of TV shows you love to hate, dominated the television offerings this summer. When there wasn’t a “Law and Order: SVU” or “Friends” marathon playing, one could always find something light and easily mock-able by simply turning the channel to ABC, Lifetime or Bravo. These shows were overdramatic, hilarious and, most importantly, constantly playing.
In this summer’s season nine of the hit show “The Bachelorette,” bridal stylist Desiree Hartstock found tears, heartbreak and (kind of?) a happy ending during her cliche- and pun-filled search for love. Little-known fact: contestants on “Bachelor”-franchise shows are only allowed minimum contact with the outside world during filming and are even restricted from participating in basic activities such as watching TV and reading books, which explains the origin of the incessant poetry and other handmade gifts. However, it doesn’t explain Des and eventual winner Chris Siegfried rhyming the word “shore” with “forevermore” in a poem that they co-wrote. At one point during the often-skipped middle portion of the season, one contestant is surprised by an angry girlfriend, who despite his protests insists that they are still together and spins a tale of betrayal that gets more extravagant as the segment progresses.
Rating: 4/5 roses for heightened drama and an actually surprising ending to an often-formulaic show.
ABC clearly thought that it had found a hit with “Mistresses,” a new reboot of a United Kingdom-born show that aired directly after “The Bachelorette.” The series follows four friends who over the course of the season become what the title suggests, albeit in different ways. The show stalls on the resolution of overused plot devices like paternity tests and admissions of infidelity but does offer some entertaining melodrama as lead character April learns that her presumed dead husband is actually alive, having faked his own death in order to provide April with insurance money and flee with his mistress and their child. Another lead character is Karen, a psychiatrist who has an affair with an ill client and on his request gives him a prescription for pills and instructions on how to use them to end his life.
Rating: 3/5 morphine tablets because it was sweepingly predictable but did have occasional moments of levity.
In Lifetime’s original series “Devious Maids,” Nurse Carla from “Scrubs” trades in her white sneakers for a maid’s uniform. The show centers on a close-knit group of fictional Latina maids as they try to find answers in the mysterious death of a colleague, all the while serving stereotypical and one-dimensional Beverly Hills characters. If it sounds like a “Downton Abbey”-inspired adaptation of “Desperate Housewives,” that’s because it is. Eva Longoria, one of the stars of the long-running show, is an executive producer of “Devious Maids,” and one of the characters was even in the final episode of “Desperate Housewives.” Bottom line: it aims for drama with moments of comic relief yet plays out more like a morbid sitcom.
Rating: 2/5 maid’s aprons due to hackneyed plots and an overall lack of creativity.
“Princesses: Long Island”
“Princesses: Long Island” was Bravo’s contribution to the summer set. This show jumps the line of so-bad-it’s-good and goes straight to just plain bad. The titular “princesses” are women in their late 20s who live in their parents’ homes, occasionally stepping out in order to engage in shenanigans. At one release party, which showcases cast member Amanda Bertoncini’s revolutionary new invention the “Drink Hanky,” aka a coffee sleeve made out of fabric, another cast member gets into a drink-throwing fight with a partygoer. Occasionally, the show sets the characters up in random places like vineyards, where they whine about the fact that their younger siblings are getting married before them. The detail that most gives away its scripted nature? No one, and I mean no one, uses the words “verklempt” and “Manischewitz” in every other sentence the way these (heavily tanned) characters do.
Rating: one-fourth of a glass of wine for overuse of stereotype and obvious falsity.
Whether they were new or in their ninth season, these shows never failed to entertain with their new episodes. After all, when the temperatures rise, there’s nothing better than curling up on a couch in an air-conditioned room with an unintentionally hilarious show.