Pop Rocks: 5 of Our Guiltiest TV Pleasures

As we continue our countdown to the start of the fall TV season, it behooves us to prepare for the inevitable discussion of shows with the potential to become breakout hits and critical darlings. What will be the next Mad Men? The next Modern Family? Will any of this season's crop of newcomers find themselves in contention for an Emmy next summer? Will any manage a Metacritic score above 90?

But for every show that sends TV critics into spasms of orgiastic keyboard prestidigitation, many more will be consigned to the compost heap of television history. Canceled before they even get their legs under them. They can't all be Law & Order, after all.

Somewhere below the Olympian heights reached by The Wire and the Plutonian depths plumbed by Joanie Loves Chachi are the unsung multitude of shows that will merely exist. Some good, some (okay, most) bad, that will limp along for season after season, garnering more contempt than fanfare from the self-appointed custodians of taste.

And these are the shows we can't stop watching.

COPS I was a convert from its inception. Not having cable, my Saturday ritual in the late '80s soon became: work 10 to 6, grab some dinner, watch COPS (and, rarely, America's Most Wanted), and hit the bars with my friends.

Fine, hit the bars alone.

Okay, stay home and drink alone.

All right...stay home and color my filterless Camels with a highlighter so I could smoke them and get a buzz. Now take this polygraph crap off me.


There's really no excuse for this. As a married man, I guess I could say it provides constant reinforcement to remain faithful. As a Houstonian, I can use it to claim moral superiority over residents of Dallas.

But when there's a kid involved...hard to defend.

La Movida

My obscure pick. Short version: We didn't have cable in 1991, and Univision can't sue me...I hope.

Look, Verónica Castro's "charms" are pretty apparent, but the whole "animated fauna expressing interest in humans of the opposite sex thing" is pretty goddamned creepy. We watched out of morbid fascination, and the off chance a disgruntled Mexican animator would take this to the next level.

Jersey Shore

Yes yes, you're clearly above watching this televised atrocity. After all, only 8.8 million people watched the season 4 premiere, and obviously that didn't include you, because you're above such lowbrow shenanigans.

At least Ronnie and Sammi didn't get back together. What's that? No, Sammi...DON'T DO IT!


I don't make any excuses for reality programming based on animals, unless said animals are being turned into coats. This show about exterminators, however, has piqued my interest since episode 1. Pro tip: Don't watch the bedbug episode while eating.


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