Wikipedia defines the word mediocre as, well actually it takes you to a page that says "Mediocrity Principle." So in that case Wikipedia defines Mediocrity Principle as a notion in the philosophy of science that there is nothing special about humans or the earth. Wow. Way to be a downer Wikipedia. Dwight Schrute defines mediocre as "Good, not great." Wikipedia and Dwight Schrute: My top two sources for information. Culture, thy name is Josh. We hear a lot about great Television and we hear a lot about awful Television. Search the internet and you can find plenty of lists from uninformed bloggers about the "Worst Television Shows of All Time" or "The 10 Best Television Girlfriends," best and worst lists are everywhere. So today we salute you mediocre television. So grab a bag of cheetos and put down that sales catalog from Staples, today we celebrate mediocrity in all of its "Ehhness." It's a word.
10. Unsolved Mysteries- This show scared the crap out of me. If Robert Stack so much as read me the weather I would pee my pants every morning. I honestly think that man is some sort of ghost, or at the very least a Horse Whisperer. I liked how Unsolved Mysteries tried to be a legitimate crime show then would turn around and give us stories about haunted mansions from 1850. Chalk one up to network executives with notepads. I loved watching this show for the "porn style" level of acting it demanded from its actors. Hey Stack loosen the purse strings a little bit and pony up for some Strasberg academy graduates. We are trying to solve crime here not make Airplane 3. Sorry Stack, please don't haunt me, or move into my ranch, start talking to horses, and fall in love with my mother.
9. Sister Sister- This show was basically the plot to "The Parent Trap" on a loop. The first episode dealt with the sisters learning that (gasp) they had a twin. They used this information to trick the boy next door, about 50 guys in school, teachers, and their parents for about fifty episodes. This was the end of almost every episode
Random dude: Do you mean to tell me that are Tia and are Tamara. What!?
The sister’s weird half parents would them sit them down and deliver a heartfelt message about being true to yourself, at which point Roger would fall out of his hiding space and run home. Was there ever a more awkward pairing then Ray and Lisa. Absolutely no one who watched this show wanted them to be together. They were both annoying but on two different annoying wavelengths. It was quite the anomaly. If they ever hooked up and conceived a real daughter that girl would be a cross between Nichole Riche, Alexis Arquette, and a snapping turtle.
8. Darkwing Duck- As far as cartoon ducks go Darkwing is a little below average. He doesn't swim in a large fountain of money like Scrooge McDuck, he's not as carefree and cavalier as Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and he doesn't get to tap that sweet sweet piece of Ducktail known as Daisy Duck like Donald does. Is Darkwing Duck’s life like a hurricane? No. Race cars, lasers, aerooooplanes? No, no and no. It's not even close to being a duck blur. It's true that Darkwing Duck might solve a mystery, but there is no way he will rewrite history. You know who will? Ducktales. Woo Hoo, that's who.
Dinosaurs, robots, a swimming pool of money! By those clues this show took place somewhere between the Mesozoic Era and 2276 (when robots will become our house keepers, think Rosie from The Jetsons). If I could be any cartoon character it would definitely be Huey, Dewey, or Louie. Or possibly Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, just for a chance to get with Ariel. I mean it might be difficult me being a crustacean and her being a mermaid/human, but we could make it work. The claws would make for some awkward love making though. It should be noted that Donald Duck dropped his kids off with their uncle Scrooge Mcduck so he could join the navy and see the world. Nice fathering Donald. Even for a duck that's low.
7. Anything with Tom Arnold- I don't dislike Tom Arnold. I nothing him. If he was next to me yelling about pork chops and flailing his limbs about,(which is how I often picture Tom Arnold) I'd just be like, "Oh I'm sorry did you say something"? Tom had his own show in 1992 entitled, "The Jackie Thomas Show." I vaguely remember watching this show and I remember nothing about it (a tell tale sign of mediocrity). From there Tom went on to guest star on dozens of television shows, none of which that made the slightest impression on me. Tom did however make a huge impression on me with the 1996 classic "Big Bully" co-starring Rick Maranis. This movie made Titanic look like an old episode of The Facts Of Life, and not one of those episodes with a young George Clooney, a Tootie episode. On a side topic Rich Moranis is an awful father. First he shrinks his kids. SHRINKS THEM! This somehow brought hilarity to millions of people. Let me tell you something, if my dad's stupid invention somehow shrank me, AND THEN he had the nerve to almost eat me with his cereal Well I don't know what kind of revenge I could yield when I'm a mere few inches tall, but I would try my tiny heart out. Social services just laughed this whole thing off and left the kids with this crazed lunatic. THEN three years later he blew up his baby. What is going on in this town? Arrest this guy or at the very least stop him from shrinking and blowing up humans. I will give him credit for coaching his kid’s football team in Little Giants. That was nice of him.
6. Caroline In The City- Oh sweet Caroline. You drew cartoons, had a socially inept quasi homosexual illustrator, a vapid ex boyfriend, a slutty best friend, a token weird guy on skates, and a cat named salty. It's like a paint by numbers of sitcom writing, only it kind of worked. Lea Thompson held the cast together with her likable portrayal as the token Ne'er-do-well protagonist who just can't seem to hold a relationship. Then later in the series she gets with Richard and America collectively goes "Ewwww" and the show is canceled. On the plus side the real Caroline (Cathy) probably got loads of new material to entertain desperate housewives, gay men, and sensitive types who love Lifetime movies, canasta, and Wayne Brady.
5. What I Like About You- If you Google mediocre television the Wikipedia page from WILAY pops up as the third option, seriously that wasn't any of my "Wikihumor." An example of "Wikihumor" would be: If you wikipediaed ugly, your face would appear. Short, sweet, Wikilicious. The show seems like it would have been a better fit for Nickelodeon (which is not surprising considering the show’s creator was also behind Drake and Josh, All That, Kenan and Kel, Zoey 101 etc) instead of toiling away in mediocrity during prime time on The CW.
4. Mad About You- I once wrote that every episode of Mad About You sort of had the same basic plot line. I was going to rehash that thought and delve a little deeper until I realized that: I just can't do that my future kids. Forgive Papa Paco and Captain Jack. My future wife is a Hispanic pirate, should make for an exciting honeymoon.
3. Step by Step- Step by Step was a perfect fit for TGIF. I'm sure 2nd grade Josh went around the classroom saying Duuuuuddddeee and Dana Burgerrrrr to emulate Cody. It's not often I find myself siding with a bully that beat me up, but I think I had it coming. Remember in the intro when Brandon drops his ice cream and he just takes Mark's right off his cone? That pretty much defined the whole show for me. Slapstick comedy, outrageous situations, and the Dana Burger. An interesting phenomenon happened in Step By Step that has never happened with another television show. I call it "Pass the Hotness." The show started with Karen being the hottest Lambert/Foster sibling. Then the Dana Burger took over that distinction for a year or two. Then out of nowhere, Al blossomed into a full fledged hottie. All the while Mark got more and more awkward. Watching him during his "picking up chicks" faze was like watching Basic Instinct with your mom. Awkward.
2. Coach- Wanna play the Coach drinking game? Intrigued? Awesome. Watch an episode of Coach. Drink every time:
- Coach says "Ahhh jeez"
- Luther mumbles
- Christine disapproves of something the Coach does
- Dauber says something stupid
Coach lasted for nine seasons, that's a lot of coaching. I remember Coach as the one show that never had any hot girls on it whatsoever. Mona from Who's The Boss appeared in the last season and I think she is the winner by default.
1. Home Improvement- When I first had the idea for this column, this show popped into my head. Home Improvement was an immensely popular show during the 90's, that doesn't change the fact that it was mediocre. Commercial success doesn't equate to the quality of a show (According to Jim). I don't know why I dislike Tim Allen, (the grunting doesn't help) he doesn't seem like a bad guy. I'm sure he has made me laugh every now and again, but I dislike him. Regardless of the fact that he has no tangible quality that I hate. Maybe it's inherent. Maybe thousands of years ago our families hated each other and have been feuding for generations. Maybe one day we will meet and fall in heterosexual friendship love and we will join forces and write a sitcom about a fifty something former TV star and an up and coming writer who become friends and open a pharmacy together where they spend their days helping their customers with personal problems and quoting prices on pyridium. Now my friends would be a mediocre television show. I don't know about you, but that circle I drew looks pretty full to me.