In honor of the return of Arrested Development, and the recent news that a lot of your favorite shows have probably been canceled this year, let us celebrate the shows that made it. The shows that were so exquisitely terrible that they got to stay on the air forever.
7th Heaven (11 Seasons)
11 season. This saccharine, patronizing, and soul-crushingly unfunny show was on for 11 seasons. According to IMDb Trivia, when the pilot was shown to test audiences before it aired, it was utterly hated. And then the producers just decided to air it as it was, without addressing any of the things that made it so goddamn awful. That's pretty much how the series operated for all 11 seasons. Even when Jessica Biel, a teenage actor being paid lots of money to act, was so desperate to get off the show that she posed topless for Gear magazine, the producers never thought, "Hm. Are we making sh*t?" And all of that drama happened before the show got really, really bad, when every episode became a "very special episode," and they introduced that anti-semitic rabbi character, and those stupid twin kids whose lines were always said in unbearable speech impediment unison.
Fun fact: If you ever wanted to see Mrs. Camden's boobs, just to really stick it to this terrible, puritanical show, you can! Just watch the movie Eight Days a Week. But, fair warning, that movie is also terrible.
Charmed (8 Seasons)
Shows like Boy Meets World and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are often mentioned as emblems of 90s programming, but there was nothing more 90s than Charmed. Girl power? Check. Leather pants? Check. A Shannon Doherty meltdown? Check. This show had everything, including magic and searing stupidity. Shannon Doherty was written off the show because she insulted all its fans by saying that it was a show for 11-year-olds, but she was 100% right. Unfortunately, Charmed was produced by the same cheeseball buffoon who made 7th Heaven: Aaron Spelling. And Mr. Spelling didn't care how dumb his shows were, as long as they made money and involved a lot of actresses in butterfly hairclips.
Fun fact: Alyssa Milano does not age. I'm serious.
One Tree Hill (9 Seasons)
I must admit, I never watched this show. But, through extensive research, I've discovered that no one else did either. I did, however, see years and years of promo spots for it, so I have a pretty good idea what happened: everything. It started as a little Dawson's Creek-esque teen drama about half-brothers and the girls they liked, but then things got real weird. I could delve into the strange time-jumping this show did and the drug addictions and the NBA career(?) but I'll just show you this actual clip from the show instead.
Fun fact: that scene happened and the show still got FOUR MORE SEASONS.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager (5 Seasons and counting)
If you ever want to waste a half hour but, somehow, also feel smarter, just read all of the episode descriptions from The Secret Life's Wikipedia page). The biggest problem with a show that starts out with a teen pregnancy is that there really isn't a bigger plotline that can be introduced to raise the stakes later. Sure, you can have affairs and divorce and teen marriage proposals, but those don't really compete with teen pregnancy. The writers of this show figured that out, so what did they do? They made another teen pregnant. Because, duh, all teens are secretly pregnant. Don't you remember high school?
Fun fact: in an ironic twist, this teen fuckfest was created by the same woman who created 7th Heaven. So she learned about sex, but didn't learn how to write well. Eh, can't have everything.
Baywatch (11 Seasons)
The appeal of Baywatch was clear right from the slow motion bouncing in the opening credits. What wasn't as clear was just how bad this show would be. Obviously, it was going to be cheesy and over-the-top. If it had managed to stop at that, it maybe could have have passed as just a fun little show to watch when you're bored. But the writers insisted on making it so fucking stupid. You expect a few too many earthquake and shark plotlines from a lifeguard show, but they went ahead and wrote ridiculous nonsense about serial killers and then a nuclear bomb. What the hell was that? Oh yeah, that's what happens when a show based around nothing but pendulous breasts gets 11 seasons on TV.
Fun fact: for the last two season, production moved to Hawaii and the show became known as Baywatch Hawaii. It was still stupid.
Touched by an Angel (9 Seasons)
This show. What the fuck was this show? If 7th Heaven was the Creed of TV dramas, Touched by an Angel was an old woman muttering to herself about Jesus on a bus. If you didn't watch it (and why would you have watched it?) it's about angels who help people, mostly by telling them how much God loves them. And this show actually had terrific ratings. It doesn't make any sense. Just watch the theme song (with a quick beat of drama before it).
Her scarf turns into a dove! That's all you need to know about this ridiculous piece of garbage show.
Fun fact: God loves you.
Full House (8 Seasons)
Yeah, yeah, you loooove Full House, but, no. You don't. You watched it when you were a kid, so you had no actual taste, but if you watch a rerun now, you'll realize that it was a real crap show. The humor was cheesy, the acting was cheesy, all the little kids with their catchphrases were cheesy. Whatever happened to predictability? It was alive and well for eight season on ABC and you fools ate it up.
Fun fact: you're going to argue with me about this one, but you're wrong.
The Real Housewives of Wherever (Combined, 31 Seasons and counting)
You did this, America. You made shows like Arrested Development, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, and Happy Endings get canceled because all you want to watch is this shit. I hope you think about what you've done.