Thursday, September 05, 2013

Hate Watching

The latest TV craze seems to be “Hate Watching.” People seek out and habitually watch shows they can’t stand, shows that make them angry.

Why? Because there’s not enough real aggravation in the world or bad entertainment – we need more!

It used to be you would watch awful shows for the cheese factor. As the old expression goes – they were so bad they were good. They were so over-the-top off base that it was amusing. MOMMIE DEAREST, Roger Corman movies, Ed Wood productions, the ‘60s BATMAN series, Japanese game shows, MANNEQUIN 2, Psy, and anything hosted by James Lipton or starring Ru Paul.

There was a certain kitsch, camp aspect to them. And there are still shows worth watching for that reason. Give me a PREGNANT AND DATING and SHARKNADO any day!

But lately that trend has morphed into watching shows religiously that you actively hate so much they piss you off.

Now I should mention this is not a new phenomenon. In the late ‘60s/early ‘70s there was an ABC sportscaster named Howard Cosell. He was this pompous, dyspeptic blowhard with a grating voice and abrasive delivery who offered color commentary on MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Most people despised him but they tuned in to disagree with everything he had to say. To a much lesser degree, Simon Cowell fills that role. He plays the villain, but his analysis is actually quite candid and refreshing. ESPN’s Chris Berman has made a very nice career for himself by getting on people’s nerves. Same with baseball's Tim McCarver.

But today the practice has become a popular fad. SMASH was probably the hate watcher’s champion. And GLEE was not far behind. A current favorite is THE NEWSROOM. A friend said to me about THE NEWSROOM: “I hate it each and every week.”

But he watches it.

Trust me, the provider doesn’t care why you watch shows just as long as you do. You could love it, loathe it, only watch because you want to sleep with Olivia Munn -- it matters not. They've got you.

When you consider how terrible the ratings were for SMASH, probably the only people who tuned in were hate watchers.

Personally, I’ve abandoned the practice. The last show I hate watched with any regularity was HAWAII FIVE-O. At first I watched because I wanted to like it. Then I realized the stories were terrible and the acting was worse, and yet I still watched because I love the scenery of Hawaii and figured, “Seriously, how much worse can it be?” They would answer that question every week, and then they started integrating commercials into the show (one for Subway was jaw dropping), and eventually I said, “What the fuck am I still watching this for? Click. I’ve never watched a minute of it since.

I thought I’d hate watch the CBS sitcom PARTNERS last year, but the pilot alone was so excruciating that I could never go back.

Seems to me that hate watching is not healthy and certainly not good for the psyche. In a thousand-channel universe, and thousands of movies available for you on demand, why waste your time and energy on material you know will only infuriate you? Would you get in your car and drive during rush hour traffic if you didn’t have to? Would you date Roseanne twice? No. Of course not. So why watch THE TALK?

Life’s too short. I’m still kicking myself for having watched Howard Cosell.

Do you hate watch? If so, why and which shows, and have you ever considered extensive therapy?

95 comments:

Phil said...

I used to hate watch "Girls". My wife and I watched the first season, wondering 1) how is this funny? 2) how can anybody call this a comedy? 3) how the critics can love this show when it's so bad?

Ultimately, right before season 2 started,we asked a final question: Why would we want to watch it? Haven't watched it since.

Hamid said...

Love the casual reference to Mannequin 2 you threw in there, Ken! What's the deal with that movie? What was it like for you and David writing that movie? I'm gonna hazard a guess it wasn't a happy experience like Volunteers.

Jeremiah Avery said...

Reminds me, somewhat, of how those "moral guardians" kept watching "Married With Children" so they'd have something to complain about, which in turn got others to watch it and helped keep the show on the air.

What little free time I have is not going to be spent watching something just so I can complain about it. I know people like that and it's hard to fathom as to why someone would not want to instead find something they enjoy. Easier to gripe and point out how they could do it better, I suppose.

I've watched shows that didn't quite "click" with me but I figured maybe another episode or two may be needed to get a better feel for the characters, premise, etc. Sometimes I grew to like them and others had me wanting that time back.

People griping about certain shows seem to act like they're being forced to endure some sort of torment. Change the channel or turn the tv off and go read or do something else. Not that hard, for most normal, well-adjusted people.

Anonymous said...

Revolution

Jim S said...

I must admit that I am an Aaron Sorkin and David Kelley hatewatcher. I used to watch The Practice on Sunday nights because nothing was on. (Remember when Sunday TV was dull. Now there are so many shows like Breaking Bad, Homeland, Broadwalk Empire, etc. that I can't keep up). Then I stopped watching The Practice and the world didn't end. I kept trying to get into West Wing because everyone said it was so great. Having experience in Washington, I didn't buy Sorkin's straw men Republicans and the absurd plots like kidnappings and MS.

When the show shifted to Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda, I watched on a regular basis. I maintain the show actually got better. It seemed more real and the two year campagin arc was something I never saw before.

But I am not much of a hatewatcher now. My big thing is sticking with shows that I once loved. If Dexter was going to have another season, I'd have quit watching after episode two of this year. Right now I am watching just to see how it ends.

Aaron Sheckley said...

I'll never get the whole concept of "hate watching". Watching something just for the cheese factor is one thing; nothing beats an afternoon of awful 1960s Roger Corman movies, or some old Hammer films, or what have you. But watching something that gives you nothing but a feeling of anger week after week? What is wrong with you, if that actually gives you pleasure?

emily said...

I can't believe I haven't missed an episode of Under The Dome. Somebody help me.

Quiet Jim said...

Blasphemy! Comparing Howard Cosell to Chris Berman shows You know nothing about Howard Cosell. Howard won a bunch of Emmys for his documentaries and is a legend in sports journalism. He was years ahead of his time and invented his trade, carrying a 50 pound tape recorder everywhere he went.He is so much more complicated than your throw away line in some blog.He was everything you said but he was so much more.Seeing him on Youtube and stuff gives me chills. Read "Howard Cosell the Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports" by Mark Ribowsky

Carol said...

I don't think I've ever hate watched, but I did hate-read Twilight (the entire series) and Fifty Shades of Grey. (Didn't pay for them though, borrowed them. Would not give money to those hacks. Not that they need it. Sigh)

I thought Twilight would be silly, but I wasn't prepared for the sheer horribleness of the writing. And 50 Shades - The psychology behind it is fascinating. The author managed to write a creepy stalker story but thinks it's actually romantic.

Tudor Queen said...

For me and one of my best friends, it was the original Beverly Hills 90210. We started out liking it in a 'fun trashy' kind of way, but it got worse and worse and we did not give up (well, we finally did in the very last season. I would refer to it as "the show we hate, once a week" (a parody of the old Listerine commercial that called it "the taste you hate, twice a day!")

B.B. Callow said...

I can’t think of any shows I’ve intentionally watched purposefully to hate—but there are a few I’ve watched that started out well then got so bad I began hating myself for watching them.

This year’s “The Following” with Kevin Bacon had a strong start. I liked it, but by about episode 5 it was really pushing the limits of credibility. By episode 7 I was cringing that I was actually watching this thing, and by episode 8 I was yelling at the TV. Yet I still watched it till the final episode, hating myself as much as the show.

Then it got renewed.

…Now I have a whole new season of self-loathing to look forward to.

McAlvie said...

Funny you should have this post today. Just this morning I was browsing the local paper online, and thinking this same thing. They allow comments and while some are insightful and well written, most are just folks who want to bash the paper, and I thought, "If you disagree with it so strongly, why are you reading it?"

And then I answered my own question. Hate is the new religion for people who are so flawed themselves that their self esteem is in the toilet. Thus they have a need to seek out things they can criticize in order to make themselves feel better.

I have found myself giving a show a few tries because I think, "It can't really be as awful as I think it is, and maybe they just need to find their rhythm. That's my excuse for watching Two Broke Girls more than once. I was wrong, it really was awful; I heard they made a second season and I have no idea why. And then I think, "This garbage is why people don't watch sitcoms like they used to. THIS IS WHY." Not because people don't like sitcom tv anymore, but because the sitcoms are so horribly bad.

Sorry, you hit a nerve. I'm stepping away now before I start foaming at the mouth.

Scooter Schechtman said...

It might be older than television. In "Great Expectations" Pip & friend go to see Hamlet, which is given the MST3K treatment by the audience, who have brought nuts for throwing. Probably went on in the ancient Greek theaters too.

Hollywoodaholic said...

My 16 year-old son and I have a bonding moment 'Mock-watching' "Under the Dome." I don't think you can hate something that is so bad it makes you laugh every week. Plus it's a great teaching tool for how NOT to write dialogue that's pointed, obvious and has no subtext. "YOU are an evil person!" "YOU just want power!" "What the HELL!" Drink up.

"The Newsroom" is another story. Who ARE those people?

J. Allison said...

I'm old enough to remember Cosell in the MNF booth. Pompous for sure! But he brought something to the table -- he was prepared and had something to say. I think he used to do those halftime highlight reels off the cuff, and was really good at it. People did love to hate him, but I think there was more to him than that. And the friction between him and Meredith was fun to see, even for a 12 year old!

Bryan L said...

"Hate" is probably too strong a term. I do watch shows that I like to pick apart for plot and logic holes, like "The Walking Dead." It's more like an intellectual (?) exercise -- what dumb things occur and what would people really do if they were in this situation?

Frank said...

I hate-listen to your cousin Mark Levine's radio show. It's amazing how self-satisfied and completely wrong one blowhard can be.

Pamela Jaye said...

"So bad it's good" worked well for the 1225 episodes of Dark Shadows I watched around 1999 - 2002. Funny stuff. Plus, ripoffs of some classic stuff that I then did not have to see/read (though I read, then watched Rebecca, anyway.]

I never watch anything in order to become irate. Oh wait, sorry: I did watch Jon & Kate Plus 8. I hope it was pay for those kids' therapy. And they can just show the eps to their therapist, which could save lots of time.

Aside from that, no TV, but I did read all 4 Twilight books. They did not improve as they went along. There was one very good blog, slamming the series with snark. Alas, the blogger never made it thru book 3. Darn.

Glee started off as a cartoon with good Boomer music (Journey!) then tried to be serious... huh? The last season is on my broken DVR. I meant to get to it... I did like Smash and was sad it wasn't better written.

Perhaps people hate watch TV because hate watching the real world, like my father did, would be too much for them?
Till then (till when?) I recommend not listening to the commentary on episode 6 of the Newsroom. No matter how pretty she is, 13 minutes (or more, I gave up) of Olivia Minn commenting on commenters at blogs will drive you insane. And I'm a fan of Grey's Anatomy. ;-)

Pamela Jaye said...

I swear I did not read Carol's comment before I wrote mine. (I didn't read any till after.) Glad to know I'm not alone, though. I got mine from the library (and can't remember whether I've seen the third movie yet - the movies were less bad) and I didn't read 50 Shades...

Stu West said...

The '60s Batman series was so GOOD it was good! And the early episodes hold up really well even today. Those guys knew exactly what they were doing.

RockGolf said...

"Under the Dome" has verrrrry quickly moved into hatewatching. The plot holes, the insanely illogical character and plot development, it's like it's written by 12-year-olds who think that every plot must end with someone getting shot. Given the number of people killed this season in a town that size, this place is more dangerous than Normandy beach on D-Day.

Anonymous said...

I never noticed the Subway commercial. BUt now that you mention it, I don't think I've eaten Subway since last May.

Dana King said...

I never hate watch. Why drive up ratings for shows you hate at the expense of a show you actually want to see?

Gordon K said...

Well... I actually avoid shows that I can't stand. Most of these shows seem to be the shows everyone else loves -- I'll give them a chance -- watch an episode or two or three -- sometimes more. But eventually I give up -- shows like Deadwood, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad... Any show where there isn't a single character I can root for or care about...


I don't get them. I don't want to invite them into my home. I don't want to know them and I hope to never meet them.

This goes double for any and all reality show.

Ellen Davies said...

You're right, why waste time watching shows that make you angry?

But I did watch Jon & Kate Plus 8... but that was more because the kids were cute. And it was almost a challenge: can Kate be any worse this week? why yes, she can!

I do watch shows that I know are awful but they make me laugh. Like RHOC. Ghosthunters. But Honey Boo Boo just makes me want to weep for the future of our society.

Mac said...

I don't get hate watching. I get angry enough watching the news, which I feel I should watch to see what's going on in the world. Cruelty porn like these talent shows and umpteen reality TV shows, make me angry and depress me, so why bother? Spare time to watch telly is limited and precious so why not fill it with stuff you know will make you'll enjoy.

Dan Ball said...

I hate-watch old TV shows from the 70s and 80s when the mood hits. Shows like the old "Battlestar Galactica", "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century", "Knight Rider", "Airwolf", "The A-Team", "MacGyver". But that's more love/hate-watching.

However, the holy grail of hate-rewatching would have to be "Baywatch". It's yet to resurface on any of the streaming service to which I subscribe, but when it does...there be some bouncing niceties in abundance. When it was on the air, I was about 10 and I actually watched it for what I perceived to be quality storytelling. The babes were just background filler. I thought Nicole Eggert was the best-looking one. I definitely preferred her over Pamela, Erika, Yasmine, and whoever else. Angie Harmon was nice. I liked Alexandra Paul because she wasn't so over-the-top/in-your-face.

Man, I miss the syndicated showcase that used to be Saturday afternoons/evenings in central Kentucky. The programming was so bad it really was good. "Baywatch", "American Gladiators", "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys", and the king (which was actually a GREAT show): "Star Trek: The Next Generation". We'd always go to my grandparents' house and watch these while eating my grandma's char-burgers. Following TNG, though, they switched the channel to watch either "Hee Haw" or "Charlie Daniels's Talent Round Up." Such a let-down after TNG.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I used to hate watch HOGAN'S HEROES... then it grew on me, and now I like it.

Still doesn't hold a candle to M*A*S*H, though.

As for SMASH, let's face it, that was an attempt to be another GLEE. Once one show becomes a hit (I can't stand it, personally), all of the sudden, all the networks want to copy it; that dates way back to when NBC hired Sidney Sheldon to create I DREAM OF JEANNIE to compete with ABC's BEWITCHED (though both were genuinely great shows).

Charlie O'Brien said...

I don't understand the whole concept. Never done it - never will. If it's good watch it - if it sucks, then 'click' - gone!

Ken Levine said...

Frank,

I am not in any way related to Mark Levin.

Eric J said...

"Who would want to watch a show about a bunch of bar flies?" That was our reaction to watching Cheers twice during the first season. When the second season went into reruns we tried it again and it became a lifetime favorite. I can't imagine watching a show I don't like on purpose.

I think you are unfair about Howard Cosell. The guy carried around a 50 pound ego everywhere he went and had a voice inflection that made me change the channel, but fiction is full of stories with unlikeable protagonists. If they make us care about what they do, we're usually fine with them. Howard Cosell was that way for many.

Terrence Moss said...

oh please. we all hate watch. that's why so much crap stays on the air. you may not get upset or annoyed over everything, but there's hate watching when you can't figure out why you're watching something but you do for any number of reasons.

i hate watched "glee" and i hate watched "smash". it gave me something to hurl vitriol at so that i didn't accidentally hurl vitriol at some innocent person.

i'm planning to move on from hat watching "glee" because it should have NEVER been renewed for even one more season, let alone two.

and i'll be hate watching "how i met your mother" this year because i've spent eight years waiting to find out how ted is going to meet this damn mother.

tb said...

Back in the day we all dragged each other to see "Pink Flamingos" by John Waters, right? Then the real masochists would continue seeing the other films he made. But this is different, torturing yourself weekly. I don't get it

Little Miss Nomad said...

I don't really "hate-watch" anything per se, but I did watch every single episode of Smash, recognized that it wasn't very good, but still loved it in that low-rent disaster movie kind of way, where you're hooked by the spectacle and hold onto a flickering candle of hope that Dean Cain's going to show up and save the day. Glee, I could never get past the disaster pilot, but I understand people who watch and love less-than-quality scripted shows far easier than I understand anyone who watches MTV network or Bravo reality shows on the reg.

Cap'n Bob said...

The closest I come to this is Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. I like trying to answer the questions, but I abhor the contestants. Every time they natter because they don't know an answer (or even when they do), I think, it's not a goddamn essay question, Mimsey. Answer it or walk. And I think you have to fail the test to get on the air. What a load of bozos.

Anonymous said...

I hate watched the Anna Nicole Show, then started to like watch it. Tried to hate watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but couldn't even stand that. I have hate watched shows I loved as a kid, like Maude, The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island because the comfortable, childhood connection made them welcome. We used to watch Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in the '70s BECAUSE it was so stupid. Julie, Burlington, Iowa

Andy Ihnatko said...

I don't "hate watch." But I do often watch TV shows and movies I don't like, if I don't understand _why_ I'm reacting so negatively. Sometimes I figure out that I was just reacting to this one thing I disliked, and the rest of the show is really quite good. Or, I should have started watching with the second season, after the show got a handle on its purpose.

And when a show is really truly that bad, I feel like I get a better understanding of why some stories work and why some fail. I feel like it makes me a better writer.

True hatewatching is embarrassing. As Patton Oswalt said in a great bit about the writer of a really horribly bad film (about a bed that eats people), at least he came up with an idea and finished his screenplay. Filling 120 completely blank pages is very, very hard. Tweeting about how awful "The Lone Ranger" is is very, very easy.

Mike Barer said...

Howard Cosell was billed as the guy you "loved to hate". However, I think that Howard was visionary. He was not afraid to challenge the establishment. For instance, he was a lone wolf in his defense of Mohammed Ali and his fight with the draft board. In that Ali was cleared unanamously by the Supreme Court, it was a victory of freedom of religion.
I think that Howard, with his propensity to speak his mind, broke many barriers and today's sports talk figures have benfitted from the freedom that has been allowed because of that.
Today, Cosell's family is working to get Howard inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, an honor that I believe, he clearly deserves.

Joe C said...

I don't know if this qualifies as "hate watching" but I tune in every Saturday Night to watch SNL knowing that it probably will not be good that week.

David Whitham said...

The closest thing I come to hate watching is the self-loathing I experience watching the Mets every day.

I remember when Tim McCarver was one of the best analysts in baseball. Then he left the Mets booth, and went over to the Yankees. It must be something in the air there that turns their announcers into wretched refuse. See Kay, Michael Waldman, Suzyn, and Sterling, John for more info on the phenomenon.

Is this anything like hate listening? I've never heard a minute of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, but those who supposedly hate listening to them sure seem to know everything they say.

Luke said...

No, I don't watch shows I hate. Sometimes I quit on shows, but if it's something I once liked, I might give it three more episodes before I call it. Usually, I quit the show after that, but for those three episodes, I'm pretty angry and I make fun of the show as I watch it. I'm basically angry for ever wasting my time on junk. Remember the re-make of the alien lizard series called "V"? I watched the heck out of that even though it got really awful real quick, but I never hated it. It was fun to watch, much like a "B" movie or the Godzilla movies I watched as a kid. I rooted for the bad guys because the humans were so pathetic. If I really hate it--then no, I just quit after an appropriate period of ridicule.

Mike Carlin said...

As Joe C just wrote... SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE is my hate-watch these days.

I've been there every week since October 1975... and LOVE it when it's great (which has happened periodically over it's nearly 40 year run)... but the last few years I have just HATED the writing.

The cast is, and has been solid (with one or two personal exceptions) and has potential but they are given NOTHING fun or funny to do!

A big chunk of the cast is leaving this year-- as is head-writer Seth Meyers... I will give it a shot til just after Seth leaves (who's been head-writer for these last few years that I've hated) and if something doesn't happen that's fresh and funny I will throw in the towel.

I watch because the potential is there... and I do want to be there when it gets great again... but this has been some dry patch!

Mike Barer said...

Back to the topic, Bob Saget, on America's Funniest Home Videos was always a good "hate to watch".

Mike Barer said...

This one may not be as well known but "The League" on FXX would fit that description. A bunch of guys whose lives revolve around a football fantasy league. The worst the show is, the more I want to watch it.

Mister Charlie said...

No, no time or desire for hate watching...but I do want to mention that I was one of the few souls who actually watched After MASH, and fwiw I liked it alright. The characters already had my love from 11 years of MASH, and Henry Morgan is always good to watch. So perhaps I am the only on who did watch it, not out of hate, but hope.

Mike Barer said...

Two And A Half Men, espessially know that Charlie and everthing funny is gone.

No Boris said...

I used to hate watch Rocky and Bullwinkle. That Boris and Natasha were EVIL.

PD in Waterloo said...

I "hate watch" "Criminal Minds," but I feel no guilt about supporting it because it is a fave of my wife and kids. I just sit there and mock the stupidity of the plotting, the routine ignorance of basic police procedure, and the dull predictability of the beats.

RCP said...

Very funny post.

I haven't exactly hate-watched anything - if something is truly unbearable I'll avoid it. I have watched shows out of morbid curiosity: Mort Downey Jr. and his audience of Cro-Magnons. The PTL Show to watch the holy trainwreck that was Jim and Tammy Bakker. The Lawrence Welk Show to visit Stepford Land, etc. All older shows as I no longer put myself through the aggravation (okay, I still tune into Lawrence W. for laughs).

skarab said...

My wife and I don't *hate* CSI Miami, but we do watch it strictly for the kitsch value of David Caruso's version of "acting". My wife calls him "the sideways cop".

Anonymous said...

I hate-watch Kelly & Mike. I should be saying I hate watch Kelly, I actually enjoy watching Mike.

Anyone who would rant on TV for 10 minutes about how she and everyone she knows uses public toilets deserves as much. Mike saved that show just in the nick of time.

Pamela Jaye said...

I just noticed that 2 of the works I mentioned featured vampires. I also watched Buffy - but not till 6 seasons in, and I had to get down off my high horse to do so. Oops. I'm not "into" vampires. I remember when they were "bad." (Though Barnabas had a long stretch as the tortured hero, I didn't watch more than a few months of DS till I was old enough to laugh at the wobbling walls and gravestones one could knock over with a cape.)

You might get me to watch vampires now, but you'd need to give me more - like Joss, who gave great (sometimes snarky) dialogue, and Willow.

AlaskaRay said...

Girls is my hatewatch guilty pleasure. It reminds me that those pretty young things that seem so enticing are really shallow, boring and annoying.

RareWaves said...

Although I don't take myself too seriously with this approach, I've found a fun way to discern what I watch (or listen to). I pretend that all my time is billable. Then I ask myself if a show is worth that amount. If I "get my money's worth" (by way of entertainment value or inspiration or whatever), then I'll watch it. If not, then I don't. It's caused me to really cut down on the non-entertaining, non-productive watching of television.

gottacook said...

"Then I realized the stories were terrible and the acting was worse" (on Hawaii Five-O): Although I've never watched it myself - it's about to start season 4, right? - I remember the old series well enough, and it too featured horrible writing and acting. Nonetheless it ran for 12 seasons.

DBenson said...

There are shows you watch to feel outrage, and shows you watch to wallow in smug superiority.

The latter category has been co-opted by television itself: MST3K made it an art form; The Soup is cruelly efficient, sometimes turning on its audience ("Think about what you're laughing at."); and countless comics & pundits fill time with clips that invite our derision (Only Daily Show and Colbert consistently do it without looking like lame high school students).

Billnyc said...

So funny about Hawaii Five-O. I went through the same mental process. I wanted to like it (that song is entrancing!), overlook the bad stories and writing, stayed for the scenery (and Grace Park), hoped it would get better or at least thought how bad can it get.

And then I just snapped! Not even Grace Park in Hawaii was compelling enough to overcome everything else ... and I was already giving it A LOT of slack.

chuckcd said...

Nope. I don't have time to watch all the shows and movies I actually like let alone shows I hate.

Hamid said...

I don't see the point of hate watching. If I hate a show, it'll mean by default that it's unwatchable.

Hate listening, on the other hand, is something I have done. There are certain songs I love to hate. There's something strangely compulsive about listening to a song that's really dreadful. I hate listen to Jessie J, whose output is pretty appalling. By extension, I hate watch her videos for the excruciatingly cringe inducing and affected facial expressions she pulls.

JC said...

I have to admit I did hate watch a couple of shows.

Real Housewives of NY - One day I said to myself -These are horrible people. Why am I'm watching this? Quit cold turkey.

Now Private Practice I would stop and start watching over the seasons, I loved Kate Walsh on Grey's Anatomy, but her character wasn't that great on her spin off - she lost her edge. Also, although I liked most of the actors on the show, I hated the characters they were playing.

XJill said...

I've never hate-watched anything. I watch tv to escape, I don't need to watch anything I dislike. I have dropped many a show and not looked back.

Anonymous said...

From reading all the responses, I think a lot of people are saying that they hate-watch something, when it's actually a guilty pleasure to them. There's nothing wrong with watching something as a guilty pleasure; I don't delude myself that Japanese kaidju flicks are anything but trash, but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment. To me, hate-watching something means that you derive absolutely no happiness from it, it doesn't uplift you in any way, and the only feelings it produces in you are anger, rage, disgust, etc. In a sense, those people are deriving some sort of odd pleasure out of being enraged, angry, whatever, and that's the part I just don't get. Hate-watching is just another way of saying schadenfreude.

Aaron Sheckley said...

Sorry...Aaron Sheckley here....hit the button before I could sign the above comment. Didn't want to be seen as an anonymous poster.

VP81955 said...

I remember when Tim McCarver was one of the best analysts in baseball. Then he left the Mets booth, and went over to the Yankees. It must be something in the air there that turns their announcers into wretched refuse. See Kay, Michael; Waldman, Suzyn; and Sterling, John for more info on the phenomenon.

John Sterling was wretched refuse back in the '70s when he did Islanders and Nets games. How a hack like him (a cross between Kenny Bania and Ted Baxter) got to be the play-by-play radio voice of MLB's pre-eminent team (replacing a wonderful announcer in Hank Greenwald) is inexplicable, unless Sterling has plenty of compromising photos of the Steinbrenner family.

Hoverbored said...

I can think of two shows I used to hate-watch: iCarly and VicTORIous, both on Nickelodeon. Those shows were so bad, I had to watch them again to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

When I was visiting my sister last summer, I challenged her to watch iCarly with me to see if it really was as bad as I thought. Holy moley! That show was so laughably bad that we muted it and made up our own dialogue.

Have you ever seen a show so bad, you'd swear they'd get better dialogue if the cast improvised every scene?

Ellen said...

What a great question!

I started binge-watching the preposterous House of Cards. It seemed weak from the start, but I wanted to give it a shot. Soon enough, I was invested in the characters, even though the show never got any better.

I think I almost made it to the end of the first season before I came to my senses.

I feel much better now.

Anonymous said...

BMR

Oh my god this hits home about now; what the hell has happened to Dexter? I watch it with jaw dropping disbelief in hopes it will somehow return to its former glory. Now adding insult to my injury I’ve been playing catch up with the damn thing on demand, yes I’m a Time Warner black out victim.
It’s the final season of Dexter and I feel he has applied his considerable skills as a serial killer to do me in with boredom.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Ellen: maybe you should watch the British original of HOUSE OF CARDS - works much better.

I don't hate-watch shows. What I *have* done is stick for too long with shows I liked at the beginning that have morphed out of recognition. As someone else said, HIMYM is in that category: I want to see how it ends, but I wish I didn't because most of last season was horrid. The first half-season I loved of GOSSIP GIRL kept me watching the show after it became dreadful, and I am eager not to repeat that experience.

This year, I jettisoned THE NEWSROOM, which overall I just couldn't stand, and BUNHEADS, which never lived up to the promise of its pilot. I watched all of MONDAY MORNINGS but would not have continued had the show continued. And despite the fine performance of Jeff Perry, I hope when SCANDAL resumes I will have the sense to stay away from it; the plots are absurd and the characters are psychotic.

wg

Klee said...

All the Real Housewives shows!! Or most shows on Bravo! Also, Paula Deen's food shows.

Tracy Tran said...

I don't get the concept of "hate-watching." The only thing I can think of is they hate-watch just to make snarky comments in social media or message boards and then builds a following.

I really don't "hate-watch" but if there is one thing I would do it, it is Fox News, but that means giving them more attention, which I won't do anytime soon.

DJ said...

I think [Cosell] used to do those halftime highlight reels off the cuff, and was really good at it.

Not quite off the cuff. The highlight reel was a special cut from NFL Films. As soon as the games were over, all the crews would catch flights to NFL Films HQ in Philadelphia (they later moved to South Jersey). They'd work at their in-house lab through the night developing the film and creating the reel. They then drove it up to ABC in New York.

Sometime on Monday afternoon, Cosell would make his way to the truck, and watch the reel as they showed it from New York. He'd write his script for delivery at halftime.

Good memories...I was in grammar school, and would always negotiate with my parents to stay up "so I can watch the Highlights."

-bee said...

I can't think of any show I've hate watched. Closest thing that comes to mind is that every year my mom would include those orange circus peanuts in my easter basket and I'd force myself to eat the damn things because: "Hey, it's candy!"

Wayne said...

I ironic hate-watch. I watch shows I like.

Tom Lawrence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Lawrence said...

Howard Cosell was arrogant, irritating and beyond pompous. He was also one of the greatest, and most honest, reporters ever.
To correct your post, Cosell dominated ABC sports from 1970 to the mid-1980s, calling football, boxing and baseball, while also doing interviews and other shows including "Wide World of Sports" and the wonderfully campy "Battle of the Network Stars."
Howard was truly unique and his grating voice and sharp insights are missed.

Mike Barer said...

I think Ken added Howard Cosell because he knew it would draw feedback. My beef is that he explains it like we had never heard of him.

Mike Barer said...

Just a note, Tom Lawrence. Howard did work WWOS during the 60s as well as through the mid 80s.

A_Homer said...

I leave that kind of "hate watching" to late night reruns of sitcoms I would never have watched in their first run. There's enough of those.

But Subway has to get some innovative credit for the way they've managed to insert themselves into the fabric of the programming itself -- most obviously on the reality shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Counting Cars etc.

Storm said...

My best friends join my husband and I twice a week for what we call "The Burn Unit" (Yes, we got it from "Bob's Burgers"); we watch old sci-fi and horror movies and give them the MST3K-style business. But if a movie isn't blowing our collective skirts up by 30 minutes in, and there's nothing funny-bad, just bad-bad, we ditch it and move on.

I was hate-watching the first few episodes of SyFy's "reality" show, "Heroes of Cosplay", but I had to stop, because it really did angry up my blood to watch it. That piece of crap is so ridiculously bad, it actually started to make me hate myself and my passion, convention costuming, which I've been doing longer than any of those fools have been alive. I realized watching the third episode that I was so pissed off that my jaw muscles were cramping up. I called "bullshit on THAT".

Friends keep asking "Oh, have you seen that cosplay show? It made me think of you!" and my husband begs them to shut up before everyone feels the hurting.

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Roger Owen Green said...

I never hate watch, although I kept watching Private Practice far longer than it deserved; bloody plots would cross into Grey's Anatomy occasionally.

But I LOVED Howard Cosell. Yeah, he was arrogant and opinionated, but usually right as well. He was out there supporting Muhammad Ali's choice to change his name from Cassius Clay when others resisted. Always got admiration from me for that.

solidisme said...

In contrast to some here, I quite like Glee and I really like Girls and I love John Waters's films. I even like Samsh, or the parts of it where McPhee doesn't show up and suck the air out of a scene.

solidisme said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Stoffel said...

I started Hate-Watching "The Neighbors" because a show with a plot like that had to terrible. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum....
It got good. Really good. Funny, warm, charming and addicting. And Toks Olagundoye....yow!

Jeff said...

I used to hate watch Nancy Grace. I found it so infuriating that she would invite guests on her show only to cut them off and dismiss their opinions, which more times than not were valid opinions.

I stopped watching simply because I couldn't find any additional swear words in the English dictionary to yell at the TV.

Jake Mabe said...

Never have hate-watched a TV show, unless you count Cosell on both "MNF" and his baseball coverage, but even then, part of me liked Howard, or at least was amused by him.

Bob Uecker got the best of him one night during a mild argument about when to bunt in a given situation. Howard says, "Ueck, I get your point. You don't have to be so truculent." (Pause) "You do know what truculent means, don't you?"

Without missing a beat, Uecker said: "Yeah, if I borrowed your truck and gave it back to you, it would be a truck-you-lent."

I thought Al Michaels was going to pee in his pants.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I hate watch Grey's Anatomy and How I Met Your Mother. I started watching both when they were fresh and higher quality. Now I'm invested in the characters but aggravated with myself for sticking with shows that have turned to shit. I felt the same about The Office after about season 4 or 5 (so yes, even before Steve Carell left).

Lou H. said...

For awhile, the only time I'd watch TV was when I was visiting my father. He wouldn't get cable, so he watched Jerry Springer and the various People's Court clones. At some point I gained an appreciation for people who could portray over-the-top assholes. Now that I have cable, I have a certain respect for the purported "customers" at the Hardcore Pawn shop. It's still an awful show and I don't know why they want to portray Detroit residents as they do, but I watch it.

Joey H said...

I had a lot of respect for Cosell. Yes, he really get bitter at the end.

But for a couple of decades he was one of the only major sports journalists who wasn't afraid to criticize the establishment. I think you can especially appreciate Howard if you listened to his daily "Speaking of Sports" commentary on the ABC Radio Network.

He was Keith Olbermann before there was Keith Olbermann.

Greg Ehrbar said...

I agree with the posters about Dark Shadows being a blast to watch. Jonathan Frid is arguably America's (and Canada's) king of comedy.

Cheesy shows can be loads of fun. But it's also interesting to watch a series or movie that misfired to figure out the reasons why. Perhaps learn from the mistakes. Usually there are glimmers of good even in some of Hollywood's biggest bombs.

Nick at Nite marketed hate watching by making fun of The Donna Reed Show and its reputation for sweetness. It seemed to work, yet it kind of messed with the legacy of the show because if you really watch closely, the Stone family is not that perfect, at least below their attractive surface.

When David Letterman interviews someone like Paris Hilton, he's hate watching along with the studio and home audience. It's an amazing layered effect that few can pull off.

Werner von Wallenrod said...

I'm Hate Reading this blog right now! ;)

Edward Copeland said...

I've only hate-watched one show -- and that was eons ago when I was in college. My dorm roommate and I got a Kirk Cameron poster and used it as a dartboard and would throw darts at it every time he annoyed us during an episode of Growing Pains. Now that I'm more mature, I don't understand why people would do this unless it is watching kitschy shows that are funny such as my vote for the funniest show of all time: the 1960s version of Dragnet.

VP81955 said...

I think you can especially appreciate Howard if you listened to his daily "Speaking of Sports" commentary on the ABC Radio Network.

He was Keith Olbermann before there was Keith Olbermann.


Good analogy. Howard also did a Sunday night interview show on WABC (and probably picked up by a few of the radio network's affliliates), "Speaking Of Everything," which discussed an array of topics of the day and proved there was much more to Cosell than sports. I would hope a few of those programs have survived.

I'm also glad someone specified the '60s revival of "Dragnet" under the over-the-top, "so bad it's good" category. People who have only seen that version of "Dragnet" are in for a pleasant surprise when they watch the '50s TV version (or even better, listen to the original radio show). Yes, Jack Webb was parodied even then (ask Stan Freberg), but Webb brought realism to detective shows for the first time (listen to some of the hackneyed series -- a few of which Webb acted on himself -- before "Dragnet" for proof). Webb invented the police procedural, and without him there would be no "Law & Order" stable of shows.

Mr First Nighter said...

I loved the original Hawaii 5-) and I tried to hate-watch the new Hawaii 5-0 but it was impossibly bad. I quit after three episodes. If they have honestly named the show: Two Buddy Cops from Hawaii, it never would have aired.

Liggie said...

There was a roundtable of top NFL broadcasters discussing the art of calling football. After a segment on Cosell, the moderator asked, "Will there ever be another Cosell?" Replied Dallas Cowboys PBP man Brad Sham, "I hope not."

Landmark broadcaster, yes, but apparently not a pleasant person.

blue eyed devil said...

I fucking hate George w Bush. That draft dodging ,coke snorting, drunkin piece of shit wasn't qualified to be a dog catcher.