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Top 10 Worst Episodes Of Great Television Shows

Even classic television has some stinkers. And boy, do these ones stink.

10. “Beer Bad”, Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is known for three qualities that set it apart from other teen television of its time: having a kick-ass female protagonist, dialogue that was quick and witty, and being freakin’ awesome. Which is what made “Beer Bad” even more baffling. How could such a great show give us such a terrible hour of television?

What makes this episode so bad?
Well, it’s right in the title! This episode is a veritable after-school-special. Except, with magic. Not only does this episode revolve around a ham-fisted moral that “alcohol is bad”, it was sponsored to do so by Office of National Drug Control Policy. The show was to be given money to write and air an episode where characters face consequences due to the abuse of drugs or alcohol. The show never received this money due to the episode being “otherworldly nonsense, very abstract and not like real-life kids taking drugs. ” Huh. Most Buffy fans would likely assume that “Beer Bad” didn’t receive sponsorship due to being, well, bad.

9. “My Princess”, Scrubs

Most people remember Scrubs fondly as the hilarious, zany, live-action equivalent of a cartoon (that could also make them cry like, all the time). And they’d be remembering correctly. Most of Scrubs’ episodes were phenomenally witty. “My Princess” was not one of those episodes.

What makes this episode so bad?
Well, season seven of Scrubs was originally billed as Scrubs’ last season, but this plan was derailed by the writers’ strike going on at the time. Due to this trip-up, this episode become season seven’s finale, which surely makes its mediocrity all that more disappointing. This episode features vivid, intricately designed costumes that are wasted on the biggest flaw of the episode: the jokes just, aren’t funny.

8. “The Finale”, Seinfeld

Seinfeld is one of the most, if the not the most, beloved sitcoms of all time. However, “The Finale” is often derided as being one of the worst series finales in television history, and received overwhelmingly negative reviews when it aired.

What makes this episode so bad?
The Finale” features Seinfeld and his cohorts being put on trial for being horrible people and not helping a man being carjacked and instead mocking his weight and appearance. In their trial following this, their judge calls upon the many one-off characters the gang had wronged over the years. The episode portrays the beloved gang as degenerates with no respect for society or the people in it, and viciously mocks the audience who had tuned in for so many years. And most of all, “The Finale” ended with the gang in jail, disrupting the status quo that had kept the show so popular throughout the years.

7. “Fly”, Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is one of the best television shows in recent years. It is intricately plotted, riveting, and its actors are some of the best in the business. Each episode is shot like a miniature film, and this one is no different.

What makes this episode so bad?
Well, to put it simply? This episode is boring.Fly” is the closest the series has to a “bottle episode”, and it is a dull one. The episode centers on Walt sealing Jesse and himself in their meth lab in his efforts to kill a fly that may end up contaminating their product. In such an exciting, million-miles-a-minute series, such a dull episode leaves much to be desired.

6. “Intro To Felt Surrogacy”, Community

Community is one of the funniest shows on television today, and devoted fans know that this is largely due to showrunner Dan Harmon’s meticulous crafting of each episode. So when he was ousted before season four began production, the quality of the show began a visible downward spiral. The nadir of this sub-par season was, undoubtedly “Intro to Felt Surrogacy”.

What makes this episode so bad?
Community is known for its meta, referential humor that often pokes fun at tropes found in television and film. Some of the series’ greatest episodes are homages to other genres: “Contemporary American Poultry” an homage to mob cinema, “Modern Warfare” an homage to war films, and “Basic Lupine Urology” an homage to the various Law and Order franchises. “Intro to Felt Surrogacy” is an attempt at such an homage, in this case to Sesame Street and The Muppets. However, unlike the other homage episodes, this episode’s reasoning for such an homage is flimsy and random, its’ original songs are useless and terrible (unlike another one of Community’s homage episodes, “Regional Holiday Music”), and its’ jokes, like most of season four’s, just aren’t funny.

5. “Last Days Of Summer”, Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights was a critical darling during its run because of it’s frank, no-nonsense portrayal of a small, football-obsessed town in Texas. It was known for its unabashed realism, which is why “Last Days Of Summer” and the story-line it triggers throughout season two stand out as being the worst of the series.

Why is this episode so bad?
Late into season one of Friday Night Lights, fun-loving, free-wheeling party girl Tyra Collette is sexually assaulted and nearly raped in front of a local bar. That is the most realistic part of the ensuing story line, as sexual assault is shockingly common in the United States. In “The Last Days Of Summer”, Tyra once again encounters her assailant. During this altercation, Landry Clarke, wise-cracking sidekick to the school’s quarterback, intervenes, killing the attempted rapist in the process. He and Tyra hide the body and are wracked with guilt for a large majority of the season. What makes this story-line so egregious is the show’s deviation from its theme-small stories of football players with big dreams. The writers’ decision to introduce a convoluted murder plot line is what ended up making season two the least-adored season of the show’s run. Landry confesses to the murder and is let off the hook later in season two, and the story-line is not mentioned again throughout the remainder of the series.

4. “The Great Divide”, Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is commonly considered to be the highest-quality childrens’ television show ever made. It centers around a young monk, Aang, with the power to control all four elements. It features him and his crew (water tribe members Katara and Sokka) venturing to four kingdoms in their effort to teach Aang to master all four elements. “The Great Divide” doesn’t care about any of that.

What makes this episode so bad?
The worst part of this episode is that it wasn’t about the characters the audience cared about or the story the audience cared about. Instead, a feud between two (until-now unmentioned) tribes of people that Aang guides through The Great Divide (which was intended as a parody of the Grand Canyon). The episode was boring and had an unsatisfying ending, which led to it being the most divisive episode of the series.

3. “The One In Barbados” Parts 1 & 2, Friends

Friends probably ties with Seinfeld as the most beloved sitcom in television history. It centers around the exploits of a gang of twenty-somethings navigating life in New York City in the 90s. It examines the hilarity in the relationships of everyday friends. “The One In Barbados”, however, is not hilarious.

What makes this episode so bad?
Simply put, the jokes are bad. Half the jokes in the full hour revolve around how Monica’s hair reacts to the humidity. Seriously.

2. “Song Beneath The Song”, Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy, for an extended period in the mid-2000s, was a cultural phenomenon. It entered phrases such as “my person” and “McDreamy” into the public’s collective vocabulary, and was the water cooler topic during its second season. Five seasons after that, Shonda Rhimes decided to do a musical episode, “Song Beneath The Song”. And it was awful.

What makes this episode so bad?
The episode was obviously just a vehicle to showcase the talent of cast member and Tony Award winner Sara Ramirez (who has the voice of an angel). The music was poorly chosen and didn’t fit with the plot, and the cast’s vocal skills (barring Ramirez, of course) were merely passable at best. And worst of all? The whole thing just felt unnecessary.

1. Every Episode After “Journey”, Glee

Believe it or not, Glee was once a good show. When it premiered it was smart, funny, and had a level of cynicism that hadn’t been seen on television in years. The vocal talents of its cast were impeccable, the songs covered fit the plot perfectly, and it was a national phenomenon that was nominated for eleven Emmys in its first season. It was huge. Then something changed.

What makes these episodes so bad?
During its first season, Glee dealt with many issues that modern teenagers face, but always did so with a wink and a nudge. It satirized after-school-specials masterfully and was aware of how absurd both musicals and teen dramas are. The song choices ranged from Top 40 to show tunes, and they worked together seamlessly. Then it got popular, and it started to suck. Gone were the winks and the nudges, as the show began to devolve into a weekly Public Service Announcement on a different “issue”. Song selection became geared toward what would chart highest on iTunes and plot relevance became an afterthought. This once fresh and original show has now become stale and lifeless.

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