The Telefile
TWoP 10: Shows That Give America a Bad Name… Literally

My fellow Americans (and loyal international readers) today is the one day a year we grab our flags and celebrate being from this great country by remembering the struggles that our forefathers went through. Well our forefathers would probably be rolling in their collective graves if they could see how the name "America" has been adopted by some of TV's most popular offerings. If this batch of programming is how our country is represented to the rest of the world, it isn't such a surprise that they hate us or think we are morons.

1. America's Got Talent
We're a wealthy country with a somewhat decent educational system. A land supposedly filled with opportunity and yet, the "talented" people that end up getting featured on this show range from a guy setting fire to his nether regions to a woman smashing six-packs with her enormous breasts to David Hasselhoff. Make it stop already.

2. American Idol
The most popular series on television in the United States, and really the best thing about it is the British guy. How'd that happen? Between Paula's inane actions, Randy's butchering of the English language and ridiculous contestants like Sanjaya and William Hung being blown up into epic proportions, it seems like that would be enough for it to merit a spot on the list. But then there's the aberration that is Ryan Seacrest. Does the world think this glossy metrosexual, who has terrible interview skills and thinks sharing gay barbs with Simon is funny, is what all Americans are like? God, I certainly hope not.

3. America's Most Wanted
The fact that this show has been running for twenty years and doesn't seem to have a problem coming up with new criminals every week says something about this society. There's not a single week where they're like, "You know what? Cases have all been solved. We're done. No new episodes needed." Instead, every week is filled with warnings about fugitives who are charged with murders, robberies and child molestation and are currently at large. If I didn't live here, this show would make me stay away.

4. America's Funniest Home Videos
In the realm of America's Got Talent, this insanely long-running series -- which existed before people could get instant adoration via YouTube -- celebrates peoples pitfalls. The harder the crotch-hit, the better, especially if it's by a little kid or an animal. No one may get seriously injured, but our pride as a country has certainly been damaged.

5. American Gothic
Actually a good scripted show, but for foreigners, small towns filled with supernatural killers... probably not real appealing. Top that off with a marathon of Deliverance, The X-Files and Twin Peaks and it makes our non-urban lives look pretty damned terrifying and unsafe.

6. Secret Life of an American Teenager
Surely we aren't the only country where teenagers get knocked up while they're still in high school -- at least, I hope not -- but now we've got a whole show centered around a Juno wannabe. Before, it was usually a character no one cared about and they were shuffled off to the side (Andrea Zuckerman, anyone?), or the pregnancy was just a scare, but now it's right out there, and hey, she's even kind of cute. Well, I'll be. Can't wait until the season where she discovers that toddlers are mobile creatures who can throw tantrums on the spot.

7. American Dad
The safety of America is entrusted to this guy? That's a terrifying thought. Sure the CIA agent is patriotic, but his skills are pretty lame. He's no Sydney Bristow. See also the short lived A.U.S.A., where apparently all Assistant United States Attorneys are a goofy and wacky bunch who can't get their acts together, despite having gone to law school and being presumably somewhat book-smart.

8. America's Next Top Model
If we have an ambassador to the world, it's likely Oprah, but Tyra is nipping at her heels, trying to usurp the queen of all media. If the world gets a look at Tyra's random behavior on her reality show, that's probably not going to happen any time soon. Her divalicious moments are her at her finest, but the "cream of the crop" of modeling wannabes that she's unleashed on the world will really hold her back. We've had a girl who peed in an adult diaper just because, a woman who drank her own breast milk, and a whole host of bitchtastic girls who can barely read cue cards and speak the English language.

9. American Gladiators
It's a good thing the Olympics are coming up, if for no other reason than the fact that we get to show the world that America isn't completely filled with beefy, muscle-bound freaks who look like they spend all day long downing performance-enhancing "sports drinks" and getting Mystic tans. Oh, and we don't all have anger issues that we need to take out by hitting people in the head with padded pillows or pushing them down mountains. Some of us need that kind of stress release, but not everyone.

10. Greatest American Hero
There are a lot of heroes that happen to live in America, but few dare to use such patriotic monikers -- there's really only Captain America and this guy. Ralph Hinkley is such a dopey dolt that when aliens basically give him the keys to the car of how to make the world a better place, in the form of a pimped out suit with special powers... he loses the instructions. Yeah. We're so proud that our "greatest" asset can't get his act together.




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