Rarely does a top-five Worst Show in the semiannual TelevisionWeek Critics Poll attract enough viewers to return for a second season.
But Fox’s “The Swan” is a glorious exception, a show critics love to hate and some viewers couldn’t quite ignore. Though the short-lived CBS sitcom “Center of the Universe” knocked “The Swan” from its not-so-coveted top spot, where it perched in the critics’ Worst Shows poll last July, the second season of the Fox reality show still managed to elicit more scathing comments than any other program.
The series is “just as repulsive the second time around” said Charlie McCollum, San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News. “Ugly is deeper than skin,” quipped Joe Amarante, New Haven (Conn.) Register.
“`The Swan’ transforms important issues into foolishness and psychobabble,” said Hal Boedeker, The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, and TV Guide’s Matt Roush said, “I can’t imagine a show more exploitative, cheesy and tawdry than `The Swan.”‘
Some critics also noted the show is down a bit in the Nielsen ratings this season. It has averaged about 8 million viewers compared with 9.5 million per episode last season, giving critics hope there may not be a third round.
A network spokesman declined to speculate about the show’s future or comment on its critical drubbing.
Walt Belcher at the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune summarized the show as “`Queen for a Day’ with a scalpel,” while Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News said, “`The Swan’ is a show demeaning to both women and birds.”
Tom Jicha of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in particular, did not pull punches: “Not to wish ill on anyone,” he wrote, “but a death in pursuit of cosmetic glory would invoke the wrath Fox deserves for this.”
So that would be a pan then?