Summer 2005 Critics Poll: Critics Confess Guilty Pleasures

Jul 11, 2005  •  Post A Comment

When ranking the best and worst shows for TelevisionWeek‘s semiannual poll, critics were often uniform in their choices. A wide majority of critics loved “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” while despising “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic” and “The Simple Life.”

But asked to confess their favorite guilty pleasures, critics’ responses were extremely diverse. There were 35 different shows named as guilty favorites. The choices ranged from Style Network’s “Craft Corner Deathmatch” to Spike TV’s “Most Extreme Elimination” to the syndicated “Cops” to History Channel’s “Modern Marvels.” And few shows received more than two votes.

“America’s Next Top Model” was the clear guilty-pleasure winner with five votes, while Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block, whose programs include “Harvey Birdman” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” amassed a combined five votes.

“[‘Top Model’ host] Tyra Banks’ meltdown this season was worthy of Shakespeare,” wrote the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Neal Justin, referring to Ms. Banks’ screaming at a contestant who refused to take the show’s elimination ceremony seriously.

Other notable picks included Bravo’s “Blow Out” (“I never thought I’d get caught up in the trials and tribulations of a whining L.A. hairdresser,” wrote Ken Tucker of New York magazine) and “Blue Collar TV” (“It takes me back to my youth in Dallas, eating Tastykakes in the parking lot of the local 7-Eleven and talking trash about every customer that walked through the door,” wrote Matt Zoller Seitz of the (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger.

Some critics, however, took issue with the “guilty pleasure” label.

Mike Hughes of Gannett News Service chose “Two and a Half Men” and wrote that the show “started out as a guilty pleasure, but I soon found that it’s simply a good show.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Storm insisted, “I have no guilty pleasures.”

“Entertaining shows that happen to be fluffy do not need to inspire guilt,” he wrote. “But the dumbest show that I really like is probably Pax’s ‘Amazing Animals.'”