#3. “Marcus Welby, M.D.”
Being one of the first shows to star a well-meaning doctor is reprehensible enough, but what makes “Welby” especially awful is the show’s depiction of homosexuality. In the episode “The Other Martin Loring,” a drunk, overweight, depressed man admits to the Doc that he might be a homosexual and how he’s struggling with this, but Welby insists he only thinks he’s gay, and through some therapy, he’ll return to a “normal” life soon enough. If that’s not bad enough, a year later, “The Outrage” — where a gay teacher sexually assaults a young student — equated homosexuality with pedophilia. In 1970, “Marcus Welby” was the highest rated show on TV.
Did “ALF” really happen? Seriously, did a network TV show about a beer-drinking, wise-talking alien from the planet Melmac really become not only a top-10 hit, and maybe the most popular, ratings-wise, science-fiction show of all-time? The show’s almost weird enough that it’s worth ironically watching, but, nope. ALF was also kind of a dick. There’s, of course, the racist tirade from last year, but Tina Fey once said that “ALF”’s team were the toughest people she had to work with during NBC’s 75th Anniversary Special—even worse than those smarmy bastards from “My Mother the Car.” ALF was also known to cavort around with Joe Namath, and I can only imagine the sick, twisted things they must have done together, or the number of times Namath told ALF to go up to a woman and say, “Can I eat your pussy…cat?”
[Editor's Note: In "ALF's" defense, any creature that eats cats is inherently funny to me.]
#1. Random Thursday Night NBC Comedy
NBC Thursday nights have produced some of the greatest comedies of all time, including “Seinfeld,” “The Office,” “Community,” and “Parks and Recreation,” as well as some of the highest-rated, too, like “Frasier” and “Friends.” Any show NBC wanted to make a hit would become one, especially in the 1990s, simply due to where it was scheduled. Here are just some of the top-20 shows that really shouldn’t have been popular, and wouldn’t have been, if aired any other night: “Madman of the People,” “The Single Guy,” “Caroline in the City,” “Suddenly Susan,” “Union Square,” “Veronica’s Closet,” “Jesse,” “Stark Raving Mad,” “Just Shoot Me,” and “Inside Schwartz,” all of which make the atrocious “Perfect Couples” seem like “All In the Family.” After the first season, though, the shows would often move to another night, hoping to become a new comedy tentpole, and fairly quickly burn out and get canceled, leaving viewers to wonder what was really in Veronica’s closet.