2013 Roundup: The Worst Pop Culture of 2013

2013 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows; there was crap mixed in with the gold. Here are the worst aspects of pop culture we discovered this year that stood out above the rest.

BEN’S PICKS

The Emmy Awards

Nina pretty much already covered this in our recap, but the Emmys this year failed due in part to poor presentation, the same old shtick from Neil Patrick Harris (seriously, let’s take a break from this guy, we’ve been on NPH overload for a long time here), as well as an uneven mix of surprise winners (Yay Tony Hale! Yay Bobby Canavale!) to the predictable same old winners who shouldn’t be there in the first place (Really? Modern Family AGAIN?!). Somehow, with all the innovation that’s happening on TV right now, there doesn’t seem to be any of that represented at the Emmy Awards.

Dads

If you hate television, then you’ll LOVE Dads, the poor excuse for a sitcom created by Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild of Family Guy/Ted fame. We previously compared this show with my favorite TV comedy of the year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but it must be said again how juvenile, formulaic, amateur, and just plain racist this show is. The cast is either trying too hard, or not trying at all, the show uses the egregious “laugh track” which is as dated as it sounds, and the writing veers from racist to humorless to just plain old bad. I’m not looking for something super smart or something with a “message,” but if a comedy isn’t funny, then what is there to say? It’s just bad television. I’d rather watch Real Housewives than another episode of this mind-numbing “entertainment.”

Man of Steel

I never liked Superman. How can an audience connect with a character who is literally perfect? He can fly, shoot lasers from his eyes, has bullet-proof skin, the guy is invincible! So any sort of action sequences with Superman are bound to be unsurprising, and the best super villain to pit against him is someone with (a) brain-power, like Braniac (b) emotionally manipulative powers, like Lex Luthor, or (c) a FUCKING BEHEMOTH, like Doomsday. But NOPE. We get good ole, boring General Zod! While played in a lovingly intense Michael Shannon, Zod’s attempts to manipulate Clark Kent with memories of his home planet Krypton begin as a viable method of controlling our uncontrollable protagonist, but then faster than a speeding bullet, it’s Hollywood Action Time!

Man of Steel is the latest in a series of Hollywood summer blockbusters who are making action sequences SO BORING. This is probably the 5th movie I’ve seen with a giant blue laser beaming down into a major metropolitan city. It’s essentially the visual representation of the “BWOMS” from Inception; EVERYONE’S USING IT. We don’t care about Superman getting into bland, repetitive action sequences because we know he’s going to survive! We know he’s invincible to their technology, so the stakes are zip and none. And my goodness, the sheer devastation of the battles! Superman probably killed so many of the Earthlings who he says he cares about so much! Man of Steel is not a good film, nor is it presenting us with anything new. It’s the same boring Hollywood nonsense we’ve been getting for years now.

NINA’S PICKS

Seth MacFarlane Hosting the Oscars

I should be straightforward and admit that I hate Seth MacFarlane. I hate Family Guy because I feel like it panders to the lowest common denominator and I hated Ted because, well, it sucked. The other thing I should say is that I think I am legitimately the only person on the planet who wholeheartedly, unashamedly loves the Oscars beyond all reason. I even like the boring parts. It’s basically my Superbowl. I’m not really sure why the Academy would even pick Seth MacFarlane – sure, he’s successful, but most people couldn’t pick him out of a line-up. And he did an unsurprisingly terrible job, making jokes immediately about how badly things were going and performing a rousing musical number called “We Saw Your Boobs.” I’m sorry, was that written by a thirteen year old boy? I’m not one who’s easily offended, I swear. I love South Park, and that’s because it’s clever. If you’re going to be offensive, just be clever, but MacFarlane lacks the latter, and he totally ruined the Oscars this year. Luckily, Ellen will be there this year to make up for it, and I won’t have to get as drunk as I did last year! (Full disclosure: I blame MacFarlane for my hangover the next day, too.)

Do No Harm

I’m a proud Philly kid, and I’ll watch almost anything filmed here. For a few months, I walked by trailers for this show, not really knowing what it was about. Well, it wasn’t promising. Doctor by day, serial killer by night? Sounds like a shitty Dexter knockoff. But it was so much more than just a shitty Dexter knockoff – it was literally the worst show I’ve ever seen. Acting, writing, directing, the shots themselves – a goddamn disaster. I tried to just watch to see where they filmed in Philly, and then I gave up. I think I made it 15 minutes.

Miley Cyrus doing most stuff

Again, I can’t lie. I had “We Can’t Stop” on repeat for a while this summer, and there are moments where I’m cool with Miley, but for the most part, DO STOP. I felt personally violated by her VMAs performance, which would have been fun if it was a genuine expression of newfound sexuality but just felt like a straight up bad performance, I was kind of pissed when she said that she “found herself in Philly” because shut up, you bought some Docs here, calm down, and the only silver lining found in the now-infamous “Wrecking Ball” video was that it spawned a thousand, wonderful parodies. Trying too hard to be subversive isn’t cool – you either are, or you aren’t. I don’t think Miley actually is – I just think it’s a super-delayed teenage rebellion. Life is hard, girl, I know, but it gets better. And maybe try to get Liam back. I’m not sure why you gave that up. Have you seen him?!

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