As the summer reaches its peak and the Fourth of July swiftly approaches, it’s time to look back on the six months of 2014 that have passed in order to evaluate where we stand in terms of pop culture. But while most lists and articles choose to only focus on the best, most exciting, and most memorable moments that have occured in television and movies so far this year, we feel this retrospective wouldn’t be complete without a look back on all of the worst that Hollywood has offered us in 2014. From unfunny, offensive premieres to movies that are held together by crude jokes and slow-motion sword fights to the once great shows that have seen a dramatic decline in quality, there’s plenty to repress about the year in entertainment. Allow us to refresh your memory…
Nobody had high expectations for Dads. It was a live-action Seth MacFarlane comedy about two immature best friends whose fathers move back in with them. It was probably never going to be a great sitcom. And yet, nobody expected just how terrible Dads actually turned out to be, an unfunny combinations of racism, misogyny and the way it turned two great character actors (Martin Mull and Peter Reigert) into walking fart jokes. Thankfully, Fox decided to put everyone out of their misery by cancelling the show in May, even though everyone blocked it from their minds well before that.
The Other Woman
The Other Woman had everything it needed to be a success: two talented, likeable comedias in Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz, a well-worn dramatic trope at the center of its plot, an attractive leading men, Nicki Minaj, and an early summer release date that ensured it wasn’t competing with any major blockbusters. Unfortunately, it also had a terrible, unfunny, insultingly stupid script that managed to somehow tell a story about women who bond over their cheating significant other in the most misogynistic fashion imaginable. Truly, The Other Woman did the impossible.
Sherlock, Season 3
For a while, it seemed as if the BBC’s modern adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories could do no wrong. They were smart, well-written, well-acted, and well-directed; more like mini-movies than a television series. But then the third season premiered, and instead of the sharply crafted mystery we had come to expect, we got a pandering, oddly-paced, awkwardly-written show that shunted the cases to the side in favor of plotholes and fangirl fodder. The fact that we had to wait three years for Sherlock to make such a disappointing return only compounded all of our issues into a giant letdown of a season.
Super Fun Night
After her breakout roles in Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids, America wanted nothing more than to spend more time with Rebel Wilson. Unfortunately, they changed their minds once her TV show, Super Fun Night, premiered. Everything that they loved about Wilson – the accent, the confidence, the charm, the wit, the jokes, the sweetness – was gone, and in its place was an painfully awkward, unfunny show with a painfully awkward, unlikable protagonist with an American accent. Luckily, Pitch Perfect 2 is set to hit theaters soon, at which point everyone will forget that Super Fun Night ever happened, and our perfect image of Wilson as the ideal best friend will be restored.
That Awkward Moment
Like The Other Woman, That Awkward Moment is a marvel. It’s a film that takes another familiar premise (in this case, friends making a pact to stay out of relationships, only to fall in love) and three of the most charming, talented and good looking young actors in Hollywood (Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan) and squanders its potential on bad voice overs and boner jokes. Also, Efron’s character might have been a sociopath. Regardless, That Awkward Moment felt like less of a disappointment than an insult to intelligent audiences everywhere.
House of Cards, Season 2
If we were to ask you what the worst thing about the first season of House of Cards was, chances are you’d say the convoluted policy talk, Francis petty feuds, or or the unrealistic way he managed to get away with everything. Unfortunately, showrunner Beau Willimon disagreed with the rest of us, and made those three elements the focus of the entire second season. He must have assumed that we’d be too distracted by Kevin Spacey chewing the scenery to mind the boring, long-winded and convoluted discussions of foreign policy, the comic idiocy of President Walker, the far-fetched plots designed to conveniently dispose of characters who asked questions, and the fact that Francis had turned from a manipulative power player into a full-blown cartoon villain. We wouldn’t be surprised if next season, he wore a top hat and a monocle and twirled his mustache during his asides to the camera.
The Legend of Hercules
If you were in the Twilight films and your name isn’t Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, or Anna Kendrick, your biggest career challenge is overcoming the stigma of being a supporting player in the most devisive movie series of all time. So we don’t blame Kellan Lutz for branching out into leading man territory with The Legend of Hercules. How was he to know that the film would be stupid, nonsensical and only tangentially related to its source material? Or that it would be a cheap-looking, boring, plodding mess that lacked any sense of fun? Really, he was just trying to be something other than Emmett Cullen for a change.
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Seth MacFarlane has not had a great year so far. First, critics reacted to Dads as if someone had dumped a pile of hot garbage on their freshly mowed lawn, and then he made A Million Ways to Die in the West, a comedy that basically shot Blazing Saddles in the face. Terribly unfunny, over-reliant on references and repeated jokes and a waste of a stellar cast, the worst thing about the film was the fact that it completely lacked MacFarlane’s voice, which, while not for everyone, at least has a distinctive comedic perspective. At least there’s always Ted 2, right?
I Wanna Marry Harry
Sometimes, a network isn’t just content to put crap on television to fill airtime during the summer. Sometimes, they want to provoke a reaction – any reaction – and so they come up with a show that crushes your soul, and destroys any lingering hope you might have had in not only the future of television, but also society as a whole. In 2014, that show was I Wanna Marry Harry, a festering sore disguised as a reality TV competition in which girls are tricked into competing for the affections of a potato with legs. And that’s the nicest way I could possibly describe that show.
The Cancelation of Enlisted
What hurts the most about losing Enlisted, Fox’s funny, original and criminally underrated show isn’t the fact that the network made it impossible for the show to gain a following and then used its lack of ratings as an excuse for cancelation. It’s not that we lost a wonderful, well-written show that could be both hysterically funny and incredibly moving. It wasn’t even that the world never got a chance to appreciate the talents of the wonderful ensemble, all of whom created hilarious, realistic, delightful characters. No, what hurts the most about the decision to cancel Enlisted is that it was announced in the same week that I Wanna Marry Harry premiered. Never has a metaphorical slap in the face felt so painful.