Top 5 Tuesday: Worst-Named TV Shows

Left to right: 'Cougar Town,' 'Terriers,' and 'Suburgatory'

It’s that time again…time for us to pick a very obscure and specific category related to entertainment, and rank our top 5, for absolutely no good reason except the fact that it’s Tuesday. Woo hoo! This week’s Top 5 consists of our favorite shows with horrible titles. I was inspired by my second favorite new comedy Suburgatory to celebrate all the fabulous shows that are so much better than their names.

1.) Cougar Town – This show is the poster child for misunderstood TV shows. People write it off because the title makes it sound like it’s a show about Courteney Cox out on the prowl for younger men, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, Cougar Town‘s first few episodes may have focused on Jules’ love life as a fortysomething divorcée, but by the middle of the first season, Cougar Town found its rhythm and established itself as a comedy about a group of friends and family who put up with each other’s flaws by drinking obscene amounts of wine. Don’t worry, we forgive you for overlooking this hilarious, heartwarming, wonderful show. Cougar Town’s third season is set to air midseason on ABC, so you have plenty of time to catch up on the first two spectacular seasons.

2.) Terriers – I’m still mourning the loss of this great series, which only lasted for one season on FX last year. It starred Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James as a pair of scrappy private investigators in San Diego. It had a delightful and original feel to it: part buddy cop show, part noir, and part character study. It struck the perfect balance between solving cases and the emotional journeys of its tragic hero and his partner. I can only assume the title was a reference to their feisty and often less-than-legal investigative strategies, or the fact that they adopted a dog in the second episode (although it wasn’t a terrier). But it doesn’t matter why they named it Terriers, it only matters that it got cancelled. But you should still watch it.

3.) Suburgatory – I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this name was so bad when I first heard it, but apparently everyone else did. To be fair, it does accurately describe the show, unlike some other misleading titles, like Cougar Town, Terriers, or Dancing With the Stars. (Since when is Nancy Grace considered a “star”?) Suburgatory centers around a sarcastic New York-born teenager whose single dad moves them to the suburbs. (Oh, the horror!) The name may be a mouthful, but Suburgatory really is a smart, funny, well-written show. The cast is fantastic. Alan Tudyk, Cheryl Hines, and Ana Gasteyer make for a hilarious group of neighbors in Tessa and George’s new Stepford-esque community. Don’t be put off by the weird name–Suburgatory is a winning new sitcom. Watch it Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC.

4.) How I Met Your Mother – Don’t get me wrong, I love this show. And it has become a pop culture phenomenon despite it’s long, inconvenient, and often irrelevant title. Sure, the premise of the show is that Ted is telling his children the story of how he met their mother, but that really isn’t what the show is about. Like Cougar Town, it’s more about a group of friends and their amusing shenanigans than it is about the mythical Mother. The hook was fun at the beginning, but sometimes I wish HIMYM didn’t always have to lead back to the Mother (and sometimes it doesn’t). But at least the name of the show doesn’t discourage people from watching and enjoying it, and it is keeping Bob Saget employed. So I guess I can’t really complain.

5.) The Vampire Diaries – Okay, so I wouldn’t call this a “horrible” title, but I don’t think it does the show justice. Thankfully, TVD was smart enough to do away with the titular “diaries” after the first season. I love this show to undeath, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes every time they replayed that scene of Stefan writing in his diary about Elena: “I know the risk, but I have to know her…” (Ugh, season 1 Stefan was so boring.) These days there’s so much action on TVD that no one has any time to write about it in their diaries. And that’s exactly how we like it.

I think the moral of the story is, don’t judge a show by its title. Unless that title is S–t My Dad Says. Then by all means, judge away. What are your favorite poorly named TV shows? Leave a comment, or tweet us @PopCultureNexus.

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Posted on October 18, 2011, in Television, Top 5 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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