The Best Guilty Pleasure TV of 2012

Whether its animated nonsense or reality bite, broadcast bits this cheesy and fun demand indulgence -- and we gladly say 'Yes' to such small screen excess.

Whether its animated nonsense or reality bite, broadcast bits this cheesy and fun demand indulgence -- and we gladly say 'Yes' to such small screen excess.

TV Show: Call Me, Maybe

Network: Any Music Television Channel

Cast: Carly Rae Jepsen


Display as: List

List number: 15

Display Width: 250

"Call Me Maybe" (Music Video)
Any Music Channel

Carly Rae Jepsen’s song became the rare viral sensation whose success translates into mainstream adoration. The song became the epitome of ubiquitous with celebrity sponsorship that ranged from Justin Bieber to Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry; however, few video tributes were as refreshing and all-over adorable as the official video itself. Rewatch after rewatch, Carly’s own brand of cute made us smile and swoon as we blushed with her when she realized the object of her affection (tattooed hunk Holden Nowell) wasn’t into her. The video certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and once we start actually wondering why is the almost-30 Carly essentially singing about severe social awkwardness we might wanna go “hmmm”. That is until we hit the replay button. Jose Solis

TV Show: Holmes Inspection

Network: HGTV

Cast: Mike Holmes, Mike Holmes, Jr., Sherry Holmes, Damon Bennett, Bill Bell, Adam Belanger


Display as: List

List number: 14

Display Width: 250

Holmes Inspection

For many, Mike Holmes is the gold standard in careful construction. As a contractor, his crusade to make renovations and remodeling live up to proper professional standards is beyond reproach. Taking on another shifty situation -- the lack of legitimate home inspectors in his native Canada -- Holmes has begun a new campaign for training and accountability. Yes, we still get the wood and plaster nightmares that make his shows so special, but the new focus on discovery and disclosure makes for even more maddening caveat emptor. If ever there was a national hero for home owners, it's Mr. Holmes. Bill Gibron

TV Show: The Soup

Network: E!

Cast: Joel McHale


Display as: List

List number: 13

Display Width: 250

The Soup

While similarly styled shows like Tosh.0 and... well, name another that's still on the air, continue to be more miss than hit, Joel McHale and the gang create hilarious pop culture chaos with expert consistency. Utilizing the always ripe arena of televisual tripe -- from reality shows to scripted series -- the crazy clip show often surpasses its subjects to create memorable memes all their own. This season, we've seen Brian Williams get his own catty callback, while something called Small Town Security out Lynched a certain auteur named David. All the while, McHale maintains the kind of smug sincerity that makes even his most biting jabs seem studied. Bill Gibron

TV Show: Pregnant in Heels

Network: Bravo

Cast: Rosie Pope


Display as: List

List number: 12

Display Width: 250

Pregnant in Heels

Pregnant in Heels is perhaps the clearest document of the madness of the American elites on television. Worse yet, it shows with disquiet that they’re breeding. The focus of the show is Rosie Pope, a “maternity concierge” who consults wealthy neurotics on overcoming their self-absorption just enough to raise their forthcoming child. Pope’s famously bizarre accent (think Mid-Atlantic Valley Girl who has bitten her tongue) is endlessly lampoonable, true. Still, she is an anchor of sanity relative to her clients, who suspect their future nursery is haunted, want total video surveillance of their potential nannies, and consider hiring black market wet nurses. Pope is allowed moments of borderline snark about these kooks, encouraging the viewers’ own impulses in this area. This profile of New York’s sheltered rich is valuable and entertaining while remaining disposable. Ross Langager

TV Show: Family Guy

Network: FOX

Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry


Display as: List

List number: 11

Display Width: 250

Family Guy

As The Simpsons continue their surreal skid into near irrelevance and South Park struggles with its post-Book of Mormon identity, Seth Macfarlane and his fart-based sense of humor homage just keeps chug-a-lugging along. Sure, there is still a stifling reliance on asides and oddball references, and just when you think the show can achieve a certain level of smarts (the recent Monty Python's Flying Circus opening), it returns to the poop and pratfall pandering that's kept it alive for near two decades. While Homer and the crew are destined for TV immortality once they leave the air, the Griffins will be plumbing the lower depths --and delighting in same. Bill Gibron

Next Page

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.