There are so many wonderful, smart, insightful TV series out there… but sometimes you just want to turn off your brain and settle into a marathon of marshmallow viewing. The kind of shows that take no thought, no effort, and very little attention. Shows that may even make you dumber, but will make you feel much smarter.
From predictable jokes to brain-dead characters, we’ve rounded up the sitcoms, clip shows, and reality TV shows still on the air and most likely to lower your IQ a few points. They may be brainless, but we’ll admit, they sure are fun sometimes!
Nevertheless, here are 12 Series That Will Kill Your Brain Cells.
12 2 Broke Girls
Although one of the main characters in 2 Broke Girls is theoretically incredibly smart and well-educated, the show as a whole is definitely on the dumber end of the sitcom scale. Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs) is a smart, attractive and rich girl in New York City, before her Dad ends up disgraced and in jail and she has to make ends meet working in a greasy diner. There, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Max Black (Kat Dennings), a talented baker from the wrong side of the tracks.
This typical odd-couple comedy has its funny moments, and some quite sweet things to say about friendship, but it lacks both subtlety and smarts.
11 The Bachelor
You can’t make someone fall in love, but you can put a man on a reality show with a group of attractive women in small, brightly colored dresses and expect him to propose to one of them by the end. Awww, how romantic!
Unsurprisingly, a TV romance with a series of incredible dates and “rose ceremonies” (where “successful” women are presented with a rose and asked to stay another week) doesn’t tend to work out in the long-term, and only one couple from the first nineteen seasons are still together. (One other bachelor did end up with a contestant, but not the “winning” lady.) Despite the incredible fail rate of the “romances,” the show is still incredibly popular, and even has a spinoff where the genders are reversed (The Bachelorette).
10 Last Man Standing
Both the characters and the writing fail to get you thinking in this typical family sitcom. Mike Baxter (Tim Allen), is the put-upon suburban dad in a house full of women – even though he’s the ultimate manly man. He even works at a hunting and outdoorsman store! Oh, the predictable hilarity!
Last Man Standing watches like a checklist of every gag that has already been done to death – from the black neighbors that are the butt of constant racially-driven jokes, to the Halloween baby-in-a-masked-costume-gets-swapped goodness that has appeared in every sitcom with a baby for the past twenty years. If you firmly press the off-switch on your brain before watching, it has its funny moments.
A group of college friends continue to live together, work together, and refuse to grow up in this rude and silly sitcom. Adam (Adam DeVine), Blake (Blake Anderson) and Ders (Anders Holm) all work at a telemarketing company, but spend the majority of their time getting into ridiculous adventures.
Despite all having gone to college, the characters are impressively stupid, foul-mouthed and generally incapable of being functioning adults. While it will undoubtedly make you feel much, much smarter and more successful after watching, there’s also something joyously juvenile about it at times.
Daniel Tosh hosts this clips show/skit show where he combines black humor, viral videos and occasional short sketches related to specific clips. Unlike AFHV or Ridiculousness, the clips are less likely to show people hurting themselves, and more likely to feature vomit, excrement, or nudity (although pain isn’t off limits).
Tosh’s humor is intentionally abrasive, and often offensive and full of profanities. The clips have no discernable relation to each other (or anything else), and the format is seemingly random. Although Tosh has called his comedy satire, it’s not exactly on the same level as The Colbert Report. Expect some brain-cell death after watching.
7 Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men is what happens when you add a thick layer of obvious sexism to a classic odd-couple set up, with Charlie Sheen thrown in for good measure. The show is based around an effeminate pushover, Alan (Jon Cryer) who is left by his nagging harridan of a wife, and moves in with his brother Charlie (Charlie Sheen), a womanizing musician.
The two men (along with Alan’s son) muddle through various scenarios, almost all of which revolve around scantily clad women and Charlie’s uber-studly status. Even in recent seasons, where Ashton Kutcher replaces Charlie Sheen, the jokes are predictable and rely on outdated stereotypes. Brainless viewing, but at least Charlie's house has a nice view of the beach.
6 Big Brother
Once upon a time, Big Brother was a fascinating look at the way people behaved when they were stuck in a house with strangers. That was seventeen years ago, sadly, and now the show has devolved into watching a group of the “zaniest” people that a network can find compete with each other to see who can be the most ridiculous, over-the-top, and generally annoying.
Housemates are filmed 24/7 as they whine, fight, form alliances and romances and then break them all down again as they compete in increasingly bizarre challenges and eliminations. The series has become so popular that it has spawned a whole range of companion shows that allow you to watch or give you a breakdown of every minute of footage, even if that footage is literally watching people sleep.
5 America's Funniest Home Videos
The original stupid-people-do-stupid-things show, America’s Funniest Home Videos is ABC’s longest running primetime TV show, proving that we just can’t get enough of guys getting hit in the crotch with various objects. Current host Alfonso Ribeiro presents videos submitted by viewers, who are willing to have the entire country laugh at them in return for a shot at winning prize money. Every week, three videos win either $10,000, $3,000 or $2,000, with the 10K winner getting a shot at $100,000 given out every seven to ten episodes.
New segments, guests and games were added in recent years, with the host and guest providing additional comedy fodder for the audience. After 26 seasons, Americas’s Funniest Home Videos continues to not only showcase extreme stupidity, but actually reward it.
4 Real Housewives of ________
Ever wondered what it must be like to be rich, bored, and out of touch with reality in a variety of cities? If so, you’re in luck, because the Real Housewives are here to help! This franchise has managed to create a whopping nine US and eleven international series all based on the same simple premise. That there are a group of uber-rich women in each city, and people want to know what they do with their lives.
The answer, usually, is that they throw extravagant parties, spend lots of money, do the odd bit of parenting, business, or charity work, and get into extensive and dramatic fights with each other over very little. Real Housewives somehow combines glamour with high school drama, and is strangely addictive, even if it’s just because you will feel like a much better (if poorer) person after watching it.
The title says it all for this clip show hosted by pro-skater Rob Dyrdek. Dyrdek collects the most ridiculous YouTube clips that he can find, and discusses them with Steelo Brim, Chanel West Coast, and a rotating guest host (usually someone YouTube famous). Most of the clips involve people hurting themselves (often on purpose), in a mash up of Jackass and America’s Funniest Home Vidoes.
Clip categories include Parkour fails, people falling over, people tasering themselves, and “The Scorpion” – when someone hurts themselves so badly, that their bodies curl up like a scorpion. The combination of themed clips and heckling from the hosts is often funny, but it’s definitely the opposite of smart. If the impressive stupidity of the people in videos don’t do it, Chanel West Coast’s laugh should kill off at least a little grey matter.
2 Any Wedding Reality Show
Say Yes To The Dress, Bridezillas, Four Weddings, Rich Bride Poor Bride, My Big Redneck Wedding, Wedding SOS… reality shows about tying the knot are big business, with every aspect of the big day getting its own show (or ten). It’s definitely fun to watch all that glitz and glamour (especially when someone else is footing the bill), but the most addictive element is watching brides go off the rails.
Whether it’s a willingness to spend as much on a dress as you would a new car, or a total meltdown over napkins that are peach instead of blush, these shows search out the most dramatic brides that they can find. It may be pretty, but this is the ultimate marshmallow fluff of TV-viewing, and it could just turn your brain to cotton candy if you watch too much!
1 Keeping Up With The Kardashians
The ultimate in brain-dead-but-still-addictive TV, this is Real Housewives if all the rich, surgically enhanced women were part of the same family. Keeping Up With The Kardashians is the show that launched the first family of reality TV, with parents Kris and Caitlyn (formerly Bruce), and sisters Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie. Brother Rob Kardashian (the only child without a name starting with a K) and Kourtney’s boyfriend Scott Disick also appear in the show. Unlike other reality shows that have a prize, an end point (or just a point in general), Keeping Up With The Kardashians simply revolves around the Kardashian family as they live their lives.
Famous for being famous, we get to watch them fight, shop, travel, and talk a lot about the “business” and their “branding.” If you’ve never seen someone actually burst into tears over a lost earring, this is the show for you.
There are an awful lot of shows on TV that are better left unseen, even if we can't look away. What are your favorites?