The Fall of 2012 wasn’t a strong one for television by any accounts. We had one, maybe two good new series (“Ben & Kate” and, rumor has it, “Arrow”?!) and saw one of last year’s most acclaimed series come apart at the seams. (Et tu, “Homeland”?) But it’s easy enough to ignore the bad and think about the good. “Breaking Bad” was incredible as were both “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones.” Hell, even “The Walking Dead” shambled back to life. But while I can turn a blind eye to bad shows or bad actors on bad shows the thing I cannot ignore, what sends ice water to my veins, is a talented actor wasting their time on a terrible show. It’s embarrassing and it’s disappointing. Whenever I see it happening, I pray a cancellation will come along and put us all out of our misery. That’s right, I love the following people so much, I wish unemployment on them. Mine is a tough love.
8. Kat Dennings — “Two Broke Girls”
This is a hold-over disappointment from last season. I am astonished this sh*t show is still on the air. The effervescence of the leads cannot distract from the stale jokes, out-moded racial stereotypes and grating word “play.” Dennings is better, so much better than this. In fact, after Chris Hemsworth’s obliques, she was my favorite part of Thor. More cute movies, please, Kat. Less of whatever this is.
7. Chris Messina — “The Mindy Project”
I wanted to like “The Mindy Project,” I wanted to with every bit of my Bridget Jones-loving heart. But the lead character is so grating, so hapless and so devoid of the redemptive qualities that would make those “quirks” endearing, that I find myself constantly irritated. It’s sad enough seeing Kaling on this show (I’m a huge fan of hers, usually), but Chris Messina was enjoying a goddamned meteoric climb this year. Smarmily great in “The Newsroom,” delightful in Ruby Sparks, one of the cool kids in Argo and, now, crotchety but obviously inevitable love interest for Mindy Kaling? The new Nick? No, no sir. You were the only good part of the Amy Adams half of Julie and Julia. You are better than this. Fingers crossed this show doesn’t survive the year.
6. Ted Danson—“CSI”
Even if, by some bizarre quirk of the universe, you’d never seen him in a single episode of “Cheers,” Ted Danson has, more recently, done some excellent TV work. The first season of “Damages” is a near-perfect thing and as its major antoginist, Arthur Frobisher, Danson is divine in his own right and managed to hold his own against Glenn Close. Not bad, Sam Malone. Danson was similarly delightful on “Bored To Death.” And now he’s helming the 13th (THIRTEENTH) season of one of TV’s most tired procedurals? Ted Danson is a fine human being,
a humanitarian an oceanatarian, and a family man. He’s also a talented performer. I’ll choose to remember fonder, less Helgenberger-y times.
5. Connie Britton — “Nashville”
I tried. Lord knows I tried. And the only damn reason I tried is because of my enduring love for Tami Taylor. But listen, the last episode of “Nashville” I tried to watch, I found myself fast forwarding through the Connie Britton scenes. Fast forwarding Tami Taylor? Hell yes, y’all. This woman, who somehow managed to come out all the gimp-f*cking in last season’s insane “American Horror Story” unsmirched, has been brought down by sparkly mini-dresses and over-processed twang. I weep.
5. Lily Tomlin — “Malibu Country”
National f*cking treasure Lily Tomlin is playing second fiddle to Reba McEntire on a tired, worn out sitcom that belongs on Lifetime or ABC Family. Not on the gotdamn networks. Sassy granny you may be, Lily Tomlin, but Cloris Leachman on “Raising Hope” this ain’t.
3. Giancarlo Eposito — “Revolution”
One of the most menacing smiles in recent memory? On of the most unforgettable character exits of all-time? An Emmy nomination that you could only lose to someone else in your cast? COME ON, ESPOSITO. They have you looking like some deranged escapee from the Land of Oz. You’re too good for this. Do not, I repeat, do not lower yourself to cross swords with Billy Burke again.
2. Catherine Tate — “The Office”
Say what you will about Catherine Tate (and I’ll say that she’s my favorite “Doctor Who” companion), the woman has both sterling comedic timing and surprisingly impressive dramatic chops. You wouldn’t know that from her stint on “The Office.” A love interest for Toby? Honestly? You were the “Doctor Donna,” man. THE OOD SANG FOR YOU. I’m so glad we only have a half a season left.
1. Kate Hudson — “Glee”
Okay, fine, you’re not watching “Glee.” Bully for you. That is as it bloody well should be. But what you’re missing is one of the most bafflingly, enjoyably, terribly astonishing displays from a one-time Oscar-nominee. Yeah Kate Hudson hasn’t done anything of note for over a decade, but she’s forever Penny Lane to me and this…thing…she’s doing as the main antagonist on “Glee?” It’s upsetting. More upsetting than an entire season of “Smash.” And that’s saying a lot.
Yeah you better cry, Hudson.