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Lizards, Hogs & Whiskers: The Weirdest and Wackiest TV Show Names

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jul 21st 2011 12:15PM
Every week, both viewers and people who write about television are inundated with information about new shows. One way for networks to make those shows stand out is to give them weird, eye-catching or borderline insane names.

The last couple weeks have been quite busy, what with the preparations I've been making for Comic-Con, which begins today, and for the Television Critics Association summer press tour, which starts in about a week.

To distract myself from the insanity, I compiled a list of a few of the show titles that have caught my eye in the last year or two.

Of course there have been dozens of memorable TV show titles over the decades, but, especially in the reality realm, the titles seem to be getting ever more wacky of late. 'Hillbilly Handfishin''? Really? On the positive side, the intentionally crazy name of 'NTSF:SD:SUV::' might actually lead me to watch the Adult Swim show (premieres tonight at 12:15AM).

In the spirit of distracting you from more important matters with utter piffle, here is my list of Favorite Recent Goofy or Somehow Unusual TV Show Names. In comments, feel free to share your favorite nutty or memorable show title.

'American Hoggers' (premieres Aug 16 on A&E): If only it was about bikers. I'm almost sad to report that it's about a family that chases feral pigs.

'Hillbilly Handfishin'' (premieres Aug. 7, Animal Planet): From the press release: "Self-proclaimed hillbillies and experienced hand fishermen Skipper Bivins and Trent Jackson give city folk a taste of their lifestyle as they triple-dog dare thrill-thirsty adventure seekers to come on down to Oklahoma and catch catfish with their bare hands and feet!" OK, they had me right up until the part about feet. Where I come from, catfish and feet just don't mix.

'Animal Fugitives' (aired earlier this year on National Geographic Wild): If only this were a show about car chases involving rabid squirrels. Sadly, at no point is a cat or a squirrel involved in a high-speed chase. Darn it.

'Dining With Death' (aired last year on Travel Channel): Not about sitting down to a meal with Death, but rather adventurous eaters noshing on potentially fatal foods. Good times.

'How the States Got Their Shapes' (aired last year on History): Most explanatory show title ever.

'I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant' (Discovery Health): TLC cut short the fourth season of this show earlier this month, the Futon Critic recently reported. But let's be clear about the relevant factoid here: this show got to a fourth season. With women who didn't know they were pregnant. At all. The mind boggles. I mean, I know it's possible, but we needed four seasons of this? Aiyeee.

'I Just Want My Pants Back' (upcoming from MTV, date TBA): It's a comedy about 20-somethings in New York, based on a book by David J. Rosen. With a title like that, it had better be really good. Because if the title overshadows the show, that's not good.

'Mancations' (aired earlier this year on Travel Channel): No. Just no.

'My Babysitter's a Vampire' (aired earlier this year on Disney): Sadly, not a reality show but a scripted movie about ... sorry, I lost interest after I learned it wasn't about bloodsucking nannies.

'NTSF:SD:SUV::' (premieres July 22 on Adult Swim): Finally the folks at Adult Swim take the acronym insanity to its logical extreme. And given the talent involved -- this thriller parody stars Martin Starr, Paul Scheer, Rob Riggle and Kate Mulgrew, among others -- this actually might be pretty good.

Check out our set visit &
interviews with the cast of 'NTSF'



'Rebel Monkeys' (aired last year on National Geographic Wild): Why isn't this the name of your band?

'Truck Stop Missouri' (premieres Aug. 3 on Travel Channel): It's not just that it's a truck stop. It's in Missouri! That's what'll make it irresistible.

'Lizard Lick Towing' (returns in August on TruTV): Heh, "lizard lick" is a funny name. Otherwise, towing? Really? And the sad fact is, this is not the only tow-truck show out there. Oy. What next, 'Oil Change Disco Party'?

'Whisker Wars' (premieres Aug. 5 on IFC): A show about competitive facial-hair growing would be so much more of a potential draw if 'Parks and Recreation' mustache guru Ron Swanson was involved. So get on that, IFC. Sidebar: Could he also host a show that combines competitive meat consumption and woodworking tips?

'Wild Animal Repo' (aired earlier this year on Discovery): It's two different reality shows in one! Put the animals in charge of a pawn shop and you've got a cable-reality trifecta!

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don

isn't it great that the media got another kill.from the moment AMY'S TALENT WAS RECOGNIZED, the gadfly's came to feed. Why is it that the truly gifted are stoned to death by the media? jealousy, money is it just fun to humiliate any one but better some one with a heart so big it touches all for some reason. Every one knows what I am talking about and we let it happen over and over. If the media targets someone is it for sport, or money as if they were a horse with a broken leg that cant live up to the contract and this is how you cut your losses?sorry but i cant understand the heartless attack of these precious soles when it clearly taking tole on that person.

July 25 2011 at 6:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Beckie

Although some of the titles are strange (along with the shows), I don't know why some of them are listed here. "How the states got their shapes" is not an unusual name for a show on the history channel about how the state lines were "drawn" ... and, the show was very interesting. Are people so used to stupid so called "reality shows" that they are synical about anything that is truly real?

July 25 2011 at 2:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mysteriousdark2

I'm Ambassador Abdullah Ghalib and look for the donkey that **** to **** petra lives in oosterkade76 8911kj leeuwarden to holand$$$$$ pools of marginalized and who pay 250 Aaurer value of the wash basin.

July 25 2011 at 2:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maraudergirl71

*Sigh* I don't care if the show has a stupid name, as long as it's entertaining. And if it's not entertaining, at least make it educational. Take away reality TV and all other stupid TV shows and what exactly are we left with? I barely even watch television. I watch the news on occasion. I watch Doctor Who. And I watch cartoons sometimes. But generally I stick to comic books and novels. Finding a decent television show that doesn't use a boring re-cycled plot and is actually written well is rare. This is why I stick to the internet, I mean, half the people on YouTube are more entertaining than most of what's on TV. Give Shane Dawson and FLuffeeTalks TV shows, and then maybe I'd watch it. What amazes me even more is the fact that some people actually enjoy shows like Jersey Shore. Watching over-tanned morons getting drunk and acting like... Well, morons, isn't exactly what I call entertaining.
Here's an idea, take all the stars from popular reality TV shows and put them on an island. This island should have a jungle where they can get food, a spring where they can find fresh water and a good supply of fish in the ocean. Put them on said island and leave them to there own devices. A person of average intelligence could survive on this island if they put their mind to it, but how long will these reality stars last, hmm? They'd have to find and cook their own food, collect fresh water, and build a stable shelter amongst other things.... I'd watch that.

July 25 2011 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
suealiaim

oh, but it's true...oklahoma hillbillies (and drunken college undergrads) use their fingers and toes to fish for catfish...i lived there for 10 years and knew someone who had lost not one, not two, but THREE fingers noodlin' (which is what it's rightfully called).

July 25 2011 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sev

How about $#*! My Dad Says. it was a strange name and didn't last one season

July 25 2011 at 12:21 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sev's comment
marckie13

And it's a shame that it didn't. William Shatner was good on that .

July 25 2011 at 12:56 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to marckie13's comment
suealiaim

dang...i hoped it was just on hiatus...it was my favorite "new" sitcom...so i suppose you're going to tell me outsourced has been cancelled, too...sigh

July 25 2011 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
shotbyparent2

And these shows will get a lot of views.

July 25 2011 at 12:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
abrath8793

Another season of moron shows !! That's the TV reality !! face it

July 24 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KLS

This must be where 'Dumbing Down of America' comes from. If it isn't raunchy, or about some self centered celeb who cannot get enough 'ME' time in the tabloids, hey, let's bring in a camera to a house that my fans financed, and let me tell you (over and over and over) why I am so darn wonderful. Take away the repo shows, the celeb 'reality' shows, pawn/picker shows, and anything Mike Rowe narrates and we are left with Sesame Street, the news, and infomercials. *click*. *walks to bedroom, picks up my Nook Color and reads a book.*

July 24 2011 at 11:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
harleydesigns

My TV is an older model (but works fine), so I don't pick up the digital signals, and I don't have dish, or CAble. Every few months I think "maybe I"m being silly, I should at least get the digital converter box, it's not really that expensive".
...then I read articles like this, and I hear of shows called "Teen Mom". Really? This is what passes for broadcast entertainment? REALLY????. I'll pick up a book, thank you, and you can keep your cable, Dish, or whatever the hell else there is out there.

July 24 2011 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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