After 12 months of particularly distasteful TV programming, counts down the 10 moments that made us squirm the most
Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston

The 10 grossest things we saw on TV this year

10. Siblings have sex on Rome. To be sure, HBO’s Rome is a freaky-deaky place. But when Servilia (Lindsay Duncan) convinced her lesbian lover Octavia (Kerry Condon) to seduce her own brother Octavian (Max Pirkis) as part of a larger plot to destroy Caesar, I had to cover my eyes and go to the happy place.

9. Paris Hilton’s ad for Carl’s Jr. makes us contemplate veganism. Hold up a second: Watching the overexposed hotel heiress expose even more of herself in a car-lathering, burger-munching frenzy was supposed to stimulate my desire to eat Spicy BBQ Burgers? Hmmm. Maybe after washing the taste of bile from my mouth.

8. Graciela Bottini (Lucretia Capello) is horrifically murdered by the vengeance-seeking serial killer on Epitafios. You knew the officious school bookkeeper was doomed the minute you caught the flashback in which she denied an employee his back pay. Still, her death-by-asphyxiation — the killer holds open her mouth with an intricate web of hooks and fishing wire, then tosses in a throatful of coins — was shockingly (albeit delightfully) sick and twisted.

7. David Letterman shows off his gory wound on the Late Show. Let’s give credit where it’s due: Dave managed to come to work despite a gash on his hand that required 40 stitches. But when said stitches started tearing loose mid-program, and a surgeon was called in to sew ’em back up, was it really necessary to show the carnage in extreme close-up? Or an inset frame of Rupert Jee reenacting the mishap and squirting fake blood all over his deli? Remember, Dave, it’s laughter, not horror, that’s the best medicine.

6. Lisa pees in a diaper on America’s Next Top Model. ”Who’s still in the running toward becoming America’s next top model?” Well, Tyra, it certainly wasn’t the girl so desperate for attention that she resorted to mortifying acts of infantilism to score an extra minute of camera time. Gah!

5. Valerie Cherish and Paulie G simultaneously vomit on The Comeback. Watching Valerie (Lisa Kudrow) savagely punch the stomach of her season-long tormentor, sitcom writer Paulie G (Lance Barber), was one of the most emotionally satisfying moments of the TV season — until the booze-and-pizza-stuffed lout promptly tossed his cookies, causing Valerie to do the same. All together now: ”Note to self: I don’t need to see that!”

4. Britney and Kevin film themselves making out on the penultimate episode of Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. Love is a many-splendored thing, or so the old saying goes. But when love involves cinema verité close-ups of the Feder-stache — and images of Britney tugging at her tatty tank top in an effort to reveal some cleavage — then it’s just downright nauseating. For the love of all that’s holy, please, UPN: Don’t greenlight a second season.

3. A man gorges himself to death on CSI‘s very special Thanksgiving-night episode. The moment Grissom discovered there was cranberry sauce, not blood, on the face of the dude in the Dumpster, it was obvious the show’s writers were giving a gut check to millions of folks who’d just polished off platefuls of turkey, stuffing, and pie. Ultimately, the episode was a heartbreaker — turns out the man had a disorder, Prader-Willi syndrome, that caused him to overeat. But watching David Hodges (Wallace Langham) sort the unsavory contents of the deceased’s digestive tract — and comment on the putrid smell of a container of partially digested hot dogs — made us cry for altogether different reasons.

2. Nip/Tuck subjects viewers to season 3. How did FX’s out-there plastic-surgery soap make us queasy over the course of 14 episodes? Let us count the ways. The man who wanted his leg amputated. The corpse patched together from different women’s body parts. The facial transplant that went awry. The semen cream that Joan Rivers smeared on her mug. The two faces glued to a man’s buttocks. (Seriously.) And a season finale featuring the incestuous Carver duo, a severed finger, Kimber’s maimed face, bloody breast implants in a box, and a pre-op transsexual’s penis being mutilated with a box cutter. Pass the Pepto, por favor.

1. On Being Bobby Brown, Bobby recalls using his hand to alleviate Whitney’s constipation. Admittedly, Bravo’s train-wreck summer reality spectacle had its share of compelling toilet humor. (Whitney’s euphemism for heading to the loo — ”I’m about to drop it on the one” — is a welcome addition to the poop-cultural lexicon.) But episode 2 went right down the pipes when Bobby recalled an incident in which he ”had to dig a doodie bubble out of [Whitney’s] butt,” prompting his wife to holler, ”That’s black love!” Maybe so, Ms. Houston, but it’s also the kind of ardor better kept to oneself.

What were the grossest things you saw on TV in 2005?

Episode Recaps

Trya Banks
America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks searches for the next great supermodel

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