Saturday, June 13, 2009

My favorite cringe-inducing entertainment

Ed. note: H/t to
Entertainment Weekly, whose 17 most awkward moments in TV history inspired this list.

1. The King of Comedy. You've got to love a film in which the normally appalling Jerry Lewis is the least mortifying thing. When Rupert Pupkin takes Rita to Jerry Langford's house in Connecticut, pretending (or maybe even believing) that Jerry has invited them? Brrrr.

2. Curb Your Enthusiasm. I can't watch this without screaming, "No, Larry David! Stop!" But he never stops.

3. Freaks & Geeks. If you haven't seen this program, I urge you to buy the DVDs: 19 episodes of cringe-worthy perfection. Think dysfunctional family dinners, unrequited crushes, and a guy with an acoustic guitar singing a song called "Lady L." Genius!

4. Taxi Driver. De Niro excels at playing guys who just don't get it. When he tries to take Cybill Shepherd to a porno movie on their first date, explaining that "a lot of couples" go to see them... I have to watch this from behind my fingers.

5. The Office. We're talking about the U.K. one here (though I like the American version, too, except for the way over-the-top Michael Scott). Ricky Gervais's foray into motivational speaking makes me wince even now:

6. Extras. Gervais again, brilliant as a more self-aware loser. Favorite moment: David Bowie's serenade.