6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

Anyone who's worked shoveling shit at a circus can tell you that making entertainment isn't as much fun as watching it.

The same goes for TV shows, and in some cases, it's even worse than the elephant shit thing. There are shows you loved and grew up with that, behind the scenes, were a constant, dark carnival of torment.

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6
ALF

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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The Show:

An extraterrestrial puppet confounds his adopted Earth family with his cat-eating ways.

But Behind The Scenes...

A dictatorial puppeteer confounds his cast with a deathtrap set.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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In his Inferno, Dante never described a torture with which to punish 80s sitcom stars. But if he did, working on ALF for all eternity would win hands down.

ALF creator and head puppeteer Paul Fusco epitomized eccentricity. By "eccentricity," we mean "he sorta fuckin' believed ALF was real" and demanded nothing but the best for his cash cow. In practical terms, this meant that multiple puppeteers needed 14 trap doors built into the show's set to manipulate the puppet.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Keep in mind, the set was living-room sized. Take a glance at your living room floor, and imagine it's riddled with over one dozen Viet Cong tiger traps. Now imagine having to walk around that space without ever looking down because you're too busy making eye contact with a horrifying puppet with a syphilitic phallus for a nose.

Resetting the trap doors was an arduous process, as the only alternative was to let actors randomly fall to their deaths. Shoots, therefore, took much longer than usual, which exhausted the actors, but was the only way to avoid being the subject of a "broken neck" storyline next week.

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The cast did this deadly waltz for five long years causing Andrea Elson, who played daughter Lynn Tanner, to say, "If ALF had gone one more year, everybody would have lost it." It's worth noting that Elson went on to appear regularly in absolutely nothing else. When someone whose career highlights include guest spots on Step by Step and something called Frankenstein: The College Years says her only starring role in a TV Show sucked, we believe her.

5
The Price is Right

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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The Show:

A geriatric man tries not to fuck up stating the price of a projection TV in a legally-binding way.

But Behind The Scenes...

A geriatric man builds a game show dynasty founded on sexual harassment.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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The 106 years Bob Barker hosted the show were a hard time to be a Price Is Right spokesmodel. For a guy so concerned about animals (or at least their genitals), it's pretty insane how The Bark treated his Beauties like his own personal petting zoo.

In the early 90s, model Dian Parkinson alleged that if Bob Barker wasn't allowed to drop his "plinko chip" down her "prize board," she'd lose her job.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)
But at least he gave her dignity.

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Although Parkinson did have a tumultuous off-camera fling with Barker, she wasn't the only TPIR girl to complain about the host's wandering, pruny python. Since 1996, six female employees have sued the horny old gnome. All of them, save one pending case, received out-of-court settlements.

Models who evaded Barker's attempts to discover their "Secret X" got a bum deal. Model Holly Hallstrom, who was famous for her adorable clumsiness...

...claimed Barker ordered her to make the rounds on the talk show circuit to defame Parkinson. When Hallstrom refused, she was suddenly fired for gaining weight. When Janice Pennington, a 29-year veteran of TPIR, testified in Hallstrom's wrongful termination case, she too mysteriously got the heave-ho.

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The craziest part of these dismissals was that the Beauties were never officially fired, as they were never "hired" in the first place. The women had to re-up their contracts every damn week, effectively rendering them indentured servants. At this point, we're surprised the Beauties' salaries weren't determined using the Showcase Showdown.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)
Congrats! Your paycheck this week is 25 minutes of sex with Bob!

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4
Webster

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

The Show:

Marketable moppet steals white people's hearts without asking, "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?"

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But Behind The Scenes...

Marketable moppet steals white people's sitcom without asking.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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So imagine you're a husband and wife. You start your own production company, you make a show starring yourselves and, eventually, it gets picked up by the networks. That's probably about as awesome as it gets in a town where most aspiring actors wind up offering blowjobs for a chance to wait tables at the Chili's Ted Danson frequents.

But couple Susan Clark and Alex Karras lived that dream, selling ABC on a couple-in-love sitcom titled Another Ballgame, starring themselves. Then, at the last minute, ABC suggested a twist: adding a young black actor to play their adopted son. The couple loved the idea. You had the racial element and storylines about the challenges of raising a fish-out-of-water child who had lost his own parents.

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The network hired child actor Emmanuel Lewis:

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

What they didn't realize was that ABC was jealous of all the money NBC was making on Gary Coleman's show, Diff'rent Strokes. ABC next went about slowly changing the show into a terrible Diff'rent Strokes ripoff, selling the only celebrity their show had: a young black dwarf.

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When ABC implemented a policy informally called "all Webster, all the time" in the show's storylines, Clark and Karras acquiesced, with the provision that ABC not change the show's name to Webster.

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Soon after, ABC changed the show's name to Webster. By the end of the first season, the 12-year-old Lewis was given a full production credit, meaning he was also a boss.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Through the first few seasons of the show, in between scenes of Webster's lovable hijinks the set consisted of actors screaming expletives at each other. After all, Clark and Karras had gone from producing their own racially-sensitive family show to kowtowing to a middle schooler to make a cheap knock-off. That's like if you built your own rocket ship in your garage and NASA made you hang back while a hamster pilots it.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)
"Want to hear a joke? I just cut your health insurance."

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3
Grace Under Fire

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

The Show:

In her 90s sitcom, stand-up comedienne Brett Butler portrayed a wisecracking, recovering alcoholic.

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But Behind The Scenes...

On the set of her 90s sitcom, stand-up comedienne Brett Butler was a wisecracking alcoholic.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

Grace Under Fire was famous for two things: its blue-collar sensibilities that made Roseanne look like Fellini; and the painkillers-and-booze-fueled escapades of its star, Alabaman comic Brett Butler.

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In five years, the show went through five producers, each one quitting or being forced out as Butler drunkenly fought for creative control. Off-set, Butler pulled such stunts as stumbling onto Letterman and claiming Walt Disney's last words were, 'Whatever you do, don't let the Jews get the place." (Mind you, Grace Under Fire aired on ABC, which had recently been purchased by Disney.)

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Butler's supporting cast soon grew tired of her expletive-filled rants and on-set breakdowns. Costar Julie White (a.k.a. Sam Witwicky's mom from Transformers) quit the show, and child actor John Paul Steuer reportedly left after he received a firsthand look at Butler's new boob job, which Butler proudly flashed about set.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)
"Kids love my tits!"

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ABC, quickly losing key cast members and unwilling to shoehorn in a gas leak subplot, shitcanned the show midseason in 1998.

2
Growing Pains

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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The Show:

80s middle-class family learns to live and love and finds Leonardo DiCaprio living in a dumpster.

But Behind The Scenes...

Teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron learns to love Jesus and finds sin in all of his costars.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Kirk Cameron's born again Christianity caused more troubles on-set than a scientist at a Scientologist convention. In the later seasons of Growing Pains, Cameron was a holy terror, tut-tutting costars for "immoral" behavior and demanding puritanical script revisions.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)
All this from a man who dressed like a Thai rent boy.

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Although Cameron's definition of immoral was laughable, it was his be-mulleted mug on the cover of Tiger Beat, so ABC put up with the sanctimonious little shit.

Under Cameron's thrall, Growing Pains made Mayberry look like Sodom and Gomorrah. For instance, Cameron called for rewrites when his character, Mike Seaver, laid in bed with a woman, even though Seaver was just acting in a play. Things grew so insane on-set that Cameron once called the president of ABC and accused the network of shilling pornography.

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All this pales in comparison to the number Cameron did on costar Julie McCullough's career. McCullough played Mike Seaver's girlfriend, Julie Costello. She had also once appeared nude in Playboy.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Cameron forced ABC to fire McCullough and her sweater puppets--after all, nothing offends the Lord more than a nice pair of pert yams. Once McCullough got the pink slip, the writers scrambled to rejigger the upcoming Mike-Julie wedding episode. Ultimately, Mike Seaver was stood up at the altar, a fitting metaphor for how Cameron had alienated almost everyone he'd worked with. It's hard to stay pissed at Cameron. After all, his career's been in the gutter for a while, and nowadays he spends his time proving God's existence using bananas and disproving evolution using Photoshop.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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1
Martin

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

The Show:

Lovable radio DJ warms the hearts of America by verbally abusing his spouse.

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But Behind The Scenes...

Lovable stand-up comic terrifies the shit out of everyone in a 10-yard radius.

Tisha Campbell's big break was playing Gina Waters, Martin's wife and recipient of the famous catch phrase, "Damn, Gina!"

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Thanks to the on-screen charisma between Gina and Martin, the show became one of Fox's biggest shows not involving police chases.

Sadly, the sitcom's success came at the price of Martin Lawrence's sanity. The star began abusing drugs like pixie sticks, and his behavior on-set went from endearingly manic to full-blown Rick James.

According to a 1997 lawsuit filed by Campbell, Lawrence physically threatened cast and crew, carried a loaded firearm and once attempted to molest her in front of a live studio audience. She finally called it quits after Lawrence threatened to kill his estranged wife. This sort of behavior seems haltingly out of place for a comedian who we've since come to laud for his realistic portrayals of femininity.

6 Beloved TV Shows (That Traumatized Cast Members For Life)

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Campbell returned to film the series finale with the stipulation that Lawrence and her could never be in the same room together. We presume this arrangement set the template for how every single episode of John & Kate Plus Eight was filmed.




Evan Hoovler wrote his Master's thesis about Cracked.com. He produces the sketch comedy troupe Drunk Nerds and co-wrote the National Lampoon book, Pimp It Yourself.

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To see how television shows frustrated the viewers, check out The 5 Most Maddeningly Unresolved TV Plotlines.

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Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements. An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. A young woman from the trailer park and her very smelly cat. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, a new novel about futuristic shit, by David Wong.

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