13 Shows With Laughably Bad Premises

Not all sitcoms can be as popular as Young Sheldon.
13 Shows With Laughably Bad Premises

Some shows are funny because the writing is comedic, and some shows are funny because the idea behind the show itself is so stupid. Today, we're talking about the latter. Here are 13 sitcoms and shows from bygone days featuring, orangutans, talking ghost cars, and oh yeah, Hitler.

Heil Honey I'm Home!

Perhaps one of the most famous failed sitcom premises of all time, Heil Honey I’m Home, saw Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living next to a Jewish couple. The British have a long history of mocking Hitler, so the show actually wasn’t received with much outrage. The series was ordered for eight episodes, and another 13 were written past that. A corporate takeover of the broadcast company actually shut down this show’s production, so who knows how big it might have gotten past episode one. Perhaps it could have been a 1990s Jojo Rabbit minus all the social commentary and self-awareness.




Who doesn’t remember one of Nick Kroll’s earliest television roles in the incredibly short-lived Gieco-based sitcom, Cavemen? Ever wish The Noid had a TV show? Or maybe the low poly General from those other insurance commercials? No? You haven’t wished that? Well, obviously you were not part of the test audience for this 2007 flop that was canceled after one season. The premise of cavemen living in modern society might have worked if the writing was funny and not all based around that single joke.


You’re going to want to add this trailer to your rotation of ‘clips to show my friends on YouTube when we’re all on the couch.’ Poochinski is the touching story of a police officer whose soul is absorbed into a bulldog’s body. All I know is that I would’ve hate watched this show every night if I could, but its weird premise only garnered it a pilot. 

Baby Bob

Baby Bob


Everybody knows that the Look Who’s Talking movies only got better over time. So why not take that premise of a talking baby and turn it into a sitcom in 2002? Any show that has to write around a premise this simple and overdone is going to struggle, so it’s a wonder the series made it to two seasons. The show was actually based on a series of commercials for “Freeinternet.com” in 2000. Again with the giving commercial mascots TV shows. When will they learn? 

That '80s Show

That 80's Show


That ‘70s Show ended so why not pull a Young Sheldon and revive it with a whole new cast in a different time period? That ‘80s Show show featured a young Glenn Howerton from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia but didn’t capitalize on any of his future trademark talents. The show mainly focused on references to the ‘80s and lazy joke writing, leading this show to be canceled with low reviews from critics and audiences alike.

Homeboys in Outer Space

Homeboys In Outer Space followed two black astronauts in the 23rd century, flying across the universe going on little misadventures. The show’s low-brow jokes and black stereotype-based humor left it with virtually no audience, leading to cancellation after one season after its premier in 1996.


Manimal has to be one of the weirdest entries on this list. This single-season NBC sci-fi followed Dr. Jonathan Chase, who inexplicably had the power to turn into any animal at will. His transformations were crudely animated claymations complete with bulging flesh and whiskers growing out of faces. It thought of itself as a serious cop show, even with nonstop interruptions by what looks like a recreation of the “Jurassic Park” Weird Al music video.

Harry & the Hendersons

Harry & the Hendersons

Universal Television

If I’m being honest, I’ll watch any show that features someone in a giant furry costume. Sadly, the rest of America didn’t agree with the sitcom adaption of the film Harry and the Hendersons. The show did feature the original costume from the film and ran for a full 3 seasons, but audiences grew tired of the spectacle of the costume pretty quickly as the show essentially became a carbon copy of Alf, with worse writing.

Work It

The premise of the show Work It was men dressing up as women to get ahead at work. This show was incredibly original. Um, not it wasn't: copying the same joke that's the basis for Big Mommas House, Mrs. Doubtfire, Tootsie, Bosom Buddies, Some Like It Hot, and that one scene in The Little Rascals. The show was cut after two episodes despite having filmed a 13.

My Mother the Car

My Mother The Car is often regarded as one of the worst sitcoms ever made. The series followed lawyer, David Crabtree, as he drove around a car that was actually the reincarnation of his dead mother, who would speak through the radio. Crabtree was performed by Dick Van Dyke’s younger brother, Jerry Van Dyke, who said in a 1993 interview, “I became known as the guy who did the worst show in the history of television.” The show was hoping to garner the same audience that loved Mr. Ed years prior. I wonder if they also had to feed the car peanut butter to make it looks like it talked?

Living Biblically

This show, with an 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes, was an adaption of the true story of a man who decided to live his life according to the bible. It was supposed to be a humorous take on what the experience of living according to the literal pages of the bible in a modern setting would be like, but the jokes and viewership quickly fell flat.

The Hard Times Of RJ Berger

A nerd’s life is changed when his giant penis is revealed to the whole school. No, your eight grade best friend didn’t come up with this premise for his comic book, this was an actual sitcom called The Hard Times Of RJ Berger. The show was canceled after two seasons due to low interest and low-hanging jokes (no pun intended) toward the end of the season. Enjoy this trailer for the show, which highlights every major plot point for the entirety of the first season for some reason.

Mr. Smith

Sitcoms featuring talking animals are always a hit and so are shows featuring political consultants. Ok, that's not true - so no wonder that Mr. Smith, a 1983 NBC sitcom about a talking orangutan political consultant was canceled after only 13 episodes. Viewership steadily declined with Mr. Smith along with seven other NBC TV shows that year which were all canceled.

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