Fans Pick the Worst Adult Swim Shows in History
With a creative philosophy of “Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks,” Adult Swim has created some of the most chaotically unique comedy shows in adult animation history — as well as some of the most unwatchable abominations that ever crawled out of the deep and into a 1 a.m. time slot.
Though currently more popular than the kid-focused Cartoon Network from which it originated, Adult Swim had to take some pretty big swings when it was just a three-hour, twice weekly middle-of-the-night programming block devoted to low-budget animated shows hacked together from old Hanna-Barbera properties. The counter-cultural creative force of Mike Lazzo’s movement lied in its willingness to tread into weird, upsetting or even amoral territory at a time of night when there was nothing on TV but home shopping infomercials and Girls Gone Wild ads.
Adult Swim quickly found its heavy-hitters and flagship franchises, but for every Aqua Teen Hunger Force, there is a Squidbillies, and for every Rick and Morty, there is a faction of the late-night audience who absolutely hates Rick and Morty. Fans in the Adult Swim subreddit recently discussed which shows were the absolute worst of the bunch. Here are their picks…
Likely the most controversial entry on this list, some Adult Swim fans feel that, much like Saturday Night Live, the cornerstone sketch comedy show hasn’t been good for many years — if it was ever that funny in the first place. With 220 episodes and a dozen different parody specials, Robot Chicken embodies the “quantity over quality” approach to comedy to some detractors. Some would say that Robot Chicken fans furious at the show’s inclusion on this list are actually just fans of a few solid sketches from 2004, and those jokes got stuck in those fans’ brains like a pop-punk album that still has some sad 30-something wearing a T-shirt he bought at Hot Topic back when he still felt something.
The brainchild of Adult Swim royalty, Squidbillies was designed to ride the success of co-creator Davie Willis’ hit series Aqua Teen Hunger Force by drawing in ATHF fans with its dysfunctional family comedy about a group of redneck mud squids living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, many fans feel that the idiosyncratic charm of Willis’ other work didn’t carry over into Squidbillies, and despite its impressive and ongoing 13-season run, the series is just the annoying little brother of a more beloved property.
Despite making maximum use of Larry Murphy’s vocal talents, Assy McGee was a disappointingly one-note parody of gritty police dramas with a walking, talking pair of ass cheeks playing the Clint Eastwood-esque title character. Though the show had a tendency to shoot off perfectly cheesy cop show one-liners that almost justified each 11-minute episode, there simply wasn’t enough meat on the central premise to continue Assy McGee for more than two seasons. The whole show felt like a decent cutaway joke in some other Adult Swim show that was accidentally greenlit for a full series.
Of all of the “___ meets Superjail!”-style shows that came out in the 2010s, “Lassie meets Superjail!” was one of the more uninspired entries. Centered around an idyllic American family in the old-fashioned Old Town and inexplicably starring Brooke Shields, Mr. Pickles told the story of a satanic border collie adopted by the innocent and gullible Goodman family who sneaks off to commit acts of unspeakable violence at every opportunity. Described by one Redditor as “an uncreative parody of an Adult Swim show,” Mr. Pickles failed to combine extreme gross-out humor with a heartland American aesthetic in a new and interesting way, despite surviving on the channel for four seasons.