Depressed that there’s so much crap on TV these days? Well, I’m here to show you that it could be worse. A LOT worse! Long before the days of Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys, the ultimate in Canadian TV comedy was The Trouble With Tracy and those who sat through it when it originally aired on CTV in 1970-71 say that it has positively no equal when it comes to being the worst sitcom of all time. If you don’t have the stomach to endure the clips I’ve posted (and, trust me, that four-minute clip feels like four hours!), I’ll let this excerpt from Wikipedia describe all the things that were wrong with this show:
The show was produced as a daily show, and aired weekday afternoons at 3:30 pm from September 14, 1970. The economic and time pressures of producing 130 episodes in a single season (seven shows were filmed every five days) meant cheap, wobbly sets, no outdoor filming, a laugh track instead of a live studio audience, the use of single takes, the reuse of 25-year-old radio scripts, and other shortcuts that resulted in a poor-quality product. Even flubbed lines and bloopers sometimes ended up airing, because the show could not afford retakes.
Yes, apparently, the characters never left that godawful cheap set AT ALL during the show’s entire run! And watching that clip, I can totally see what they mean when they talk about reusing old radio scripts. If you watched it with your eyes closed, you would swear you were listening to a murder mystery radio play from the 1940s, except that it has the odd corny joke and some random canned laughter thrown in (notice how often the laugh track seems to laugh at jokes that aren’t really jokes). Normally, a show this bad would be yanked off the air instantly, but The Trouble With Tracy managed to last 130 episodes because… well, funding for Canadian television was pretty miniscule back then, so CTV couldn’t really AFFORD to cancel it and make anything else! I’d like to say that Trouble With Tracy is the Troll 2 or The Room of television sitcoms, but the problem with bad comedies is that they’re TRYING to be funny, so when they fail miserably, the end result is pure torture.