What's in a name? A lot when it comes to show titles. Naming a show isn't easy. You want to be brief but convey what the show is about, catchy but not cliché, original but not too out-there, inviting but not alienating. The last one sounds like a no-brainer, but tell that to ABC. For a network nicknamed the Alphabet, it has been the worst title offender in recent years. (But hey, they are into irony.)How to Get Away with Murder: The actual title of the #TGIT soap is not completely terrible. It's a mouthful, but it's also intriguing, which is half the battle. The real problem lies in the (lack of) abbreviation, a must-need for long monikers. "We don't consider a hashtag when we're writing a title," executive producer Shonda Rhimes said. No, you should not, but there is nothing simple (or even phonetic like #HIMYM was) about #HTGAWM, let alone when you hashtag the full friggin' title: #HowToGetAwayWithMurder. Whuck?! Why not #MurderABC? Or #HowToGetAwayABC — since that's your Twitter handle and display name? Be consistent.
12. Black-ish: The entire premise of the pilot was Anthony Anderson's character Andre worrying about whether his black family had become merely "black-ish." Only guess what? Andre's fears ended up becoming the butt of most jokes! So yeah, why not name the show after his unfounded ideas? We know, ABC, you're all about diversity now. But naming a show Black-ish seems a little desperate and takes tokenism to a whole new level. It's the title equivalent of, "But I have black friends!" Don't even get us started on the lower-case stylization.
11. Super Fun Night: Not only was Rebel Wilson's brief TV foray neither super nor fun, but it didn't take place on one night. We're not asking for completely literal titles, but they shouldn't be misleading, which just causes head-scratching for the masses. Super Fun Night would work for, say, a two-hour movie or for its fellow short-lived, awfully named ABC sitcom Mixology.
10. Black Box: Be honest. When you first heard this, you thought people were talking about The Blacklist. When you realized it was, in fact, called Black Box, you thought it was about a crashed plane (unrelated to Lost, of course). Nope, the title actually refers to the brain, because the preposterously campy show was about a brilliant, bipolar, off-her-meds
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Marvel has a narcissism problem. DC doesn't feel the need to go around inserting its name into every DC project title. You know why? Because they know it makes them sound like douches. Titles are best when they're short and to the point. What point does adding Marvel's before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. serve other than to remind us how much the show's relationship with the Marvel universe ruined the series? Also, screw you for making us write out S.H.I.E.L.D. It's SHIELD. Deal with it.
8. Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23: We understand. You might be able to say "bitch" on TV, but you don't want to alienate potential viewers with light profanity in the title. Sure. But why the rhyme? Why is it necessary to know "the B"'s address before you even watch the show? And we take it back. By censoring "bitch," we all sound like asses every time we're forced to say "the B."
7. Trophy Wife: No one this side of Alanis Morissette loves irony more than ABC. Trophy Wife was a great show that was not about a trophy wife at all! Har har. Creators and ABC think they're being clever by "owning" a stereotype or label, but the fact is, there is a very small segment of viewers who actually get the irony. The rest are either turned off before giving the show a chance or just confused as hell if they watch.
6. Cougar Town: Probably the most infamous of ABC's ironic and misleading titles, Cougar Town regretted its name almost immediately. Rather than being about a wink-wink-nudge-nudge "cougar" getting her groove back, the show became about a group of alcoholics hanging around suburbia, drinking wine and throwing pennies in cans. At least they found a way to make the best of a bad situation.
Cashmere Mafia: This sounds like something that would follow MILF Island and Gals on the Town.
4. How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life): tl;dr
3. GCB: Most shows that were adapted from and retained book titles were exempt from this list, but not this gem. After censoring Don't Trust the B----, ABC was pressured by Christian groups to change Good Christian Bitches, which was based on Kim Gatlin's novel of the same name. And so, the Desperate Housewives wannabe became Good Christian Belles. OK, fine. But then ABC inexplicably got letter-choppin'-happy and excised the whole title down to the obtusely unclear GCB. Because that means something to people?!
2. Selfie: Executive producer Emily Kapnek has defended the title for being "provocative," which encompasses everything that is wrong with the name (and the show). Selfie isn't a provocative word. It is the opposite. It is overplayed and dated — much like the views spouted off about technology and millennials on the show itself. And no viewer with any self-respect wants to get caught with a show called Selfie on their DVR. But at least this one isn't misleading, so we have to give ABC credit for that.
1. Fresh off the Boat: Ironic racism. Great.
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