I don’t like the shows my parents watch. Every time I come over for an evening visit, I find myself rolling my eyes at their viewing choices, whether it’s one of the many cop drama/comedies out there that are all somehow very much the same thing or the fantastical speculations of spendthrift treasure hunters.
But I am no better. We all have our guilty pleasure shows, and some of my favorite cable offerings are objectively terrible, and my father doesn’t hesitate to let me know that either.
“Hotel Impossible” is a show that has ruined any hotel stay for me. Show host Anthony Melchiorri goes around the country helping struggling hotels figure out what’s going wrong and how to fix it, with interior designers and construction crews doing repairs and giving the owners a blueprint to continue updates themselves.
But it’s the walk-throughs that are the star of the show. Melchiorri covers everything and finds everything in those hotel rooms, from the dirty to the outright dangerous. The UV light he brings along adds to the spectacle.
Shows of this kind also feature the host dishing out a full plate of tough love. The hotel owner will deny any fault, probably blame the recession and Melchiorri will work for the next 20 minutes trying to break their pride and set them right.
With 110 episodes to the series, I will never be able to trust a hotel room again.
“Bar Rescue” is basically the same show but for bars. It’s funny, I don’t drink alcohol but I love this show way more than I should. Maybe it makes me feel a little better for never being interested in the bar scene.
Host Jon Taffer is a towering New Yorker who is abrasive, confrontational and not afraid to make a scene; he’s also the best part of the show. He is called in by struggling bar owners to find out what’s wrong with their bars and how to correct them.
The show is formulaic, with all episodes beginning with a supposedly undercover customer going into the bar ahead of Taffer to see what the typical customer experience really is. When things inevitably get too crazy, Taffer marches in and howls about everything that went wrong.
A walk-through of the bar is also done and horrors and mismanagement like that of “Hotel Impossible” are found. It’s anybody’s guess how much of that is all staged, but the amount of ooze that can collect in a beer tap truly is a sight to behold.
The bar is given a redesign and new drink menus based on a concept that Taffer and his team are sure is a good fit for the area’s market. Most of the time, everyone’s full of smiles by the end, but a final few lines at the end give an update a few months after the show left to see how things are going.
I have a soft spot for the paranormal, whether it’s ghosts or cryptids. There are plenty of ghost shows on cable, but most fall into the same rut of exploring a supposedly haunted location with an emphasis on mysterious opening and shutting doors, “unexplained” footsteps and that sort of thing.
But there was one show that understood better than others that the thing about hauntings is that it requires a good story.
“Haunted Collector” brings in a paranormal investigation team led by John Zaffis, a man who runs a museum filled with haunted artifacts, to investigate haunted locations to find out what can be explained away and if there is a haunted object responsible for any of the activity.
While the walk-throughs are taking place by night, a pair researches the location, trying to find out if any traumatic events occurred there. It gives the show a bit more of a mystery vibe than other ghost shows, even some of the stories they come up with stretch the imagination.
If a haunted item is found, Zaffis leaves it up to the owner to decide what to do with it. Sometimes a blessing or binding the negative energy with salt is enough to undo the paranormal activity, but sometimes the owners want it removed from their property and give permission for it go with Zaffis to his museum.
An incredibly entertaining show, it’s a pity that it only has 30 episodes to its name.