“Can RuPaul Stage a Protest?” The Most Scathing Critiques of Work It

Is ABC's Work It the worst sitcom of all time? Critics — and Twitter users — seem to think so.

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On Tuesday during primetime, ABC premiered a new sitcom called Work It. The least judgmental way to sum up the premise of the show is thus: Two unemployed men dress up as women in order to get jobs in pharmaceutical sales. The cross-dressing plot is idiotic, and has seen far better days, for example Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot, Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, and the Tom Hanks TV series Bosom Buddies.

But there is something more deeply irksome about Work It that renders it deeply grating. Perhaps because in this day and in this economy, women are actually less likely to have a job than men. Maybe because when characters make “jokes” like “When the women take over, they’ll make pride illegal. That and eating on the toilet,” it is both offensive and, more unforgivable, not funny. Perhaps because as a society we have moved past a joke that was played out in the ’80s. Whatever the cause, the fact is this: Television critics hate Work It, and the American audience isn’t too fond of it either. Just for fun we decided to round up some of the most vitriolic critiques of the show.

(MORE: Work It: Say No to the Dress)

“If the Metacritic rating for this new show isn’t the lowest score ever for a television comedy, I confess, I’ll be a little disappointed in my fellow TV scribes.”—Maureen Ryan wrote on the Huffington Post. But wait, there’s more! Ryan continued, “Here are just a few of the five-dollar words I’m tempted to use to describe this half-hour endurance test about two men who dress as women in order to get decent jobs: Abhorrent. Vile. Noxious. Execrable. Repugnant. “

TIME‘s own James Poniewozik had this to say about the show: Work It is bad dumb, memorably bad dumb, the kind of bad dumb show you will use in years to come as a benchmark for other bad sitcoms.”

Noting “the year is young, but you can already see 2012’s worst new show,” Daniel Feinberg at HitFix wrote, Work It is stuck with a genuinely stupid, somewhat offensive and entirely factually fantastical premise, which is a bad thing, but not nearly as bad as the execution, which is uninspired and amateurish to an impressive extreme.”

The AV Club‘s Todd VanDerWerff summarized it thus, Work It is awful …But it’s fascinatingly awful, in that way where you wonder how the hell something like this got on TV in the year 2012.”

Over at Television Without Pity, Angel Cohn put out a call to action, “Can RuPaul stage a protest and help get this show cancelled immediately?” Now that is a proposal we can get behind.

Want to know what the average viewer is saying? Check out the hashtag #WorkItThoughts on Twitter. It rounds up the reactions of the American public watching the premiere. Sample tweets: “So this is how it all ends. Life is over. #WorkItThoughts” and “This may be the lowest point in my television-viewing life. #workitthoughts.”

Did you watch Work It? Do you think the show deserves the harsh criticism? Let us know in the comments.

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