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TOP 10 WORST

1. BOSTON PUBLIC (Fox/first season)

Viewers might expect a series about high-school life to contain some sexual references, but David E. Kelley's over-the-top drama is nearly obsessed with teacher-student sexual relations. Story- lines from the first season included a teacher kissing a student; another teacher's prolonged sexual affair with another student; a female cheerleading coach being (wrongly) accused of molesting the girls on her squad; a deceased teacher's journal describing his sexual fantasies about a young girl; and a young teacher who is sexually involved with a recent graduate telling her friends that the best part of the affair is the feeling of power in having sex with a student. Other objectionable plot lines have included a female candidate for class president performing oral sex on a male opponent in exchange for his support; the cheerleading squad being coached in a routine more appropriate for Las Vegas than a high school; and a teenaged student earning extra cash by working as a stripper. The series has also included brief nudity, gun violence, and foul language, more than earning its place at the top of our "Worst" list.

2. WWF SMACKDOWN! (UPN/ranked #1 last season)

Since last season, the WWF has toned down some of the offensive elements on Smackdown!, but this family-hour sports-entertainment program is still entirely inappropriate for its time slot and for its young audience, which includes over 2 million children. References to masturbation and prostitution, common last season, have nearly disappeared, but episodes still regularly contain sexual innuendo and vulgar references to anatomy. Smackdown! has also included more frequent, though less graphic, instances of violence since last season. Wrestlers regularly attack one another with objects ranging from ladders to metal folding chairs, and blood is frequently shown. Episodes also continue to feature obscene language.

3. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (WB/ranked #4 last season)

This series about a college-aged vampire slayer and her cadre of friends and fellow demon-slayers featured depictions of graphic, bloody violence and perverse sexual situations with greater frequency and intensity this season. One particularly offensive episode included simulated sex and implied oral sex between Spike, a vampire, and the Buffybot, a robot that Spike commissioned after the real Buffy rejected his advances. Another episode featured Spike and Drucilla, another vampire, being sexually aroused by targeting a couple, breaking their necks, and sucking their blood in a public place. Buffy is moving to UPN this fall.

4. DAWSON'S CREEK
(WB/ranked #1 in 1999, not ranked last season)

Dawson's Creek this season followed the senior year of Dawson Leery and his friends at Capeside High School. Joey spent most of the season debating whether or not she should lose her virginity to Dawson's former best friend, Pacey. In addition to Joey's loss of her virginity, other adult themes also surfaced this year, including Andie overdosing on Ecstacy, Pacey getting arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, and Jen sharing the sordid details of her sexually active past with a therapist.

5. THAT ‘70S SHOW (Fox/not ranked last season)

Set in suburban Wisconsin during the 1970s, That ‘70s Show focuses on nice-guy high-school student Eric and his friends. The series is especially pernicious because the light-hearted treatment of teen sex and drug use leaves viewers with the misguided notion that all teenagers are (or are expected to be) sexually active; that smoking pot is good, clean fun; and that there's nothing wrong with pornography. Questions of risk or responsibility are seldom if ever addressed.

6. FRIENDS (NBC/not ranked last season)

Friends' absence from our rankings last year, and its low ranking on this year's list, attests to the rising raunchiness of prime time TV. By maintaining its usual level of sexual content, this long-running hit about six friends in lower Manhattan wasn't a contender for the top of this year's list, but was still racy enough to earn a spot in the middle, given its inappropriate 8 p.m. time slot. Much of the show's humor stems from sexual references or outright sexual situations. One episode was built around the creation of a fake foreskin, while the season finale ended with the hint that an unmarried character was pregnant.

7. ALLY MCBEAL (Fox/ranked #6 last season)

Don't let the whimsical tone fool you. Ally McBeal continues to be one of the most sex-obsessed series on television. Plotlines this season have included many court cases involving sexually predatory bosses, adultery, and sex addiction. The show also consistently mocks marriage and fidelity, and strives for cheap laughs with jokes based on kinky and bizarre sexual practices. Characters frequently engage in consequence-free casual sex, which is treated as normal behavior for single adults.

8. ANGEL (WB/ not ranked last season)

This Buffy spinoff centers on Angel, a more-than-250-year-old vampire with a soul. Last season Angel moved from Sunnydale to Los Angeles to reclaim his humanity by saving lost souls. Not surprisingly, given its progenitor, Angel regularly features graphic violence, offensive sexual content, and foul language. One episode this season showed Angel pushing Darla, a female vampire, onto a table and then through a glass door moments before the two were shown in bed together taking off each other's clothing. In a later episode, Angel set Darla and another vampire on fire. Their screams were heard, and their bloodied flesh was shown as they attempted to cool their burnt bodies with water from a nearby hydrant.

9. HYPE (WB/first season)

One of the most offensive programs ever on the WB, Hype was a sketch-comedy series, much like Mad TV or Saturday Night Live, which took aim at high-profile celebrities and politicians in a series of short, tasteless skits. Sexual content, including references to masturbation, adultery, phone sex, and prostitution, was rampant. Foul language was also pervasive. Mercifully, Hype has been cancelled.

10. BIG BROTHER (CBS/first season)

The first cast of contestants on this reality game show treated viewers to long, graphic discussions of masturbation and sexual fantasies, as well as a torrent of foul language. Most of the s- and f-word uses were bleeped or silenced by CBS censors, but on live editions both words were audible on a handful of occasions. The series wasn't a ratings bonanza, so the next edition promises racier content such as can be seen on the hit European versions.

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