Aug. 8, 2011 at 10:23 AM ET
For years, health experts have insisted we shouldn't eat while watching TV. The thing is, they may be right -- though not for the reasons they think.
Many love digging into a pizza or a bowl of cereal while watching a favorite series, but some of the shows really ought to come with a food-advisory warning. Here, I rate five popular shows on our Gross-o-Meter, ranging from 1 (safe) to 10 (you will instantly regurgitate).
You have been warned!
Why, oh, why? Hint: If the title of a series includes the name of a bodily fluid, you're best off avoiding anything particularly ... well, saucy while watching.
Gory details: With the undead running around, all rules of human anatomy are void, which is how one person can turn the other's head all the way around while having sex, or a weepy vampire can shed tears of blood. But "True Blood" has its own unappetizing menu of deer neck and heart soufflé that just doesn't go well with a real-life meal. Save this one for your resting period between courses.
Gross-o-Meter: 9 (for open chest wounds)
Why, oh, why? It's a hospital, we get it. People are sick and in need operations. But "House" has spent the last seven seasons sharing the insides of its patients ... literally.
Gory details: Having practically invented the body-cavity camera zoom, "House" has also served up projectile vomiting, eye explosions and a woman who yanked needles out of her brain. But it wasn't until just this season past that the show crossed some kind of disgusting Rubicon, when Dr. House performed surgery ... in a bathtub ... on himself. Yeee-aaah!
Gross-o-Meter: 9 (for going where no show has gone, or should go, before)
'Man vs. Wild'
Why, oh, why?If you think trying to survive in the great outdoors is like a Disney cartoon where birds bring you a chiffon robe and squirrels assemble a nest of nuts at your feet, you've never been camping with Bear Grylls.
Gory details: A former UK Special Forces man, Grylls can be amazing (jumping out of helicopters into the ocean) or daftly informative (surviving falling into a frozen lake by stripping bare). But he will also put just about anything in his mouth in the name of survival, including his own urine and fresh yak's blood (here, fresh equals "still spurting from the neck of the beast"). But he can occasionally combine disgusting with practical, as when he skinned a dead seal to create a wetsuit.
Gross-o-Meter: 7 (mitigated largely by his very fit form)
Why, oh, why? You know the drill: Surgery, hospital, sick people. But the grossness paired alongside the doctors' soap-opera romances is enough to give a person whiplash.
Gory details: The only reason "Grey's Anatomy" has a lower gore count than most other shows is that it's on broadcast TV. But the truth is, being on ABC means Shonda Rimes' writers have to be creative with the graphics -- which means the faces being peeled back during surgery, the slip-and-fall that turned an icicle impaling, or even the guy who self-amputated his leg with a chainsaw were more disgusting than on cable because so much was left up to the imagination. What viewers don't see is usually far more horrific than what they do see.
Gross-o-Meter: 7 (because we all have sick, twisted minds)
Why, oh, why? With its mix of toilet humor, small children and animation, "South Park" has spent the last 15 seasons routinely redefining "hilariously gross."
Gory details:Talk about subversive: "South Park" has gotten audiences to identify with an adorable talking poo, sympathize with an 8-year-old who wants breast implants and not turn away when the sexually ambiguous Mr. Garrison delved into zoophilia. And then there's Kenny, who dies pretty much every episode ... and it's funny! Yet bubbling up beneath every retelling of "The Human Centipede," the warm humanity of the kids (who are the heroes, even Cartman ... eventually) takes some of the sting out of the gross. Still, keep away from the Baby Ruth bars before checking out any Christmas episodes.
What's the grossest episode of a show you ever watched? Share your thoughts on the Clicker's Facebook page!