Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Who are the most annoying characters in television history?



As a fan of television, I can tell you there are just as many characters to hate as love. No, it's true.

And I’m not talking characters like Joffrey on Game of Thrones – characters that are meant to be hated. I’m talking about characters we’re supposed to love but we really just loathe because they’re so grating and forced. And sometimes we even hate them just because they have a bad haircut. Yeah, I am that shallow.

A lot of these characters take the form of children – and they’re usually introduced as a last ditch effort to save a show. Anyone remember Sam on Different Strokes? Or Oliver on The Brady Bunch?

Why did this occur to me? Mostly because someone on Facebook said they hated Carl on The Walking Dead more than all other characters. I then proceeded to list a litany of my most hated characters – which kind of turned into a fun little exercise.

So, without further ado, here they are, the most annoying characters (in my world) in television history:

10. Wesley Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation: There were a couple of science fiction kids that could have gone into this spot. I had someone lobbying hard for Boxey from the original Battlestar Galactica. I was actually leaning towards Elizabeth from the original V (you know, the magically growing half alien hybrid that saves the day with convenient magical powers in the final seconds of V: The Final Battle) before I ultimately decided on Wesley Crusher. Why? Even Wil Wheaton admits that he understands why the character of Wesley was so hated. How, on a ship full of geniuses, Wesley always managed to save the day when an android and engineering dynamo couldn't is beyond me. Wheaton ultimately left the show because he didn't like how hated the character was -- a fact he now makes fun of on the Big Bang Theory -- but the departure of Wesley was actually a relief to us all. In hindsight, though, I bet Wheaton is lamenting the loss of residuals he could be getting from reruns. Make it so.

9. Dawson Leery, Dawson's Creek: Dawson Leery turned out to be such a lame leading character that his best friend ended up with his girl in the final episode of the series. What does that mean? Even the writer that created him realized he was a dud and gave the sidekick the happy ending. That's no joke. From the minute we were introduced to Dawson, fans realized he was a bit full of himself.  He wasn't especially loyal. He wasn't especially kind. Heck, he wasn't especially talented, no matter what everyone kept trying to tell us. In the grand scheme of things, Dawson's closest friend -- who had been in love with him since she was a child -- went for his D-average other friend that ended up working as a bartender in their hometown even though he was the director of a television show in Hollywood. That doesn't say a lot about your personality Dawson.

8. April Kepner, Grey's Anatomy: When you're the most annoying character on a show full of  annoying characters, you know you have problems. To be fair, when the Mercy West characters were introduced at the beginning of season five, it was hard to like any of them. Thankfully, the writers saw fit to kill off Reid and Charles at the end of season five. While I applaud the decision to keep Avery, I have to ask what kind of crack pipe was being smoked when the writers decided to keep April? April is whiny, self-involved, judgmental and shrill. We had to live through her virgin diatribes, to her slutty sex with Jackson, to being torn between two men to blah, blah, blah. I just don't care. The mere sound of April's voice makes me flash to fingernails on a chalkboard. If I'm being honest, there's not a lot to like about Grey's Anatomy anymore. I'm down to Christina and Alex -- and Christina is out of here at the end of this season. I'm not sure Alex is enough to keep me tuning in -- but I am sure April is enough to make me want to tune out.

7. Jon Snow, Game of Thrones: Women everywhere are going to lambast this choice -- and  yet I stand by it. From the moment I saw his frou-frou hair and his perky little pout I knew that Jon Snow was going to get on my last nerve. As fans, we're supposed to sympathize with his plight and feel sorry for his childhood -- all things I do feel -- and yet I'm not rooting for Jon Snow. It doesn't help that Kit Harrington has the acting range of a a cardboard cutout. The character of Jon Snow, though, it just so empty. He's running around with the wildlings and betraying his little girlfriend and all because duty and honor dictate him to do . . . yeah, what? What is he even doing? He's just so bland. When everyone is taking sides in Westeros, I'm sticking with the colorful characters I care about: Arya and Tyrion.

6. Nikki and Paolo, Lost: This one is easy, I know. I don't know anyone that liked Nikki and Paolo. I'm sure, when the Lost writers first thought of bringing some background crash survivors to the forefront, it sounded like a genius idea. I just have to wonder why they picked Nikki and Paolo. While I will say that the episode where they showed what had happened on the island through Nikki and Paolo's eyes was hilarious, nothing else about these characters was even engaging. I often found myself resenting their presence in storylines when other characters, like Charlie and Sayid, were often sitting around and doing nothing during the third season. All that being said, the writers of Lost realized their mistake relatively quickly and did something that most shows should take heed of: They killed off the dead weight quickly. Not only were Nikki and Paolo killed off, they were actually buried alive in a fun episode that had fans of the series cheering -- and even got a nod to their deaths in the final season. That's why Lost ruled.

5. Susan Mayer, Desperate Housewives: There are characters that grate -- and then there's Susan Mayer. For full disclosure, here, I've never been a huge fan of Teri Hatcher. She played the character of Penny on MacGyver, and I wanted to beat the snot out of her every time her shrill little voice screeched "MacGyver!" even when I was a teenager. Still, the character of Susan was supposed to be endearingly goofy. Instead, she was annoyingly stupid and aggravatingly judgmental. While most of the characters on Desperate Housewives got a happy ending, I don't think it's coincidental that the ever-annoying Susan is the one who didn't. Mike was probably relieved to die because it meant he wouldn't have to listen to her constant litany of complaints ever again.

4. Dawn Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I have nothing against Michelle Trachtenberg -- although characters she portrayed almost made this list twice (sorry Georgina fans). I decided to go a different way with Gossip Girl at the last second, though. Dawn Summers has to be one of the worst ideas in the history of television. I'm not sure what Joss Whedon was thinking when he decided to introduce Dawn -- but the character was ordained by the end of the third season (check out that shared Buffy and Faith dream) and she didn't show up until the end of the first episode of the fifth season. So they did give the character some thought -- which defies all forms of logic. While she was bratty -- and suspicious -- throughout early season five episodes, the character's nonstop screaming and whining became so grating in season six that there were times I really wanted to reach through the television and slam Dawn's head into a door. While the writers tried to tone Dawn down in the final season, I'm fairly certain my hate for the character was forever cemented by the fact that Dawn teamed up against her sister -- the woman that literally took a swan dive into hell to save Dawn -- and kicked her out of her own house. I think I agree with everyone that says that the one that should have heeded Dawn's screeched "Get out! Get out! Get out!" was Dawn herself.

3. Andrea, The Walking Dead: This choice created a lot of debate, too. There were some votes for Lori, one vote for Carl and my ultimate vote for Andrea. Why Andrea? From the minute we were introduced to her she was whining and unhappy. Sure, it's the zombie apocalypse, no one is going to be happy. Andrea had to make those around her as miserable as possible, though. After Amy's death, she was angry that Dale saved her life, then she pouted through most of her time on the farm. She talked down to Lori because she was above "women's work" and then she shot Daryl. Once separated from the group, she latched on to a stronger character to protect her (Michonne) and then turned on that character to hop into a warm bed with a sociopath because she's inherently disloyal. Even after she found out what the Governor had done -- and to whom -- she still continued to make excuses for him and call Rick "cold." No one misses you, Andrea. Rest in pieces.

2. Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother: Has there ever been a more annoying leading man on a
sitcom that managed to last nine years? I think the only reason the character survived was because we were waiting for him to meet the mother. That was the whole premise of the show. In the case of How I Met Your Mother, the success of the program rests firmly on the shoulders of the supporting cast -- and by supporting cast I mean Barney, Lily and Marshall -- because Robin is just as annoying as Ted. Blaming Ted for all of my irritation with How I Met Your Mother isn't fair. He's not the one that let the show go on too long or ruined Barney by saddling him with Robin, but Ted's whiny personality and bizarre personality shifts make the character so hard to watch that most people I know have given up caring who the mother is, or how she and Ted wind up together.

1. Screech Powers, Saved By The Bell: It seems to easy, but it's also too easy to ignore. He was created as a dim bulb cohort to Zack Morris and occasional irritant to A.C. Slater. We were supposed to feel sorry for him because Lisa was always ignoring him. We were supposed to root for him because Zack was always using him for his schemes. We were supposed to believe that he would, some day, find a way to overcome his "nerdiness" and get the girl. None of that happened, though. Most of the time, I was just wishing he'd shut up. Saved By The Bell was never going to be Emmy-worthy television. It is a part of my childhood, though, and I have fond memories of every character save for one: Screech. Screech was a character that was merely a caricature -- someone that didn't have any depth -- and the fact that he's the most memorable character from the show is irksome, to say the least.

Honorable mentions go to:

Steve Urkel, Family Matters: I know this one is a gimme, but he still had to make the list. Truth be
told, he should be higher up, but the mere thought of writing more than two sentences about the character gave me a migraine.

Bill Henrickson, Big Love: You would think I would have a problem with three women agreeing to marry the same man, but it's the man in the scenario I have a problem with. Bill Henrickson was condescending, immoral and hypocritical. There's a moment in the first season of the show when Sara tells her father what every woman was thinking, about how he's essentially teaching her she's not good enough for one man to devote himself to her, that I think sums up Bill Henrickson to perfection. Let's just say he got what was coming to him in the end.

Kim Bauer, 24: This is another gimme. While I can see why Kim was necessary to the plot in the first season, why did the writers try to keep her around after that?

Joey, Blossom: Whoa! While Joey Lawrence might have been a sex symbol in the 1990s, his schtick got old pretty quickly. That being said, Lawrence is less annoying as an adult -- and a lot hotter since he ditched the mullet.


Andrea Zuckerman, Beverly Hills 90210: I don't hate Andrea because she has glasses or she was
ugly or because she looked like she was 40 when her character was supposed to be in high school. I hate Andrea because she was a whiny know-it-all and I was glad when Andrea departed Beverly Hills for whatever old folks home she moved in to.

Lady Edith, Downton Abbey: Edith isn't even annoying really. It's more like she's so pathetic she's annoying. I know you're supposed to root for a character when they're constantly being kicked around -- but I usually just want to keep kicking Edith.

Michelle Tanner, Full House: You got it dude! Enough said.

Dan Humphrey, Gossip Girl: He was supposed to be the everyman that everyone could relate to and, instead, he was the whiner that everyone liked to make fun of. Pretty impressive feat there.

Lana Lang, Smallville: I know that super hero love interests are often vapid, but Lana gave new meaning the term lifeless. For her entire run on the show, I think I only saw her change her expression twice.

The cops, The Following: The showrunners promised that this season wasn't going to be full of inept cops. We've had four episodes -- and each episode has featured inept cops. This cult must surely have magic powers to make the cops looks so bad.

What do you think? Who is the most annoying character in television history?

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