Who we choose to love on television seems like a decision that we own all to ourselves, but that’s not necessarily how it works. In real life, we judge a person based on purposely framed actions and interactions. When it comes to television, characters’ actions are delivered in ways that can alter how we interpret them. There’s also loyalty that sways us, comparisons to others around them, or the overall mood of a show that changes everything. Well, we wanted to try and eliminate some of those factors. We wanted to take a look at characters as objectively as possible and try to make an evaluation of them without the standard influences. Our conclusions might rub you the wrong way.
Over the years, certain characters have become untouchable. No matter how annoying, entitled, or even disturbing a character is, fans overlook all the bad and love them unconditionally. By taking the position of an outsider, we can see how crazy this is, even if we’re normally right there alongside you fawning over the character. So we present you with an argument. We suggest that maybe the love that these characters get is a touch unwarranted. Not all of it. Obviously, when so many people love the character, there must be something there to love. It can’t all be manufactured. But we’re here to argue that maybe it’s time you take a harder look at your favorite characters. They might not be the angels you thought they were. Here are 15 TV Characters That Everyone Loves But Really Shouldn’t.
15. Sheldon Cooper
Okay, so maybe Sheldon is no longer the loved character he once was. Over the years, The Big Bang Theory has become more and more ridiculed, but still, multiple millions of people tune in each week to see what the gang will get up to next. While those who voice their frustrations with Sheldon may be more vocal, they are most certainly the minority. Either way, Sheldon is a piece of work. The most common defense for Sheldon’s antics is that he doesn’t understand social cues. Baloney. This guy hangs out in a social setting that even social butterflies would be jealous of. We don’t buy this. He’s constantly hanging out with a group full of people and he’s shown the capacity to learn and evolve before, so that means his selfishness, his abusiveness toward his friends and girlfriends, and his arrogance are all choices. You can defend this monster all you like and say “that’s so Sheldon,” but what you’re really saying is “that’s so jack*ssish” or another word that means the same but is easier to pronounce.
14. Abby Sciuto
When you look back on NCIS, all the way back to season one, you won’t see much difference from where it is today. It’s a show that draws in mammoth audiences each week by doing the exact same thing in each episode without fail. Change is usually necessary, but apparently, not for NCIS. The worst offense in the show is seen in the character of Abby Sciuto (Pauly Perrette). In the beginning, Abby gave the show a bit of edge with her goth look and loud music. She was meant to be in her early 20’s and it sort of made sense, even if it was a bit cringe-worthy. Today, like two decades later, Abby is in her 40’s and she remains unchanged. Now it’s embarrassing us. It’s time to put away childish things, NCIS. Let Abby grow up. Fans will call it quirkiness, but outsiders look at her as a desperate attempt to stay hip, both at the individual level and for the show as a whole.
13. Christina Yang
Many of the Grey’s Anatomy fans applaud the character of Christina Yang (Sandra Oh) for being so strong and independent. She tells it like she sees it! That’s crap. The truth is she’s a rude b*tch. Let’s not get the two confused. There’s strength and then there’s cold-heartedness. This is a soulless woman who cares about no one but herself. People laugh at her antics and defend her by saying she’s ambitious or driven, but this is no excuse. If she were part of a magical kingdom like Game of Thrones, this attitude might be acceptable, but she’s part of a hospital. She’s playing an ego-maniacal witch who would be an absolute nightmare to work with. Maybe the love is coming from people who identify with her, pretending they’re that awesome and that everyone around them is a total doofus. Try actually identifying with her colleagues for a change. Do that and you might start to hate this nasty human.
12. Don Draper
There’s a good potion of the population who love to love alpha male characters like Don Draper (Jon Hamm) on Mad Men. To be fair, Draper is despised by a good number of folks too. That’s part of what makes his character so interesting. That being said, he’s loved and excused more than he’s hated. Like other womanizers on TV, Draper gets away with some pretty vile crimes. In this case, fans of the character point to his upbringing or the times, which is fine. There’s an argument to be made that we shouldn’t use a contemporary lens to judge a character from a different environment, and that’s a fair position. But the show is being shown to a contemporary audience. We have no other choice but to use the lens we’re given. For that reason, Draper is an antihero, except that the hero bit shouldn’t be heroic. The fantasy pulls at us to idolize him, but we must resist. This man is a sleazebag. He lies and deceives constantly to better his position. The fantasy should be getting ahead using good qualities not by any means necessary (even if that’s the reality).
11. Carrie Bradshaw
Ugh! Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is the single worst thing. The only reason she’s not higher on this list is because saying we hate her is not that radical. At first, her character was new and inventive. A woman who finds out that life goes on with or without a man. This is something we don’t see on TV very often. But, over the course of the series, while all the other female characters change and grow, Carrie stays exactly the same. All the little quirks she has are overblown and she just becomes the worst version of herself. In the end, she totally undoes everything that her character seemed to stand for. She always thought she needed a man, but she really didn’t. Until she did again. What? Go away, Carrie.
The Spike v Angel talk had the gigantic Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom split for years. You can still hear a fight between Team Angel and Team Spike if you listen closely. There was always a really solid debate there until “the episode that shall not be named” aired. Nah, we’ll name it. It was “Seeing Red,” the one where Spike tried to r*pe Buffy. This episode showed something to us. Attempted r*pe is something that there’s no coming back from. As much as Spike fans (which we are) want to argue that Spike redeemed himself by travelling to the ends of the Earth to get his soul back, he didn’t. It’s an image that no one can erase. S*xual violence, animal abuse, and violence toward children are deal-breakers. Spike’s crimes could never be washed away. When he left the show and went to Angel, it was a bit easier to separate him from the crime, but on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he was dead to us.
9. Tyrion Lannister
Granted, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) on Game of Thrones is a lot better than in the books, but there’s a lot of unwarranted praise being thrown around from Game of Thrones fans and Tyrion gets far more than his fair share. There was a time when Tyrion was the most beloved character on the show. He was showing himself to be the best in a family of vile characters and we loved him for that. But then Jaime had his redemptive arc that Tyrion became more and more selfish. Add in the fact that we’ve seen almost no growth from Tyrion in the entirety of the series. He’s still the lustful and conceited imp that he always was, even if he’s gained more importance now. He still blames everything on being a dwarf, as if his life hasn’t been awesome compared to the vast majority of characters. It’s time that we stop being afraid to swim against the current. Tyrion is a spoiled brat who has committed crimes that we would roast others for. Just because he used to be better than the worst, it is not a reason good enough to consider loving him unconditionally.
8. Barney Stinson
At first, we all thought that Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) on How I Met Your Mother was the greatest. Just think of it. Famously gay actor Harris, playing a womanizer on television. Hilarious! But Barney is a borderline r*pist. He strategically plots to have s*x with emotionally vulnerable women using questionable means, such as getting them drunk. He’s used countless lies to bed them and developed countless systems of keeping them away after he’s slept with them. Sure, this is comedy, but there comes a time when the Flanderization of a character’s worst quality should be called out. Fans will argue that by the end, Barney redeems himself by promising not to lie anymore. However, that was the end, like the second last episode of the series. Is it so crazy to suggest that this was too little too late?
7. Howard Wolowitz
Howard is a lovable creep. At least that’s what they say. That’s his thing, right? But wait a minute. We all know that Howard (Simon Helberg) does some disgusting things on The Big Bang Theory, like that time he spied on those models tanning on their private balcony or all the nasty things he says to Penny even though she has told him numerous times that he makes her feel uncomfortable. However, since she doesn’t always berate him or get full-out angry, Howard thinks it’s OK. Where did he learn this? The one time Penny does flip out, he cries about being mistreated and she apologizes. Howard is a pure dirt bag. He suggests that his own insecurities lead him to act that way toward women. That means he’s aware of the reason why he’s a creep, but he’s incapable of learning from that knowledge. This is an intelligent person we’re talking about. He should at least be able to hear and respect the wishes of the women he terrifies.
6. Piper Chapman
Plenty of people online have soured on Piper from Orange is the New Black, but she’s still the audience surrogate, the character most fans identify with. At first, we accepted her faults. She was scared and timid and…well…kind of interesting. Over time, the characters around her became more interesting and the stories focused on them more and Piper became more of an a*s. By the time season three is in full flight, she’s almost unbearable. The writers attempted to turn her into some antihero, a la Walter White, but this was never effective and never convincing. Piper always just appeared to be playing dress-up and the clothes never fit. She should have never changed from the scared little yuppie because that’s the only role that ever fit her. Now we’ve had enough and can’t wait until her sentence is finished.
5. Frasier Crane
Maybe it’s been a while since you clicked on Frasier, so this might come out of left field. It’s probably true that the real Frasier fans understand that Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) is a very flawed character. That’s the point, they might argue. But we have some issues with that as well. Now, there’s no debating that the show’s creators meant for Frasier to be a pompous a*s. His “holier than thou façade” can be mind-numbingly irritating if you have never been exposed to that world. However, Frasier gets himself in trouble with this. Many of the personal dramas are a result of him being an uptight and pompous jerk. Our problem comes when the writers let him off the hook at the end of each episode, even making him out to be the good guy. We’re not so sure what the message is in these cases. Does Frasier win because sometimes the bad guys win in life? Or does he win because they think Frasier was right? Tough to say.
With Leonard Nimoy‘s recent passing, there’s been a lot of Spock love pouring out into all channels. Spock was a part of something massive and he became an icon. Still, the character of Spock was insufferable. Spock parades around as a logical being, but he’s a moron. He’s incapable of seeing that people of all shapes and sizes are selfish. He’s incapable of seeing that he’s selfish. His antics get the Enterprise in trouble all the time because he convinces the crew to let him try and negotiate with the villains. Once or twice is fine, but learn from your mistakes man. It’s not like he loves us humans either. In fact, he hates humanity so much that he wants any trace of it purged from his soul. Like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, people cling to Spock’s neuroses and pretend they identify with him. Yeah, naïveté is cute in its infancy, but it gets tiring and we’re definitely tired of Spock’s crap long ago.
3. Jesse Pinkman
The characters in Breaking Bad experienced change to an incredible degree over the course of the show. In almost all cases, change is better than no change. However, change has to be realistic. For the most part, the change in Breaking Bad characters was spot on. Walter White’s transition from good to antihero was one of the best arcs on television. His redemptive arc or his attempt at a redemptive arc was a bit too quick for our liking, but that’s another matter entirely. The one that irked us as it relates to this list was Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) change. Yeah, Jesse was awesome. We know how you feel. He says “b*tch” and it’s funny. In the early goings, Jesse was easily the show’s best character, but his transition to the moral center was totally unsubstantiated. You can argue that the writers never intended for him to become the moral center of the show, but they sure as hell tried. Jesse was used and manipulated throughout the entire show, which made others feel for him and allowed them to believe that he wasn’t truly the person that he appeared to be on the surface. See how torn up he is about kids dying? Ahh, that’s all garbage! If those same kids came to him looking for meth, he probably wouldn’t think twice about selling it to them. His values are all messed up and constant crying about it in the end doesn’t make up for it.
2. Daryl Dixon
Whenever a character gets too popular, there’s a large group of people online who become dissenters. This has happened to a certain degree with Daryl (Norman Reedus), but he’s still the favorite. In the beginning, there was Daryl and there was love. The Walking Dead fans loved his skills and loved his bad*ssery. Over time, his fandom grew. He became a sensation. You may have heard the giggles as people yelled, if Daryl dies, we riot! This is obviously a joke. If people haven’t stopped watching the show by this point, they’ll never stop watching. But Daryl’s had a get-out-of-jail free card for far too long. His whole thing is just unbelievable. Yeah, we get that the show is a fiction, but come on. The guy looks at the ground for a second and he knows how many zombies there are, where they went to, and what they ate for lunch. It’s total crap and people are like, yep, look how awesome Daryl is. He’s not awesome. He’s a one-note character that hasn’t changed since the beginning. It’s time to grow or get lost.
1. Daenerys Targaryen
Truthfully, we love Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). But even we can accept that the love for her is way overblown. At first, Dany was a child. We loved her because we felt that we understood her. She was raised with the promise that she would return to glory after a lifetime of hiding. Then she found out she was a bit of a bad*ss. Her confidence grew. This was all great. But there comes a time when Dany needs to learn about the world around her. She needs to notice that she lives in a world full of bad*sses. She can’t walk around pretending to understand disadvantaged people without understanding that plenty of others have legitimate claims to the throne as well. Many fans have soured on Dany’s story but not on her. Well, we get it if you don’t love her anymore. While every character has changed their sights to a new and evolved end game, Dany is still spouting off the same crap she was when she was a little girl in the beginning. The world has passed her by. Maybe it’s time we did the same.