Characters don’t have to be likable to be watchable or entertaining, nor are they always supposed to be. Some TV show characters are clear-cut villains designed to make audiences seethe with rage, and others are just so obnoxious they unintentionally become the villains of their own story.
From angsty teens to cruel sadists and unabashed narcissists, below are 20 of the most unlikable and annoying characters on TV.
Piper Chapman never seemed to learn from her mistakes on “Orange Is the New Black.”
Piper is supposed to serve as a proxy for viewers watching “Orange Is The New Black.” It’s through Piper’s story that audiences are first introduced to life inside a women’s prison, but with every passing season, the character becomes less sympathetic.
At her core, Piper is a manipulative, self-centered narcissist, who treats prison like a soul-searching wellness retreat. As an inmate with a relatively-short 15-month sentence, Piper frustratingly never tries to keep her head down as she serves her time. Rather, her sense of entitlement leads her to repeatedly participate in incredibly stupid and risky activities – like her rogue panty-business.
“Gossip Girl” writers spent six seasons trying to make Chuck Bass likable after he sexually assaulted Serena and Jenny in the pilot episode.
Almost none of the characters on “Gossip Girl” were ever going to win any awards for being decent people, but Chuck Bass was particularly worthy of viewer contempt.
He was sleazy, smarmy, entitled – and an attempted rapist. Chuck was a misogynist, who repeatedly called female characters “sluts” and viewed women as conquests rather than people. Despite all this, show writers seemed hell-bent on re-branding Chuck as a sympathetic bad boy character, who could be reformed with help of Blair’s love.
But anyone who remembered how Chuck behaved in the series earlier episodes had a hard time finding the character anything other than repulsive.
Marissa Cooper’s never-ending breakdown on “The O.C.” became annoying and tedious.
Marissa Cooper wore out her welcome long before – sorry, SPOILERS – she was killed in a fiery car crash at the end of the third season of “The O.C.” Yes, the character had a lot of trauma thrown at her throughout the series, but she also handled everything in the worst and most dramatic way.
Marissa went from having a bit of a rebellious streak to being completely self-destructive over the course of the first season. The character only continued to further spiral out of control and eventually, the show just became caught in a loop where Marissa would inevitably make a terrible decision and the rest of the characters would have to save her.
Audiences were frustrated by Marissa’s inability to learn from her mistakes and became particularly tired of her perpetual need to give others the benefit of the doubt, which was always done to the detriment of her own safety.
Ross Geller didn’t seem like the kind of person anyone would want to be “Friends” with.
All of the characters on “Friends” were spectacularly self-involved, but the majority of them were still likable. Ross, on the other hand, was always difficult to stomach. The character was needy, insecure, and incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship. Ross and Rachel were positioned as the show’s original will-they or won’t-they couple despite the fact that Ross was a manipulative, jealous and possessive partner.
Of course, he wasn’t that great of a friend, either. Overall, Ross was a real downer and had a tendency to overreact and endlessly complain. Plus, he was completely condescending and never let anyone forget he was a paleontologist.
Dawson Leery was a navel-gazing, condescending jerk on “Dawson’s Creek.”
When a show is called “Dawson’s Creek,” you’d expect its writers to find a way to make audiences give a darn about Dawson or his creek. But that’s really not the case with Dawson Leery, who is easily one of the most unlikable protagonists in TV history. Dawson was billed as a sensitive, introspective, film nerd with an impressive vocabulary when really he was a navel-gazing, condescending jerk, who liked the sound of his own voice.
Dan Scott was an irredeemable monster who was deeply unsympathetic on “One Tree Hill.”
As far as villains go, Dan Scott ranks up there with the worst of them. He was an emotionally abusive husband and father, who killed his brother and pinned the murder on an unstable teen.
Dan did a bunch of other terrible, unforgivable things that made seem like more of a monster than a deeply flawed human being, and any attempts to make viewers sympathize with him generally felt cheap.
Connor was a man-child who quickly became the worst character on “Angel.”
The sudden addition of a whiny, sullen and hormonal teenager on “Angel,” went over about as well with fans as it did when Dawn joined “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Angel’s son Connor was first introduced as a newborn in season 3. He was promptly kidnapped and sucked into a hell dimension, only to return a few episodes later an angry teen determine to seek revenge. Connor became the focus of the show’s fourth season, but his storyline quickly became repetitive and annoying.
“To me, the character lost its thrill about four episodes in,” actor Vincent Kartheiser, who played Connor, told The Scanner (via ONTD) in 2007. “From there on out I felt like I was doing the same scene over and over and over. Every week I’d show up and have a scene with Cordelia, then Angel would show up and I’d have some sort of conflict with him. There’d be a couple of fight scenes where I’d fight with them even though I didn’t want to and then I would sulk and leave. That to me was every episode.”
Ted Mosby wasted everyone’s time for nine season’s on “How I Met Your Mother.”
In the world of “How I Met Your Mother” Ted seems fine in comparison someone outwardly awful like Barney, but Ted represented a more insidious kind of awful. Like a lot of the other supposedly “nice guys” on TV, Ted was really just needy, self-obsessed and entitled. He was also desperate to the point that his advances towards women weren’t romantic, but over the top and creepy.
Henry Mills was too earnest for his own good on “Once Upon A Time.”
It’s true that “Once Upon A Time” wouldn’t have had a reason to drag Emma Swan to Storybrooke if it weren’t for Henry but wow, was that kid ever annoying. Like other young characters on TV, Henry often appeared to only exist to complicate storylines, run into danger and need to be saved.
Will Schuester was a terrible teacher who didn’t really want the best for his students on “Glee.”
You wouldn’t wish the teachers of “Glee” on your worst enemy – especially Will Schuester. As a man with failed dreams and an unhappy marriage, Will spent much of his time avoiding his own personal disappointments by running his school’s glee club and living vicariously through his students.
He was also one of the most cringe-inducing characters of all time, known to send waves of second-hand embarrassment rippling through viewers when he attempted to rap.
Screech pursued Lisa to the point of harassment on “Saved By The Bell.”
Did anyone actually like Screech? Zack Morris probably wouldn’t have even thought about hanging out with him if Screech didn’t do his dirty work. The character was supposed to be a loveable nerd that fans would champion in spite of his goofiness and inability to read social cues.
But Screech was really a whiny creep, who never understood the concept of personal boundaries. He relentlessly pursued Lisa to the point of harassment because he refused to accept that she wasn’t interested in him.
Joffrey will be remembered as one of the most sadistic and cruel villains in TV history.
“Game of Thrones” is rife with bloodthirsty characters who took pleasure in other people’s pain, but Joffrey’s cruelty stands out. As a boy king, who never heard the word “no,” Joffrey used his power to torture those around him in any way he could. As one of the show’s most clearly-defined villains, Joffrey’s slow and painful-looking death by poison was most-welcomed.
Paige Jennings was the moral center of “The Americans” and its most-hated character.
Like many TV teens, writers didn’t seem to know how to deal with Paige in early seasons and she quickly became a source of irritation just for acting her age. Paige eventually became integral to show, essentially becoming its moral center, which made her even more unlikable.
After discovering her parents were Russian spies, Paige betrayed their secret to her pastor. Her reaction was totally understandable, but the roadblocks and problems she created did nothing to endear her to fans.
Steve Urkel was an irritating creep on “Family Matters.”
It’s difficult to understand how “Family Matters” lasted for nine seasons when the star of the show was so incredibly grating. But Steve Urkel was popular with viewers and the show’s ratings actually increased when he became a series regular in the second season. The New York Times described the character as “so un-hip that now he’s cool … When he laughs, he snorts. When he talks, he whines in a nasal, grating voice. When he arrives, he intrudes, with his pants riding up his skinny waist and his mouth working overtime, popping out sassy, if not annoying, rejoinders.”
But Steve wasn’t just a character with an obnoxious catchphrase, he was yet another example of a so-called nice guy or loveable nerd who wantonly ignored personal boundaries to harass the object of his affection.
Rory Gilmore dropped out of college the first time she faced the slightest amount of adversity.
Rory certainly wasn’t perfect on “Gilmore Girls,” but the character became insufferable the first time she was faced with a setback. For most of the series, Rory’s hard work and ambition helped her achieve everything she wanted. But when her boyfriend’s father told her told her he didn’t think she had what it took to be a journalist, her response was to drop out of Yale and lash out by stealing a boat.
The character’s sense of entitlement only became more apparent in the series reboot when Rory proved that she really didn’t have what it takes to hack it as a journalist.
Dana Brody’s teenage antics weren’t welcome on “Homeland.”
A large part of the early seasons of “Homeland” involved Sargent Brody returning to live with his family after he was held as a prisoner of war in Iraq, but it wasn’t the interesting part. And scenes involving Brody’s bratty daughter Dana were aggravating, to say the least. Though Dana ended up being the reason her father didn’t blow up the White House, her teenage angst and relationship dramas frustrated viewers.
Archie Andrews is the worst character on “Riverdale.”
Archie thinks he’s a great guy, but he’s totally deluding himself. You wouldn’t want him as a friend or a boyfriend and he never shuts up about his music. Archie also seems to make one boneheaded decision after another, including withholding information about a classmate’s murder, buying a gun to take on a serial killer, and forming a militia.
Marnie took self-involvement to new levels on “Girls.”
It often felt like the characters on “Girls” were competing to see who was the worst, but Marnie always won. A true narcissist, Marnie managed to make everything about her and was only interested in people who she thought could help her achieve her dreams.
“Mad Men” fans hated Betty.
It’s true that Betty Draper was awful, but so was her husband, Don – and nearly everyone on “Mad Men.” In a cast of unlikable characters, Betty managed to stand out and was particularly hated by the show’s fans.
Betty was cold and often cruel, especially to her daughter Sally, and sought validation from her weird and inappropriate relationship with neighbourhood kid Glen.
Negan shows absolutely no remorse for the violence, death and destruction he’s caused on “The Walking Dead.”
Negan is the psychopathic villain who just won’t seem to die on “The Walking Dead.” As the man responsible for the sadistic, violent deaths of some of the series’ most beloved characters, viewers aren’t intended to see Negan as anything more than despicable.
The thing is, he’s also smug, annoying, and extremely tiresome. As a character with literally no redeeming qualities, viewers should be thankful writers didn’t bother to give him an exceptional backstory in an attempt to elicit any kind of sympathy.
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