Not every character on every show can be likable. Some shows actually benefit from having characters that you just can’t stand. How else do you know who to root for? This week’s top five list features five obnoxious characters, who while annoying, obnoxious and/or insufferable, still add some value to the show. In other words, here are five characters we hate, from shows we really like.
5. Ross Geller from Friends
I don’t outright hate Ross; he’s just soooo annoying all the time. Was I the only one not rooting for Rachel to get back together with him? Actually, by the end of the show’s run, writers sort of figured Ross out. When they let his quirks overtake his character so he could just be a sort of insane and pathetic specimen, instead of the guy who always thought he was better than everyone else, possibly because his parents insisted he was, he became much more tolerable and entertaining. I couldn’t stand him in the early years. Always down on himself, because of stupid choices he made, always judging the rest of the gang even though he was the boring, lame character. So many times I just wanted someone to punch Ross. Like, think of the episode when he had to prove to Phoebe that evolution was real. . . and then think how happy you were when you found out homeless kid Phoebe beat Ross up and stole his homespun comic book. Face it: You hate Ross a little bit too.
4. Craig from Parks and Recreation
Do I not get it? Am I not in on the joke? Does everyone else find this hilarious? Because I think it is annoying. Is he supposed to be like the worst angry gay stereotype ever? I don’t even know what is happening, or why the Parks Department would be like, “Yeah, let’s keep this guy on the staff even though we’re making major cuts.” I could possibly get behind this character being in the town hall style meetings that Leslie loves to hold, and making them even more of a public nightmare, but otherwise, go away, Craig. I don’t think Billy on the Street is very funny, and I can’t believe that whomever DOES also thought that he could just easily slip into a sitcom role. . . especially on a show where the characters are inexplicably kind to one another most of the time.
3. Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory
Am I supposed to find Wolowitz obnoxious? Because if so: BRAVO! Simon Helberg, bravo! He sort of embodies the term “pissant” for me, yet, I still enjoy the show and sometimes laugh at his lines. What I can’t stand, is his super sexist persona, like he’s borderline rapey in the early seasons, in a way that isn’t funny, only gross; his ridiculous haircut; his screaming shtick with his mother; his annoyingly low and tight Rainbow Brite pants; his belt buckles; his silk/animal print leisure wear; and uh, everything else about him. I’m trying to think of a redeeming quality, but mostly I agree with Sheldon about Howard. I also can’t really think of any reason why a girl like Bernadette would not only tolerate Howard, but actually love him.
2. Samantha Jones from Sex and the City
If you went to college in the early 2000’s, and were a girl or a gay, you were constitutionally required to love SATC, and I did; I honestly did. I still do, I think. Like many programs of yore, even the big budget, premium cable ones, SATC seems somehow much cheesier than it did when it aired originally. Like Friends and Three’s Company before it, it is just somehow so difficult to believe that viewers once took this show sooooo seriously. A major reason for that: Samantha Jones. You’re obviously supposed to identify with one of the four women, and I was always skeptical of the girls who were self-proclaimed “Samanthas.” Like, are you serious? This character has no depth. Regardless of what is happening around her, I feel like she just suddenly pipes in about sex. It is almost like she has Tourette’s Syndrome, and every one of her outbursts is dick related. She’s not even believable, like a slightly less ridiculous Austin Powers, without the self awareness. I do applaud the show for featuring a blatantly promiscuous, middle aged woman who is not shamed for her choices. . . but why does this kind of character always have to be so over the top?
1. Pete Campbell from Mad Men
Oof. Pete. I just hate you. It is apparent that we are not really supposed to like Pete, but are there people rooting for him? I certainly never did. After what he did to Peggy! What a total asshole. He’s obnoxious in every way. He is nothing more than an entitled little pipsqueak who manages to stay afloat in advertising because his loyalty and principles can be bought and sold like Utz potato chips. He actually sort of embodies everything I hate about ignorant white men. Can I say that? Also, I can’t emphasize enough how overjoyed I was when he finally got punched in the face.