With every new TV season, we welcome a fresh crop of characters into our lives — heroes, villains, antiheroes, mouthy city girls, eccentric co-workers, werepanthers. This fall is no different, although in our rush to watch the flood of new programming, we’ve begun to notice how many of these fictional folks actually annoy the crap out of us. So, after the jump, we’re telling freshman sitcoms and beloved dramas alike how we really feel about their overbearing friends and desperate housewives. Let us know which TV characters you find irritating in the comments.
Schmidt, New Girl
On a show that also features Zooey Deschanel playing a beautiful, irritating geek, any other character that manages to be more annoying than Deschanel’s Jess has really accomplished something. Enter Schmidt, the douchiest of her three roommates. His priorities include his abs, meeting women, impressing his business-bro friends, and getting into exclusive events where he can show off his abs to women, thus impressing his business-bro friends. There are moments of kindness, sure, but in general, he’s the guy at the party that everyone’s trying to avoid. We find it especially sad that he’s played by Max Greenfield, whose puppy-dog face we grew fond of back when he played a young police officer and love interest on Veronica Mars.
Betty Francis, Mad Men
We’ll admit that, between Betty and Pete Campbell, who you find more annoying is pretty much a matter of taste. But because we find it particularly painful to watch her interact with her poor children (or anyone, really), she’s getting our vote. We used to be sympathetic to her pre-feminist housewife angst and the woes of having a husband who’s living a double life. After a while, though, the incessant nagging, selfishness, immaturity, and coldness started to get to us.
Bill Compton, True Blood
We’ve already made our feelings on Tara clear, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s really Bill who’s been getting on our nerves the most. For one thing, we have always found his character incredibly boring; we get it, he’s the vampire who wants to succeed by making nice with the humans. But when you’re vying against Eric Northman for the heart of a young fairy, you’re really going to have step it up. And even though he managed to become a king, Bill hasn’t done that. Also, if we have to hear him shout “SOOKEH” one more time…
Oleg, 2 Broke Girls
It’s only been on for a few weeks, but already 2 Broke Girls has drawn criticism for its racial and ethnic stereotyping. The worst caricature, in our opinion, is Oleg, the Russian cook who exists purely to sexually harass waitresses. He has contributed nothing else to the show so far — and his jibes aren’t even funny. Although we haven’t entirely given up on the show yet, we cringe the moment we see him enter a scene.
Rachel Berry, Glee
If New Girl‘s Schmidt is the guy you hate as a young adult, then Rachel is the girl you couldn’t stand in high school. The Glee writers may have gone out of their way to humanize this overachieving perfectionist diva, but at the end of the day, she’s still the kid at the front of the classroom, furiously waving her hand in the air and shouting, “Me, me, me!” The fact that she was partially based on Tracy Flick from Election just about says it all.
Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead‘s protagonist is virtuous and heroic, but it’s those positive qualities that ultimately make him kind of a pain. Like the rest of the cast, Rick is frustratingly one-dimensional and unconflicted. Nothing happened in the series’s short first season to make us question our initial impression of him. As a result, by the finale, he was so predictable that none of his actions surprised us. Thankfully, though, an early clip from Season 2 promises a more complex Rick when the show returns Sunday.
Ava, Up All Night
Maya Rudolph is one of our favorite comic actresses, so it tears us up inside to admit that we find her newest character annoying. Then again, though, we’re pretty sure she’s meant to grate a bit — Ava is an Oprah-style daytime talk-show host who oscillates between charismatic self-help guru and needy, narcissistic drama queen. While she’s simmered down a bit in recent weeks, an early episode that had her agonizing over whether an infant likes her or not was absolutely torturous to watch.
Angus McCain, The Hour
One of our favorite new TV shows of 2011 also features a character we find absolutely unbearable. Angus McCain, who serves as an advisor to the Prime Minister and the chief liaison between the British government and the BBC on this ’50s-set drama, wants to manipulate the press into uncritical support of his boss’s shady decisions. He’s willing to blackmail journalists and threaten funding cuts to do so. We know he’s supposed to be a thorn in our side, but that hardly stops our blood from boiling every time he enters a scene.
Serena van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl
She makes terrible choices. She’s seemingly incapable of existing without a man (or five) in her life. And outside of her utter wishy-washiness and occasional attempts at mild rebellion, she seems largely devoid of a personality. Serena van der Woodsen is not the only Gossip Girl character who bothers us, but she’s certainly the one we most often find ourselves groaning over. Also bothersome: her wardrobe, which seems to consist solely of tiny garments with awkward cut-outs and giant necklaces that look just as heavy as poor Blake Lively herself.
The Situation, Jersey Shore
Yes, people — the Situation is a character. And a terrible one, at that.