Just Shut Up! — 7 Television Characters I’d Like to Smack
Harriet Brindle (Small Wonder) — On a show already full of loathsome characters, Harriet was especially rage-inducing. Watching this show as a pre-teen was one of my first times experiencing true hate. All I remember thinking every time she opened her yap was that I wanted to go to college, become a theoretical physicist, invent a machine that would allow me to travel inside a television, and then smack the freckles off her smug little face. Although I suppose it’s to Emily Schulman‘s credit that she was able to make Vicki the frigging robot seem appealing by comparison.
(skip to about the 2:30 mark and feel the hate flowing through you)
Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother) — I’ve been watching HIMYM from the first season, but have always felt that there was just a certain little something that’s prevented me from really connecting to the show, which is otherwise one of the more well-written and acted comedies around. And I think the answer is Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor). Ted’s entire vibe just screams “New York Douchebag” to me, and not in an endearing way. He’s as whiny and arrogant as Ross from Friends, but without an ounce of the latter’s underlying pathos and humanity.
The premise of the series is that we’re being presented with years’ worth of flashbacks taking place now, all leading up to Mosby meeting his future wife and mother of his children. But I’ve gotten to the point where I actively root against the guy and hope it’s all just some middle-aged delusion, and that he’s actually still single into his 50s and serving out a prison term for dealing pot out of his apartment.
Izzie Stevens (Grey’s Anatomy) — This was a tough call. After all, there’s so much to hate about George O’Malley, but at least his character had the good taste to die off. And of late, Callie Torres has really been laying the groundwork for becoming the most unlikeable character on the show. But I still hold out hope for some redemption there.
The specter of Izzie, meanwhile, lingers in the corridors of Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital like a wet fart trapped in corduroy pants. Kudos to the show’s writers for finding a way to make a character who was cheated on, lost her boyfriend to a stroke, and then developed Stage IV melanoma so utterly unlikeable.
I suppose part of my blind hatred of Izzie is wrapped up in Katherine Heigl’s very public verbal slapfight with show creator Shonda Rhimes. But I think that even if I didn’t know how much trouble Heigl was willing to cause in order to get more time to make shitty romantic comedies, I’d still hate her.
Dennis Mitchell (Dennis the Menace) — Call me old before my time, but even when I was a lad not much older than Jay North I totally empathized with the eternally put-upon Mr. Wilson. I would’ve given my entire allowance to see him snap, just once, and give that little turd the throttling he so rightly deserved.
The entire cast of Gilmore Girls — Except Luke (Scott Patterson). He seemed like a pretty decent guy, and the only person who wasn’t a shrill, soulless caricature of a human being.
Dr. Jim Taggart (Eureka) — I like Matt Frewer, honestly. And I could handle the forced quirkiness of Taggart’s character. But every time he opens his mouth, out spills the worst Australian accent ever (outside those horrendous Outback Steakhouse spots), and I want to travel back to the 18th century and sink the ships bringing the first British prisoners to the continent.
Deanna Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation) — The easy and popular choice would’ve been Wesley Crusher, but as much as I enjoy a good “Worf stuffs Wesley into a photon torpedo tube and presses the launch button” joke, at least Wesley’s character made sense. Usually.
But Troi? Troi was not only annoying, she was also useless. Picard typically used her to help figure out if some alien ambassador or leader was lying, but the crew still ended up getting caught in the middle of some ancient political bullshit anyway. Her empathic abilities also made her particularly vulnerable to mind control, which was always a huge hindrance.
But the biggest beef I have with Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) is that I knew I could count on an appearance by her mother, Lwaxana (Majel Barrett-Roddenberry), at least once a season. I usually spent those episodes in a sort of catatonic state, and my only relief came when I imagined both of them getting accidentally sucked out of a shuttle bay into the cold, inky vacuum of space.
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