Good Show, Awful Character: 8 Annoying Characters From Otherwise Solid Television Shows

Good television shows are not immune to having annoying, enraging, or flat-out useless characters.  For every Desmond Hume, Dwight Schrute, or Cosmo Kramer there tends to be somebody who, while not bringing their show down, at least gives the critics and curmudgeons something to grumble about. 

8.) Mark Brendanawicz, Parks and Recreation

Paul Schneider is a good actor.  He was good in the underrated Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.  He was nominated for a bunch of film-festival awards for Bright Star.  Hell, he was even decent in The Family Stone.  But he has been a dud on Parks.  It’s not totally his fault; he frequently has nothing to do.  It almost seems at times that the writers came up with this great episode, than realized after that they forgot to give Schneider any lines.  Especially after being paired with the show’s other boring character Anne (Rashida Jones), the cloud of dull surrounding him stands out amongst the otherwise vibrant Pawnee residents.

7) Stuart Minkus, Boy Meets World

 

In the first season of Boy Meets World, Minkus functioned as a walking nerd stereotype and was an occassional nemesis of Corey and Shawn’s.  And then he was never heard from again, with no explanation.  Though he was funny at times, Minkus was such an obvious stereotype that it was hard to feel any kind of emotion towards the kid.  He was like a young, white Steve Urkel, only without a smooth-talking alter-ego.

6) Cerie Xerox, 30 Rock

30 Rock is one of the best comedies of our time, but outside of its Liz-Jack-Tracy core, the supporting characters are not great(with the exception of Grizz and Dotcom, of course).  Cerie is by far the worst of the bunch.  Her sole duty is to look attractive, unknowingly make Liz Lemon feel bad about her age, and generally act like a resident of the dystopian future seen in Idiocracy

5) Jan Levinson-Gould, The Office

 

The Office rarely misfires with its characters.  That said, no person represents the show’s free fall in quality more than Jan.  In season 1, she was a confident and efficient, albeit somewhat dictatorial, boss.  By season 5, she’d been reduced to a blubbering psychopath.  Sure, Jan had always been a bit tightly wound, but the transition from career woman to mental defective came out of nowhere.  Her relationship with Michael was similarly bizarre.  She started out loathing him with the fury of a thousand suns, yet ended her run on the show living with him. 

4) Tommy Carcetti, The Wire

The idea of Carcetti was good, the execution poor.  I liked the idea of a charismatic young politician trying to affect change in the crime-ridden streets of Baltimore while keeping an eye on higher office.  The problem was that Carcetti (played by Aiden Gillen) was about as charismatic as the bean bags I lounge around on while playing Call of Duty.  On the most realistic television program of all time, it was difficult to accept that a white guy could have become mayor of Baltimore, a city where the majority of the citizens are black.  If Gillen had done a better job in his portrayal of Carcetti, it might have been a different story. 

3) Kate Austen, Lost

Ah, Kate.  She might be the most frustrating character in television history.  The structure of Lost is such that each of the main characters have an episode or two each season centered around them.  It’s always a horrible moment when you realize that you’re watching a Kate episode; it’s sort of like figuring out that you’re in the wrong classroom on the first day of school.  I don’t think Kate is a good person, she’s constantly toying with Jack and Sawyer’s emotions, and she is just whiny. 

2) Estelle Costanza, Seinfeld

Mrs. Costanza is annoying, but not in a funny, “let’s laugh at this woman’s neuroses and eccentric personality” type way.  She’s annoying in a “I wish she would stop talking” kind of way.  Yeah, I get it, shes playing the role of a doting, forever-interrupting mother, so she’s supposed to be irritating.  But Mrs. Seinfeld is a similar character and she’s good for at least one laugh per episode.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever laughed at anything Mrs. Costanza has done, with the exception of the time she smacked George on the head.

1) Skeeter Valentine, Doug

Doug was a classic mid-90’s cartoon series about the misadventures of Doug Funnie and his goofy collection of friends and neighbors.  Skeeter was Doug’s skateboarding, blue-skinned best friend.  He was the worst.  Skeeter’s entire persona consisted of making loud honking noises.  That was his “thing.”  Behind every beleaguered everyman, there should be a wise, sage-like best friend who can dole out dating advice, expound on the intricacies of life, and generally help our hero navigate the complex social landscape.  Corey Matthews had Shawn Hunter, Matt Saracaen had Landry, and Smalls had Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.  Doug, on the other hand, had some blue dude whose primary means of communication was onomatopoeia.

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~ by fc13 on May 6, 2010.

9 Responses to “Good Show, Awful Character: 8 Annoying Characters From Otherwise Solid Television Shows”

  1. The only one I really agree with is #8, Mark from Parks and Rec is a dud because he has no lines and his character is boring. The others have a purpose if you watch the show, even if that purpose is just for laughs. So in my opinion you are wrong about a lot of things.

    • Haha, umm, well I would categorize television watching as being fairly subjective to one’s taste. So maybe you love Kate and Skeeter, but to me they were annoying. I understand that characters have a certain purpose, but these ones rarely live up to that purpose. Skeeter, for instance, is supposed to be comic relief but he isn’t funny and is just annoying.

      Thanks for the comment though, I appreciate different opinions.

  2. I loved the show Roseanne… except for her sister Jackie. Nothing bothers me more than a “wacky” sidekick who’s not even that funny. I find myself yelling “SHUT UP JACKIE” at the tv sometimes.

    • Yeah, I hear ya. I think the fact that some wacky sidekicks (Kramer from Seinfeld, for instance) are hysterical makes writers think they can work, but oftentimes they just come off as pathetic.

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  4. Mike, I think it’s a matter of opinion. I just didn’t think Skeeter brought much to the table, other than a barrage of honking noises.

  5. u suck skeeter is awesome. he makes that show. who ever wrote this and johnny. u guys dont know funny!

  6. Totally agree on Skeeter, I always found him annoying.

  7. Loved your Kate description and you made me kind of rethink Skeeter. It’s been a while… and now that I think about it I remember the Patty, Rodger, Bebe — even Mr. Beet — storylines far more than his. The only episode that comes to mind is The Silver Skeeter one and that was Doug’s imagination 😛

    P.S. I think Carcetti’s bean-bag persona is what made it realistic considering that the series began and ended during the Bush administration. Kind goes with the idea that any Joe Shmoe can get elected into high office.

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