Some TV shows are just plain bad. Bad characters, bad writing, bad acting. You might still hate-watch it, but ultimately you know that the show itself is pretty crappy.
But then you come across a show that’s genuinely great… except for one glaring flaw – a horrible main character. And we don’t mean like “oh, sometimes they can be a bit annoying.” We mean like, this person sucks. These characters are often whiny and self-centered, but you put up with them because the rest of the show is worth it. Read on for some of the worst main characters on otherwise awesome shows.
1. Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother is the story of Ted Mosby (Josh Radner) meeting his kids mother (or so it claims). Too bad Ted is the whiniest, most self-indulgent character on the show. The fact that he spends nine years telling his CHILDREN about his sexcapades around New York City says enough. It doesn’t help that he’s completely overshadowed by the shows more complex supporting characters. Womanizer Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), married couple Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segal), and Canadian tough-girl Robin (Cobie Smulders) are all infinitely more interesting than Ted could ever be. Boy, BYE.
2. Dawson Leery on Dawson’s Creek
Though the TV show bears his name Dawson’s Creek‘s best storylines are the ones that don’t involve Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) at all. Dawson, an obsessive Steven Spielberg fan, spends too much time trying to dramatize his life like a movie. Too bad the result is never anywhere near interesting. He more often comes off as sad and pathetic rather than the victim he aspires to be. The show even tried to convince fans that Dawson was any kind of competition for Pacey (Joshua Jackson) in the quest for Joey’s (Katie Holmes) love. Not a chance, Leery.
3. Piper Chapman on Orange is the New Black
Viewers are led into the fascinating world of Litchfield Correctional by Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) but most fans would be fine with leaving her at the door. Chapman not only needs to be the ultimate victim all the time but she thinks she’s the most precious ~snowflake~ in prison. She’s mean to the people who love her, she’s often just plain out racist, and she still thinks she’s the hero in this story. Her inmates in Litchfield are far more compelling that Chapman could ever be — so just fast forward through the boring Piper stuff and get to the good storylines.
4. Hannah Hovarth on Girls
Lena Dunham‘s Hannah Hovarth may have been created as the type of character you “love to hate” – but that doesn’t make her any less awful. The Girls character is entitled, selfish, and downright lazy. She is a caricature of the idea of a “spoiled millennial” and she is plenty hateable.
5. Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl
Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) was the epitome of pretension on a TV show solely about pretentious teenagers. He was unlikeable just as himself — then we learned he was Gossip Girl, too, and it made him 100x more gross/irritating. The fact the dude spent the entire frickin’ series thinking he was better than everyone else is hilarious… ‘cuz he’s the worst.
6. Jack Shephard on LOST
Jack (Matthew Fox) started out as a likeable hero. Soon, though, he devolved into a dramatic, overly sanctimonious, hypocrite of a man. Plus he had the worst tattoo story in the history of the world. Not to mention that he spent later seasons panting constantly as if he’d been running a marathon. Sure, we get it, life on a deserted island is tough but there’s nothing worse than a loud breather. Jack may’ve been the key to discovering the secrets of the island but we could’ve done without his plenitude of “hero speeches.” Team Sawyer all the way.
7. Rachel Berry on Glee
In the history of TV, there has never been a character as annoyingly ambitious as Rachel Berry (Lea Michele). Rachel’s obsession with being the best caused her to alienate herself from basically everyone in her high school and millions of TV viewers. Some may say she was rightful in her quest to be the best – I mean, the girl can sing. But talent isn’t an excuse to treat those around you like plebs.
8. Eric Forman on That ’70s Show
Eric (Topher Grace) is supposed to be our guide into the world of the suburban ’70s, but he distracts with his selfish teen antics. His sarcastic nature is sometimes funny, but more often cruel and off-putting. His only redeeming factor was his sweet relationship with girl-next-door Donna (Laura Prepon), which he manages to destroy by not showing up on their wedding day and moving to Africa.
9. Ross Geller on Friends
In a group of six twenty-somethings, Ross (David Schwimmer) somehow manages to be the clear un-favorite. There’s a reason he lost too-good-for-him Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). Not only is Ross insufferably whiney, but he also thinks cheating and manipulation are A-Okay! He paints himself as a pathetic former-nerd, but really he’s jerk who only cares about himself. I mean, did he even SEE his son in the last couple seasons?! Plus saying another woman’s name during your I-do’s is never cool, bro.
10. Jeff Winger on Community
In a show about school, Jeff (Joel McHale) spends way too much time acting like he’s “too cool for school.” Jeff is a pretentious former-lawyer who gets fired after his peers learn he doesn’t actually have a law degree. You’d think that would humble him a bit but, nope — of course it doesn’t. The show even devotes an entire episode to his intense ego.
11. Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City
Millions of girls say they want to grow up and be Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), but they really know what that entails? Carrie often acts like a petulant child and has the worst taste in men. And once she lands an actually good guy she cheated on him with her abusive ex. She’s rarely there for her friends when they need her because it’s the ~Carrie Show~ in her mind. And if all that wasn’t bad enough she’s a smoker, too. Gross.
12. Marissa Cooper on The OC
Marissa (Mischa Barton) was a damn mess. When she wasn’t OD-ing in Tijuana she was throwing fits over the stupidest things. She thought she knew everything, but in reality knew nothing. Her decisions were so bad that her poor taste in men got her killed. While the shows ratings declined after her character died, the show was a whole was better for it in the end.
13. Emma Swan on Once Upon a Time
If Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is the “savior” in the show, why does it always seem like she’s dragging others into trouble? The character is dangerously self-involved and takes every opportunity to play the victim. Plus she always seems so damn angry. Take a chill pill girl, your life is a fairy tale and they always have happy endings.
14. Jenna Hamilton on Awkward.
All high schoolers are insufferable but Jenna (Ashley Rickards) takes it to a whole new level. She constantly worries about her reputation and popularity without realizing people don’t like her because she’s just plain unlikable. She’s just as cruel as her so-called “bullies” but excuses her behavior because she’s the unpopular “victim.” Jenna makes everything harder for those around her, can’t ever make up her mind about which hot, sweet and lovable hunk she wants to be with and then wonders why her relationships keep failing.
15. Dexter Morgan on Dexter
Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is a serial killer, but shockingly that’s not the only reason he’s unlikeable. Dexter is initially fascinating as we learn about his life as a serial killer. He quickly becomes an irrational baby, always overreacting when his literal murdering of people doesn’t go his way. Plus, we will never forgive him for basically allowing Rita to die. It’s a bit hard to sympathize with a serial killer, even if he does only kill bad guys.
16. Fiona Gallagher on Shameless
There’s something to be said for nature and nurture – Fiona (Emmy Rossum) is a horrible character but she does have an addict father, mentally ill mother, and grew up in relative poverty. Who can blame her for her horrible decision making when she grew up in those circumstances? Despite this, though, Fiona has shown she’s capable of being responsible as she has shouldered the burden of raising her siblings. Buuuut she definitely isn’t perfect. Her little brother once ingested cocaine she left lying around and she stole an old woman’s money. Don’t get me started on her taste in men. Maybe you should just be celibate, Fi.
17. Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill
Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) falls into the teenager trap of thinking he’s more important than he actually is. He thinks he’s so ~ deep ~ because he’s a writer underneath his jock facade. Too bad all he can write is trite lines about how hard it is being a teen. He’s also a jerk to women making every relationship about what he wants and disregards his partner. Any guy who would cheat on a girl with her BFF goes directly onto the D-bag list.
18. Oliver Queen on Arrow
Oliver (Stephen Amell) transforms from insufferable rich kid to insufferable superhero in record time. He’s a womanizer who treats his GFs like crap to “protect them” and is also kind of a dick to everyone who tries to help him. Not to mention his shifting morals (does he kill or does he not kill?!) are enough to make anyone’s head spin. Just because you do good deeds does not mean you’re a good person. Also, wouldn’t kill ya to smile once in awhile, Olly.
19. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy
Just because the show’s named after you does not mean you’re a good character. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) prides herself on being ~complicated~ and ~mysterious~ like it makes her special or something. Nope, it just makes you whiney and hard to be around. The woman works in a hospital where people die and nearly die daily but she still thinks she has the most important problems. Oy.