I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to tackling big, scary real-world problems head-on, I’m probably the first to run crying to her mommy to make it all go away. And I’m probably not the only one here who feels this way. While someone who has mastered the art of adulting would probably solve their own problems in a mature way and even give their peers well-informed advice, let’s just say we can’t all be so well-adjusted. In fact, sometimes it’s best to just succumb to the very accurate reality that you’re still just a kid – no matter what year was scrawled on your birth certificate.
So if you think you truly suck at adulting, the good news is that someone sucks way more than you do. And to prove it, we’ve rounded up a list of characters from our favorite TV shows who just can’t handle themselves when it comes to being responsible and making mature decisions. From Michael Scott to Kimmy Schmidt, you might actually feel like more of an adult just by reading this!
20. Elliot Reid, Scrubs
It’s no secret that Elliot is super smart and driven. I mean, she is a doctor after all, and a caring and passionate one at that. That said, her insensitive tongue sometimes gets her into trouble with co-workers, particularly with Carla in the beginning of season one. When co-workers call her out on her mistakes and attitude, she sometimes tries to blame those same mistakes on others instead of taking accountability and working to solve them. Pro tip: always own up to your mistakes in life and in the workplace — it’s way worse if you try to run from them.
19. Spencer Shay, iCarly
Sure, Spencer is the goofy older brother we all wish we had, but sometimes his antics can get quite annoying. Seriously, every time he tries to fix a household item that usually worked perfectly fine to begin with, he ends up setting it on fire. You know you really screwed up when you set your own fire extinguisher on fire. He is the actual reason why Carly can’t have nice things. Thankfully, he can sort of cook for himself and for his sister, although you can’t expect to see him whipping up a gourmet dinner, you’ll just have to settle for his spaghetti tacos, which are, frankly, as wacky as he is.
18. Gabi Diamond, Young & Hungry
You can never expect any of Gabi’s insane plans to work out. She usually has to have them go really wrong before things finally start to work out, when all the drama could’ve been avoided if she had just told the truth or — better yet — stayed out of business that doesn’t concern her. She can be as whiny as a six-year-old on a five-hour car ride, and she often forgets to pay for the bills that she owes (contrary to what she actually believed, not paying your tickets and bills doesn’t make them go away. Shocker, right?). That said, you gotta love her!
17. Sophia Marlowe, Girlboss
Sophia is proof that if you really put your mind to something you’re truly passionate about, your hard work will pay off. But before Sophia became the badass owner and founder of a vintage clothing line, she was kind of a mess (and that’s putting it lightly). Having her car crap out on her, getting fired from her job and receiving an eviction notice can feel like the whole world wants you to fail. She can be very irresponsible and doesn’t quite know how to be professional. At her job in a shoe store, she used her shifts to scroll through eBay and eat sandwiches that don’t belong to her — two things you should never do at work! While her vision to start her own fashion business worked out in the end and is really inspiring, we’d like to avoid all the nail-biting drama and reckless behavior. Thanks.
16. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy
Okay, hear us out. Sure, Meredith is an excellent surgeon, and we do love her dark and twisty retorts for literally everything good in life, but sometimes she uses this outlook to propel horrible decisions when it comes to family, friends and even romance. So many terrible incidents have happened to Meredith — her mother getting Alzheimer’s, her sister dying in a plane crash, her husband dying in a car crash, drowning and dying and then coming back to life — but she uses all that as an actual reason to not enjoy the good things and just let life happen to her. And as a surgeon who constantly sees patients young and old die or suffer, you’d hope that she values living a little more. You’d also think that all the drama would have been left back in high school, but Meredith can definitely be petty at times (her drama with Derek dragged on for far too long).
15. Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
We saw how curiously (and sometimes dangerously) wild young Carrie could be in The Carrie Diaries, but even as an actual adult, Carrie is still sometimes a tad bit careless. She often maxes out her credit cards and is terrible at saving money because of her shoe-shopping addiction. It was so bad that she couldn’t even secure the loans that she needed because her record of saving was so poor. Moral of the story: always track your spending, and no one actually needs $40,000 worth of designer shoes (even if they live in the glamorous New York City).
14. Phoebe Buffay, Friends
We love Phoebe to death, but it’s clear that she’s still a child at heart, which can actually be a little annoying sometimes. Sure, she’s had a rough childhood, but she often plays the “my mother is dead” card in order to gain sympathy and get what she wants, and she often does it shamelessly, too. Her antics can be hilarious (like when she actually changed her name to Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock just because she could), but sometimes you just want to shake her and shout, “Grow up!” Then again, she’s definitely better adjusted than her sister, Ursula.
13. Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable
After spending 15 years inside a bunker, Kimmy didn’t really have the chance to experience life the way most normal people do, so she takes on everything with a child-like innocence. That means eating candy for dinner and being irrationally afraid of velcro for some weird reason. She may not always make the wisest of decisions, but her kiddishness does certainly keep the series interesting. Plus, considering she’s just become free from a psycho cult leader, her sucking at adulting is 100% understandable.
12. Patrick Star, Spongebob Squarepants
Okay, where do we even begin with Patrick? He doesn’t have a steady job, and while he has attempted working with his buddy Spongebob over at the Krusty Krab, he wasn’t great at it and just went back to doing what he does best — chilling under his rock. Boy, it’s a good thing they don’t have to pay rent in Bikini Bottom. While he seems to be living his best life blowing bubbles and going jellyfishing, life isn’t all chocolate bars and stuffed animals, so we probably wouldn’t be taking any life advice from Patrick.
11. Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
One word: Bazinga. ‘Nuff said. While Sheldon is a theoretical physicist, he can be a bit eccentric and he lacks social maturity. A sarcastic joke often flies right over his head, and he doesn’t always understand other people’s problems. Don’t get us wrong, he’s still a pretty cool dude in our book, but you might have to do a lot of explaining to him.
10. Daniel Grayson, Revenge
Danny was known as a reckless party boy who got behind the wheel while drunk and caused his then-girlfriend to become paralyzed after he crashed his car. But as the seasons progress, he becomes quite the businessman he was meant to be, and even appears to be parting from his family’s history of dirty dealings. But after his father’s murder, he basically let his life slip into the gutter. He was no longer CEO of Grayson Global, he didn’t have a steady job, he slept with whoever came knocking on his door and he even had to sell some of his own expensive possessions to get a little extra cash. Fortunately for him, he did try to pick himself back up eventually.
9. Michael Scott, The Office
Michael would be one of the most entertaining bosses ever, but he’s also a bit of a child when addressing his staff and his life in general. Let’s be real here: “Prison Mike” my be a cool a character to high school students but not to an office full of — you know — adults. He also sometimes makes really offensive comments directed towards his employees, and although his intentions are good, it doesn’t make him any less ignorant. Michael’s the kind of adult who’s got a good job and even a few great romantic interests, but becaue of his personality, his life will probably always be in shambles to some extent.
8. Ben Wheeler, Baby Daddy
Ben is an adorable mess of a – well – baby daddy. He definitely seems cool, but has some trouble getting his life together from time to time. He’s no stranger to switching around jobs, and he also has to care for his daughter Emma, who was left at his doorstep by a one-night-stand. He’s pretty goofy, but it’s just the kind of attention that Emma needs.
7. Fiona Goode, American Horror Story: Coven
Fiona may be one of the baddest witches in town, but she is the most irresponsible Supreme her coven has ever had. She often fails to protect her young witches, and she lies (even kills) to get what she wants and stay in power. She is hardly present when things get messy at home because she is off smoking and drinking her sorrows away. Her own daughter Cordelia often feels that her mother was hardly ever really a mother to her. We really wanted to see Fiona do good and be an admirable witch, but it just wasn’t happening.
6. Nick Miller, New Girl
We LOVE Nick Miller, but 99% of the time we’re genuinely wondering WTF he’s thinking. Whether he’s tending bar or writing a completely rediculous (and strangely good) novel, it’s pretty clear his career path is MUCH different than that of his friends. We can’t really say that any of the roommates are great at adulting (Schmidt may have a high-powered job and a wife, but that doesn’t mean he’s got his sh*t completely together), but Nick’s outrageous behavior sometimes takes it to new levels.
5. Gregory House, House
Okay, how do we put this lightly? Let’s just say that our buddy Greg is kind of a prideful asshole sometimes. Well, a lot of the time. He isn’t really the kind of co-worker you’d want to have — especially when he’s calling you an “idiot” — because he is often uncaring toward his colleagues. A huge part of being adult is knowing how to professionally handle and interact with the people you’re around, even the ones you don’t like, and Greg simply doesn’t know how to do that. Sorry, not sorry.
4. Ethan Turner, Friends From College
Promise us that 20 years after you graduate from college, you won’t be as reckless and frantic as Ethan is. In fact, almost everyone on the show, including Ethan, acts like they’ve just graduated from college rather than having been out of college for two decades. Ethan cheats on his wife in an affair that has come uncomfortably close to exposure many times, and he seemingly never learns from his mistakes. Always take the past into consideration when weighing your options, and know that actions have consequences. You know what they say: those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it!
3. Shawn Spencer, Psych
Okay, if we could be one grown-ass “adult” on this list, it would probably be Shawn Spencer. Seriously, who wouldn’t want his psychic abilities for themselves? His knack for sharing his useful visions very easily turn into a hazard for running his mouth, so he does come off as idiotic or foolish to the people who interact with him sometimes. He’s pretty bad at adulting, but we like him anyways!
2. Otis, Chicago Fire
You may know him as Brian Zvonecek, and you may also know that despite his ambitions to move up through the ranks as a firefighter, he lacks ambition and can sometimes be childish when he plays pranks on people alongside his best buddy Joe Cruz. So seventh grade, or so cool? We’re not really sure yet.
1. Max Black, 2 Broke Girls
While Max is fully loaded with sarcasm and street-smarts to help her fend for herself in any situation, she makes one of her main ambitions in life to get laid and get high. Though she uses her hidden talent for baking cupcakes to start a business with Caroline, she is irresponsible and has a pretty dangerous, no-care attitude. In fact, they lost their business in season two thanks to problems paying rent. She does, later on, try to seize any windows of opportunity for herself and the business, so even though she improves throughout the series, she still sucks at adulting by the time the series finale rolls around.