As much as well-rounded characters can make otherwise non-outstanding shows watchable, annoying characters can easily break the best ones. This past TV season has been no exception, with a lot of new faces cropping up to irk every last nerve, though there are still a few familiar faces that have been as irritating as ever.
As you might have guessed, we’ve rounded up the 10 most annoying characters of the 2014-2015 TV season, making this one of the most aggravation-fueled lists you’ll see this year. Of course, what gets our goats might not be the same thing that gets yours, and there are undeniably dozens more that could have made this list. So you might even see one of your favorite characters on here, and if that’s the case, we probably shouldn’t be watching TV in the same room together. Enjoy and look out for general spoilers throughout.
Father Gabriel (The Walking Dead)
When Seth Gilliam was cast as Walking Dead’s Father Gabriel Stokes for Season 5, it seemed like an excellent decision, and one that would make the priest a standout in Rick’s group. Instead, we got the whiniest version of the character imaginable, where his arc is motivated by regrets over letting his congregation get sacrificed. If he only had blame for himself, that would be one thing, but his true colors definitely showed up when he tattled on Rick & Co. to Deanna not long after the group arrived in Alexandria, later rubbing Bob and Tyreese’s deaths in to an emotionally fraught Sasha. This guy needs to drown in holy water.
An example of a work-in-progress, Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson is initially an okay guy in Netflix’s Daredevil as the goofy, booze-loving yang to Matt Murdock’s yin. But once he finds out that Matt has been the “man in black” vigilante that some people think is a terrorist, he turns into the show’s biggest burden, essentially eliminating the buddy element by refusing to talk to Matt for entire episodes at a time, choosing instead to wallow in self-pity on a bar stool. Here’s hoping Season 2 sets him straight and reverts him back to being the light-hearted comic relief.
Marnie and Desi (Girls)
Lena Dunham’s Girls is a show where the characters’ personalities are largely comprised of compounded surface layers, and it just doesn’t get any worse than the fractured relationship between the self-absorbed diva that is Marnie and the even more self-absorbed obliviousness that is Desi. They barely get along when boning isn’t involved, yet they are somehow able to put together the most melodramatic navel-gazing music destined to be sold at whatever trendy coffeehouse they’re performing it in. They’re merely intolerable when they’re apart, but put them together and it’s hard to understand how Jessa hasn’t cut their necks in their sleep.
Dandy (American Horror Story)
While it’s hard to knock the all-in performance of Finn Wittrock, Dandy Mott was nearly unbearable for every second that his coifed hair showed up in American Horror Story: Freak Show, in a season that got worse the more central to the plot Dandy became. Not even accounting for the grody assumed incest or his heinously murderous ways, Dandy was just a monolithic pill, the product of living in the shadow of his shrill mother without ever learning how to live life like a normal person. It’s a wonder why Twisty didn’t immediately gut him, though that guy wasn’t exactly working at full mental capacity either.
Iris (The Flash)
By the time last night’s Season 1 finale rolled around, Iris West had become someone that, while not enjoyable, didn’t make me want to dive in front of Flash’s fists. But for too many previous episodes, we had to watch her as a blogger-turned-reporter who never seemed to do any actual work, serving as the love interest for two guys who could/should have both done better, if not for their respective personal connections. A lot of my antipathy towards her was because she was out of the loop on Barry being Flash, so very little she did and said carried weight, but I expect things will continue getting better in Season 2.
Fox’s ratings smash Empire is so over the top, it can’t see the ground anymore, and while almost all of its characters are deliciously neurotic, the finance-minded Andre is a bi-polar stick in the mud. With a seemingly intentional wooden performance from Trai Byers, Andre doesn’t have a clear story arc and only makes terrible decisions to keep the plot rolling, such as not taking his medication and cheating on his wife with Jennifer Hudson’s dud of a gospel-singing therapist. In a show where almost everyone ‘s personality is built around music, Andre has no such talents or aspirations, and mainly serves to make everyone else more interesting by comparison.
Monica (Silicon Valley)
One of the only problems with Season 1 of Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley is that there was almost exclusively testosterone among the characters, without any strong females. While that problem has been partly fixed with the addition of Alice Wetterlund’s Carla, it was only hampered by the one-note addition Monica, played by Amanda Crew. Not to knock the actress, but Monica’s role on the show is basically a friendly advisor to Richard, with whom she shares a non-enjoyably mismatched flirtatiousness. She isn’t given any funny lines or situations, and just pops in when someone has to steer Richard’s thought process. Her failure to engage anything is insufferable.
Though it’s an enjoyable show through and through, HBO’s Togetherness features a married couple whose relationship is rocky, in large part because Brett’s selfishness is only outmatched by his cluelessness about his family life. Someone who would rather take a drug trip than help his wife Michelle with an important party she’s been planning, Brett is largely socially inept and doesn’t quite grasp it. Why are we supposed to care about this guy? Perhaps this is some kind of brilliance in performance from actor and co-creator Mark Duplass, but Brett is almost as off-putting as the concept of divorce.
Penelope (Criminal Minds)
Say what you will about procedurals, but shows that are driven mostly by plot often escape the plight of having annoying characters, with motivations generally overlaying most personality traits. And then there’s Penelope Garcia, whose behavior is generally abysmal and over-emotional for someone who’s supposed to serve as comic relief. (And she’s not that funny, either.) In the annals of mutually attracted coworkers, the flirtations between Penelope and Morgan are overly awkward, and one actively roots for them to never get together. As well, her manic energy is detrimental to the team and she should have been canceled along with the spinoff.
Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory)
If we’d had this list going for the past seven years, Jim Parsons’ brainy Sheldon Cooper would have been the perennial no-brainer. While Sheldon can be endearing, his distinct personality can get insanely grating on the nerves, especially as the show has gone on and his relationship with Amy has become a main focus, despite him being mentally unequipped to handle a romantic relationship. (That’s not a knock on any of his supposed-but-unconfirmed personality disorders, just that he sucks at emotions.) The big Season 8 cliffhanger involved him getting dumped over The Flash, another sign that Sheldon won’t be maturing past annoyance anytime soon.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.