With so much great television on at the moment, you have to have some really captivating characters to differentiate yourself from the plethora of programming that’s available. While of course a series needs to have characters that the viewer really cares about, there’s perhaps an even more effective way of writing awesome characters. Namely: to make a character that’s a downright awful person.
The Atlantic recently compiled a list of the 32 most awful television characters in contemporary TV. Voted on by fans, they ranked the most despicable people in comedy and drama programs alike resulting in a summation of truly terrible characters. Then again, they’re the people we love to hate- and that makes for damn good television. Let’s walk through the top 10 worst characters from that list, and exactly what makes them so cringe-worthy. Obviously, spoilers abound so tread lightly.
#10 Hannah Horvath
All of the characters on Girls are pretty terrible, and its protagonist is no exception. Her level of self-absorption is her most crippling trait, and also makes for some of the most hilarious moments Girls has to offer. The kicker: she’s actually super intelligent, but can’t get people to like her due to her selfishness.
#9 Gus Fring
The best villain Breaking Bad had to offer, Gus is one cold-blooded Mo’ Fo’. He stops at nothing in his lust for money and power, all while maintaining a great albi and seemingly pleasant demeanor. That is, until Walt crosses him and he threatens to kill his infant daughter. Yikes.
#8 Marnie Michaels
Didn’t I say that all of the characters in Girls are terrible? Well Marnie is definitely the worst. While beautiful and talented, Marnie’s insecurities are palpable in every episode. So is the fact that she tries to overcompensate by being a control freak. Oh, and she has a bad habit of sleeping with other girls’ boyfriends. No bueno.
#7 Joffrey Baratheon
This Game Of Thrones character is a sadistic child king who was a result of incest. So, the odds were stacked against him. But really, Joff loved violence like a lot. I can’t remember a character in recent memory who was so unlikeable, and whose death was so celebrated by its viewers. Let’s face it, we all wanted Sansa to look at his head on a pike. Good riddance.
#6 Walter White
While the protagonist of Breaking Bad started off supposedly trying to provide for his family, the underworld quickly got the better of him. Through AMC’s hit show, we see Walt disappear and Heisenberg take control. After letting Jesse’s girlfriend OD in the second season, we knew he was no longer the chemistry teacher from the pilot episode. Plus, we had to see him in his underwear way more than anyone wanted.
#5 Pete Campbell
You know those privileged people that have grown up with a sense of entitlement? That’s Pete from Mad Men. His character only gets more frustrating as he has actual talent in advertising, but refuses to put in the work to be a success. Oh, and he has a handful of extra-marital affairs but who doesn’t on Mad Men.
#4 Fitzgerald Grant
Like Pete Campbell, Fitz’s privilege makes him extremely unlikeable in Scandal. As is the fact that he thinks less with his brain and more with his… Washington Monument. Plus he lets semi-ex wife Mellie call the shots despite him being the leader of the free world. Come on Prez.
#3 Jim Moriarty
This guy is crazypants. As the main antagonist of the BBC drama Sherlock, he’s basically the opposite of Sherlock Holmes. He loves killing… a lot and is willing to help other people kill too. Favorite moments include telling Holmes he was going to burn him alive.
#2 Hannibal Lector
Based off of Anthony Hopkin’s character from the film series, Hannibal is a psychopathic murderer. Not only does he enjoy killing, he takes the time to prepare gourmet meals with his victims’ remains which he then consumes with pure delight. So… not a nice guy.
#1 Ramsay Bolton
Just when you thought there wasn’t anyone worse than Joffrey on Game Of Thrones, Ramsay is introduced and Joff seems like an adorable teenager. The bastard Bolton’s favorite activities include torture and the flaying of innocent people. He psychologically tortures Theon till he’s a shell of a man, as well as castrates him. Then, last season he rapes Sansa in one of the most controversial turn of events in the show’s history. Basically he’s the worst.
Do you agree with this list? Sound off below!
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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