This post comes courtesy of my dear internet buddy, Girl on the Park. It is one that hits home for TV junkies like myself, and I spent quite some time reading and re-reading it, nodding in agreement while chuckling and marveling over the remarkable writing style dripping in sarcasm.
It also brought me down memory lane, as some of the shows mentioned are ones I’ve held dear to my heart for over a decade.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Something you should know about me — I’m kind of a pop culture fiend. I love movies and books and I also really love TV. I own a ridiculous number of shows on DVD and am always eager to make a new awesome discovery. Anyway, I started thinking about my favourite TV characters the other day and came up with a list of the best and worst ones. Read along and see if you agree!
TV Characters I Do Not Like
Marissa Cooper, The OC
Marissa Cooper was supposedly the golden girl of this show. She was supposed to be sexy, stylish and scintillating. Instead, she was really boring. Maybe it was the writing, maybe it was the fact that Mischa Barton delivered her lines with either google eyed disbelief or like she was about to lapse into a coma, but whatever it was, nothing helped. Not drugs, not breakdowns, not sexing the gardener or the local surf Nazi could make her interesting and so by the time Marissa bit the big one at the end of Season Three, it was kind of a relief that they weren’t going to have to waste anymore screen time on her nonadventures.
Logan Huntzberger, Gilmore Girls
I never got why this douche was supposed to be the love of Rory’s life. It was like he had no personality outside of being a smarmy hipster version of Richie Rich. Even towards the end of the show when he lost all his money and was trying to make a go of it on his own, it still kind of seemed like he thought the world owed him something. Never was I so happy to see someone turn down a wedding proposal. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
I have only seen an episode of this show but I do not understand why this Rachel person is supposed to be the heart of Glee. Underneath her perky exterior, she seems insanely self-centred and hateful towards anyone she sees as a rival. What makes that something to root for?
Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
Look Carrie, here’s the thing: I know this show is about you, but you’re kind of an awful person. You’re bad with money and expect your friends to bail you out. You cheat on a dude who really loves you with your stupid married ex. You give up your job to follow your boyfriend overseas and then get pissed off that you have nothing to do. Your boyfriend proposes to you and instead of celebrating the relationship, you put the focus on wedding and then are surprised when being shallow and materialistic blows up in your face (not that your fiancé is a “Big” prize). You have legitimate relationship issues that almost cause you to cheat, but then your husband buys you something shiny and all is forgotten. When I was in my early 20s, I might have fallen for that cheap single girl heroine stuff, but now I know better. (Also, Miranda kicks your ass any day of the week.)
Sydney Bristow, Alias
Jack Bristow. Sloane. Vaughn. Sark. Weiss. Little Marshall Flinkman, the computer guy! I would have gladly watched shows built around any of these characters, but instead, I kind of felt like we got stuck with Sydney. She might have had wigs, she might have had kung fu moves, but she never really had my attention. Sorry Syd fans, but anyone who can make a show about superspies boring is a major dud.
TV Characters I Probably Shouldn’t Have Liked, But Did Anyway
Logan Echolls, Veronica Mars
My husband and I debate about Logan all the time. He says that Logan’s season one exploits of supplying people with roofies make him a loathsome and horrible person. I, on the other hand, am willing to give the guy a bit of a pass. Sure, he starts off as a “psychotic jackass,” but once you get to know the character, you have a better understanding of why he is the way he is. His dad beat him. His mom committed suicide. His girlfriend was murdered. Dumping that much sucky stuff on a character could make them an annoying “why me?” victim, but a combination of good writing and good acting choices on the part of Jason Dohring made him extremely watchable. Plus, the first time sparks flew between him and V was ten times hotter than things ever were with Duncan.
Titus Pullo, Rome
If you put Titus’ character down to his actions, he’s actually kind of awful. He killed the fiancé of a girl he liked because he was jealous. He cheated on his pregnant wife. He strangled his mistress. And he killed a whole bunch of people. Anyone else could have played the part like a mindless hateful thug, but Ray Stevenson brought such a great energy and humanity to role that you found yourself rooting for him in spite of all his violent past.
Al Swearengen, Deadwood
When I first started watching Deadwood, I wasn’t sure what to make of Al. He seemed prime villain material. But over time, I saw that while Al can certainly be a douche, he operates on logic and a certain set of morals. They might not exactly be my kind of morals, but watching him, you could see how he would come to certain conclusions and make certain decisions. If I had to choose between him, the dandiness of Cy Tolliver and the nastiness of George Hearst, I would vote Swearengen any day of the week. And damn if the man wasn’t quotable as all hell. “Don’t forget to kill Tim!”
Coach McGuirk, Home Movies
This might be kind of a cheat because this was a cartoon show, but McGuirk is kind of an amazing character. A broke, rage-filled, alcoholic soccer coach, he is designed to be unlikable and yet pretty much every episode, I found myself loving the crazy things that would come out of his mouth. Want an efficient coach? Go somewhere else. But if you want one that will call you a diseased chipmunk? Call John McGuirk. You’ll probably never win a tournament, but you’ll have a lot of laughs.
Gemma Teller Morrow, Sons of Anarchy
Peggy Bundy as a biker chick? How did that happen? I still don’t know, but it works. She’s encouraged a junkie to OD, she’s hit her husband’s mistress in the face with a skateboard and you just know that she’s keeping all sorts of juicy secrets from her loving son, but Katey Sagal’s performance as Lady Hamlet of the Hog set is actually pretty great. The fact that she didn’t earn any nominations for the work she did on SOA last season blows my mind. Look out Brenda Johnson and Betty Draper, because next year, Gemma’s mopping the floor with you marshmallows.
TV Characters I Started Out Liking, But Then Gradually Resented
Noel Crane, Felicity
Remember when our girl Felicity started school and then fell for her dreamy R.A.? Those were the days! The episode where the two of them tried to schedule sex and then started to get busy next to a burning Christmas tree was awesome. But then, everything started to fall apart. With all his lying, snooping, cheating, and secret marriages, Noel ended up being a lot more drama than he was worth and damaged, alcoholic track star Ben started to seem like the better bet. Sorry “Leon,” but better luck next time . . . perhaps in an alternate reality?
Ross Gellar, Friends
I feel about Ross kind of the same way I do about Noel. He started out adorable and his long standing crush on Rachel Green was enough to make junior high me swoon. After all, he was her lobster. But as the show went on and Ross and Rachel got together and broke up and got together and broke up, Ross became more and more of a caricature of what he had once been. High strung, dramatic, and marriage crazy, the sweetness we had once expected from Mr. Gellar was replaced with an instability that made him seem almost manic depressive. By the series’ finale, I wasn’t so much concerned that he and Rachel would get together; I was concerned that they would and that poor Rachel would spend the rest of her life having to deal with his irrational jealousy and angry outbursts. Bah!
Izzie Stephens, Grey’s Anatomy
I thought in the early days of Grey’s Anatomy that Izzie was an interesting character. She could have floated through life as the face of “Bethany Whisper,” a Victoria Secret-esqe brand of lingerie, but instead, she decided she wanted to be a doctor and so that is what she did. I even felt bad for her when her boyfriend Denny the Magical Heart Patient died. But then with the ghost sex and the generally being a bitch to everyone, I became less and less enchanted with her, until she ran me off the show completely.
Joey Potter, Dawson’s Creek
My dislike of Joey Potter was more of a slow build. In the early days of Dawson’s Creek, I was definitely a Joey fan. After all, we tall lanky brunettes have to stick together. But then I started to see the cracks. You see, Joey Potter is kind of like your tall pretty friend who knows she’s pretty but really likes to hear you say it, so she fishes for compliments. The number of times she referred to herself as “Poor little Joey Potter from the wrong side of the creek” started to drive me up the wall. Poor Joey’s too tall! Poor Joey’s too skinny! Poor Joey’s too smart! Poor Joey’s too good at art! Poor Joey’s too good at writing! Poor Joey has too many men interested in her! Also, what was up with her letting Dawson Leery control her whole life? I mean the guy was a mega moron with a giant forehead who made the same crappy autobiographical movie like four times! Pacey was the obvious choice!
Nate Fisher, Six Feet Under
When a show starts off with someone’s dad dying, you can’t help but feel sorry for them. Unfortunately for everyone in the viewing audience, Nate went on to squander that good will in a big way and became the most self-centred asshat ever. By the time he cheated on his wife (who was pregnant with a child they believed was special needs) with his stepsister and heartlessly dumped her, I was totally ready for him to shuffle off his mortal coil. What a jerk!
TV Characters I’ve Always Loved
Chandler Bing, Friends
The thing I liked about Chandler (aside from the fact that he is totally my sarcasm twin) is that he was really the only Friend that didn’t become a caricature of himself over the course of the show. He worked hard, he learned things, and he grew up. By the time he and Monica became parents, I actually felt a little impressed with his transition from crazy commitment phobe to loving husband and father. Way to go, dude.
Angela Chase, My So Called Life
I didn’t watch this show when it originally aired but I kind of had my own Angela Chase phase when I was a teenager. I dyed my hair red. I wore babydoll dresses. I overanalysed everything. I even had a debilitating crush on blue eyed plaid wearing dude (although for the record, he wasn’t illiterate and we never made out in the boiler room — instead he would talk at me and I would blush ferociously). While there are many people who lament the cancellation of this show and the fact that Angela picks Jordan Catalano over Brian Krakow, I kind of admire the show for choosing an ending that matches what a 15 year old would actually do. I just hope Brian was still available by the time Angela hit her “I dig serious soulful guys” phase.
Bill Haverchuck, Freaks and Geeks
Bill Haverchuck was possibly the geekiest of the geeks, but there was more to him than just mouth breathing and coke bottle glasses. He was thoughtful. He was adventurous. He was fair. He loved baseball and Dallas and his mom and he rocked Vicki Appleby’s world during 7 minutes in heaven. Plus, that little gawky dude could bust a move! Pretty awesome if you ask me.
Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
If Angela was me as a teenager, then Liz is me as an adult. I wear glasses and sneakers. I sing songs about cheese. I have forgotten my own birthday. I have had to jury rig my pants shut with a paperclip (don’t ask). But if I could find someone who loves crazy old me for me, I have faith that Liz’ll find someone who will love her for her wacky exasperated flatulent self.
Joan Holloway Harris, Mad Men
Being a lady in the 1960s wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but Joan Holloway Harris makes it look kind of awesome. She might have deferred to her male counterparts sometimes, but when required, she could kick some ass and take some names. With her style, her sass and smarts, Joan was a pretty progressive lady and a role model for her time.
So what say you, blogging audience? Do you agree or disagree with my list? Who are your favourite/least favourite TV characters?
Girl is a 28 year old publishing lackey who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her awesome artist husband, Boy, and her fluffy little troublemaker of a cat, Bean. She enjoys good books, good food, and making people feel incredibly short when she stands next to them in heels. When she is not out in the world having adventures, she can be found hunched over her trusty computer (Arthur Putey) making fun of pop culture and/or herself on her blog.