There are two kinds of annoying character on television: the ones who are annoying on purpose and the ones who aren’t. The first category is populated by the likes of Community’s Britta and Enlightened’s Amy Jellicoe, two folks who mean well but can’t stop themselves from being themselves and thus irking everyone around them. Their annoying-ness is a part of who they are, and the shows they appear in know it and use it as part of the story and humor. Then there’s the other kind of annoying, characters who are meant to be appealing — funny, sexy, sympathetic, appealing — but are just aggravating instead. Herewith, a list of the latter. Who’d we forget?
When Glee began, Mr. Schue was a three-dimensional character, a well-meaning but yearning guy stuck in a bad marriage who’d never quite made it and who found new purpose guiding the kids in the glee club. But no cast member has been more ill-served by Glee’s whiplashing plot and overabundance of characters than Mr. Schue, who has been reduced to uttering saccharine clichés while making earnest faces: “I know you can do it!” “I’m so proud of you!” “That’s not what we’re about!” Were it not for Sue’s jokes about his hair, we would hardly miss him.
Over seven seasons, Ted, the hopeless romantic, has become more hopeless and less romantic. It’s not entirely his fault: He’s the one who bears the burden of dragging out HIMYM’s most aggravating story line — the search for the mother — but it doesn’t make him any less irritating.
Photo: RON P. JAFFE/©2009 FOX TELEVISION.
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You’d be forgiven for sympathizing with poor, plain Edith, when even her own parents seem convinced she’ll end up an old maid. Mary’s horrible to her, Sybill’s the fun one, and Edith only gets whiney lines. But then she writes a letter to the freaking Turkish Ambassador to call her sister a slut and really, sad middle-sister syndrome or no, that’s just unforgivable.
Poor Nard Dog. His frantic need-to-please energy used to be part of The Office’s delicate comic balance, but Steve Carell’s departure threw everything off. Now Helms’s toothy desperation is at once overkill and underdone: We had enough awkwardness and neediness from Michael Scott, so if you’re going to go to that well again, you’re gonna have to dig a bit deeper. The worst indignity of it is that Andy Bernard is the funniest when he’s the happiest — say, gleefully singing some a cappella, or swooning over Erin — and yet the show keeps pushing him toward chronic confusion and ineptitude.
Photo: Ron Tom/? NBCUniversal, Inc.
On a show on which every character is saddled with oversexed, often-racist punch lines, Oleg, the lecherous, Ukranian chef, still gets the dregs. See: “Once you go Ukraine, you will scream with sex pain.”
Photo: DARREN MICHAELS
It’s hard to imagine a less authentic creature than Nicole Scherzinger, who came to stardom through a down-market reality show whose “prize” was a spot in a fake girl band of mean-looking strippers, which she’s not even part of anymore. Now she fake cries on TV, offers garbage advice, and has to relate everything back to what it means to her personally (“I cry when I hear this,” “that is my favorite Nelly song”). We wonder, yet again: Could Cheryl Cole really have been worse?
Before we knew the gimp’s identity, he was an angry pervert who killed ghaysts, impregnated Mrs. Coach, and lurked around like a total creeper. He was odd and sort of threatening. But now that we know he’s just Tate, he only seems emo, neither legitimately freaky or frightening.
None of the supporting characters on Whitney are very compelling, but at least it’s plausible that Whitney and Alex might know and like most of them. But not Mark, the boorish cop who lives downstairs and is, inexplicably, best bros with Alex. Every time he shows up onscreen in his uniform, we expect this to be the episode where he reveals he’s actually a stripper.
Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/? NBCUniversal, Inc.
Props to handsome pilot Dean for not running straight into Collete’s arms post-Bridget, but “ugh” to handsome pilot Dean for picking such a loud, borderline-insane rebound who seems hell-bent on getting him fired. Also, we’re pretty sure kept women don’t get so excited about JuJuBees. It’s just candy, m’am.
Photo: Eric Liebowitz/? 2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Teenage know-it-alls are generally unsympathetic, but moping about your former girlfriend whom you had to break up with on account of your family getting into a time-hole to go live among the dinosaurs? Maybe it’s time to get over it, kid.