Annoying Characters That Almost Ruined Great TV Shows
Sadly, even the best TV shows feature some bad characters at times. In most cases, new faces are added to keep things interesting or to shake up storylines involving existing characters. They can change the entire show's dynamic, and the results aren’t always positive. Sometimes, fans simply hate them.
In extreme cases, new characters have actually ruined once-beloved shows. Of course, producers and writers never intend to kill shows with new additions, but some extremely annoying TV characters should have ended up on the cutting room floor instead of torturing fans.
Cousin Oliver, The Brady Bunch
When people start talking about annoying TV characters who killed a show, you may immediately think of Cousin Oliver (Robbie Rist) from The Brady Bunch. He was added to the hit 1970’s sitcom for basically no reason. By the fifth season, the show’s ratings had dropped, so the producers added an 8-year-old relative who stayed with the Brady family.
Producers hoped he would refresh the appeal of the Brady kids, but it didn’t work. He changed the balance of the show, and The Brady Bunch was canceled. Many fans blame him for killing the show, and when a character ruins a show, it’s known as "Cousin Oliver Syndrome."
Warren Ferguson, The Andy Griffith Show
Warren Ferguson didn’t stand a chance with the audience of The Andy Griffith Show, considering the huge shoes he had to fill. For five seasons, Don Knotts repeatedly stole the spotlight as Barney Fife, Andy’s trusty deputy. Knotts was the perfect companion to Griffith, and no one could reproduce that brotherly friendship.
Knotts left Mayberry after the show’s fifth season and was replaced by Jack Burns, who played new deputy Warren Ferguson. He wasn’t necessarily a bad character, but he wasn’t Barney Fife. Many of the episodes he appeared in were written for Barney, and it was simply impossible to replace Knotts.
Wesley Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation
For many fans, the ultimate Star Trek franchise is Star Trek: The Next Generation from the 1980s. However, one of the most annoying additions in TV history was Wil Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher.
Wesley repeatedly failed to be accepted into Starfleet Academy, but he somehow managed to serve on board the Enterprise. He offered opinions, argued with senior officers and generally had a bold attitude. Fans rejoiced when Picard finally snapped and shouted, "Shut up, Wesley!" They undoubtedly sighed with relief when Wesley exited as a series regular during the show’s fourth season.
Billie Jenkins, Charmed
The last season of the early 2000’s drama Charmed introduced Billie Jenkins, who managed to drag the show down quite a few levels. Played by future sitcom superstar Kaley Cuoco, Billie was a modern-day witch who learned about her powers on her own. That might sound impressive, but fans generally agreed that Billie was a whiny brat with cheesy one-liners.
Several of her absurd storylines made fans raise an eyebrow. The show completely changed for Billie, but why? She was ultimately selected as the Chosen One — and we still don’t know why. It’s not a coincidence that the series ended shortly after her introduction.
Piper Chapman, Orange Is the New Black
Netflix’s hit drama Orange Is the New Black intended to showcase Piper Chapman’s story, but fans soon realized Piper (Taylor Schilling) was the least interesting character on a show filled with well-written, three-dimensional characters. Self-absorbed and toxic to everyone around her, she is impossible to like.
Writer and creator Jenji Kohan realized the show was doomed if it continued to focus on Piper, so she shifted the attention to the far more interesting other inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary. One fan commented, "I don’t think they could have made her (Piper) any more insufferable if they tried. I watched the show for the supporting characters."
Ross Geller, Friends
This one might be controversial since some Friends fans (inexplicably) love Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), but we’ll stand by this opinion. Between the whining, the temper tantrums and the fact that everything he says is just dripping with judgement, we still can’t understand what Rachel Green (Jen Aniston) saw in him.
Ross, an insecure bully, constantly abuses Rachel by putting her down, demeaning her job and trying to control her life. Even in the end, he makes Rachel choose between him and her dream job in Paris. All that manipulation is a far-cry from romantic. To make matters worse, he can’t handle his son playing with a Barbie doll, makes his wife’s sexual orientation all about him and may, in fact, be the originator of the phrase “not all men” in “The One That Could Have Been.”
C.J. Barnes, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter
Obviously, no one expected John Ritter to suddenly die in 2003 while filming his sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Instead of canceling the successful show, producers and writers pushed forward and introduced new characters: Cate and Paul’s nephew, C.J. Barnes (David Spade), and Jim Egan (James Garner).
Neither character could make fans stop missing Ritter, especially C.J. He was the nagging relative you desperately wanted to get rid of but couldn’t. He often acted like a child and had far too many failed attempts to pick up women. The show was canceled after its third season.
Ani Achola, 13 Reasons Why
The third season of Netflix’s hit teen drama 13 Reasons Why focused on the murder of a main character, Bryce (Justin Prentice), and the mystery of who killed him. This was intriguing to audiences, but many fans weren’t pleased with the introduction of one specific character.
Ani Achola (Grace Saif) was added to the show to narrate the season, and she knew everything that happened. One fan said, "I just couldn’t understand why they brought in a new character to narrate when there were loads of perfectly good ones already in the show. She was hard to relate to."
Lindsey Strauss, One Tree Hill
When fans "ship" two characters — hope they fall in love and get a happy ending — they immediately hate a new love interest that could foil that plan. That’s what happened in the early 2000’s hit teen drama One Tree Hill. In season five, Lindsey Strauss (Michaela McManus) was added to the show as Lucas Scott’s girlfriend.
Fans hated her. They didn’t want her to even date Lucas, and they especially had a fit when the couple got engaged and started preparing for a wedding. One fan said, "The character was awful. Anytime I rewatch the show, I skip her season." Thank goodness, Lindsey was ousted before she could completely ruin the show.
Andy Bernard, The Office
When Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) was first introduced to the 2000’s sitcom The Office, he was tolerable. Audiences met him during the third season premiere, and he ended up staying on the show for the remaining seasons — to the dismay of many fans.
Although Helms received praise for his performance, Andy is regarded as one of the most annoying characters on TV. One fan commented, "He was okay at first, but then I found myself cringing and just trying to get through the episodes he was in. He annoyed me to no end, and he just wasn’t funny to me."
Walden Schmidt, Two and a Half Men
In 2011, Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre fired star Charlie Sheen after his verbal anti-Semitic rant about Lorre on the Alex Jones radio show. (He also committed several felony offenses around the same time, but who’s counting?) At first, CBS intended to cancel the sitcom, but Lorre hired Ashton Kutcher to replace Sheen.
Kutcher’s character, Walden Schmidt, was a billionaire who bought Charlie Harper’s (Sheen) home after Charlie supposedly died. Although Kutcher is a comedy genius, fans felt the show was never the same without Sheen. Even those who enjoyed it tend to believe the show should have simply ended with Charlie’s death.
Cindy Snow, Three’s Company
Three’s Company was one of the best sitcoms on TV in the ‘70s and ‘80s. For four seasons, Suzanne Somers starred as Chrissy Snow, but when she asked for an equal salary as costar John Ritter, she was fired. The next season, Jenilee Harrison was hired to play Chrissy’s cousin, Cindy Snow.
While the sitcom continued for several more seasons, fans felt Cindy didn’t have the same quirky appeal as Chrissy, and she was only a regular on one season. It was essential for the show to feature three main cast members, but Cindy wasn’t the best option to complete the trio.
Nellie Bertram, The Office
In 2011, Steve Carell left The Office during the show’s seventh season. His absence left a massive void in the sitcom, but the show continued without him. The show’s Dunder Mifflin Paper Company hired Brit Eleanour Donna "Nellie" Bertram (Catherine Tate) as a potential suitor to Michael Scott’s throne.
Fans immediately didn’t like her and wanted her off the show. Nellie had horrible social skills, and she was lonely, depressed and desperate to adopt a child. Fans didn’t care about her and only wanted Michael Scott back in the office. Many fans skip over the episodes featuring her when they rewatch the sitcom.
Stephanie Mills, All in the Family
By the ninth season of the 1970’s sitcom All in the Family, Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) was looking forward to having some quiet time. His daughter and son-in-law were moving away, but before he could relax, Archie’s 9-year-old grand-niece, Stephanie Mills (Danielle Brisebois), showed up on his doorstep.
Before you can roll your eyes, Stephanie was incorporated into the Bunker’s lives. Fans thought she was an unnecessary character who was added to the show too late into its run. She successfully annoyed viewers to the point that many of them stopped watching the sitcom and refused to watch the later spinoff, Archie Bunker’s Place.
Seven Wanker, Married…with Children
Fox’s first hit sitcom, Married…with Children, is still fondly remembered today, but fans wish they could forget one particular character. Seven Wanker (Shane Street) was taken in by the Bundy family for a short time. Fans expected Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) to treat him with hostility, but he immediately declares him a "True Bundy."
Street had little acting experience, and the audience didn’t react well to his performance. The writers didn’t provide enough of backstory for his character, and Seven eventually disappeared from the show, never to be spoken of again. It was for the best.
Mon-El (Chris Wood) was added to The CW series Supergirl simply as a new love interest for Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist). The character had a previous partner, but when he left the show, producers felt she needed a boyfriend. Much to the fans’ dismay, this became Mon-El.
One fan remarked, "I had to stop watching (the show) because of how much I hated him. He was obnoxious, rude and arrogant. And to have him replace James as Kara’s love interest was just terrible." Mon-El finally left the show in 2018, but fans are still upset he was ever a character in the first place.
Maggie Pierce, Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy has had many characters come and go over its 15 seasons. Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary) is a character fans wish would leave. People consider her irritating, and they don’t believe she will ever become endearing. Maggie was introduced to the show when she found her birth father, Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.), at Seattle Grace Hospital.
Fans were immediately frustrated when Maggie denied Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) the opportunity to move on from the death of Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) with Dr. Riggs (Martin Henderson) because of her own crush on him. Fans wanted her to leave then, and many haven’t changed their minds.
Randy Pearson, That ‘70s Show
Even the best actor in the world couldn’t have made up for the loss of That ‘70s Show’s two most popular characters: Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher). When the actors left at the end of the show’s seventh season, producers hired Josh Meyers to play record store clerk Randy Pearson.
Fans immediately hated him. Writers responded by marginalizing the character and turning him into a boring guy with very little depth. The show was canceled at the end of the eighth season, and most fans still believe Randy was a deadly mistake for the show.
Lucy Bennett, Scrubs
Scrubs should have ended when the show’s main character, J.D. (Zach Braff), left after the eighth season. Instead, the show tried to focus on a group of new interns at the hospital. Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishé) was added to the cast to follow in the footsteps of her mentor, J.D.
But Lucy was nowhere near as funny or entertaining as J.D. Yes, she knew how to be a good doctor, but that wasn’t enough for most fans. She didn’t carry the show on her shoulders as the writers intended, and the show was canceled after its ninth season.
Skyler White, Breaking Bad
Fans hated Breaking Bad’s Skyler White so much that actress Anna Gunn wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times about the double standard for female characters. She wrote, "As an actress, I realize that viewers are entitled to have whatever feelings they want about the characters they watch. But as a human being, I’m concerned that so many people react to Skyler with such venom."
Even if Skyler was "right," fans felt Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was the hero. No matter what she did on the show, Skyler was hated. Fans couldn’t stand her, and she became the "bad guy" — fair or not.
Screech, Saved by the Bell
Sometimes, Samuel "Screech" Powers (Dustin Diamond) was unbearable to watch on the 1990s sitcom Saved by the Bell. It’s almost hard to believe his character was best friends with Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and the gang at Bayside High School. In the beginning, Screech was more "normal," but as the show progressed, his character became all about comic relief.
The writers used Screech for cheap laughs, turning him into an annoying, over-the-top character. Some fans skip over scenes with him to focus on the other more interesting characters. Poor Screech. He was the victim of unfortunate writing.
April Kepner, Grey’s Anatomy
When April Kepner (Sarah Drew) was added to the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy, audiences immediately disliked her. They knew she was going to be an important character, but they hated her anyway. Writers (and producer Shonda Rhimes) seemed to love the "goody-two-shoes," much to the confusion of many fans.
One fan said, "She’s so annoying and judgmental. Her relationship with Jackson (Jesse Williams) was painful. I don’t understand how people thought they were cute when they had nothing in common. Once the show started focusing more on her, I stopped watching." Sounds like some fans were probably happy when April was written out of the show in 2018.
Betty Draper, Mad Men
When Mad Men premiered in 2007, it was easy to sympathize with Betty Draper (January Jones). She put up with a cheating husband, Don (Jon Hamm), but eventually, Betty’s real self was exposed, including plenty of immature behaviors and her fixation on traditional values. It didn’t take long for fans to start disliking her.
After Betty and Don’s divorce, Betty’s storylines became more tiresome and far-fetched. She had lots of opinions, very few feelings and was unfailingly selfish. Even though Mad Men was a well-written show, the writing never seemed to improve Betty’s poor character.
Rachel Berry, Glee
In the musical comedy Glee, Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) was always destined to be a star. From the very first episode, she was the most talented singer in the Glee Club. However, this perfection made her one of the most annoying characters in TV history, according to fans.
One fan said, "They always found a way to center the show around her, even though her character was arrogant and annoying." Rachel’s ego certainly knew she was a star. She always expected to receive the top singing roles, which is why fans always rooted for someone else to land the lead roles.
Grace Adler, Will & Grace
When your character’s name is in the show's title, it’s a sad day if you aren’t likable. When it comes to the sitcom Will & Grace, many fans actually hated Grace Adler (Debra Messing) as the show progressed. She was funny and enjoyable at first, but she eventually started to lose her charm.
One fan commented, "I enjoyed the show for the first couple of seasons, but then Grace became so selfish that it wasn’t even funny anymore. I actually stopped watching." Maybe Grace has changed with the current reboot, but some former fans didn’t give it a chance due to their dislike from the show’s original run.
April Nardini, Gilmore Girls
We can’t blame April Nardini (Vanessa Marano) for nearly ruining the early 2000’s drama Gilmore Girls. Introduced in the show’s sixth season, April is revealed to be Luke Danes’ (Scott Patterson) unknown daughter. She steals and tests Luke’s DNA to confirm he is her father.
Once Luke knows he has a daughter, he wants to be involved in her life, even if it means lying to his fiancé, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham). Luke and Lorelai’s relationship doesn’t end well, and fans blame April for ruining everyone’s favorite relationship. She was an unnecessary character, and her storyline dragged down the beloved show.
Dawson Leery, Dawson’s Creek
Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) is the title character in the late 1990’s high school team drama Dawson’s Creek, but that doesn’t mean he was the most popular character. In an ensemble consisting of a tomboy, a misunderstood bad boy and a misunderstood bad girl, Dawson was more self-obsessed than fans preferred.
In fact, he quickly became the least favorite character among fans. He was brooding, and his storylines often ruined the show. You couldn’t really have Dawson’s Creek without its namesake, so fans had to endure the character until the show’s finale in 2003.
Dawn Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The writers originally intended for the character of Dawn Summers on the teen drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be a much younger girl. Unfortunately, when they cast Michelle Trachtenberg in the role, they didn’t bother to adjust the writing for her older age. So, what was so unappealing about Dawn? She was a whiny teenager who acted like a brat, and no one cared for her.
Dawn constantly sulked and had a series of identity crises, and her petty behavior was too much to handle for many fans. She was written into the show as an important character with many relevant storylines, but fans would have preferred to see a lot less of her.
After 10 seasons, Scooby-Doo was beginning to slide downward in its ratings. Fearful the popular children’s program would be canceled, the writers decided to introduce a new character in 1979: Scrappy-Doo, Scooby’s nephew. The pint-sized Great Dane was the complete opposite of his beloved uncle. He was annoying, superfluous — and completely unnecessary.
Some fans even said that Scrappy-Doo is the only fictional puppy out there who isn’t cute. He was hated so much that producers turned him into a villain in the 2002 live-action film. You can say "Scrappy Dappy Doo," but not too many fans will join you. They want nothing to do with the cartoon character.
Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother
Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) is the main character of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The show is essentially his story of how he met his children’s mother — yet many fans have a serious dislike of Ted. If it hadn’t been for the supporting characters who picked up the slack, the show never would have survived.
One fan said, "He was so needy and insufferable, yet the show was framed through his eyes. If it wasn’t for the other characters, I don’t know if I could have made it through the series." It’s pretty bad when most viewers don’t like the main character on a show.
Kimmy Gibbler, Full House
Unfortunately, Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) was DJ Tanner’s (Candace Cameron-Bure) best friend who lived too close for comfort. By that we mean Kimmy lived right next door to the Tanners. In short, there was simply no escaping her — or her need to shout, empty the Tanners’ fridge and put up her notoriously stinky feet.
Perhaps the worst part? Showrunners created Kimmy for this sole purpose. That’s right — her entire reason for existence was to pester characters like Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and Uncle Jesse (John Stamos). In fact, a common refrain on the show became “Gibbler, go home!” (Spoiler: She always came back.) In the end, she annoyed the heck out of audiences too, but at least we could change the channel.
Will Schuester, Glee
Feel free to read this next one in your inner-Jane Lynch voice: Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) initially took center stage on Ryan Murphy’s wildly successful series Glee. However, as it became more and more apparent that “Mr. Schue” was just a one-dimensional, vest-wearing whiner, fans were filled with anything but glee when it came to his plot lines.
In the very first episode of the show, Will, an allegedly optimistic and well-meaning teacher, blackmails one of his students: If football star Finn doesn’t join the glee club, Will is set on framing him with drugs. Later, Mr. Schue tries to force Kurt, the group’s star, to come out as gay before he’s ready. If all of these terrible things aren’t enough, he also falsely equates the way people of color experience racism with being an “outsider” in high school, stating “You’re all minorities; you’re all in glee club.” Yikes.
Baby Sinclair, Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs was a Jim Henson sitcom that hit TV screens in the ‘90s and portrayed a family of working-class dinos living in a modern world, complete with jobs and TVs and so on. The family’s patriarch, Earl Sinclair, even had some real John-Goodman-in-Roseanne vibes. While we can appreciate the fun premise, there’s one main character we just can’t appreciate: Baby Sinclair.
As his name suggests, Baby Sinclair is the youngest member of the Sinclair dino-family, who can often be seen causing chaos from his highchair. Known for his sarcasm and wisecracking, Baby’s most common gag is to whack his father Earl over the head with a frying pan. To make matters worse, he then snickers things like “I’m the baby. Gotta love me.” No, we don’t.
Jenny Humphrey, Gossip Girl
Most Gossip Girl fans agree, Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) is one of the worst — if not the worst — character on the show. (Georgina Sparks is up there, but we felt bad including two Michelle Trachtenberg characters.) Although Jenny starts out as Dan’s sweet younger sister who dreams of making it big, she becomes a full-fledged psychopath, eager to ruin relationships and lives just because she can.
In the end, her obsession with climbing the social ladder eclipses all else. Though she claims to have nothing, the ever-selfish Jenny is incredibly privileged — with the gigantic Brooklyn loft to prove it. Not once but twice she turns her back on her dad, one of the people who still inexplicably cares about Jenny despite her actions. Honestly, we were glad to see her role shrink. Xoxo.
Warren Mears, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Although Warren Mears (Adam Busch) is just one-third of The Trio — three like-minded nerds who want to become supervillains — he is undoubtedly the worst. As the “brains” behind the evil league, he’s the one calling the shots and all of those shots are misogynistic, infuriating and irredeemable. He even throws his supposed friends, the troubled Johnathan and Andrew, to the wolves.
Warren designs a robot to be his perfect girlfriend (gross), kills his actual human girlfriend (seriously) and then builds a robot version of Buffy (double gross). This walking incel template then causes one of the show’s most heartbreaking (and needless) deaths: In an attempt to kill Buffy, Warren shoots Tara, Willow’s girlfriend and fellow witch. Fortunately, when he finally meets his end it’s a fairly satisfying revenge.
Janice Litman, Friends
Janice Litman-Goralnik (née Hosenstein) is perhaps the epitome of annoying character. Like Full House’s Kimmy Gibbler, Janice was seemingly created to annoy other characters — and, by extension, the audience. Portrayed by Maggie Wheeler, Janice often pops up when — and where — the friends least expect her.
Janice’s trademark nasally voice and “OH MY GOD!” catchphrase are often played for laughs, but there’s more to this bothersome character than her comic traits. Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and Janice have a seasons-long on-again/off-again relationship, but when Chandler first tries to break things off, Janice starts crying, guilting him into staying coupled. It’s the stuff like this that really gets under our skin.