Most Annoying TV Characters Ever
Kim Bauer, 24 (2001–10) – They called her ”Cougar Trap.” The hapless teenage daughter of terrorist fighter Jack Bauer on 24, Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) had a never-ending series of misadventures that kept distracting our hero from saving Los Angeles. Most infamously, a season 2 nature trek resulted in Kim getting caught in, yes, a cougar trap, then nearly eaten by the very animal the trap was meant to catch. Apparently the cougar was smarter than she was. —James Hibberd
Nikki and Paulo, Lost (2006–07) – There’s a reason some characters are relegated to the background. When Lost writers decided to bring two of the also-crasheds to the forefront, no one could have predicted how grating the pair’s whiny inanity would become. Only 11 episodes after their debut, Nikki and Paulo (played by Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro) were unceremoniously buried alive in a particularly gruesome (and satisfying) bit of fan service. —Keith
Janice Litman, Friends (1994–2004) – If irritation could be tapped as a fuel source, our reaction to Janice’s laugh could power a midsize city. The curly-haired cackler (Maggie Wheeler) ruined any number of events in the Friends’ lives, popping up throughout Chandler’s courtship of and marriage to Monica, and even crowding into Rachel’s hospital room when they went into labor at the same time. —Lanford Beard
Sam McKinney, Diff’rent Strokes (1984–86) – Most people point to The Brady Bunch’s Cousin Oliver as the ultimate horrifying example of a newer, supposedly cuter little kid brought in to boost ratings, but give me Diff’rent Strokes’ Sam. Wait… no, that’s not what I mean. I mean don’t give him to me. Because he’s super annoying! Truth be told, I can’t remember what exactly made that little scamp (Danny Cooksey) so irritating, but every so often I wake up in a cold sweat with the words ”Hey, Mr. D!” running through my head. And it’s that kid’s fault. —Dalton Ross
Kimmy Gibbler, Full House (1987-1995) – The Tanners’ wacky next door neighbor and DJ’s best friend was definitely the Urkel of Full House. Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) always wanted Kimmy (Andrea Barber) to go home, and her outfits — she was fond of neon, patterns, and horizontal stripes — were as loud as her blaring voice. One of her most defining traits: her especially stinky feet. Gibbler, go home! —Stephan Lee
Arnold Horshack, Welcome Back Kotter (1975-1979) – Sounding a bit like a vacuum cleaner trying to suck up a billiard ball, or the cachinnations of a gravely ill hyena, Arnold Horshack’s laugh was one of the most grating sounds in television history, possibly beaten only by some unholy Jean Stapleton/Fran Drescher hybrid. Sure, he was the lovable weirdo of the Sweat Hogs, but every time he raised his hand and yelled, ”Oohhh, oohh, oohh, Mr. Kotter!” you wanted to send him straight to detention. —Keith Staskiewicz
Screech, Saved by the Bell, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1989-2000) – Brillo-haired Samuel ”Screech” Powell (Dustin Diamond) was a scrawny misfit whose squeaky voice, nerdy interests, and talent for bungling things made him unbearable — Steve Urkel, but not as smart. Most annoyingly of all, Screech (and Diamond) just didn’t know when to quit: The grating character appeared in not one, not two, but all three incarnations of Saved by the Bell. No wonder Lisa Turtle wanted nothing to do with him. —Hillary Busis
Eriq LaSalle, ER (1994-2009) – Why did it always seem like there was a bug up the butt of Dr. Peter Benton? We get it — an emergency room isn’t the place for a whole lot of Tra La La — but LaSalle’s brooding depiction of a talented but rarely satisfied surgeon was a total downer, man. —Lynette Rice
Dawn Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000-2003) – Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) had issues, and with good reason: The people she loved kept abandoning her, her sister was an ultra-enviable superhero, and, oh yeah, at age 14, she found out that everything she thought she knew was a lie. Still, it was tough to feel sympathy for Dawn as she sulked, complained, and developed an irritating shoplifting problem. Maybe if the teen had whined less, viewers wouldn’t have yearned to see her get eaten by some Hellmouth beast. —Hillary Busis
Kennedy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002-03) – Granted, Kennedy (Iyari Limon) had some serious shoes to fill, replacing the dearly departed Tara (Amber Benson) as the new girlfriend for sapphic witch Willow (Alyson Hannigan). But did she have to be such a brat? The Hamptons-bred potential slayer aggressively pushed her way into Willow’s heart whether Willow herself was ready for it or not, and stridently called into question Buffy’s leadership at the moment when her leadership was most needed. Her one redeeming virtue: Kennedy herself even seemed to know how annoying she really was: ”This might have escaped your keen notice,” she once told Willow, ”but I’m kind of a brat.” —Adam B. Vary
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I’ve recently been pondering my own choices for Worst TV Character Ever. So far the contenders include:
Lauren from Alias, Season 3 – Lauren had a tough stigma to overcome being the person who married Our Heroine’s True Love… but the way Lauren was portrayed was inconsistent. At first she was supposed to be a well-meaning gal who suddenly found herself in the awkward position of marrying a guy whose dead True Love comes back to life. And it was hard enough to buy that, but *then* we learned she was really just another bad guy working on a scheme of her own… and with that revelation, she instantly became a one-dimensional joke of a character.
Suzanne from Booker – I suspect that this character was written specifically to entice Lori Petty to appear on the show. Why else would they write a character who is supposed to be cooler than the show’s namesake? She was painted as some earnest albeit mischievous, street-smart saint. (Oops, she lied again. Grr! Oh, but she’s just misunderstood, now she’s sincere again. Aww. :rollseyes: ) From the start, I found her attitude, her deceptions, and her insistence on getting involved with Booker’s cases not only uncool, but positively grating, like fingernails on a blackboard.
And arguably, my #1 choice for worst TV character ever:
Eve from Angel, Season 5 – This one stands out in my mind as a terrible TV character, primarily because she was so darn smug right from the start, and not only could I not fathom why but her presentation made me not care at all to find out. From her very first appearance, I found every scene with her painful to endure.