The Top 10 Current TV Characters You Just Love To Hate, And Why You (Sometimes) Love Them
By Carson Blackwelder
With so many channels and series to choose from these days, there’s no shortage of evil characters you love to hate and hate to love on TV.
These characters are the targets of pranks, are the pranksters themselves and/or maintain a flaw that’s simultaneously endearing and irritating. It’s a delicate balance not every show — although many try — can pull off, but luckily, there are several on TV that I can’t wait to catch up with week after week.
While mass opinion may fluctuate regarding most of these characters, there’s something about each of them that makes tuning in simply fun.
Check out my top 10 characters I love to hate this season:
10. Jerry Gergich on NBC’s Parks and Recreation
OK, so Jerry (Jim O’Heir) is the nicest guy ever, right? Right. But he gets picked on so much on Parks and Recreation, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that even his own friends and coworkers don’t like him sometimes.
Jerry (or Gary) suffers from what I like to call “nice guy syndrome.” It’s a disorder — completely made up — that makes someone who is so over-the-top nice annoy you to no end. Full disclosure: Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) also suffers from this disorder, though he has made moderate progress this season.
Often the subject of pranks and taunting, Jerry maintains this nice guy facade without fail, making us wonder: Does he ever have a bad day? Well, maybe the day he had a heart/fart attack. That’s a pretty safe assumption.
Is it too much to ask for Jerry to have a temper tantrum every once in a while? Is he a robot? Damn it, Jerry!
9. Chloe on ABC’s Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23
Krysten Ritter portrays the titular “B” on this adorable and edgy ABC sitcom, and more often than not, she is worse than a cavity.
Portraying the roommate of sweet June Colburn (Dreama Walker) and the best friend of the well-balanced James Van Der Beek, Chloe is easily the devil on your shoulder.
However, despite all of the bad things she’s done, she generally has an almost sincere, hidden motive, redeeming her by the end of the episode.
Too bad we won’t get to catch up with Chloe anytime soon. ABC pulled the remaining new episodes from its schedule, essentially cancelling the comedy after two seasons.
8. Barney Stinson on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother
Barney Stinson is the ultimate bro.
This playboy-turned-fiancé has been with numerous women on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, but he has proven along the way that he really does have a soul — and a true love.
Neil Patrick Harris’ on-screen romance with Robin Scherbatsky (Colbie Smulders) shows that the right woman can make a man change his ways, and Barney is well on his way to doing just that.
Aside from this, Barney is s loyal friend, often putting his selfish tendencies aside to help a bro — or sister — in need.
The character arc of this sharp-dressed man is definitely “legen — wait for it … and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is DARY.”
7. Blair Waldorf on The CW’s Gossip Girl
While Gossip Girl officially ended in January, the fact that it aired this season makes Blair Waldorf, the queen of the Upper East Side, eligible for this list.
Leighton Meester’s selfish-yet-lovable heiress who constantly back-stabbed and schemed was essential to the CW drama, and she made it worth watching even in its final seasons. Her character went through extreme ups and downs, but she was always true to herself along the way, even if that meant destroying the reputation of her enemy.
Her torrid relationship with Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) typically got her into trouble, but her nature of coming back to the basics, and her true friends, grounded this TV diva.
Blair, you know we love you. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
6. Adam Sackler on HBO’s Girls
Season one of HBO’s Girls introduced us to the raw relationship between Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) and the seemingly disinterested Adam Sackler (Adam Driver).
When not asserting that he wasn’t Hannah’s boyfriend, Adam was known to make fat remarks about Hannah, reject her and sexually objectify her. It was always a wonder why Hannah kept going back to him.
Yet the end of the first season, we saw emotional growth for Adam, as he transformed into a more sensitive and vulnerable partner. Although he’s become more of a creepy, stalker-figure in Hannah’s life this season, he’s still somewhat likeable. It’s difficult to put a thumb on exactly what we think about Adam, but as we look through Hannah’s eyes, his character becomes less black-and-white.
5. Simon Cowell on Fox’s The X Factor
The only person to make the list by just being himself, Simon Cowell first made waves on American TV when appearing as a judge on Fox’s American Idol.
Whereas Paula Abdul was the nice one and Randy Jackson was the even-keeled one, Cowell effortlessly exemplified the role of the mean judge, and his transition to The X Factor hasn’t seen that role change.
He doesn’t have any problem telling a contestant they suck, and it’s that honesty that makes him endearing to viewers as well as despised, especially when he turns on a crowd favorite.
Nevertheless, his honesty provides a wealth of comedy and has made these reality shows more legit.
4. The Cast of FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
If there has ever been a show that provides a love-to-hate character, it’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — simply because it’s really hard to like any of the cast.
Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Danny DeVito make up a cast of vagrants so raw that it’s difficult to truly love any of them. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is exemplary of what FX has to offer, which is a ton of laughs and a gritty narrative.
This group of underachievers, also known as “The Gang,” has shown varying degrees of selfishness, manipulation, dishonesty and unethical behavior for eight seasons. Why is it that we still tend to root for them in their elaborate schemes? Who knows — we’re just as helpless as victims of the The D.E.N.N.I.S. System.
3. Sue Sylvester on Fox’s Glee
Although Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is constantly out to destroy the glee club on Fox’s dramedy, her character has shown hints of a heart throughout the series’ four seasons.
However, Lynch’s portrayal hasn’t been flawless. Her character has gone a little overboard in the past, creating a ridiculous roller coaster of extremes. This can be nauseating, but it’s important to note that the cheerleading coach has just as many award-worthy moments as frustrating ones.
While she is generally responsible for creating problems for the kids on Glee, the backstory of her and her mentally ill sister, Jean (Robin Trocki), proved that as mean as Sue can be, she does care for others. This love for her sister is exemplified by her relationship with Becky Jackson (Lauren Potter).
And let’s get real: Who doesn’t hate Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison)? I will always root for her against him.
2. Jane Forrest on NBC’s The New Normal
Sometimes there’s a character that just says whatever is on his or her mind, and it’s so tactless, you constantly cringe. Jane Forrest is that character.
Ellen Barkin portrays Jane, the mother of the forgettable Goldie Clemmons (Georgia King) and the grandmother of the adorable Shania Clemmons (Bebe Wood). She often disagrees with her daughter’s choices, but most of the time it’s the other characters who really irk her.
Parents-to-be David Murray (Justin Bartha) and Bryan Collins (Andrew Rannells) are often the subject of her mocking, though Rocky (NeNe Leakes) is another one of her favorite targets.
Despite giving everyone a hard time, Jane has grown, perhaps making her the most developed character on the show. There’s nothing audiences like to see more than a well-developed character transforming for the better while providing laughter along the way.
1. Victoria Grayson on ABC’s Revenge
If there were such thing as a lovable evil queen, Madeleine Stowe’s Victoria Grayson takes the cake.
Revenge was one of TV’s breakout series last year, and that is due in part to Stowe’s icy portrayal of Victoria — aka “Queen of the Hamptons.” She has been poised as the villainess of the series, opposite protagonist Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), who also demonstrates that not everyone is 100 percent good or bad.
This primetime soap would be nothing without its leading ladies, and Stowe, in her first major TV role, is largely the breakout star of the series. Her voice is often able to send shivers down my spine. While viewers love to hate some evil characters, I absolutely love Stowe’s polarizing portrayal of an upper-class, loathsome villain.
Keep it coming, Stowe. We can take it.
Did we miss your favorite likable baddie? Let me know in the comments below!
Tags: ABC, Adam Driver, American Idol, Andrew Rannells, Bebe Wood, CBS, Charlie Day, Colbie Smulders, Danny DeVito, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Dreama Walker, Ed Westwick, Ellen Barkin, Emily VanCamp, Fox, FX, Georgia King, Girls, Glee, Glenn Howerton, Gossip Girl, HBO, How I Met Your Mother, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, James Van Der Beek, Jane Lynch, January Jones, Jim O’Heir, Justin Bartha, Kaitlin Olson, Krysten Ritter, Lauren Potter, Leighton Meester, Lena Dunham, Madeleine Stowe, NBC, Neil Patrick Harris, NeNe Leakes, Parks and Recreation, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Revenge, Rob Lowe, Rob McElhenney, Robin Trocki, Simon Cowell, The CW, The New Normal, The X Factor