10 thoughts on “Who’s a TV Character That You Dislike That You’re Meant to Like?

  1. I figure i am not alone on this, but I generally disliked most of the Friends by the end, but Ross in particular wasn’t likable pretty quickly for me. So whiny and needy and generally just annoying. The show was still funny which is where the ensemble type of show helps, but he gave me something I labeled as “Schwimmer Fatigue,” wherein the romantic male lead is supposed to be presented as sensitive and loving but selfishness and immaturity make them unlikable. I think Ted on HIMYM falls into this after Season 2 or 3, and there were times I thought Jessica on New Girl fell into this.

    Another trope that ruins a supposedly-likable character is the over-meddler on ensemble shows. They play a role to push the plot, but those characters who get too involved in their friends’ lives come across as toxic instead of caring. Lily on HIMYM got ruined by this, but it also messed up Monica on Friends and Jessica (again) on New Girl. Plenty of these out there.

  2. One that immediately stands out would be Horatio Caine from CSI, Miami with his short quips and sunglasses. He really irked me.

  3. By the end, most of the human characters from ‘Babylon 5’, especially John Sheridan.
    One thing which I find truly obnoxious in characters is undeserved self-confidence, and it’s worse when the script echoes that. John Sheridan is a loudmouth, a bully and a blowhard and the script continually browbeats us with the fact that he’s the greatest diplomat and the most noble hero who ever lived.
    His moral certainty is that of the fanatic, convinced that he is right in everything he says and does, and yet so often, his decisions are borne out of ignorance. He knows he is doing the right thing, because in the end, the scripts will vindicate his decisions.

    It’s so odd that such a thing is possible in a series which featured a character like Londo Mollari. While there is much to dislike about him, for the most part, he does make decisions aimed at delivering the best outcome for himself and his people. Often, he’s not in full possession of all the facts, and this frequently ends up disastrously for him, yet he makes the best decision he can with the knowledge he has available to him.

  4. Neelix on Star Trek:Voyager. I’m not saying Ethan Phillips did a bad job, it’s just that Neelix’s whole concept as an eternal optimist was boring. Any “funny” arcs he got wasn’t able to stand out from his background role…and his dramatic arcs hardly ever rang true and left no repercussions (which Voyager suffered from in total, but was particularly galling on Neelix). The thing that made him somewhat interesting in the first couple of seasons was his Trader Joe persona, but after the second season of Voyager, the ship had moved beyond his scope of expertise. Neelix…the Star Trek Character I Love To Hate

  5. Off the top of my head, Debra Barone from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” You could probably make a whole list of unlikeable characters from mainstream CBS sitcoms over the last 20+ years, but to a degree she takes the cake. She’s intended to be the long suffering yet sensitive housewife of the male lead who has to endure her meddling in-laws and brother-in-law, but over time she really set a standard for a shrewish, nagging, borderline abusive (at best) and often jealous and petty spouse. The fact that the show often went out of the way to claim how awesome she is despite some shocking moments (i.e. she sporadically shoves and hits her husband Raymond during arguments in later seasons) sort of made her stand out. Plus, the fact that ELR is endlessly syndicated.

  6. The show Good Doctor lead character Dr. Sean Murphy is just painful, but I’m not sure if it’s the character or the actor that’s so bad.

    Rookie: Feds just completed it’s backdoor pilot, and I skipped part 2 of the episode as the lead was both badly written and couldn’t act.

  7. Paul Falsone on HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET. Tom Fontana was obviously grooming him to be the new lead after Andre Braugher left the show at the end of Season Six, but he was just SO annoying and handled SO badly that I just hated him from the word go.

    Lily on HIMYM. She did SO much awful shit on that show and she NEVER got called on it (often falling upward in her career trajectory instead), because she was based on one of the creator’s wives.

    Skye/Daisy on AGENTS OF SHIELD pretty much drove me away from the show. I got sick of the series constantly telling me how awesome she was when she was pretty demonstratively not awesome. By the end of my run on that show, I was fast forwarding through all of her scenes.

    And yeah, I hated most of the Friends by the end, especially Ross and Rachel. Those two were toxic for each other.

  8. OK, I’ll go way, way back. Goober Pyle and Howard Sprague. They essentially took two of Barney Fife’s qualities, his childlike behavior (Goober) and fastidious busy-bodyness (Howard) and split them into two characters. Unfortunately, Goober came across as just dumb, not childlike, and Howard came across as a drag. Don Knotts is one of the few actors who can play those traits and still come across as likable. Even Andy Griffith reacted to those characters differently, becoming more of a grouch than a patient big brother type. And the writers made a mistake by trying to write for those two (and Warren Ferguson) as if they were Barney Fife

  9. After some pondering on this subject, I’ve come up with the character that I absolutely despise, who is worshiped by an abundance of her fans. She’s none other than the SVU whisperer, St. Olivia Benson.

  10. I didn’t know we were meant to like any of the characters from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Terrible human beings one and all.

    And I’m all in on Ross from “Friends” as well. He was a buffoonish idiot from Episode One and made the show all but unwatchable for me. Granted, the female character were equally awful IMHO, being as they were my three least favorite female stereotypes: the Ditz, the Rich Bitch and the Overbearing Anal Retentive.

    But my Number One pick for “TV character that you are meant to like that you actually dislike” is far and away Lucy, from any of Lucille Ball’s various sitcoms. I could never stand any of her outlandish stunts, idiotic disguises or insipid crying. I never loved Lucy, ever!

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