Joey Tribbiani

TV Characters We Would All Hate In Real-Life

Joey Tribbiani

Frustrating… Matt Le Blanc as Joey Tribbiani

To be honest, I hate him anyway. I’ve never understood his appeal but to some people, he’s the funniest character on Friends. I doubt the general public would be as loving of him if they knew him in real life. For a start, he is stupid and although it can be charming, he must be frustrating to deal with seeing as he cannot grasp simple conversations. He’s sleazy, sleeping with and then ditching multiple women with no remorse and he often barges in to Monica and Chandler’s apartment demanding food and freeloads off of them in general. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the whole French debacle.

Eric Cartman

Chickenlover

Respect My Authoritah… Evil Eric Cartman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is there to say? We all love watching him on South Park but let’s not lose sight of the fact he’s a horrible little kid. He regularly exhibits racist and anti-semitic views, he tricked Butters in to thinking the world was ending so he could go to Kyle’s party in his place, he tried to exterminate the Jews, he injected Kyle with AIDs and he killed a boy’s parents and then made them in to a chilli that the boy unknowingly ate. A very sick individual that I’m sure none of us would like to know.


Ted Mosby

Let it go… Nobody is sure why Ted continues to pester Robin

It says a lot that the main character of a five-piece ensemble cast is the show’s least popular. The whole concept of How I Met Your Mother is based around Ted telling his kids the lengthy story of how he met their mother. Unfortunately, he is sidetracked by a whole lot of neediness, pathetic pining for ‘the one’, despite only being in his twenties. The whole Ted and Robin relationship is the most draining and irritating one to ever take place on the small screen, and since we love Sparkles so much, we blame it on Ted. We’re then left scratching our heads as to why he tells his kids about his various sexual conquests too. He just seems unbearably in need of constant emotional support.

Brian Griffin

Brian Griffin

Smug… Family Guy‘s Brian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The epitome of ‘liberal douche’ is Brian Griffin. I’m not against Liberalism, I’m actually a Liberal myself but the insufferable way Brian goes on about his political and moral views like he’s some sort of prophet is very irritating. Quagmire sums it up best when he calls him out for pretending to be smart when really he isn’t all that. Plus, if his pompous attitude isn’t enough to turn you off, he’s also a dog, nobody wants to be condescended to by a canine.

Piper Chapman

Naive… OITNB’s Piper in puppet form

If you’ve seen Netflix’s drama sensation Orange is the New Black then you’ll know what an anti-hero Piper Chapman is. She is the show’s protagonist and from the start, we are led to feel sorry for her but then she starts putting her foot in her mouth far too frequently and getting herself in to all sorts of problems that causes us to abandon her. And whenever she is forced to defend herself, she naively states that ‘she never meant for any of this to happen’, will she ever learn?

Charlie Harper

Promiscuous… Charlie Harper

Like Joey Tribbiani, Charlie Harper is a heartless lothario who shows no remorse for the many, many, many women he has wronged – it’s no wonder one of them pushed him in front of a train. And is it me or does he never actually seem to be working?  I don’t watch Two and a Half Men as much as the other shows referenced in this list but I’m certain I would much rather live with Ashton Kutcher.

Susan Delfino

Cutesy… Teri Hatcher as Susan Delfino

Okay, we liked her ditzy antics in the first season of Desperate Housewives and the other housewives seem to tolerate her but I like to think I’d treat her with the same contempt that Edie Britt does.  She’s slyly selfish, constantly putting her needs before others, shown perfectly by her desire to rely on her teenage daughter, Julie for empathy. Her cutesy act would quickly wear thin as would her clumsiness and her apparent inability to keep hold of Mike, the ‘love of her life’. Urgh, she should have been fried by a power line – not Edie.

Barney Stinson

Barney Stinson

Compulsive liar… NPH as Barney Stinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d have to include Barney for the same reason as Joey Tribbiani and Charlie Harper. He is an absolutely nightmare to women. He uses them for sex and then chucks them plus his compulsive lying would make him exhausting to be around. He’s the sort of person you’d have out grown in high school but may keep him around because you feel sorry for him.

The Non-Conformist View of TV Characters

When you look at the popular sitcoms; Friends, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory etc., you can instantly say which characters from these respective shows are the most adulated. For instance, I can say with confidence that of the aforementioned shows, Joey Tribbiani, Barney Stinson and Sheldon Cooper are the most popular among the masses. But why does the common viewer find them so engaging?

Popular… Joey is one of TV’s most favoured characters despite his many personality flaws.

If I run with the three characters I’ve already selected then we can see huge flaws in each’s personality. Starting with Joey, he is moronic, selfish and gluttonous. He often acts with little thought for consequence and goes in to Monica & Chandler’s apartment with the sole intention of gorging himself on their inventory.  Barney Stinson is similarly self-centered. He also shows signs of narcissism not to mention his horrendous promiscuity, a characteristic he shares with Joey too. Sheldon is not comparable with either predecessor in that way, but from what I have seen of The Big Bang Theory (which isn’t that much), he is conceited and cold towards people, even his friends. For all their criticisms, these characters each have positives to go with them but it certainly does make you wonder whether the average viewer would warm to them as much if they knew them in real-life. I do actually like Barney’s character for the most part and can see why people are drawn to this larger-than-life, abnormal persona that they present – entertainment. But at the same time, isn’t it kind of irresponsible to promote such negative personality traits?

Authentic… Lynette’s palpable realism is not rewarded in fans.

Like I say, I do like some of these popular characters but in all honesty, I tend to favour the underdogs of television. A list of some of my favourite TV characters in recent times consists of Super Claire Dunphy, Lynette Scavo, Edie Britt, Jane Kerkovich-Williams, Robin Scherbatsky. What do you notice? All female, all usually unpopular. Now, I don’t really think gender has any dictation on my preference of TV character – it’s merely a coincidence. But what I do see from this list is realism. These could all be real people. If I walk down the street, I could easily bump in to one of these characters. I’m not going to come across a suit worshipper, a ridiculously imbecilic lothario or a big-headed physics snob. Personally, I like to be able to relate to the characters on screen, I like to see myself and others in them. Lynette Scavo and Claire Dunphy are frighteningly realistic and could represent 70% of mothers in Western society, something that cannot be said of their eccentric co-stars. Other characters such as Edie Britt and Robin Scherbatsky, although presented as strong independent women have so much depth and vulnerability especially for two shows that rely on comedic elements.

To be frank, I can’t really fathom why these brain-dead, offbeat types are preferred to the brilliantly observed realistic characters on the box. I think you have to appreciate how much harder it is to write a character in a relatable way. It’s easy to exaggerate mannerisms and actions of a character to the point it becomes ridiculous but to pair the dramatic twists and turns of the small screen with believable characters is well and truly skillful. In fact, it’s a surprise in a generation fascinated by reality TV that these characters are less welcomed but maybe it’s because we hate the fact that these characters remind us… of us.