Every TV show has at least one character that we love to hate (some have even more than one — lucky us). What would a show be without a deplorable character or two? Whether they’re evil or just plain annoying, we thrive off of the frustration we feel whenever they’re on screen.
But so often, we see these characters go from outright jerks to misunderstood heroes. We’re rolling our eyes just thinking about how overdone this trope is. Sometimes these characters deserve the redemption, but most of the time they really don’t. There are some actions you just can’t excuse, like destroying families, killing siblings, and sexually assaulting people. So let’s all agree to let this trope die right now and never make the mistake of giving characters like these redemption arcs ever again.
17. Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl
On the very first episode of Gossip Girl, Chuck Bass attempts to sexually assault not one, but two of the main characters. Both Serena and Jenny make it clear they have no interest in being with Chuck, but he doesn’t take no for an answer. By episode seven, we’re supposed to believe in Chuck’s redemption because Blair is falling in love with him. Chuck goes from a villain to a normal guy fighting some demons that only Blair can save him from. While that seems romantic, and we’d love to ship them, we can’t excuse Chuck’s problematic actions. As the series progresses, he emotionally abuses Blair, treats her like a prop, and is a jerk to everyone else around him. There’s a not-so-fine line between creating a tortured character and creating an irredeemable, awful character, and Gossip Girl definitely crossed it.
16. Paige McCullers, Pretty Little Liars
Even just thinking about Paige is annoying. You might not even remember her, because you blocked her out of your memory. That’s how awful she was. She was introduced as a rival to Emily, who was trying to get back on the swim team. They were both up for an important position on the team, and Paige tried to force her to quit by intimidating her and making derogatory comments about her sexuality. But then during the next episode, she showed up at Emily’s door and confessed that she actually just had a crush on her, like that was supposed to make everything better. The two started dating, but Paige refused to tell anyone because she didn’t want anyone to know she was gay. She shouldn’t have felt forced to come out before she was ready but making Emily hide a huge part of herself wasn’t cool, either, especially after everything she put her through. We wish that was the end of Paige, but no. She was always there as a “sidekick” to annoy us and make Emily’s life that much harder.
15. Sam Healy, Orange is the New Black
Someone, explain how Sam Healy even got a job as an inmate counselor, to begin with. He was sexist, homophobic and racist. Also, he was the worst counselor ever. The very first thing he ever said to Piper was that she should watch out for lesbians and he hoped she wasn’t one. He also suggested that all lesbian inmates should be held in a different part of the prison, and he sent Piper to the SHU for dancing with Alex. Dancing. But we were supposed to forget all of that because he took a special liking to Doggett and Red and let them get away with whatever they wanted. He was nice to the straight, white inmates who didn’t call him out on his BS, so he was suddenly portrayed as a sad, sweet guy who had to be closed off because his job was so emotionally draining. Sorry, not an excuse.
14. Dan Scott, One Tree Hill
DAN. Nothing was more annoying than watching Dan get a redemption arc on the later seasons of One Tree Hill. He literally shot and killed his brother. Before that, he hired a woman to pretend to marry Keith and stand him up at the altar. He emotionally abused Nathan, and he completely abandoned Lucas (after telling Karen she should abort him in the first place). Also, remember when he was married to Rachel? Not technically wrong, but we still hated it. Dan was selfish and only did what benefited him. He never did anything worth redeeming during seasons one to four, so it’s confusing that we were supposed to believe he turned into a family man and “good guy” in seasons five to eight. He might’ve saved Jamie from that kidnapping and convinced everyone that he was ready to be in their lives, but we’re not that gullible.
13. Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Listen, it’s no secret that Spike is a fan favorite. We get it, bad boys are hot. But Spike was never hot. He was just gross and terrible. Before Spike and Buffy ever got together, the red flags were there. What about when he dated Harmony just because he couldn’t have Buffy? But we thought it would get better. What about when he got Warren to make a Buffy Bot for him to have sex with? Buffy went through a weird time where she decided dating Spike was a good idea (it wasn’t). We thought, if Buffy decided he was okay, then he was probably okay. Then he tried to rape her in her bathroom after she ended things. He might be a morally-grey character and technically a vampire with no soul, but trying to force your ex into having sex with you pretty much puts you square in the ‘irredeemable assh*le’ category.
12. Georgina Sparks, Gossip Girl
Few names elicit more rage from us than Georgina Sparks. First of all, she had a baby with some Russian hit man and then lied to Dan and said it was his. And THEN, she said she was going to the spa and ran away, leaving Dan with the baby. We can’t even begin to unpack how ridiculous that was. Okay, maybe they were a match made in heaven because they were both the awful characters, but it just seemed like no matter what happened Georgina was there to swoop in and ruin it all. She blackmailed every character on the show at least once, she told Eric’s family he was gay before he was ready, and she revealed Lily and Rufus’s son to everyone at their wedding. So, when she suddenly refused to scheme with Chuck, told everyone she found Jesus, and became Dan’s ultimate sidekick, we knew it was only a matter of time before lying, scheming, awful Georgina was back to screw everything up.
11. Sue Sylvester, Glee
Sue Sylvester is another example of a character who was nice to literally one person, so we were supposed to believe she was worth redemption. Except she tried to sabotage the Glee Club so that it would lose funding, because she didn’t think it was more worthy of that money than her cheer team. She also repeatedly made fun of every member of the Glee Club. She called Brittany dumb, shut down Rachel every chance she got, and constantly made comments about Kurt being gay. However, she took a liking to one student: Becky. Becky had Down Syndrome, and Sue tried to protect her from getting hurt at all costs. We found out it was because Sue had a sister with Down Syndrome. It was supposed to be her soft spot, but it ended up just making her look like even more of a jerk because she couldn’t find it in her heart to be accepting of anyone else.
10. Simon Cowell, every reality show ever
Simon Cowell is the judge that we love to hate on every reality show he’s ever been on. He always has a comment, and it’s usually rude AF. But, he motivates the contestants to be better and his rare compliments actually mean something, right? Wrong. No matter how much he knows about the music industry, it is never okay to embarrass people publicly the way that he does. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and mean, unnecessary comments, and Simon has yet to learn it. He’s called people ugly, insulted his co-judges, and sat on his high horse thinking that his opinion is great for too long. We’re not saying that every contestant who has auditioned for shows like American Idol or The X Factor deserved to win, and he HAS created some iconic performers. However, let’s stop painting him as a nice guy who just doesn’t give out compliments that often. Deal?
9. Monica Gallagher, Shameless
Somebody find the award for Worst Mom in the Entire World and give it to Monica Gallagher. There wasn’t one episode of Shameless where she deserved to be redeemed. She left her kids whenever she felt like it, even though she knew they were growing up in poverty with an equally terrible father. When she did come back, she made everything in their lives worse by bringing her drug addict friends with her, stealing their savings, or letting her possessive girlfriend try to take Liam just because they were both black. Her gift to them after her death was bags of meth. Despite all of this, her kids wanted her to come back every time. They wanted their mom in their life, which makes total sense. Except they were far better off without her. Every time the show brought her back as a “changed person” and she swore she was there for good, we knew the truth.
8. Don Draper, Mad Men
How convenient that the Worst Dad in the Entire World is next on this list. Don Draper was the biggest womanizer and pretentious jerk we’ve ever seen on TV. Mad Men was set in the 1960s, so men were held to different standards, but that doesn’t make it okay. They were the head of the household, and they did what they wanted no matter what. It was maddening that he was presented as this intelligent, commendable man that deserved all of his success. Because, frankly, he didn’t. Nobody who abuses their family, cheats on their wife constantly, or forces their business partner to commit suicide deserves any kind of success. There’s nothing confusing about that. Can we all just agree it’s time to stop presenting inexcusable actions as the sign of an amoral character?
7. Billy Mayfield, Stranger Things
Let’s make one thing clear: you don’t beat up Steve and come back from it. Also, you don’t get to treat your little sister and her friends like dirt and get an excuse for it. Billy was by far the worst character on season two of Stranger Things, and there were people trying to kill Eleven and her friends literally the whole time so that’s saying something. At first, he seemed like a jerk for no reason, but when we finally met Max and Billy’s parents, his personality made more sense. Their dad was just as abusive as the son was. That doesn’t excuse his actions, though. He took his anger out on everyone but his dad, most of whom didn’t do anything at all to him (like STEVE). All we’re saying is that Billy better not become a likable character in season three, because we won’t buy it.
6. Christopher Hayden, Gilmore Girls
We might just have to reconsider who receives the Worst Dad award. Or, maybe we’ll just give out two, because Christopher Hayden was actually terrible. We get it, having a child when you’re still in high school is not ideal. He was under pressure from his parents to leave Lorelai and choose a “better” path for himself. And fine, if he was going to leave them and never come back, we would’ve hated him still but at least he wouldn’t have been able to keep screwing up Rory and Lorelai’s lives and jerking them around. How many times did he get their hopes up that they were all going to be a family again? Too many to count, and it was more frustrating every time. Bye, Christopher, see you never.
5. Doug Stamper, House of Cards
There are tons of sketchy characters on House of Cards. Basically, the whole government is corrupt. So, it’s unsurprising that the show would create a character as ruthless and immoral as Doug Stamper. We hate even thinking about him. He was Frank Underwood’s chief of staff (aka personal lackey) who carried out every unspeakable deed his boss asked him to in the name of loyalty. He helped cover up Peter Russo’s death, and he tried to sabotage Rachel’s relationship with Lisa and force her to live in some secluded house outside Washington, D.C. Honestly, we don’t blame Rachel for attacking him the way she did. Loyalty to Frank doesn’t make any of his actions excusable. In fact, it makes them all worse because he can’t even think for himself. Not to mention, he’s just a creep.
4. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Jersey Shore
If we’re being honest, all of the guys on Jersey Shore were pretty misogynistic. They only cared about sleeping with women, and basically saw them all as disposable. Remember how casually they’d throw out the term “grenade”? We do. But let’s focus on the worst of them all: Mike Sorrentino, who pretentiously nicknamed himself “The Situation.” He purposely tried to ruin Ronnie and Sam’s relationship multiple times, making it more toxic and violent than it already was. He hooked up with Snooki and then used that information to try to ruin her relationship with Jionni. He walked around that house like he was the best thing that ever happened to it when in reality he was the worst person on that show. He was an addict and now that he’s sober, he’s a lot better of a guy. But considering all the terrible things he did back in the day, we’re not sure redemption is an option.
3. Regina, Once Upon a Time
She was the evil queen, so it makes sense that Regina Mills would be a character that nobody liked. The show tried to give her an excuse for being as vindictive and destructive as she was by explaining that her mother constantly put her down and tried to force her to marry a man for wealth. We’re not saying that Regina didn’t have a reason to distrust family and not understand how mothers are actually supposed to treat her children. Still, she seemed to love her adopted son Henry, but she lied to him all the time and tried to destroy his family on multiple occasions. So, we really can’t excuse her actions in the name of love. The show’s creators didn’t feel the same apparently since they crowned her the “good queen” at the end of season seven. However, Regina will always be evil to us.
2. Klaus, The Vampire Diaries
Within a few seasons, Klaus goes from one of the most hated characters on The Vampire Diaries to a fan favorite that everyone ships with Caroline. We know it’s nearly impossible not to ship Klaroline, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, Klaus didn’t deserve that redemption. When we first meet the Originals, they’re ruthless. The guy killed Tyler’s mom, turned Tyler into a werewolf/vampire hybrid sire, killed Jeremy and Elena’s aunt Jenna, and made Stefan bite Elena. Not to mention, he kept all of his siblings daggered in coffins for centuries. Don’t even get us started on how awful he acted in The Originals. The Vampire Diaries is known for creating tortured, morally grey characters (Damon, Kai, Katherine) that we end up loving, but Klaus shouldn’t have been one of them.
1. Katherine Pierce, The Vampire Diaries
Remember what we said about The Vampire Diaries and morally confused characters? It was basically this show’s specialty. We loved to hate pretty much half of the characters throughout the series. We get it, Katherine was in love with Stefan and jealous of Elena. She had a rough past (Klaus did kill her entire family), and she hated the world because of it. That doesn’t change the fact that she messed with Elena far too many times and caused way too much destruction to be redeemable. She triggered Tyler’s werewolf curse, killed Jeremy by feeding him to Silas, brought Klaus to Mystic Falls, and truthfully, we could probably connect every TVD death to her in some way. She was too malicious to believe her tragic past was the excuse, and as much as we love her, she didn’t deserve to be seen as anything other than destructive.