The emotions a television character can evoke from viewers can be surprisingly strong. There are those we love, and those we empathize with; those we find attractive, funny, or even maybe a bit intriguing. We can often be drawn to the anti-hero in a love-hate kind of way — think Walter White on Breaking Bad, or Don Draper from Mad Men.
Then there are those characters that make us cringe every time we watch them. It might be the intended reaction, particularly when it comes to an actor who can play a series’ key antagonist beautifully. But villain or not, there are those characters that we simply despise.
With that said, here are 12 TV characters that we love to hate, and are worthy of the title of “most disliked” on television. (Note: some minor spoilers ahead.)
David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Friends
Supposedly the character of Ross was written specifically with Schwimmer in mind. We’re not sure if the actor should take that as a compliment or an insult, since the whiny, hopelessly romantic paleontologist made viewers constantly wonder why his friends put up with him. Maybe it was because he was the older brother of one and long-time friend of another. Nonetheless, his endless complaining, annoying tone of voice, and defeatist attitude made viewers sometimes wish there were only five friends not six. Then again, his on-again-off-again romance with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) served as a key storyline for much of the show, right through to its end. So we guess Ross simply had to be part of the mix.
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes, The Walking Dead
Right from the get-go, fans of this show could not stand Lori, who seemed to have no issue taking up with her presumed dead husband’s best friend Shane (Jon Bernthal) quickly after believing her “in sickness and health” partner was gone. Sure, it’s an apocalypse, and time is of the essence — but really? Her very presence then continued to annoy viewers after she discovered her husband Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was alive, and she was pregnant with who was likely Shane’s baby. Talk about soap opera drama. We hope we’re not alone in being glad she was killed off.
Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, Mad Men
He wasn’t necessarily a bad guy, yet Pete didn’t go over well with fans thanks to his used car-salesman attitude, and constant desire to get ahead and prove his worth. Cheating on your wife doesn’t help, and that hairstyle and uppity “better-than-you” tone made many viewers cringe whenever he came on screen, likening him to that co-worker who just makes you roll your eyes when he enters a room. So it’s no surprise that Kartheiser was the only one of the six core cast members not to have ever received an Emmy nomination during the show’s seven-season run.
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon, Game of Thrones
This one is a no brainer. The “bastard” son that was the product of an incestuous relationship between twin siblings Cersei (Lena Headey) and Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Joffrey took teen angst to another level. In the position of king, he was essentially nothing but a spoiled, entitled brat who possessed a myriad of deplorable characteristics — arrogance and cowardice don’t even begin to describe his dreadfulness. He was brutally sadistic to the point of psychopathy, showing no remorse for any of his evil actions. Then again, all of this made his violent death so good when it finally happened.
Pablo Schreiber as George “Pornstache” Mendez, Orange is the New Black
Epitomizing every stereotype there is about prison guards, “Pornstache,” as the female prisoners of Litchfield Penitentiary called him, was about as slimy as they come. He was not afraid to do backdoor dealings with inmates, as long as he benefitted from them by taking advantage of the female inmates. He didn’t shy away from humiliating them either. He was, to put it bluntly, a corrupt pervert. Yet, we saw as the first season progressed that he was just a sad and troubled man. Viewers couldn’t help, from time to time, to simply feel sorry for the guy. But then he’d do something totally disgusting again, and we’d be right back to hating him.
Anna Gunn as Skyler White, Breaking Bad
It’s a credit to Bryan Cranston that his portrayal of a dark drug lord was so good that fans often sided with Walter White instead of his wife Skyler when she got angry about his dirty doings. Wait, so she is the hated one? It would seem so. Social media pages solely dedicated to the dislike of her character gained thousands of followers, including one on Facebook called “I Hate Skyler White.” It became so bad that viewers started to transfer their hatred onto the actress herself. Gunn believes viewers disliked the fact that Skyler wasn’t a pushover and didn’t “stand by her man” despite how bad he was becoming. “Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female,” Gunn told The New York Times in a 2013 interview, “she had become a kind of Rorschach test for society, a measure of our attitudes toward gender.”