12 TV characters we love to hate (or maybe just hate)

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

Andrea Barber as Kimmy Gibbler, Fuller House

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More than two decades later after her initial debut, Kimmy Gibbler is still a character that can get right under a viewer’s skin. In the original series, Full House, she was the annoying best friend of the eldest Tanner daughter (Candice Cameron) who often invited herself over to the house and got into everyone’s business. In the spin-off Fuller House, Gibbler is back, except now she actually lives in that same house with many members of the Tanner family. She’s just as corny and irritating, perhaps more so now that she’s in her 30s, but still seems to be stuck in the ‘90s. Yet, like the show itself, the character is a train-wreck from which you just can’t seem to look away.

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow, Sons of Anarchy

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There’s no tip-toeing around this: Gemma was a bitch of epic proportions. Not only was she involved in the murder her own husband, it would appear, but she also took up with the new head of the motorcycle club, Clay (Ron Perlman, a character equally worthy of being on this list), and eventually brutally murdered her own daughter-in-law. While her love for the Club could not be questioned – she’d clearly go to any lengths to save it – her morals were lacking, to say the least. She was the group’s matriarch, but certainly not its moral center.

Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

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Sort of a modern-day Ross Geller, Ted was the annoying friend of his group who was desperate to find love, often making the wrong choices on his path to do so (or, some might argue, letting go of the right ones). He was constantly chasing after Robin (Cobie Smulders), and acting as the third wheel to his best friends Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan). He saw all of his friends’ lives progress with marriage, children, career advancements, and watched longingly on the sidelines, waiting for his time to come. Of course, the entire show was (ostensibly) dedicated to the the big meeting with his future wife. But, while Ted had his moments, he was far from the series favorite.

Martin Wallstrom as Tyrell Wellick, Mr. Robot

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Tyrell was meant to be a disliked character, as a stereotypically power-hungry businessman in a designer suit. But, as we delved deeper into his character and saw his flaws (remember the scene with the homeless man in the parking lot or?) and his true weaknesses (let’s face it: his wife Joanna calls the shots), the level of dislike reached new heights. Yet oddly, the show seemed to be missing something when he was absent from episodes, a testament to Wallstrom’s brilliant portrayal of the truly despicable character you can’t help but enjoy.

Lauren Velez as María LaGuerta, Dexter

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As the Captain at Miami Metro Homicide, LaGuerta was fairly disliked from the get-go, mainly because of her manipulative and power-hungry nature, willing to betray anyone to get what she wanted. She often butted heads with Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter), Dexter’s sister and an officer under LaGuerta’s leadership. As another testament to a great lead actor, viewers loved Michael C. Hall’s psychopathic anti-hero Dexter so much that they hated LaGuerta even more once she got close to figuring out who he really was.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead

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We know, we know. Negan is great. He’s only on this list because he’s one of those “love-to-hate” types, right? As many viewers have pointed out, if the show had been following Negan and his crew from the beginning instead of Rick and co., we may even sympathize with them, as the two leaders are actually similar in a lot of ways. But beyond the chest-puffing, while Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a tremendous actor, Negan seems far too over-the-top with his bat-yielding, whistling, and knee-bending statements meant to instill fear. While many enjoyed Negan’s villainy at first, it seems that has turned to hatred at this point — that whole brutal murder of Glenn and Abraham thing just didn’t go over well. It seems, however, that we’ll have to start gaining an affinity toward the character, as Morgan recently confirmed that Negan and his friend Lucille aren’t going anywhere any time soon; Morgan will indeed be back for The Walking Dead‘s eighth season.

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