Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unlikable Television Characters Part 1: The Ruiners

The Office: Stringer Bell Brings the Hammer DownI have recently been watching The Office (USA) again, and I am on the fifth season of the show.  I love the characters on that show for so many different reasons they each have their qualities that makes them an important part of the ensemble.  So you may ask who have I never like that is a part of this show?  While re-watching the fifth season I have been forced the re-live the the awful character Charles Miner played by the talented actor Idris Elba.  Charles Miner was brought in to tear down the economic walls of the company, and create the storyline that gave Michael Scott the chance to have his own paper company.  This plot device forced viewers to deal with a character that was just not funny or like able.  When a character hates Jim and taunts him you know there is a problem with them.  I was glad that this character did not last long, and I think the producers and writers knew he was not meant to last.Elba's character was a minor (no pun intended) character in the history of that show, but he still makes me dread watching the last part of the fifth season of The Office

'Designing Women'Most of the time I think unlikeable characters can come in the form of characters leaving and new people stepping in, or re-casts of popular characters.  I remember when both Jean Smart and Delta Burke left Designing Women in 1991.  The women both left for different reasons but the show still went on with poor imitations who tried to play similar characters.  Now the replacements were played by the talented, Julia Duffy, Jan Hooks, and Judith Ivey, but those three women just could not fill the shoes of the beloved Charlene (Smart) and Suzanne (Burke).  When those two ladies left "that was the night the lights went out in Georgia!"

File:Dawn summers.JPGI was talking to my friend Eric about Buffy the Vampire Slayer the other day and it "dawned" on me (pun intended) that I loathed Dawn Summers!  Season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favorite seasons of the show, and Sarah Michelle Gellar just knocked every episode out of the park, especially in the episode where her mother dies (I cry every time I see it).  Dawn turns up at the end up of the first episode in the fifth season "Buffy vs. Dracula" and from then on her whining her my ears and left a bad taste in my mouth.  It could be the actress, I am not a big fan of Michelle Trachtenberg; she is the reason I stopped watching Gossip Girl as well.  The Dawn character was quintessential to the entire fifth season, but the character grated on me.

On another vampire related topic, I strongly dislike the Bill Compton and Sam Merlotte in True Blood.  In the beginning of the series Sookie Stackhouse was poised to be in a love triangle with vampire Bill Compton and shifter (can change into animals) Sam Merlotte.  Now I have only read the first book so my frame of references is mainly the show, but as a fan of the show I can't imagine watching a show that centered around those three characters.  Without giving away too many spoilers and Sookie's current romantic entanglements I will simply focus on these two men, the worst two characters on the show.  Bill is just boring, I find nothing interesting in his vampire character.  They have gone into his back story, but there is no charm or charisma.  On the other hand his counterpart Eric is just an amazing character, and glamours me into appreciating him.  I started out liking Sam, but his evolution into this dark character and his past has made him more unlikeable, and a character that I do not care much about.  I am not interested in his family, or what happens to him.  The only purpose of his character is the fact that he owns the bar.  I did however enjoy the homoerotic dream Sam had about Bill because Sam drank his blood.

Everybody Loves RaymondI reached out to my friends on facebook, and there were a fewpeople  who talked about the characters on Everybody Loves Raymond.   I have to agree with this, this is one show that I can't watch in syndication.  I find all of the characters incredibly grating (except Frank played by Peter Boyle).  There have been some hilarious moments from this show and the characters have had many funny moments, but I just can't re-watch this show at all.  Many people have different taste in comedy, there are several people out there who probably loathe the characters on 30 Rock, The Office etc and love this show.  I love the characters on Modern Family, but there is just something about this ensemble that as Peter Griffen says "grinds my gears."

My friend Eric and several other people mentioned Kate from Lost.  Kate was probably my least favorite character on Lost; she was also whiney, irritating, I don't get what Jack and Sawyer saw in her character.  Like with many of these characters the likeability factor may be related the the actor and the way they play the character.  I think in this case Evangeline Lilly is the problem; she grew as an actress towards the end of the series and I became a little more impressed with her talent, but I ultimately think that this character could have been much more with a more capable actress.

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