The 10 Most Unlikable TV Show Characters Ever

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Love to hate them or just plain hate them, TV’s most unlikable characters are the eye-rollers, the sigh-inducers, the “oh, not this guy again” stalwarts of our favorite shows. Whether they’re botching relationships, ruining plans with their pettiness, or just being their annoying selves, these characters make our beloved series frustrating to watch. Here are 10 TV characters we believe are the most unlikable of the bunch.

Image Credit: HBO/Imdb.

1. George Costanza – ‘Seinfeld’ (1989–1998)

The entire main cast of “Seinfeld” can be a bit pain in the neck — that’s the charm of the show. But George Costanza is arguably the most unlikable of the bunch. Played by Jason Alexander, George is annoyingly selfish with a knack for turning every situation into a mess of lies and schemes. His constant whining, obsessive pettiness, and ability to escalate the most trivial matters into full-blown disasters are just aggravating. Whether he’s pushing his fiancée Susan’s buttons or exploiting his parents’ guilt, George’s actions often cross the line from comically neurotic to simply unbearable. 

Image Credit: IMDb.

2. Ted Mosby – ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (2005–2014)

In the beloved sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” Josh Radnor plays Ted Mosby, the lovelorn architect who narrates his own story of romantic misadventures through the voice of Bob Saget. As the central character, Ted is supposed to be the relatable, nice guy leading us through his quest for love. Ironically, he often ends up being seen as the least interesting member of his own story. Ted portrays himself as this harmless, lovable protagonist, but fans of the show frequently pick up on his more controlling and jealous traits, which make him a less-than-stellar friend at times. He also proudly shares — if not brags – about rather inappropriate details of his sex life, bouts of drunkenness, and involvement in vaguely illegal activities with his teenage kids.

Image Credit: IMDB.

3. Joffrey Baratheon – ‘Game of Thrones’ (2011–2019)

Arguably the most intensely hated character in television history is the spoiled, ruthless, and vindictive Joffrey Baratheon, portrayed by Jack Gleeson. Gleeson delivered an astonishing performance in portraying a character designed to be unlikable. There’s not a single scene throughout the show that offers Joffrey any redemption, as he consistently commits heinous acts. From torturing Sansa Stark to his cowardice and cruelty, Joffrey’s actions caused fans of the HBO show to unanimously cheer when he met his demise.

Image Credit: IMDb.

4. Ross Geller – ‘Friends’ (1994-2004)

Portrayed by David Schwimmer, Ross Geller is one of those characters you either hate or love, and most of the “Friends” fanbase has the former sentiment for the core character on one of the most popular TV shows ever made.

It’s not only his pretentiousness that annoys viewers, but the romantic buffoonery, questionable decision-making, and constant whining that make the hapless paleontologist the least-liked of the group. In his defense, though, they really were on a break.

Image Credit: IMDb.

5. Pete Campbell – ‘Mad Men’ (2007–2015)

“Mad Men”‘s Pete Campbell, played by Vincent Kartheiser, is one of those characters that’s easy to hate. Slick and entitled, Pete is the smugness and privilege of 1960s Madison Avenue. He believes he’s owed success and admiration simply by virtue of his background. Throughout the series, he abuses his power and mistreats those around him, especially women. Whether he’s talking down to them, cheating on his wife, or committing unspeakable acts, Pete’ behavior is consistently disgusting.

Image Credit: IMDb.

6. Dawson Leery – ‘Dawson’s Creek’ (1998–2003)

Dawson Leery, played by James Van Der Beek in the ’90s teen drama, is like that well-meaning friend who sometimes just gets on your nerves. He’s the sensitive film buff with a knack for seeing life through a romantic lens, especially in his small town of Capeside. Dawson’s romantic ideals often make him miss the mark when it comes to understanding the people around him, especially his friends. Whether navigating his friendships with Joey and Jen or dealing with his own drama, Dawson’ tendency to get lost in his own head can be a bit frustrating for viewers.

Image Credit: IMDb.

7. Jenny Humphrey – ‘Gossip Girl’ (2007–2012)

Jenny Humphrey, played by Taylor Momsen, is a character who starts off as the innocent girl-next-door with big dreams of joining Manhattan’s elite. But as the series unfolds, she morphs into something darker and more manipulative, clawing her way up the social ladder with ruthless determination. While some admire her tenacity, others see her as a scheming troublemaker, willing to throw anyone under the bus to get what she wants.

Image Credit: IMDb.

8. The Roy Family – ‘Succession’ (2018–2023)

It was nearly impossible to pin down the single most unlikable character from HBO’s hit show “Succession,” so let’s just say the entire Roy family qualifies as its own collective character — and a spectacularly unlikeable one at that. Logan Roy, portrayed by Brian Cox, is a patriarch whose divide-and-conquer strategy not only keeps his own kids on their toes but also has viewers riveted. He even tried to send his son Kendall to jail. 

Speaking of Kendall, played by Jeremy Strong, his sad mix of desperation and tactical blunders in a quest for Daddy’s approval makes him a fascinating train wreck. Sarah Snook’s Shiv is no picnic either — she’s the cunning and ambitious daughter who thinks she can outmaneuver the men of the family, yet she’s equally hungry for power and, of course, Daddy’s approval. Kieran Culkin’s Roman, initially the crudest and most abrasive Roy, evolves into an unexpectedly empathetic character, showcasing Culkin’s ability to balance snark with depth. 

And Connor? Well, he’s just ridiculous, clueless, entitled, and very, very unlikable, but there are times we can’t help but sympathize with him.

Image Credit: HBO/Imdb.

9. Piper Chapman – ‘Orange Is the New Black’ (2013–2019)

In most shows, the protagonist draws viewers and keeps them hooked. However, in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” this formula seems flipped. Taylor Schilling’s Piper Chapman is technically at the heart of the series, being based on Piper Kerman’s real-life memoir about her year in a women’s prison. Piper often comes off as a little too entitled and self-righteous, making her less relatable and, frankly, kind of a drag compared to her fellow inmates. Her on-again, off-again romance with the much cooler Alex Vause, played by Laura Prepon, does pull some viewers in, but let’s be real — Alex is the one who fans really like for her deeper, edgier vibe. 

Image Credit: JoJo Whilden / Netflix/ IMDb.

10. Livia Soprano – ‘The Sopranos’ (1999–2007)

Portrayed by the great Nancy Marchand, Livia Soprano is one of television’s most memorable matriarchs, though certainly not for her warmth or nurturing qualities. As Tony Soprano’s mother, Livia’s influence looms large over the series, often serving as the root of Tony’s emotional turmoil and psychological complexity.

Livia Soprano is cunning, manipulative, and distinctly pessimistic — or, simply put, a very toxic parent. Her readiness to betray her own son to protect her interests doesn’t help her image as well. But hey: “It’s all a big nothing. What makes you think you’re so special?”

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: IMDb.

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