The love of ugliness for its own sake
- Simon ‘Super’ Hans (Peep Show)
Super Hans fully assumes the profound selfishness of the addict without a hint of remorse. If he’s not smoking crack at a renewal of vows, he’s stealing munchies from the off-licence (‘the secret ingredient is crime’). What’s worse is his personality even outside of the highs. He’s selfish and backstabbing, happy to betray best friend Jeremy both in love and for what the pair call musical collaboration. Peep Show‘s maddest moments often come at the hands of Hans, perhaps most famously when he brings a ‘rental snake’ to the party.
- Janice Soprano (The Sopranos)
Every inch her conniving mother, Janice wails as the victim even as she wields the gun. Usually she’ll be found sniping at her mob boss brother, either till he gives her what she wants but doesn’t need, or he mocks her pathetic shrewishness. What’s worst is the hypocrisy of it all, as she pretends to be a loving spiritual when all she wants is material gain. Perhaps her most infuriating moments come as she manipulates a Bobby Baccalieri grieving for his recently deceased wife.
- Pierce Hawthorne (Community)
An interesting case where the obnoxiousness of the actor influenced the character. After years of Chevy Chase being as isolated from the rest of the cast as Peirce is from the study group, Chase would depart and the cohesivity of the comedy crumbled. While he lasted Pierce thought little of his fellow student’s schemes, believing himself above it all as the wealthy CEO of Hawthorne Wipes. He would belittle and bully whenever possible, fake heart attacks to win paintball matches, and once had sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom. Streets behind.
- Scrappy Doo (Scooby-Doo)
The character has long since become an in-joke, but the decline of the Scooby Doo series undoubtedly began with his introduction. The nephew of Scooby-Doo, Scrappy is constantly getting himself in direct confrontation with the monsters, leaving the rest of the Mystery Gang running around with their hair on fire trying to save this sorry mutt. Enamouring us to Scooby was his cowardice and relationship with Shaggy. Scrappy disrupts this pair, spouts dumb catchphrases in a high-pitched whine, and is generally just a complete jackass.
- Marie Schrader (Breaking Bad)
Marie is a kleptomaniac and fantasist who relies on her husband in the DEA to get her out of a bind. She also reacts poorly when finding out about brother-in-law Walt’s meth dealing ways, attempting to steal his and her sister’s baby from the house. But mostly Marie is just damn annoying, an immature whiner who makes no intelligent contribution and speaks only to be heard. Jesus Christ, Marie.
- Joffrey Baratheon (Game of Thrones)
All the other characters on this list are deluded, unaware of how vapid or infuriating they may be. Joffrey Baratheon is fully aware of his place as a boy king, smug and sneering with his terrible, undeserved power. A pure sociopath, Joffrey takes his joy in the pain and suffering of others. Even sex bores him, perhaps due to the unlikely event the other participant might enjoy it. But when the time for battle comes Joffrey is nowhere to be seen, lest any of the agonies he inflicts come back to him.
- David Brent (The Office)
David Brent is so desperate to be the centre of attention that he is routinely ignored by all around him. His constant attempts to be funny, interesting, or musical are without exception gut-wrenchingly awful. His failed attempt at a ‘fun’ image is also a dereliction of duty as a manager, for he never once takes responsibility for his or the Slough branch’s actions. An audience may identify with Brent’s need to be loved, but also understand that the premise of The Office revolves around decent people having to come into work every day and suffer under his atrocious command.