Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"The 25 Most Hated Sitcom Characters of All Time"

Interesting list up at Complex--not at all new, but new to me as it happens.

I haven't seen all the shows on the list, and don't remember all the shows that I did see. Some of the choices seemed questionable. The inclusion of Holly Tyler from What I Like About You may simply reflect the overblown backlash against Amanda Bynes, while Robert Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond was merely one unpleasant character on a show packed with them who, appalling as he could be, nonetheless fit in very well with the Barone family's dynamic.

Also questionable was the fact that of the only two shows to land two characters in the top twenty-five, one was Married . . . With Children, and that one of them was not an actual character, but rather a persona briefly adopted by Bud Bundy (a character the list's makers seem to rather like, dubbing him the show's second-best), which was meant to come off as being just as silly and obnoxious as it seemed. (The other character is Marcy D'Arcy, whose #12 ranking seems to me to be way too high up the list.)

However, it did not surprise me at all that where most of the featured characters from older sitcoms were supporting characters (or even just personas of supporting characters), many of the more recent characters were the leads of their own shows--with three particularly annoying characters from three particularly annoying CBS sitcoms earning well-deserved places in the top ten. Leonard Hofstadter of The Big Bang Theory made the #1 spot, Charlie Harper #5, Ted Mosby #7.

I'm taking it as evidence that I'm not the only one who thinks TV writing is getting more obnoxious by the year. Indeed, it seems astonishing that Married . . . should have got two notices, while (among others) Big Bang got only one. However, even if Sheldon Cooper and the rest went unrecognized, it is worth noting that the list contained so many characters presented as "high IQ"--Leonard (and in his more over-the-top intellectual displays, also Mosby) accompanied by Stuart Minkus of Boy Meets World, Screech Powers from Saved By the Bell, and by way of yet another persona, Steve Urkel of Family Matters.

The point bears repeating: Hollywood seems incapable of portraying intelligence without making it grate unbearably, and as the list above shows, the only thing more annoying that its presentation of "grown-up geniuses" is its handling of "child geniuses."

Is it all deliberate anti-intellectualism? Probably not. But even what is just trite, lazy writing contributes to it all the same.

Anti-Intellectualism
8/18/13
Why I Can't Stand The Big Bang Theory
2/1/11

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