10 Most Hated TV Characters Of All Time, Ranked
Every great show needs a character everyone loves to hate.
10. Oliver Trask, The O.C. (2003-2007)
The O.C. was a teen drama that won over fans with its mix of high-school romance, family drama, and a hefty dose of California sun. The introduction of Oliver Trask in the first season, however, took the drama to a whole new level. Played by Taylor Handley, Oliver was a manipulative, mentally unstable character who came between Ryan and Marissa, one of the show's central couples.
Behind the scenes, the character was introduced as a plot device to test the strength of Ryan and Marissa's relationship. But, on screen, Oliver's actions, including a fake suicide attempt, left viewers gritting their teeth in frustration.
9. Janice Litman-Goralnik, Friends (1994-2004)
You hear that distinctive nasal voice, and suddenly it all comes back. Friends was a beloved sitcom that followed the lives of six friends living in New York City. Janice, Chandler's on-and-off girlfriend, brought a unique brand of loud and colorful energy to the show.
Played by Maggie Wheeler, Janice's character, with her distinctive laugh and catchphrase, “Oh. My. God”, had a knack for showing up at the most inopportune moments, much to the chagrin of the friends and fans alike. However, as much as she was hated, Janice added a layer of hilarity and unpredictability that enriched the show's dynamics.
8. Andrea, The Walking Dead (2010-2022)
The Walking Dead, AMC's post-apocalyptic horror series, has seen its fair share of disliked characters, but Andrea often tops the list. Played by Laurie Holden, Andrea was initially presented as a strong, independent woman capable of surviving in a zombie-infested world.
However, her character's arc, particularly her relationship with the villainous Governor and her numerous questionable decisions, led to a massive backlash from fans. Notably, Andrea's character in the comic book series, upon which the show is based, had a significantly more positive reception, so basically, the TWD writers really did a number on her.
7. Joffrey Baratheon, Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
Game of Thrones, HBO's epic fantasy series, was filled to the brim with morally gray characters, but young King Joffrey was detestable from the get-go. Played masterfully by Jack Gleeson, Joffrey was a cruel, sadistic ruler with a penchant for executing his subjects on a whim. His treatment of fan favorites like Sansa Stark and Ned Stark further fueled the audience's animosity towards him.
Interestingly, Gleeson's portrayal of the character was so convincing that he decided to retire from acting after his character's death, citing the intense negative reaction from fans as a contributing factor. Nowadays, though, there's nothing but love for Gleeson, and the now-ex actor admits as much.
6. Piper Chapman, Orange Is the New Black (2013-2019)
Set in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's prison, Orange Is the New Black was a groundbreaking Netflix series that showcased a diverse cast of characters with complex backgrounds. At the center of it all was Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling. Piper's privileged background and often selfish and naive behavior rubbed many fans of the series the wrong way. It's interesting to note that Piper's character is based on the real-life Piper Kerman, who wrote the memoir on which the show is based.
5. Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
Who knew the central character of a much-loved sitcom could be on the receiving end of so much ire? How I Met Your Mother is a classic, narrated from the perspective of Ted Mosby, as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. Yet, Ted, portrayed by Josh Radnor, became increasingly frustrating for viewers as the series went on. His endless pursuit of “the one”, coupled with his often pretentious behavior, didn't sit well with fans, who found themselves much more invested in the show's supporting characters.
4. Betty Draper, Mad Men (2007-2015)
The smoky world of advertising in the '60s forms the backdrop of Mad Men, an AMC series noted for its character depth and historical accuracy. Betty Draper, played by January Jones, is the ex-wife of the series' protagonist, Don Draper. Despite her picture-perfect suburban life, Betty was often cold, immature, and openly hostile. It's worth noting that Betty's character was purposefully written to be disliked as part of the show's critique of the era's societal norms.
3. Ross Geller, Friends (1994-2004)
Yes, we have another Friends character making the cut. Ross Geller, played by David Schwimmer, is often deemed the least favorite of the six friends. Despite his successful career as a paleontologist, Ross' behavior, including his possessiveness, jealousy, and resistance to accepting his mistakes, grated on fans over the show's ten-season run. However, his character also added depth to the sitcom with storylines dealing with divorce, parenting, and career struggles.
2. Lori Grimes, The Walking Dead (2010-2022)
Lori, portrayed by Sarah Wayne Callies, was a leading character in the first few seasons and is the mother of Carl and Judith Grimes. Her character faced backlash for her affair with Shane (while believing her husband Rick was dead) and her often reckless decision-making. Many fans celebrated her departure from the series, making Lori one of the most universally disliked characters in television history.
1. Skyler White, Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
AMC's Breaking Bad is a tour de force, often cited as one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Yet, Skyler White, wife of the anti-hero protagonist Walter White, faced a lot of undue criticism. Played by Anna Gunn, Skyler was a complex character who was thrust into her husband's dangerous world of drug trafficking.
Despite her attempts to protect her family, she was seen as a nagging obstacle to Walter's illicit ambitions. Interestingly, Anna Gunn wrote an op-ed in the New York Times addressing the vitriol directed at her character, sparking a conversation about gender roles and bias in media.