5 Toxic Characters on TV We Can't Help But Love Anyway

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Insane geniuses, narcissistic beauties, and attractive villains of all tastes.

Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)

Barney is attractive, confident, and always dressed in a suit. That blond with a great sense of humor seems to be everything any girl could ever wish for. But in reality, Barney is a walking illustrated encyclopedia of psychological disorders, complexes, and neuroses. He counts conquered girls by the thousands and collects their names in a special book — only to fill the emptiness inside him. What's more, Barney makes up ridiculous stories and personifies different characters for each of the girls he meets — a sailor, a Red Cross doctor, just to name a few — and to his own mother, Barney pretends to be a model family man. He also exerts control over his friends with the fictional (and sexist) Bro Code, which they're meant to follow.

All this might look funny on the screen, but in real life, people like Barney are often unhappy and make life miserable for those around them.

Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)

The modern version of Sherlock, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a genuine sociopath completely devoid of empathy and humanity. And yet, that character has millions of admirers who write Sherlock-inspired fan fiction and dedicate paintings to him.

The secret of Sherlock's charm seems to lie in his toxicity — and his sharp mind, of course. Even the rash actions he takes in the series are compensated by the character's genius.

Joe Goldberg (You)

Season after season, Joe builds truly toxic relationships on screen. He's a real psycho capable of violence, kidnapping, and even murder. But despite the exaggeration, his character is actually a fairly common type we get to meet in our daily lives (and sometimes even date them, ugh). When he falls in love, Joe becomes fixated on the girl, and he sincerely believes that every sick thing he does is in her best interest. First, he "saves" his girlfriend from enemies and problems and then deprives her of any freedom of choice, which ends in tragedy.

Nevertheless, Joe does possess a certain charm and is in fact so appealing to viewers, the show's fourth season has just been released — and the fifth one is in the works.

Dr. Cox (Scrubs)

Dr. Cox is certainly one of the favorite characters of the series' fans. He spends most of the time on screen insulting the main character and other interns at the clinic: Cox calls J. D. ridiculous names, intimidates students into fainting, and tries to ruin the lives of those around him in every possible way. However, throughout the series, we learn that his character is more than meets the eye: deep down, Cox is actually a kind and sensitive man who genuinely cares about his patients and students.

And while this might help us fall in love with Cox even more, all the other characters in the show still have to put up with his toxicity.

Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

Last but not least, another typical toxic character from a famous sitcom — Sheldon Cooper is a genius physicist, who's also completely unfit for life in society.

In his world, there is no place for such petty things as politeness, compassion, or even other people's comfort. Like a young boy, Sheldon needs round-the-clock care and attention from those around him: he makes everyone follow his daily schedule, his best friend Leonard acts as his personal driver, and neighbor Penny has to sing Sheldon a lullaby and make him broth when he's sick. Cooper is also terrified of germs and panics at every sneeze. Oh, and did we mention — he thinks he's always right about everything. Funny enough, the most annoying sitcom character is loved by both his on-screen friends and millions of fans.