Secretly horrible TV nice guys are the sort of character that has been around for a while. You know the type. In their series, they initially seem all warm and kind and compassionate. We see them forging true friendships with the women of their dreams and being there for them at every turn. Unlike more obvious jerks, nice guys appear friendly and open, willing to give a helping hand whenever needed. They don’t do anything reprehensible per se, because they strive to stay true to their niceness. But as time goes by, they slowly reveal their inner ugliness.
The worst nice guys on TV like to complain about their love interest dating horrible dudes, but don’t exactly do anything toward asking the girl out or confessing their feelings. Instead of being straightforward, or moving on, or maybe assuming the other person isn't interested, they pine for months or years on end. They show an entitlement to a love interest’s affection because, look at them, they’re so freaking nice. Best case, they mope in silence and refuse to move on. Worst case, they become jealous, controlling, and manipulative.
Sometimes, these dudes are so skilled at hiding their true colors it takes repeat viewings to see just how awful they are. So just in case you mistook them initially, here’s a quick roundup of the worst nice guys on TV.
TV Show: Gossip Girl
Dan spends his entire high school years obsessed with Serena because she once acknowledged his existence at some party. When they get together, he acts like he’s different from the jerks she usually dates. And he seems genuine at first, we’ll give him that. But as the series progresses Dan turns from harmless outsider to manipulative jerk.
He doesn’t really trust or support Serena and basically uses her as an entry point to glamorous Upper East Side society. Worst of all, we eventually find out he’s been behind the infamous Gossip Girls website all along. Not such a nice guy after all.
TV Show: Friends
Ross may just be the ultimate Nice Guy™ in all of TV-dom. First off, he pines after Rachel for years and hates everyone she dates in the process, pointing out how horrible they are when compared to him. And yet, he fails to properly ask her out or confess his feelings. When they finally get together, he turns into a jealous and controlling freak unwilling to support her career.
Not to mention other red flag moments like when he cheats, when he fails to get an annulment after his and Rachel's drunken nuptials, when he considers not ever seeing her again to be with Emily, and how he sabotages her relationships whenever she tries to move on. After all that, he still thinks of himself as a nice guy and even gets the girl in the end. A rational woman would have sought a restraining order.
TV Show: Dawson’s Creek
Dawson is clearly in love with Joey in Season 1 but completely forgets about her when a blonde chick moves next door. When Dawson and Joey eventually get together he smothers her every minute of every day. Then later, he gets insanely jealous when she starts dating Pacey, his best friend, whom he proceeds to cut out of his life. All this while he and Joey are supposedly best friends. And yet, everyone keeps talking about how nice he is. HOW?
TV Show: How I Met Your Mother
This entire series revolves around Ted’s attempts to find his soulmate. And although the creators really want us to perceive Ted as a nice guy, his actions paint a completely different picture. He pursues Robin relentlessly, despite the fact that she clearly states she’s not keen on getting married and having children. After they break up and Robin starts dating Barney, Ted states on numerous occasions that he’s much better than Barney and that he should be the one to end up with her.
As for the other women in his life, where do we even begin? He cheats, manipulates, and takes advantage of them, all the while thinking that he’s a nice guy because he’s just looking for love. Barf.