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Television Actors Who Overact Way Too Hard

Updated January 6, 2021 14.3k votes 2.4k voters 84.2k views19 items

Overacting doesn't always have to be a bad thing; some actors have managed to make a career despite it, or maybe even because of it. From exaggerating expressions, to over-the-top displays of sadness, joy, anger, happiness, and everything in between, we present to you an over the top list of the top TV actors who overact.

Jerry Seinfeld was clearly a comedian with less refined acting chops as his costars, yet he managed to have his own show despite his tendency to constantly overplay scenes. William Shatner is a notoriously cringeworthy actor, known particularly for his roles where he overreacts to, well, nearly everything. Zooey Deschanel, as Jessica Day on New Girl, is either endearing in her overacting or the epitome of annoying, depending on who you ask. Sofia Vergara also has a polarizing effect - obnoxious or endearing in her overreactions on Modern Family, it's your call.

No matter the network, no show is immune to overacting actors. Check out the actors below, and be sure to vote up the television stars who need to seriously take a chill pill.
  • Anna Paquin on True Blood
    Photo: Jason Meritt / Getty Images

    Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse on True Blood has dramatic events happening to her left and right... which she broadcasts, employing every single part of her face for as long as possible to show her distress (often to unintended comical effect).
    • Credits (TV): True Blood, A Drop of True Blood
    • Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
    • Nationality: Canada, New Zealand
    Do they overact?

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  • David Schwimmer on Friends
    Photo: Noam Galai / Getty Images

    Friends arguably wouldn't be complete without Ross over-reacting to something, whether it's Rachel dating Fabio or Phoebe not believing the theory of evolution. Yet David Schwimmer manages to overplay nearly each and every moment, leaving us wondering, at times, which cry face Ross is going to make this time - and how long it's going to last.
    • Credits (TV): Friends, Band of Brothers, Joey, Little Britain USA, Monty
    • Birthplace: Flushing, New York City, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
    Do they overact?

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  • Jennifer Carpenter on Dexter
    Photo: Jason Meritt / Getty Images

    Oh, Deb! The eye rolls, the eyebrow raises, the open-mouthed gasps, the three-emotions-in-one-face. You've gotta give it to Carpenter as Deb in Dexter - she might be an over-acting actress, but she's a damn good face contortionist. 
    • Credits (TV): Dexter
    • Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Nationality: United States of America
    Do they overact?

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  • Over the top expressions and o
    ddly pitched lines that didn't quite play were more common than not when Seinfeld was on screen. This, combined with the occasional clunky delivery, and you could easily tell that Seinfeld himself had the least acting chops out of the entire cast of Seinfeld.
    • Credits (TV): Seinfeld, Live! with Kelly and Michael, One Night Stand, The Marriage Ref, Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Nationality: United States of America
    Do they overact?

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