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TV Characters You Loved At First Watch, Then Slowly Realized Were The Worst

Updated October 29, 2019 10.3k votes 2.0k voters 47.9k views13 items

List RulesVote up the characters you liked on first impression, but came to realize actually suck.

People change over the course of their lives, and so do the characters that we watch on television. Writers have the difficult task of producing drama, which essentially means creating conflict by forcing their characters into impossible situations. Sometimes, the way our favorite characters handle conflict can make it difficult to support them. 

Remember the first time you saw Mad Men's Don Draper? The successful adman appears to be a loving husband and father. Then, we see the infidelity, the heavy drinking, and the cruel way that he treats his co-workers. The handsome, confident man that we fell in love with eventually becomes a loathsome mess. 

We slowly realize our favorite characters are actually the worst all the time. They often make terrible decisions that hurt the people around them, including us as viewers. Naturally, a well-written character undergoes development over the course of a series, but those changes aren't always a good thing. 

Vote up the characters you used to love before you realized how much they suck. 

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  • Carrie Bradshaw - 'Sex and the City'
    Photo: HBO

    Why You Loved Her: Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is our trendy New York City BFF. She's stylish, witty, and gives us great advice about love. The thought of having a cosmo with Carrie uptown made Sex and the City fans tune in every week. 

    Reasons She's Actually The Worst: Aidan (John Corbett) is a really good boyfriend and all-around solid guy. When Carrie figures out that she's still in love with Big (Chris Noth), she should break it off with Aidan. Instead, she cheats on him and lies. She also isn't such a great friend to Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall).

    Miranda is always there emotionally for Carrie, and Carrie often fails to reciprocate. When Carrie needs money to keep her apartment, she guilts Charlotte into selling her engagement ring. Forget about what she throws away on expensive shoes and designer clothes. Despite the fact that Carrie is a columnist who has no problem writing about the details of her storied private life, there are several instances in which she shames Samantha for being open about her intimate relations. 

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  • Ross Geller - 'Friends'
    Photo: NBC

    Why You Loved Him: Ross (David Schwimmer) is the likable underdog of the titular group of friends; he is intelligent and awkward, and he cares deeply for the people in his life. He even tries to put aside his own emotions to make his friends more comfortable when his pal Joey (Matt LeBlanc) starts dating his ex-girlfriend Rachel (Jennifer Aniston).

    Why He's Actually The Worst: Ross scores way out of his league when Rachel falls in love with him; however, he takes advantage of their relationship for his own selfish intent on multiple occasions. He becomes extremely jealous of Rachel's co-worker Mark (Steven Eckholdt) when she finally lands her dream job in fashion, then he sleeps with someone else to get back at her and claims that it's okay because they were "on a break." 

    After Ross's divorce from Emily (Helen Baxendale), he is in between apartments. Joey and Chandler (Matthew Perry) let him stay with them while he looks for a new place, but instead of adapting to his new circumstances, he tries to get them to change their lifestyle. Perhaps one of his worst offenses is lying to Rachel about being divorced after the pair drunkenly get married in Vegas. 

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  • Marnie Michaels - 'Girls'
    Photo: HBO

    Why You Loved Her: Of all four main gal pals on HBO's Girls, Marnie (Allison Williams) is initially the most mature and responsible. She seems to have her head screwed on straight and she comes off as intelligent, determined, and strong-willed. 

    Reasons She's Actually The Worst: For six seasons, four girls in their 20s learn how to be empathetic, responsible adults. Hannah (Lena Dunham) finally gets her writing career in motion, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) graduates from college and gets engaged, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is working on her sobriety with the healthy support of her boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver). Then there's Marnie, whose behavior gets more and more perilous over the course of the series. 

    Marnie pretends to have her life together in order to compensate for the things she lacks. She likes to make her friends feel awful about their shortcomings. She starts an affair with a married man, Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), which ends his marriage. She eventually marries Desi, only to cheat on him with her ex-boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott). By the end of the series, there is little evidence that she can move past her toxic narcissism. 

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  • Serena van der Woodsen - 'Gossip Girl'
    Photo: The CW

    Why You Loved Her: Serena (Blake Lively), a socialite and fashion model, is not only one of the prettiest girls in every room, she's also one of the kindest. Despite her social status, she's easy-going and fun to be around. Her charisma makes her one of the most prominent high school students on the Upper East Side, and she's respected by her peers and elders alike. Her closet would make even Carrie Bradshaw green with envy. 

    Reasons She's The Worst: Though she hides it under a facade of good intention, Serena is selfish and entitled, even for a privileged teenager growing up in the Manhattan socialite scene. She will help her friends in need, but only if it benefits her. She's also a runner, and instead of dealing with her problems head-on, she avoids facing up to her mistakes. Her narcissistic actions upset the people who love her, and she has no problem toying with and disposing of the men in her life. 

    Serena is manipulative, and she knows how to use her friends to get what she wants. One of her worst indiscretions is sleeping with her best friend Blair's (Leighton Meester) boyfriend Nate (Chace Crawford) and then leaving town so she doesn't have to face the consequences. 

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