10 Despised Characters In Otherwise Beloved Franchises
No matter how much you love a series of movies or a TV show or any other media franchise, there can always be one character in particular that everybody hates. Whether they’re a bumbling, clownish Gungan or they sit on the Iron Throne, there are tons of characters from franchises that everybody loves who everybody absolutely despises. You can’t avoid it – you never know how fans are going to react to certain things, and they get very passionate and hive mind-y about everything. Here are 10 characters from some of the most iconic and beloved movie, TV, and literary franchises that no one in their fan bases can stand.
10. Skyler White
Aaron Paul, who played Jesse on Breaking Bad, has never understood why the fans hated Skyler so much. He told Entertainment Weekly, “Why did our audience not sympathize with this poor woman? Granted, she is the thorn in Walter White’s side, and everyone’s rooting for Walter to succeed, but my God. You wake up one day, you find out your husband is a meth kingpin, you know, you’re going to have something to say about that. I really felt for Anna [Gunn, the actress who played Skyler], because she’s just such a beautiful human inside and out, and she played Skyler in such a fierce way, and people just dragged her character the most.” Gunn faced a lot of flak personally for some of the choices made by Skyler. Once, at a Q&A session for the cast, someone asked Gunn, “Why is your character such a bitch? I mean, Walt is working and he’s doing this for his family.” And she didn’t get what this guy was on about. She told him, “She’s trying to keep the children safe. And because she’s telling [Walt] to stop [cooking meth], you have a problem with her? That makes her a bitch?” You just can’t explain these things.
9. Rachel Dawes
Fans of the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman movies hate the character of Rachel Dawes for one reason: she turned down the chance to date Bruce Wayne. The Katie Holmes iteration of the character in Batman Begins falls out of love with Bruce after finding out who he really is, and the Maggie Gyllenhaal version in The Dark Knight keeps waving her new boyfriend Harvey Dent in his face. So, fans of Batman were not happy with her. But her decision makes sense, to be fair. She turned down a romantic relationship with a man who dresses up as a bat and fights criminals every night for a romantic relationship with the District Attorney, a pillar of the community and local Gotham City celebrity (until he burns off half his face and lives long enough to see himself become the villain). Interestingly enough, when Nolan’s movies were still in the casting phase and the producers were unsure of who to cast in the title role, Jake Gyllenhaal was one of the names on their shortlist – and Maggie Gyllenhaal, his sister, would end up playing the role of Rachel, Batman’s love interest. They wouldn’t have cast it this way if Jake Gyllenhaal had gotten the role, of course, but it does make you think.
8. Dana Brody
Homeland is full of interesting characters: there’s Nicholas Brody and Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson. But sadly, it has one character who is close to unbearable, and that’s Dana Brody, the teenage daughter of the soldier who returns from overseas in the pilot episode who has potentially been brainwashed by a terrorist group. As far as the family’s home life goes, this should’ve opened up the character to some very interesting emotions and conflicts and storylines. And to be fair, Dana did have an interesting start to her character arc in season 1, what with her strained relationship with her father and her grappling with whether or not she could trust him and what she thought of his newfound Muslim faith. But after that, the character really went off the rails. Her storylines felt like a crappy CW teen soap opera that had been needlessly wedged into the middle of a topical terrorist drama. Plus, she’s had all those annoying boyfriends and angsty moments. It’s like the writers of the show have never met a teenage girl in their lives and have no idea what they get up to, so they just made a bunch of stuff up off the top of their heads, whether it was any good or not.
7. Pete Campbell
The focal point of Mad Men is Don Draper. Don is the life and death of the show. He is the guy at the forefront of all the mayhem that goes on at Sterling Cooper. He’s the guy who drinks all the drinks and sleeps with all the women and pitches all the ad campaigns. He’s like the manliest man who has ever appeared on television. But Pete Campbell…well, Pete Campbell is essentially the opposite of Don. He is the anti-Don Draper. Pete is just a jerk. He’s a sensitive, sniffy, entitled little jerk. Just because his parents didn’t really like the idea of their son working in advertising, he refused to cry after his father died in a plane crash – and then he would later announce that he hates both his father and his mother. Series creator Matthew Weiner and his writers set Pete up as the biggest douchebag on the box in order to get you to hate him – and then they used the fact that you hated him to make you laugh at his expense. There were classic moments like when he threw the turkey out the window and when he fell down the stairs at the office. Vincent Kartheiser played the character brilliantly, but he was the worst.
6. Ramsay Bolton
The Bastard of the Dreadfort is a horrible, disgusting human being. He took Theon Greyjoy and made him his bitch. At first, the fact that he had Theon around to torture for fun and called him “Reek” was somewhat amusing – but it very quickly became unbearable. The way that he reduced Theon to a bumbling mess became quite difficult to watch. And that was nothing compared to the very controversial scene (which wasn’t in the books by George R.R. Martin, mind you) in which he rapes his new wife Sansa Stark. He also made a hobby out of feeding people to his dogs – in one grave instance, he even fed them a baby. Luckily, in the sixth season of the show, Ramsay finally got his comeuppance. Sansa, who had escaped his grasp by this point, teamed up with her half brother Jon Snow to bring Ramsay to his knees. They went into battle in full force in “Battle of the Bastards,” one of the best ever episodes of the show, and managed to defeat Ramsay’s army and get him on his own. Then they proceeded to kill Ramsay in the most just way possible: they fed him to the bloodthirsty dogs that he had given a taste for human meat. Nasty.
5. Bella Swan
The Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer and the movies that were based on them are about a huge battle between vampires and werewolves that comes to a head in the town of Forks, Washington, and a big, sweeping love story with people falling in love with the same person and babies being born and people dying – so why, in God’s name, would Meyer decide to put the most plain and boring and uninteresting character at the center of all that? Out of all the girls in Forks, why would either a vampire or a werewolf fall in love with the least interesting human being who was ever born, let alone both of them?! It’s just absurd. It doesn’t make any sense. She never smiles. She might turn the corner of her lips up, but she never actually smiles with her own face. Real smiles involve the eyes and the cheeks and all the facial muscles. It’s not something that you should even have to consider, because normal people just smile and you don’t notice it. But when Bella Swan occasionally attempts to crack a smile, you can see just how insincere it is. This is our central character – someone who can’t even smile.
4. Lori Grimes
Pretty much every decision or story turn that Lori Grimes made during her stint on The Walking Dead was the wrong one. When we first meet her in the second ever episode of the show, she’s having an affair with her husband’s best friend Shane in the middle of the zombie infested woods. And then her husband Rick goes through hell to get back to her and she gives him the cold shoulder. There was her ill advised plan to abort her pregnancy of a child that could’ve been Shane’s and could’ve been Rick’s (and was probably Shane’s, based on the timing of it and the fact that Rick told us recently that it was), which the critics and fans did not take too kindly to. And there was also the way she acted with Rick after he killed Shane. As Paste magazine’s Josh Jackson put it, “Lori basically tells Rick that Shane needs to be put down, and then treats him like a monster when he’s forced to follow through with it.” Plus, the character’s general demeanor and dialogue and the performance of Sarah Wayne Callies in the role have been subjected to a lot of hate and negative criticism.
3. Dolores Umbridge
There are many characters in J.K. Rowling’s fictional world of witches and wizards – which spans across books and movies and theme parks and video games – who are widely adored. Everybody loves Dumbledore and everybody loves Hermione and everybody loves Hagrid and Dobby and Ron, and of course, everybody loves Harry Potter himself. Hell, even Snape became a lovable guy in the end. But there’s one character who nobody likes. Everybody freaking hates Dolores Umbridge. She has been described on Pottermore as “the witch we all love to hate, or maybe just hate,” who “made our skin crawl.” Even Rowling didn’t like her as she was writing about her. She would often insult Umbridge in the books – and not just in the dialogue and in her actions, but in the prose, too. “When they entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, they found Professor Umbridge already seated at the teacher’s desk, wearing the fluffy pink cardigan of the night before and the black velvet bow on top of her head. Harry was again reminded forcibly of a large fly perched unwisely on top of an even larger toad.” No one who has ever read these books or seen these movies has any affinity whatsoever for Dolores Umbridge.
2. Joffrey Baratheon
Everybody hated Joffrey so, so, so much. Like, with a passion. Like it was a personal thing. Some people hated the kid so much that you’d think he had personally murdered their entire family. Everybody with a subscription to HBO and a penchant for medieval fantasy despised this character with every fiber of their being until he finally died. They rejoiced when their favorite character Tyrion slapped him across the face and they cheered across the internet message boards when he had a really long, drawn out death by poisoning. There was just something about actor Jack Gleeson’s face that rubbed you the wrong way. He was really, really annoying, on top of all the atrocities that he committed as King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. Joffrey was so despised that it made Jack Gleeson quit acting. Do you want to know why you hate Joffrey so much? It’s because George R.R. Martin originally based him on a bunch of bullies that he went to school with. He once said that Joffrey as a character was inspired by “five or six people that I went to school with – a classic bully – incredibly spoiled.”
1. Jar Jar Binks
Where the hell do you begin with Jar Jar Binks? What a terrible, terrible character. For starters, he is a big, goofy, clownish racist stereotype of black people, which is abhorrent from the off. And then there’s his loud, screechy, annoying voice paired with all of his ridiculous little tweaks on the English language, like “Meesa called Jar Jar Binks – meesa your humble servant now,” and “Yoosa should follow me now, okeeday?” And the worst part about Jar Jar is that he embodies everything that’s wrong with the prequel trilogy: he’s dumb, he’s simplistic, he makes you hate George Lucas, and he’s made entirely of CGI. This was from the same franchise – and the same creator, for God’s sake – that gave us Darth Vader and Han Solo and Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. How did this happen?! How did Jar Jar happen?! Come on, George! How could you?! George Lucas has defended Jar Jar, saying that the Star Wars movies are for kids and so he created a silly comic character that kids would enjoy. But that’s not strictly true. The beauty of Star Wars has always been that it appeals to audiences of all ages. And anyway, how is a caricature of a black man who uses the words “yoosa” and “meesa” supposed to be enjoyable for anybody?