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(Onion AV Club)   Sixteen television shows whose main characters are the worst, least interesting characters ever to front a series   (avclub.com) divider line 150
    More: Fail, WKRP, The Hangover, Rick Grimes, Buck Rogers, Steve Carell, James Badge Dale, main characters, goofing off  
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11696 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 23 Sep 2013 at 6:16 PM (47 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-23 06:23:30 PM
Just don't make Carl the main character. The show would be lost.
 
2013-09-23 06:23:56 PM
Fail is not including Sons of Anarchy. That has to be the greatest show with the weakest lead I've ever seen. What kind of biker gang would let a whiny biatch like Jax be president?
 
2013-09-23 06:24:14 PM
How Rick Grimes is not #1 on this list is a mystery

/Granted, I haven't seen the 5 shows prior
 
2013-09-23 06:26:24 PM
They left off quite a few:

Walter White
Captain Kirk
Tyrian Lannister
Dexter Morgan

They all suck.

/retreats back under the bridge
 
2013-09-23 06:26:28 PM
I should sent Gyp Rosetti after this guy for thinking that Nucky Thompson is a boring character.
 
2013-09-23 06:26:37 PM
I disagree with "Better Off Ted." As the audience surrogate, Ted didn't get to have as many quirks as some of the other characters, but he had plenty of opportunities to show his own character -- a guy who recognized the insanity of his superiors but who lacked the clout to change anything, so he was left to try to manipulate a sane outcome from insane inputs. The stuff with his kid never really worked with me, but at work, he was sort of the office psychiatrist.

Also, he was a perfectly-tanned shiat bird.
 
2013-09-23 06:26:38 PM
Rick may be slow and unstable at times but I would hardly call him uninteresting.
 
2013-09-23 06:28:25 PM

ChewbaccaJones: They left off quite a few:

Walter White
Captain Kirk
Tyrian Lannister
Dexter Morgan

They all suck.

/retreats back under the bridge


You misunderstand their criteria...
 
2013-09-23 06:28:47 PM

Uzzah: I disagree with "Better Off Ted." As the audience surrogate, Ted didn't get to have as many quirks as some of the other characters, but he had plenty of opportunities to show his own character -- a guy who recognized the insanity of his superiors but who lacked the clout to change anything, so he was left to try to manipulate a sane outcome from insane inputs. The stuff with his kid never really worked with me, but at work, he was sort of the office psychiatrist.

Also, he was a perfectly-tanned shiat bird.


Agreed. I thought him being the straight man was the whole point.

/miss the hell out of that show
 
2013-09-23 06:29:54 PM
1. Jack Shepard was an awesome lead. Man of science becoming a man of faith while battling personal demons isn't interesting?
2. Where is Captain Archer on the list?
3. Or for that matter, any show where Scott Bakula was the main star
 
2013-09-23 06:33:11 PM
I always thought Eric was the lead of Entourage. His character is the only one that evolves in any significant way.
 
2013-09-23 06:35:16 PM

Uzzah: I disagree with "Better Off Ted." As the audience surrogate, Ted didn't get to have as many quirks as some of the other characters, but he had plenty of opportunities to show his own character -- a guy who recognized the insanity of his superiors but who lacked the clout to change anything, so he was left to try to manipulate a sane outcome from insane inputs. The stuff with his kid never really worked with me, but at work, he was sort of the office psychiatrist.

Also, he was a perfectly-tanned shiat bird.


Well, I see that other Farkers have pointed out that the AV Club was off about Ted. And I thought Andy Travis was an interesting lead, but not the least interesting character as a Main character. He just wasn't as crazy as the rest. I think every actor in WKRP holds their own.
 
2013-09-23 06:38:10 PM
List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.
 
2013-09-23 06:39:49 PM

fusillade762: Uzzah: I disagree with "Better Off Ted." As the audience surrogate, Ted didn't get to have as many quirks as some of the other characters, but he had plenty of opportunities to show his own character -- a guy who recognized the insanity of his superiors but who lacked the clout to change anything, so he was left to try to manipulate a sane outcome from insane inputs. The stuff with his kid never really worked with me, but at work, he was sort of the office psychiatrist.

Also, he was a perfectly-tanned shiat bird.

Agreed. I thought him being the straight man was the whole point.

/miss the hell out of that show


Thirded, it was brilliant, they should have kept with it despite ratings and I believe it would have found an audience.

A few of those shows are more ensemble pieces.  Ted, while being the title character, wasn't necessarily the lead, just as Vince Chase wasn't really the lead in Entourage, they may have been what some of the plots centered around, but the shows were about the groups more than any individual.

I think their assessment of Boardwalk Empire is spot on though.  I really wanted to like that show.  I love Steve Buscemi, and in theory a show about prohibition and the black market liquor trade could have been very cool, but somehow the whole thing never clicked for me.  Maybe it was just the 'periodness' of it, though I loved Rome and Deadwood, Boardwalk always seemed too restrained, too uptight.  Then again, I gave up after most of the first season, maybe it gets better, I might give it another shot someday.
 
2013-09-23 06:39:52 PM
Rubicon was a great show but it required its audience to pay close attention and that killed it.
 
2013-09-23 06:41:15 PM

FrancoFile: ChewbaccaJones: They left off quite a few:

Walter White
Captain Kirk
Tyrian Lannister
Dexter Morgan

They all suck.

/retreats back under the bridge

You misunderstand their criteria...


...you misunderstand my blatant sarcastic trolling
 
2013-09-23 06:41:53 PM
No Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black?

/Liked OitNB
//HATED Piper
 
2013-09-23 06:42:30 PM

cman: 1. Jack Shepard was an awesome lead. Man of science becoming a man of faith while battling personal demons isn't interesting?


Jack Shepard was a great character... in theory.  Same with Kate.  But for some reason their episodes felt like Under the Dome eps compared to most LOST episodes.
 
2013-09-23 06:43:56 PM
Guy Williams from Lost in Space.  The actor who got upstaged by a robot.
 
2013-09-23 06:44:18 PM
Seinfeld, Cheers, Friends, pretty much any of the "NBC Thursday" shows. Also Jeopardy
 
2013-09-23 06:44:23 PM
I vote for Ted from How I Met Your Mother to be included on this list.
 
2013-09-23 06:45:48 PM
<p><b><a href="http://www.fark.com/comments/7945587/86635654#c86635654" target="_blank">cman</a>:</b> <i>1. Jack Shepard was an awesome lead. Man of science becoming a man of faith while battling personal demons isn't interesting?</i></p><p><i>2. Where is Captain Archer on the list?</i></p><p><i>3. Or for that matter, any show where Scott Bakula was the main star</i></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>Thank for killing the franchise Bacula</p><p> </p>

[img]http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/mHk7ZkbWo4A/hqdefault.jpg[/img]
 
2013-09-23 06:46:16 PM

meathome: List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.


Beat me by six minutes.
 
2013-09-23 06:46:30 PM

Magnanimous_J: I always thought Eric was the lead of Entourage. His character is the only one that evolves in any significant way.


I was going to make the same correction, but then I realized it proves the point of the article even more so. E is so boring that some people didn't even realize that he was the main character.
 
2013-09-23 06:49:51 PM
I think Seth Bullock from Deadwood fits this criteria quite well. Ostensibly, the lead of the show, but the least interesting character on the show. Not to say he's uninteresting...but most of the folks around him are far more interesting.
 
2013-09-23 06:50:37 PM
I'da gone with Olivia Dunham (Fringe) and Michael Weston (Burn Notice).
 
2013-09-23 06:51:55 PM

meathome: List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.


Yea, I was really expecting to see that on there and agree with you completely.
 
2013-09-23 06:53:59 PM

meathome: List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.


I'll counter with this:  Ted is a great character, the creators just decided to go balls to the wall dbag with him.  He's whiny, he's snooty, only his friends' constant fart jokes keep him from being a total ponce (as the show itself has said).  On top of that, he's twice tried to get women to run away from their weddings despite one of those moments coming after he himself was jilted at the altar.

I suspect... in my little, optimistic heart....  that he will get the chance to do the same with Robin this season and will turn it down.  Thus showing that, while he'll always point out misspellings in restaurant menus, he's become a much nicer guy, and therefore is now in a good place, maturity-wise, to meet the mother.

But either way, they went all out in saying their lead is not an everyman.  Just as Barney is not *just* a horndog and Lily isn't just a sweet kindergarten teacher.  They bet high on their characters being a solid engine for the show.  Personally, I think it paid off.

/also "His wife's a 500 year old relic that hasn't been struck since W.S. GIlbert hit it at the London Premier of the Mikado in 1885"
//not a lot of sitcoms can drop a Gilbert & Sullivan sex joke
///I'd forgive a lot for that alone
 
2013-09-23 06:56:14 PM

Romans 7 19: I'da gone with Olivia Dunham (Fringe) and Michael Weston (Burn Notice).


I think that was improvised due to the male lead being 'fall through a timewarp' dull on screen.  As in, every time he comes on screen and does *not* have a scene with the excellent actor playing his father my mind wanders and before I know whole minutes have passed without anything to show for it.
 
2013-09-23 06:57:30 PM
The critique of Sinclair from B5 is flawed.  The chief complaint in this list is that the characters are weak but their entire argument about Sinclair revolves around the actors inability to convey what Strazcynski was writing.  Personally I found Sinclair interesting despite O'Hare's shortcomings.
 
2013-09-23 06:58:10 PM
There was also Mr. Brady. There was a lot more of him in the earlier episodes. Although he shared the central focus (and theme song) with Mrs. Brady, she was a more interesting character than him.
 
2013-09-23 06:58:51 PM
TFA: Better Off Ted

The writer for Better Off Ted deliberately set out to see if he could write a funny TV show with a protagonist that had everything going for him.  Having a normal guy to bounce all the chaos off of was the point.

Also, add me to the list of people who expected How I Met Your Mother to be mentioned.  Maybe Ted will become less Schmosby in the last season.
 
2013-09-23 07:08:48 PM
Correct answer:

All of the vapid girls on HBO's "Girls".
 
2013-09-23 07:08:51 PM

quizzical: TFA: Better Off Ted

The writer for Better Off Ted deliberately set out to see if he could write a funny TV show with a protagonist that had everything going for him.  Having a normal guy to bounce all the chaos off of was the point.

Also, add me to the list of people who expected How I Met Your Mother to be mentioned.  Maybe Ted will become less Schmosby in the last season.


Since there isn't any himym threads my prediction for this season is in the finale we find out the mother is dead and that's why he's telling the kids this story. Been guessing that since I started wath ing in season 5!
 
2013-09-23 07:09:32 PM

mrjared: I think Seth Bullock from Deadwood fits this criteria quite well. Ostensibly, the lead of the show, but the least interesting character on the show. Not to say he's uninteresting...but most of the folks around him are far more interesting.


It's hard to follow Al Swearengen, except maybe with a hearse for what he left behind him.

Romans 7 19: I'da gone with Olivia Dunham (Fringe) and Michael Weston (Burn Notice).


Walter Bishop was the star, the heart, and the soul of Fringe, even in its shiattier moments of the last season.  (YMMV).  I wasn't going to watch that Sleepy Hollow show coming up, but apparently John Noble is getting a role.  That bumps it to 'I'll at least watch a few eps for him.'
 
2013-09-23 07:10:39 PM

K.B.O. Winston: meathome: List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.

I'll counter with this:  Ted is a great character, the creators just decided to go balls to the wall dbag with him.  He's whiny, he's snooty, only his friends' constant fart jokes keep him from being a total ponce (as the show itself has said).  On top of that, he's twice tried to get women to run away from their weddings despite one of those moments coming after he himself was jilted at the altar.

I suspect... in my little, optimistic heart....  that he will get the chance to do the same with Robin this season and will turn it down.  Thus showing that, while he'll always point out misspellings in restaurant menus, he's become a much nicer guy, and therefore is now in a good place, maturity-wise, to meet the mother.

But either way, they went all out in saying their lead is not an everyman.  Just as Barney is not *just* a horndog and Lily isn't just a sweet kindergarten teacher.  They bet high on their characters being a solid engine for the show.  Personally, I think it paid off.

/also "His wife's a 500 year old relic that hasn't been struck since W.S. GIlbert hit it at the London Premier of the Mikado in 1885"
//not a lot of sitcoms can drop a Gilbert & Sullivan sex joke
///I'd forgive a lot for that alone


I noticed that if you break down a lot of the episodes, Ted goes from "Hopeless romantic sweetie" to "completely full of shiat scumbag".

Even better, in any interview I've read with him, the actor playing Ted is actually a bigger d-bag than Ted.
 
2013-09-23 07:13:08 PM

Flappyhead: The critique of Sinclair from B5 is flawed.  The chief complaint in this list is that the characters are weak but their entire argument about Sinclair revolves around the actors inability to convey what Strazcynski was writing.  Personally I found Sinclair interesting despite O'Hare's shortcomings.


They referred briefly to why O'Hare had a hard time connecting to the audience, but I liked his role and was very upset and sorry to hear about his troubles with mental illness.  Not as much as I liked Boxleitner, true, but I was a Tron kid.  O'Hare had a distance to him that ended up working very well in his favor when he returned to close out his character's arc.
 
2013-09-23 07:13:35 PM

meathome: List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.


They could remove Ted and the show would improve.
 
2013-09-23 07:15:39 PM

SundaesChild: meathome: List fails without "How I Met Your Mother".

Seriously, they could remove Ted for a season and I don't think anyone would notice.

They could remove Ted and the show would improve.


Could they remove Ted but keep bob saget as narrator?
 
2013-09-23 07:16:27 PM

cman: 1. Jack Shepard was an awesome lead. Man of science becoming a man of faith while battling personal demons isn't interesting?
2. Where is Captain Archer on the list?
3. Or for that matter, any show where Scott Bakula was the main star


This is why you are Farkied as "Scott Bakula Hater"
 
2013-09-23 07:17:06 PM

Creoena: How Rick Grimes is not #1 on this list is a mystery

/Granted, I haven't seen the 5 shows prior


His character definitely is poorly written, but at least they straightened out Carl a little.
 
2013-09-23 07:17:24 PM

cman: 1. Jack Shepard was an awesome lead. Man of science becoming a man of faith while battling personal demons isn't interesting?
2. Where is Captain Archer on the list?
3. Or for that matter, any show where Scott Bakula was the main star


Wrong.   Jack was exactly what they described.   The guy who drew the short straw and ended up by defacto, becoming the guy who the story revolved around.

Desmond was much more of a main character.   Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Claire even; Jack was a crybaby who was always chasing his personal demons to no avail.   He never reconciled with Christian.   He never had the guts to kill Ben when everyone knew that was the move that had to be made for their safety, He *fixed* Ben for christ sakes!    I love Lost, its one of my all time favorites.  But upon further review, Jack didn't need to be there.    

/clicked the link and said "Jack" before the page loaded
//leaving happy
 
2013-09-23 07:18:19 PM

ManateeGag: cman: 1. Jack Shepard was an awesome lead. Man of science becoming a man of faith while battling personal demons isn't interesting?
2. Where is Captain Archer on the list?
3. Or for that matter, any show where Scott Bakula was the main star

This is why you are Farkied as "Scott Bakula Hater"


Good
 
2013-09-23 07:19:17 PM
Without a doubt, hands down, Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec is THE WORST character of ANY tv show...ever. She is so brutally annoying. We get it...she loves the government and likes to be organized. Leslie making a giant binder full of plans for a menial task wasn't funny the first time they did it...it still isn't funny after the 500th time. If it wasn't for one of the greatest backup cast of characters of tv history, that show would have been canceled in less than 5 episodes.

It's the only show I've ever regularly watched that I've fast forwarded when the main character is on the screen.

Leslie, Ben, Ann Perkins and whatever Rob Lowe's character's name is need to be killed off. Then make Park and Rec an hour show with the remaining cast.
 
2013-09-23 07:20:25 PM
What about Bob Newhart in the Bob Newhart show?

It's like he was the blandest character of all in that show and most of the time the show focused on the crazy antics of all the characters around him.

Newhart could have sat in a chair making wry comments in that show and we would never have known the difference.
 
2013-09-23 07:22:33 PM

mrjared: I think Seth Bullock from Deadwood fits this criteria quite well. Ostensibly, the lead of the show, but the least interesting character on the show. Not to say he's uninteresting...but most of the folks around him are far more interesting.


yeah, this.
 
2013-09-23 07:24:15 PM

The_Sponge: Correct answer:

All of the vapid girls on HBO's "Girls".


The Onion's take (not the AV) on this show is great.

Too lazy to link....
 
2013-09-23 07:24:25 PM

Cletus C.: Just don't make Carl the main character. The show would be lost.


si0.twimg.com

You take that back!
 
2013-09-23 07:25:05 PM

Uzzah: I disagree with "Better Off Ted." As the audience surrogate, Ted didn't get to have as many quirks as some of the other characters, but he had plenty of opportunities to show his own character -- a guy who recognized the insanity of his superiors but who lacked the clout to change anything, so he was left to try to manipulate a sane outcome from insane inputs. The stuff with his kid never really worked with me, but at work, he was sort of the office psychiatrist.

Also, he was a perfectly-tanned shiat bird.


That.  Was.  Beautiful.
 
2013-09-23 07:27:10 PM

The_Sponge: Correct answer:

All of the vapid girls on HBO's "Girls".



I was watching an episode of it last night and thinking about something along those lines. I don't think it's that the characters are dull, because they're well realized and believable forthe most part, it's just that I actively dislike most of them, and most of the guys on the show too. It's well written and well acted, but it seems designed to make you dislike the characters on the screen. They aren't even anti-heroes who you disagree with but root for anyway, they're just oftentimes dumb and self-defeating when they should know better. I'm still not sure how I feel about it.
 
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