In the week where we lost our favourite Friend, I realised I had to change the post I’d originally planned into something more positive.
By some weird coincidence, I had planned to publish a post entitled “Awful TV characters that make me want to switch the TV off” (or something along those lines) today, but then the sad news broke last weekend about Matthew Perry. And there was no way I was going to write THAT post because although I write these listicles – especially the seemingly “ranty” ones – as somewhat tongue-in-cheek observations, I then didn’t feel like listing all my grievances about characters on TV that had always annoyed me.
(Especially as one of them was in Friends.)
I wanted to celebrate the good ones, too.
[Reading time: 7 mins]
RIP Matthew Perry. To all of us who knew and loved you as Chandler Bing, it was heartbreaking to hear you were no longer with us. And as you were always my favourite Friend (only just above Phoebe, but if my hand were forced I would always have chosen you), I think it only right that I turn my original idea around and celebrate the TV characters that brought me joy.
And just for good measure, and because I’m desperate to get it off my chest about how much I detest the awful ones(!), I’ve included a few of them at the end. I’m sure that many of you will agree with the ones I’ve included there, too.
But first – and for some context – I’ll list my all-time favourite TV shows ever. In the first few days of Threads, there was a thread going round where people listed their top 10 favourite TV shows to “help us get to know you”. It was quite fun to create that list but I found it really difficult to stick to just 10 (my list here includes all of my favourite favourites). I kinda like nerdy stuff like list-writing; it’s probably why I write a lot of listicles on the blog. I love a list, me.
- Arrested Development
- Cunk on Earth
- Good Bones
- The Last of Us
- New Girl
- Parks and Recreation
- Pushing Daisies
- Stranger Things
- The Walking Dead
I’ve put the TV shows in alphabetical order because I didn’t want to favour one over the other (and to be honest I would have taken all day to put them into that sort of order). Alphabetising them makes my job a little easier.
My all-time favourite TV characters
So here are my all-time favourite TV characters (again, in alphabetical order, not in order of preference). Not all of them are from my favourite TV shows, and likewise, not all my favourite TV shows feature one of my all-time favourite characters. These characters just stood out at the time, and they stand out for me now. Whether they made me laugh the most, or whether I really identified with them, or whether they were simply a complete and utter badass, this lot made the TV show either worth watching or even better than it was anyway…
Chandler Bing, Friends 👨🏻👩🏼👨🏻👩🏻👨🏻👩🏼
I think everyone (who’s watched Friends) has been asked “Which is your favourite Friends character?” I would always flip-flop between Chandler and Phoebe, then occasionally say it was Rachel… I always chose Chandler in the end. Matthew Perry had genius comic timing and superbly hilarious physicality and ALWAYS had the funniest lines. That was probably because he improvised so much (I assume, judging by many of the outtakes). Could he BE any funnier? What a sad loss.
Chuck and Ned, Pushing Daisies 👨🏻🥧👩🏻⚰️
Yes, I’m including the two of them as one favourite character. Not many people remember Pushing Daisies and I’ve never known it to be available on any streaming service, but it should be. Anna Friel played the delightful (and originally dead) Chuck, brought back to life when she was physically touched by sweet, charming Ned (Lee Pace), but if he touched her again his strange powers meant she’d be dead forever. It made their falling in love somewhat challenging, but wonderfully innocent. If you’ve not seen it and you can find it somewhere to watch, do. It’s all sorts of (good) weird and kooky and Chuck and Ned as the couple who can never, ever touch each other are enchanting and adorable. Top marks also for Chuck’s still-cute Noughties-meets-1950s wardrobe.
James “Sawyer” Ford, Lost ✈️🏝️🐗🔢
God, I loved Lost. And I loved Sawyer. Unlike Jack, who was bland and whom I found totally frustrating, Sawyer was the bad boy of the bunch. But he was also exceptionally cool, easy on the eye (didn’t hurt) and ultimately a great guy. Lost may have “lost the plot” in the final season (see what I did there…), but Sawyer just got better and better and even became a hero in the end. He was a fabulously complex character in one of the most complex and talked about shows of the Noughties.
Jamie Fraser, Outlander ⚔️🏴
Outlander fans will not need persuading where the delectable Jamie Fraser is concerned. I was a bit late to Outlander and discovered it when Season 2 was already underway, and I quickly binge-watched Season 1 so I was all caught up. I have no idea why I left Sam Heughan off my list of celebrity crushes, but he really should have been on there. The man (Jamie I mean, the character) is just so utterly heroic and stoic and all-round fabulous. Though I’m still curious as to what gym he went to in the 1700s to get that muscular body…
Jim Hopper, Stranger Things 🙃🧑🏻🦲
Another hero character but a rather flawed one, and kinda hilariously grumpy with it. Hopper went from cuddly daddy-figure cop to badass, shaven-headed fighter of monsters and Russians whilst stuck in (a Russian) prison in the most recent season (4), and I’m here for it. He was great before and he’s great after and if he and Joyce (Winona Ryder) don’t get it together in Season 5 then I will not be
Joel Miller, The Last of Us 👧🏻👨🏽🐴🧟♂️
Ohhhhh Pedro, Pedro, Pedro. I’m not sure who I love more actually, the character (Joel) or the actor (Pedro Pascal). I think it’s a tie. Talk about rooting for a character… he seemed so lovely and kind and sweet, yet he did some really quite shocking things in order to survive and to protect Bella. He definitely comes under the category of badass, but my goodness he was subtle about it and made you sort of forget how ruthless he was until BAM! Joel does something to prove his badassery. What an amazing character, kudos to Pedro for making us love him so much.
Michonne Grimes, The Walking Dead 🧟♀️🧟♂️
Michonne is the ULTIMATE badass, and I will not have anyone say otherwise. Now to be fair, most of the main characters in TWD are/were badasses (Carol, Rick and Darryl to name just three), but Michonne, with her katana sword as her weapon of choice for slaying walkers (zombies), is my favourite. She’s so cool, calm and collected even when facing a swarm of walkers and her despatch method is, well… badass. There’s no other word for it.
Philomena Cunk, Cunk on Earth 👩🏻🦰🌍
If you’ve never watched Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk in one of the best mockumentaries of all time, then here’s some advice: do NOT watch it while trying to eat. You’ll be laughing so much you literally won’t be able to swallow food. Morgan’s deadpan delivery and her native Bolton (Manchester) accent make one of the funniest, most quotable shows ever made even funnier. She is nothing short of brilliant: “Galileo’s full name was Galileo Figaro Magnifico, wasn’t it?” and – “Alan Turing, the weird man who discovered computers, is now a national hero. People queue for ages to touch the Turing shroud.” Priceless.
Fun fact: Cunk is a portmanteau of two profanities… I’m sure you can work out which two 😉
Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation 😂🦝
So if we’re talking legends, Ron Swanson is IT. One of the greatest characters in one of the greatest comedies of all time (IMHO), Parks and Rec, I could wax lyrical all day about the man. He’s the GOAT. His life philosophy is no-nonsense (“Crying: acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon”) and is the greatest-ever friend to his colleague Leslie Knope. There’s even a Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. What a man, what a ‘tache. There’s a reason I’ve used the word “great” four times in his section – he deserves it.
✷ ✷ ✷ ✷ ✷
And the awards for worst TV characters ever go to
This is the original post I’d planned to write. But rather than a long rant just about these characters whom I DETEST (and I’m sure I’m not alone with the majority of them), I’m glad I turned it into something positive instead – my small tribute to Matthew Perry is totally worth it.
So – these are the awful characters I’ll switch channels for faster than you can say Aaaargh where’s the remote control?!. I have maybe even switched the TV OFF for more than one of these characters in a fit of “I don’t want to be watching it if they’re in this episode”…
(Oh and SPOILER ALERT, but these are all pretty old storylines so I’m not exactly revealing anything that’s not yet general knowledge where these TV shows are concerned)
Emily, Friends 👨🏻👩🏼👨🏻👩🏻👨🏻👩🏼
Oh my GOD was there ever a more insufferable character than Ross’s second (or was she the third) wife Emily?! I know I’m not alone here, because if I ever see anything on social media mentioned about her then the consensus is generally the same… she was awful. She had NO redeeming features. She banned her husband (whom she’d known for about five minutes) from seeing Rachel and made him choose between her and his friends. She moaned constantly (like me here, LOL). She gave us Brits a bad name because she was a stuck-up you-know-what. I’m going to stop there because she makes me so cross even just thinking about her…
Jack Berger, Sex and the City 👩🏼🧑🏻🦰👩🏼👩🏻🏙️
A close second to Emily in Friends, Berger was the man who made “breaking up via Post-it” a particularly lousy – and notorious – way to break up with someone. However, watching SATC now, Carrie was actually pretty toxic herself. I don’t think many of us realised it at the time (is it because we were younger or because times have changed?), but Carrie was selfish, a terrible friend, and high maintenance (in a bad way).
But enough about Carrie, this is about Berger. I don’t know what it was about him, but he just annoyed me. Actually, I do know: he insulted Carrie’s outfits. He didn’t support her career. He whined and he moaned. He ate her dessert. And he summed up his horrible personality on a sticky note before his swift exit. “I’m sorry, I can’t. Don’t hate me.” We DO hate you, Berger. WE DO.
Pamela Milton, The Walking Dead 🧟♀️🧟♂️
Even if you’re a diehard Walking Dead fan (like me), you might be going, “Pamela who?”. If I say that Pamela was the leader of the Commonwealth in the last two seasons of TWD, you might go, “Ohhhhhhh, her”. And hopefully you’ll also go, “God yeah, she was AWFUL.” I don’t mean that because she was a baddie she was therefore unpleasant, I mean she was irritating. Negan was one of the most terrifying baddies (in the beginning, at least), but he was also a brilliant baddie. As was Philip “The Governor” Blake. But Pamela was pointless and boring and oh BOY did she vex me. It was a disappointing final season all round, but her absence would have improved it enormously.
Guinevere Beck, You 🔪🩸
This is a controversial one, as anytime I’ve mentioned my dislike of Guinevere Beck in the very brilliant You, I’m met with a question… “But why?” I just – didn’t like her, and I find it hard to explain why. She was saccharine on the surface but deep down she really wasn’t; she seemed a bit strange and had terrible friends (especially Peach. Ugh, Peach). Which was weird, I know, because she was dating a serial killer and would ultimately suffer at his hands, but of course we ALL love Joe, despite his er, “tendency” to murder people. Even though the first series was really, really good, I was just glad when he eventually dispatched Beck because I like my serial killers to be happy, you know? And he could never be happy with her. But then neither was he with his wife, Love Quinn. Nor with the woman he had an affair with, Marienne. Or with just about anyone…
Your turn – who are your favourite (and worst) TV characters of all time? Let me know in the comments box below…!
Thanks for reading,
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