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The 7 Undeniably Badass Moments Of TV's Most Useless And Problematic Characters

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | April 15, 2013 | Comments ()


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Winona Hawkins -- "Justified": After four seasons of hapless criminal behavior, unnecessarily acidity and general...distemper, the lovely Winona Hawkins nee Givens nee Whatever finally made herself useful by helping Raylan gun down some Detroit mafia home invaders in this season's finale. Honestly, it's the first time I loved her.
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Adam -- "Girls": It's hard to know what to make of Adam Driver's character on "Girls." In a sea of unlikable ladies, he's a...slightly less unlikable beacon? I thought Lena Dunham had done something very clever with his character in Season 1, initially presenting him as the douchebag in their relationship only to flip that dynamic on its head. A lot of that good work was undone in Season 2 but this moment, in the Season 1 finale, will always be one of Adam's finest. Also, primo schadenfreude for all you Hannah haters.

Dark Willow -- "Buffy": Evil Willow was an intensely problematic character mostly because, in creating her, Whedon and company muddied one of their already awkward metaphors. If being a Wicca is equivalent to discovering other parts of your sexuality in Seasons 4 and 5, it can't suddenly be a ham-fisted allegory for addiction is Season 6. It just can't. And while most people love Dark Willow's violent revenge on her lover's murderer ("bored now"), the only time I really loved Dark Willow is when she finally (finally) addressed the whiny ball of light in the room. Dawn, sweetie, you had it coming.
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Andy Botwin -- "Weeds": I talk about this moment a lot because it is absolute perfection. While Nancy Botwin had become a complete misery of a human being, the once-charming Andy was no-less difficult to watch. A thousand splendid quips could not off-set his unfathomable obsession with her. That's why this discussion where he discovers his power in their dysfunctional relationship crowned with this glorious iced coffee smack down will always be my favorite moment of the series.
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Cersei Lannister-- "Game of Thrones": Cersei the character is not all this problematic, but many "Game of Thrones" fans take exception Lena Headey's delivery. But nothing brings us all together like a good ol' fashioned Joffrey slap, eh?
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Lane Pryce -- "Mad Men": The only thing better than a Joffrey slap, of course, is a Pete Campbell punch. Poor, repressed, useless Lane. This was his shining hour. It didn't take long for the wheels to come off his life completely, but I like to think that when the remaining employees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (or are they SCDHC now?) think back fondly on Lane Pryce, this is what they remember.
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Trudy Campbell-- "Mad Men": And though she may not have laid a finger on him in last night's episode, the largely useless Trudy Campbell finally attacked that slimeball she's married to. While Joan Harris and Peggy Olsen have been blazing trials in their own way, Trudy has largely been a symbol of the bygone womanly era. No longer, apparently. Welcome to 1968, Pete.
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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Ryan Creely

    I've literally never heard anybody criticise Lena Headey's performance in Game of Thrones. She's one of the strongest actors on the show.

  • Tokenn

    Lena Headey is a wonderful actress [she KILLED as Sarah Conner] but her portrayal of Cersei is disappointingly flat. I blame the writers AND the producers of the show. In the books, Cersei is pathologically resentful of her 'female role' in society, power hungry, vicious and dissolute...I don't recall if it's stated in the books, but I would bet she was the instigator of her incestuous liason with Jaime. Headey brings out practically none of this. Headey is also too old in the role...Cersei and Jaime in the books should be in their early thirties...not pushing [or dragging] forty. OTOH, Headey would have been a tremendous Caitelin Stark...Michelle Fairly, good as she is, simply looks too old to be the mother of teenagers...more like a grandmother.

    I find that a lot of the roles in GOT are miscast...fine actors but not in the right parts. Also, the subtle [and not so subtle] changes in the story and characterization will do a lot of damage to the future directions and motivations of the characters, IMHO

  • JimmyTheGentConway

    What about the almos- first season finale of Breaking Bad

  • Jezzer

    Adam might be an abhorrent douchebag, but it's good to see the actor continuing to get work after R. J. Reynolds had to retire the Joe Camel character from their ads.

  • chiffmonkey

    Lorn in Angel, the effemenate karaoke demon, who right at the end and completely out of character kills Lindsay with a gun.

  • mrfish

    I didn't think it was *that* bad. From what I remember he was deeply reluctant to do it but understood that it was a necessary evil in taking down Wolfram and Hart. He's pretty torn about it though and tells Angel never to contact him again.

  • Kam

    In the comic book continuation he gets cancer from having gone against his very nature.

  • babykangarootribbiani

    it always annoys me when people applaud during movies, but trudy FINALLY telling pete what for last night made me want to stand up and cheer and scream "ATTAGIRL, TRUDY!" because while watching don treat betty like he did because she wanted him to want her around and yet she treated her children horribly and was generally unlikable, trudy is, and ironically what pete;s nickname for her is, lovely. she always seem like such a sweetheart that watching pete cheat on her for no other reason than he figured out that he could was awful, and i always wondered if trudy was that naive. not since she did the charleston has trudy campbell been so irresistible.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    When Mad Men is on I am the only one awake in my house. It took almost everything I had not to fist pump and shout "yes!" last night. It ruled. Oh, it ruled.

  • e jerry powell

    To this day I don't understand Andy Botwin. The relationship between Judah and Andy wasn't really explored enough to explain whether it was just sibling rivalry (though the relationship with his father would cause me to lead in that direction) or something far more disturbing in Andy.

  • John W

    Those GIFs, especially the "I will destroy you" one are the Mona Lisas and The Screams of the digital age.

  • Chantal

    That was the only time I gave Winona props. Other than that she was absolutely on my nerves. And my reason for not liking her is not because she's a beech, it's because she treated Raylan like crap while he was helping HER husband. Then, after knowing exactly what kind of man he is...gets back with him only to get preggers (and yes, I know it takes 2) & take him to task for being who she already knew he was.

  • Derreck

    Now hold on for a sec. Let's not sleep on Trudy Campbell.

    I would never call her "useless" or "problematic". I always liked Trudy because Alison Brie plays her so pitch-perfectly. If anyone seems authentic to the 60's era, it is most definitely Alison Brie as Trudy. I can easily imagine her as a typical loving housewife of the era.

    Trudy is no Betty. Trudy knows what she's doing. She knows how to schmooze just as good as Pete and she does what needs to be done in order to help Peter advance. She steers him where he needs to go, is at his side when she needs to be and does things she rather not do (like the thing she had to do in order to get his stupid "i'm so jealous" short story published) in order to make Peter happy.

    Which is why her "you know what? Fuck you and your feelings" moment last night was so epic. Pete's a bastard and he's had this coming for a long time. I didn't even think that she silently was consenting to his affairs but that admission made sense coming from her last night. Pete's real problem is that he will always want more. He will never be satisfied with what he has. He had Trudy on his side and she was so far above his league.

    Trudy has always been a delight but Dark Trudy is glorious.

    She will *not* be a failure.

    You don't know what you've got till its gone. Peter will learn.

  • Trudy is so far out of his league it's ridiculous. Without her around Pete would have self-destructed long ago. Love how he was still acting like a petulant brat when she's confronting him about his dalliances. She says she gives him everything he wants but of course he throws it back in her face that she made him move to the country. I said pretty much the same thing as you downthread.
    And Trudy has known about his cheating for a long time. She knew that he had cheated during the episode when she left town and he raped that au pair. She knows he's a dog which is why she didn't want him to have that apartment.

  • Derreck

    Ooh, i forgot about the au pair. But I was still surprised that at her mentioning that she let him have the apartment so he could fool around with her silent permission.

    I just love it when the women of Mad Men decide to stop taking shit from the men. Those are always the best moments for me. Trudy's "I will destroy you" HBIC realness is right above Betty being ON Don's ass when she found his Dick in a Box (the one with all his Whitman memorabilia) and shifting the balance of power in their house but

    NOTHING will beat Joan throwing out Dr. Rapist. I combusted with pleasure. I was finger snappingly proud of her at that moment.

    "You're not a good man. You never were."

    That's right, Joan. Fuck his shit up.

  • Oh Joanie...I actually cheered when she threw him out! That whole episode was absolute gold!

  • Derreck

    I'm still upset that Christina didn't get the Emmy that year. For that scene alone! But no, she even had that *excruciating* episode where she made partner.

    Season 5 was such a great season for her.

  • I wanted to knock that god-damn starbucks cup out of Nancy's hand from the first season. She is one of the worst female protagonists I've EVER seen on television. On the other hand, Andy was amazing and the best part of that show.

    I never saw Trudy as a weak or useless character. She has always ruled her roost and she was always filling Pete's weasel head with the good ideas and self confidence boosting that he needed to succeed. Plus she could single-handedly destroy Pete's career in a flash if she really wanted to. You don't cross Trudy Campbell, she can be your worst enemy or the best friend you ever had.

  • toblerone

    I have never thought of Trudy Campbell as useless or problematic (maybe because it's Alison Brie) or Laine Price (maybe because it's Jared Harris) or Cersei Lannister.

    I get Winona.

    Theon Greyjoy should have made this list.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I never had the hate for Winona that others do. I mean, until The Following.

  • prairiegirl

    I don't think I'd call Lane useless and problematic. SCDP would never have happened if it wasn't for him and his machinations at the end of season three. He was certainly a fish out of water but I don't think it's quite fair to call him useless.

    I was sure I'd see a few characters from The Walking Dead here. Quite shocked there are none, to be honest.

  • I agree...there wouldn't even be an SCDP if it weren't for Lane Pryce. I always liked him and was so bummed by his demise. My favorite memory of him was when he and Don had their man-date and went to see Godzilla and get steaks.

  • Derreck

    I'd argue for Lane's uselessness. Season 5 made him quite irrelevant. Now that i think about it, his uselessness was a integral part of his arc that season.

  • Guest

    Andrea Andrea ANDREA!!!

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    Andrea's inclusion on this list would require her to have done something badass.

  • toblerone

    She did manage to outwit the Governor in "Prey" for most of the episode (not that that was much of a feat considering how the season ended) and had a few Zombie kills that where above average,

  • prairiegirl

    Regardless, him punching Pete was one of his very best moments in the series.

  • Nadine

    Winona in that whole scene was the best she's ever been. Why can't she be that cool and badass all the time?

  • Melissa D

    I have never, EVER, loved Trudy more than in that moment. That was FANTASTIC!

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