Totally Britta-ing It: 8 Problematic Characters Their Show Doesn't Know What To Do With
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Totally Britta-ing It: 8 Problematic Characters Their Show Doesn't Know What To Do With

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | January 15, 2014 | Comments ()


Cece Parekh — New Girl
I read on a highly disreputable/no-doubt-it-gave-my-laptop-scabies gossip site just now that actress Hannah Simone might be pregnant. I hate speculating on hypothetical buns based on the size of hypothetical ovens. However, let’s just throw that out there as an explanation why successful model Cece has been plumped behind Nick’s bar over on New Girl. The other explanation is that now that she’s not dating Schmidt, we have no way of organically keeping Cece in the plot of the show. What about her great friendship with Jess? Why has that been almost completely shoved to the side in favor of the (admittedly adorable) Nick and Jess stuff? I say “almost” because we got a glimpse of it at the tail end of Jess’s “what am I going to do with my life?” two weeks ago. The show has always had a problem with Winston and I’m disappointed to see Cece shunted into that “we have no idea what to do with you” category.

Deputies Rachel Brooks And Tim Gutterson — Justified
At least we got to see Rachel and Tim this week. They had, what, five lines between them? Official count and recap to come. I get it. They’re not the main characters. It’s far more important to spend time with Raylan and Boyd, but come on. When Jacob Pitts gets a chance (ahem, “Decoy”), he basically runs away with every scene. Erica Tazel? I feel like she hasn’t even been given a chance. I want at least a bottle episode for the two of them this year or, better yet, a spin-off. You know you’d watch The Rachel And Tim Show. Don’t lie to me.

Shoshanna Shapiro — Girls
Dear god, when did “adorably bubbly” turn into “nattering idiot?” The new season of Girls is off to a somewhat bumpy start (always excepting the lovely Adam Driver) and in the quartet of somewhat unlikable (but that’s part of the point) ladies, Shoshanna has shot right to the top. Wasn’t she the best one? What happened?

Kalinda Sharma — The Good Wife
Once a favorite character and an Emmy-winning role something has gone seriously sour on the Kalinda front. Maybe it’s lingering trauma from last season’s abusive ex debacle but I miss the old times. What I’m saying is that the new asshole, Damian? He shouldn’t have an intact window left in his car by now. Maybe it’s the fact that Kalinda and Alicia aren’t really friends anymore. Maybe it’s that they’ve given all the fun and sassy investigative plots to Robin, but there really should be more for Kalinda to do. She was there first.

Lip Gallagher — Shameless
Did we really spend all of last season watching Lip follow through on an emotional arc that landed him in college only to see him walk away after one episode? I get that the college angle takes him out of the main action of the show, but we should at least gotten to see him game the system for a little longer. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what we saw last week’s excellent premiere, maybe Lip isn’t coming home. But if he is, the goddamnit. I get that the Gallaghers are screw ups, but this is beyond frustrating.
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Britta Perry — Community
The show is freshly back in Dan Harmon’s capable hands and I get that it will take more than three episodes to determine what the plan is for the Greendale Six but thus far Britta is getting the shaft. At least the show is self-aware enough to see it. In the first episode there was a great joke about how her character went from a strong cool lady to, basically, a mess and a synonym for f*cking up. You can’t lay all of that at the feet of Guarascio and Port. This isn’t just a Gas Leak Year issue. It’s been an issue ever since the show decided to swap Annie for Britta as Jeff’s love interest. Gillian Jacobs is lovely, give her more to do. Fingers crossed that they will.

Joel Graham — Parenthood
I can’t with this entire character assassination. I just can’t. It’s egregious.
Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.02.02 AM.png


Every Single Person Who Is Not Mindy Or Danny — The Mindy Project

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Poopie Face

    I guess Lip took a very prominent and interesting role now.

  • Mada Mada Dane

    Need to throw Madara Uchiha from Naruto on this list. ASAP!

  • Angel

    Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) is missing from that Mindy Project cast photo. You can never have too many pretty girls.

  • AlexiaF

    Disagree about The Mindy Project. Morgan and Peter have been very important all year and get most of the funny lines. But yes, they are supporting characters. That's a thing.

    Totally agree about Joel on Parenthood. His wife might not be ready to divorce him, but I am. Maybe he has a tumor that's pressing on a weird part of his brain and changing his personality completely. That could happen.

  • Rob Grizzly

    Agreed completely about New Girl. Completely.

    And think with Community they have a harder time finding material for Shirley than Britta. But Britta needs better stuff, so agreed

  • Shane D Meyer

    NEW GIRL was such a PERFECT show. Then they FUCKED it up by bringing wayens jr back. HE LEFT THE SHOW, thankfully, Morris is FLAWLESS as winston. Coach has ruined the show. Not right that they brought him back. SO LONG to a great show.

  • mr spork

    On Justified, I want to hear Tim say "This isn't where I parked my car."

  • Angel

    This article shows the author isn't familiar with the concept of supporting characters. It should really be titled "8 Characters I Personally Despise For No Explicable Reason."

    American viewers have yet to realize that stories come from friction between characters and that the "problematic" one is the only reason the lead character is worth watching. There is NO Jeff Winger without a Britta Perry.

  • Rodney Holston

    I think you missed the concept of the article.

  • Elizabeth Rupe

    I really don't even watch these shows I used to watch new girl starring Zoe Deshanel but it started to become a comedy of errors so I stopped just leave the characters alone.

  • vickita

    I would absolutely watch the Rachel and Tim show.

  • Griffin Kearns


  • Scorptilicus

    Noooo!! Not Mark Duplass!!

  • loo shag brolley

    I don't see what's happening to Joel as character assassination, I see it as an honest look at how even good marriages can fall apart. While nixing the idea of counseling did seem out of character, I'm willing to wait and see what happens next. The writers have done a great job with what started out to be an absurd plotline, going for the slow burn that divorce really is. At first, I wanted that plot to end as soon as possible. Now I'm hoping they persue it til the end of the season.

  • derpa

    Joanna, your title for this article amazing.... I love you.

  • I don't know. I really like the comedic relief Shoshanna is providing on this season. As the show settles into a mumble-core Seinfeld, its hitting a better stride.

  • VerniceRodman

    I have many lots of doubt about this 8 Problematic characters.

  • The spammers are counting in Troll now.

  • xhikari

    Britta will prevail!!!!

  • Manuel Granados

    I love Winston being absolutely insane more often than not. Like with the pranks or with the cat.

    My gf says it's because I act like that.
    So I hope they don't just shove Winston aside, give him something or someone to do.

  • loo shag brolley

    Cece obviously, not because they both need something/someone to do, but because they had some scenes a few episodes back, and their were definite sparks happening. I wanted them together instantly.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I love New Girl, but they gotta add more Winston. That man is gold, dammit.

  • Kate

    Um, when has Shosanna not been a nattering idiot? She's way less annoying now than she was in the first few episodes.

    Cece I think would be better if she only showed up every few episodes. Either that or just have her have to move into the loft for some reason. At the moment she's half in half out and it doesn't work. Same goes for Coach. I swear I've been watching every episode, but the last ep was the first time I realised Coach was actually living in the loft and not just hanging around there sometimes. The writers need to either make these characters main characters along with the other four, or use them much more sparingly.

    I still don't get the issue with Joel. Julia's the problem there, but that character and the dynamic in that relationship has always been problematic.

    I've given up on Mindy. They can't even incorporate the supporting cast well, but every week there's another guest star or two. When/if they figure out how to write for the permanent characters, rather than just throwing guest stars at the problem, I'll start watching again.

    I don't mind Britta and I think it's actually been a pretty natural evolution.

  • kirbyjay

    Did you see Winston's Denzel imitation? I rewatched the entire show ( no FF on On Demand) just to show Mr. Kirbyjay.

  • Uriah_Creep

    It was amazing. Winston could be a professional Denzel impersonator.

  • pfeiffer87

    SPOILER maybe?

    I'm pretty sure Lip stays in college for awhile - from what I've heard.

  • I neither understand nor support "the Annie of it all." Jeff and Britta make a great team, love interests or not. I miss Annie and Shirley pairing up.

  • Donna SHerman

    Gotta respectfully disagree with you there (although the phrase "Annie of it all" always sets my teeth on edge). I love Jeff and Annie together, and I'm always thrilled when the show treats them as a possibility and not a creepy fantasy for tweenagers who have a crush on McHale.

    As for the minimilization of Britta this season - if this was last year, I'd be right there with you, but I trust Harmon. He loves his characters and he LOVES Britta, and if she hasn't been a huge force in the first three episodes, you can bet she'll have some good stuff to do later on this season. This first bit of season 3 was also bizarrely J/A heavy, and Britta had plenty of good stuff coming. I do miss her and Jeff teaming up, though.

    And CHEERS to whoever said that if anyone's shafted on Community it's Shirley. Yvette is SO FUNNY when they let her be, dammit!

  • Tracer Bullet

    Their characters are about 20 years apart in age, so "creepy" is pretty much inevitable.

  • foolsage

    Their ages only differ by 12 years, actually, according to the Community wiki.

  • Tracer Bullet

    That . . . that really isn't a whole lot better.

  • foolsage

    I disagree, personally. But then I've known several happy marriages with a ten-year-or-so gap in ages.

    To me, people who are 12 years apart are a bit far in ages but at least are members of the same generation, with much in common. At 20 years apart, the differences become more pronounced IMO.

    Your mileage may of course vary. :)

  • YES. I do hope they do more with Shirley. I mean, they already teased a connection with Abed (through Hellraiser, of all things), and my brain is now addicted to the possibilities.

    Actually, if you think about it, Shirley seems to easily partner up with any of the crew ("tiny nipples!"), and yet it rarely lasts more than the episode.

  • Naye

    A connection may be just that. Abed is losing Troy this season, so he will need a new anchor. I dont think anyone expects them to get together romantically, especially considering how crazy Shirley is about her husband and kids.

  • Oh yeah, no romantic stuff. They tried hinting that with Pierce, and I never got into it. But having her do a team up with Abed like she did with Annie? That is gonna be great.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    Or Shirley could just get together with Chang again now that her Husband has left her...again.

    Yeah, Shirley gets shafted the most.

  • Naye

    I dont agree witht he Lip thing on Shameless. The season hasnt even begun rolling. If you want to call it so far I'd say Joan Cusack's character is completely useless at this point. The show is aware of this.

  • IngridToday

    I'd be fine with Lip going away. I'm tired of his lazy bitch face and constant whining about everything. He's supposedly a genius who's going to get a free ride to college... he's too lazy/motive to do anything with his life.
    Joan Cusack's character is also useless. I do like her in small amount. She's so optimistic and cheerful yet completely alone. It's interesting seeing this completely genuine person moving around the Shameless universe.

  • Naye

    The thing about Lip is he reminds me of a lot of men(little know it all boys) that have all the potential in the world but are so used to the negativity of their surroundings that they become a product of their environment even when opportunity is afforded them. They know their place in their realm. But in the real world they have try, and maybe fail, and to them it isn't worth the risk. It's sad, and very frustrating to watch such wasted potential. Lip feels like a true character to me because I've seen this play out. His mentor last season was dead-on. He'll be packing groceries trying to figure out where his life went in ten years.

  • The Kitastrophe

    The Shoshanna character on Girls has always been mind-numbingly annoying. Always.

  • Angel

    She's got a hot body so she stays!

  • maja

    this is probably my favorite season of "the good wife" and i can't truly appreciate and love it because of this whole kalinda snubbing. for shame.
    shoshanna? downright unbearable this season, yes.

  • Angel

    I love your avatar.

  • maja

    thanx. :)

  • lowercase_ryan

    I'm legitimately curious, what do you like about the Good Wife this year? Because I can't stand the Will/Alicia battle thingy that appears to happen every damn day.

  • maja

    i'll (mildly) agree that their unprofessional behavior was a bit soapish in the past two episodes, but it worked great for me throughout the entire season. i enjoyed in their battles, the tension,as well as the reminiscing. melissa george's character is a delight, (and that bogdanovich cameo was so perfectly bizarre.)

  • lowercase_ryan

    M George has been great. The courtroom scenes, of all things, are driving me up the wall.

    Double Jury? That got old in minutes.

  • maja

    oh, i completely agree with that double jury gimmick. so unnecessary.

  • John G.

    They kind of addressed the different character changes and functions in episode 1 of Community this season.

  • jennp421

    I love The Good Wife but Kalinda's story lines seem to repeat - season 2 she squared off with Jason Street, then there was the husband, and now we've got the new bad lawyer. The new PI/new lawyer story line feel the exact same to me.

  • Maddy

    I so agree about Cece. I love Nick and Jess, don't get me wrong, and I like that they're giving Winston more to do, but it sucks that the great female friendship is getting the shaft. And Hannah Simone is so great.

  • dizzylucy

    I agree - maybe they should have more Cece/Winston stuff - give those two a continuing, non-romantic B plot together?

  • John W

    Everyone who isn't Coulson or May on SHIELD.

  • Angel

    Disagree. Skye is totally Punky Brewster. Fitz and Simmons are a little comedy team o' nerds. Ming Na is HOT and anyone who says otherwise is an LMD. The "robot" spy guy is kinda generic though it might be too late to switch him out... unless they replace him with Mark Valley (Human Target). It would also mean no more robot jokes.

  • Joey.blowey

    Just retool/ re-title the show "Agent Coulson, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D

    Problem solved

  • I'd keep the tech twins, but shaving the ends of that photo would not hurt the show any.

  • lowercase_ryan

    NAY! Leave FitzSimmons alone you bastard!

  • Jim

    Sadly, I agree - sometime I think they forgot the deadline for submitting character outlines to the network and had to write 1-pagers for everyone but Coulson and May at the last second.

    (There's another part of me that thinks it's because Wen and Gregg have the acting chops to turn a chicken-sh*t script into chicken-salad.)

  • The Rachel and Tim Show??? Heck yeah, I'd watch the HELL out of that show.

    As for Community, I hear the final Donald Glover episode is amazing. I don't want Troy to leave Greendale, but we really haven't spent as much quality time with him this year. Oh, and I really wanted to insert a clip of Britta's Christmas pageant dance, which is one of my favorite Community moments, but I couldn't find it. :(

  • Bert_McGurt

    I kind of thought they were starting to set up CeCe as Winston's new love interest. Which would (if done well) solve both characters' underuse.

    And while I completely agree on Rachel and Tim, Rachel did have that one episode where they were chasing her ex-con former brother-in-law and her nephew. So we know a teensy bit more about her than we do Tim. But I guess that's the problem with having so many awesome characters on one show - lots of them don't get enough time in the spotlight.

  • cruzzercruz

    Winston? Or Coach? I want to see more of Coach.

  • Not a fan of coach and I think he's a big reason why CeCe is getting pushed to the edges.

  • Bert_McGurt

    They've teased both, that's true.

    See, I love Damon Wayans Jr., but Coach just hasn't clicked with me yet. I'd say they should make him more like Brad but then he's basically Black Schmidt.

  • cruzzercruz

    Britta has always been my favorite character on Community, and I'd definitely like to see her do more. Even if they don't, she'll still make me laugh with her ridiculously nonsensical phrasing and misguided humanitarianism.

    "I got a Christmas time for me. I got a Christmas time for a tree. Me so Christmas. Me so Christmas."

  • I think Britta will get a bigger share once Troy makes his exit.

  • Elias Algorithm

    As of last night's episode, it looks like she already has. She was just the right level of irritating to convey what everyone else (especially the audience) was reacting to with Troy leaving.

    If anything there wasn't enough Annie.

  • Jinx.

  • JoannaRobinson

    “That's like me blaming owls for how much I suck at analogies.”

  • John G.

    I think that may the greatest line ever on Community. I stopped the show when I heard it to better appreciate it.

  • Guest

    Britta PerryCommunity???

    Really? Britta is the BEST PART OF COMMUNITY! It's an ensemble show so everyone gets time and whether Britta is the centre of an episode or only gets 1 scene she is never a problem.

    SHIRLEY GETS THE SHAFT and is the only one I'd label as a "problem" character.

    *Cece ParekhNew Girl - I also disagree on Cece, she gets just a enough screen and story time and it's logical that she is sidelined because of Nick and Jess's relationship.

    **Totally Britta-ing It: 8 Problematic Characters Their Show Doesn't Know What To Do With By Joanna Robinson

    And Gina isn't one of them? Or have you come to appreciate Chelsea Peretti J.R.?

  • Angel


  • Lovely Bones

    And Britta definitely improved as a character after she stopped being Jeff's love interest. Season 1's storyline between her and Jeff is easily the worst part of the show.

  • Yossarian

    I think the point is that these are characters we like (or, want to like) that are being misused (or underused) on their respective shows. The characters aren't the problem, it's that they are suffering from ensemble narratives that are too busy to properly feature them.

    Because pretty much all of those performers and characters have been fan favorites when used effectively in past seasons.

  • Angel

    I don't like strawberry ice-cream. But I don't think they should stop making it because I understand that other people like strawberry ice-cream. So I can, at least, appreciate that flavor.

    Britta is NOT strawberry ice-cream. I would lick her. :)

  • Guest

    Valid point Yossarian, but even then I don't think Britta falls into that category. I also believe Gina has a following, myself one of them, and she has been called the most hated character by Pajiba in the past.

  • BAM

    Agree with all of the above.

    Also re: The Mindy Project: is it ironic that the woman responsible for the show only knows how to write for herself?

  • Debra George

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    ☰☰󠁲☰☰ ☰☰☰☰☰ ☰☰☰☰ ☰☰󠁜☰☰☰And while I completely agree on Rachel and Tim, Rachel did have that one episode where they were chasing her ex-con former brother-in-law and her nephew.

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