Television characters are many things. They may be funny, dramatic, quirky, obnoxious, whatever their respective shows need them to be. But, unless the show is expressly about that character’s career or place of work, they are usually terrible employees.
I get it. It’s boring to show characters doing their jobs. No one ever wanted to really see Chandler Bing at the office unless Phoebe was his wacky temp. No one wants to see Brad from “Happy Endings” at work unless we’re seeing awkward interaction with his work wife. Work is boring, that’s why we watch TV. But, for some characters, that is no excuse for how bad they are at their jobs.
It’s one thing when a character is supposed to be bad at his or her job. But, at times, how good a character is at their respective profession is an oft-brought up trait. And sometimes, it’s a damn lie.
6. Jim Halpert, “The Office”
For one thing, Jim’s a dick. He’s frequently rude or dismissive to his superiors, and he’s a neverending HR disaster with Dwight and other pranked employees. But all that would at least be understandable if he was a decent salesman. But, no. We rarely if ever see him excel in sales. And at least once an episode, he hangs up with a client to watch some wacky happenstance going on at Dunder-Mifflin. It’s no wonder he failed as a Manager within mere weeks.
5. Lily Aldrin, “How I Met Your Mother”
I love Lily. I really do. And I love Alyson Hannigan. But, Lily is probably the most unlikeable HIMYM character. She’s manipulative, superior and kind of an asshole sometimes. But as a kindergarten teacher? She’s actually worse. She leaves her class of 4 and 5 year olds alone, sometimes with a large man they don’t know (it’s Jason Segel, BUT STILL, the kids’ parents don’t know what a gentle giant he is—they just know he’s some big dude they don’t know and didn’t sign off on). She insults kids’ show and tell entries, she mixes up notes home with intervention notes to Ted, she is possibly the worst basketball coach in history and she once started a group of small children in a chant of the word “cunt.” I wouldn’t trust her wtih my cat.
4. Nelson Van Alden, “Boardwalk Empire”
In fairness, no one in the world of “Boardwalk” is very good at their actual job. They’re all super good at corruption and lying, but in terms of actual skill within the realm of their chosen profession, everyone’s terrible. This spot very nearly almost went to Jimmy Darmody for his terrible turn as “underground city boss of evil things” but [spoiler] he pretty much paid for that. So, instead, I choose Van Alden. Van Alden is actually my favorite character, and I hate that we saw so little of him this season (though, in fairness, that also meant less Paz de la Huerta). But, my god, what a terrible prohi. He got, what, one person? A waiter at the restaurant he took his wife to? Jesus. He spent the whole first season chasing Nucky Thompson, failed miserably at that, got creepy with Margaret, then fucking killed a guy in a botched baptism. Worst cop ever.
3. Santa Claus, Rankin/Bass’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Television specials totally count. And what a fucking dick.
You are SANTA. You are supposed to be fat and jolly and nice and this guy was a total twat. Skinny, mopey, dour and hateful towards Rudolph and his “non-conformity.” What an asshole. Suck my tinsel, Santa.
2. Principal Snyder, “Buffy”
Principals on television are generally mean. It’s your standard high school trope. But this guy? Christ. His hard-on for Buffy and the Scoobies would warrant some kind of investigation. Luckily he got eaten, so it all worked out.
1. Ben Harmon, “American Horror Story”
Then there’s this asshole. Good god, man. For one thing, your patients are all dead. I do not know how you are making any money, unless ghosts have insanely good insurance. And the live ones? They end up dead. You lack any and all basic common sense, any insight into emotions of any kind and you’re a general moron. You’re the worst.
Nice ass, though.