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Problematic characters from TV shows people are still (weirdly) into: Ted Mosby, Ross Geller...

Problematic characters from TV shows people are still (weirdly) into: Ted Mosby, Ross Geller...

Love to hate 'em

Text: Emily Heng


The TV industry has been undergoing a massive overhaul as of late. The Ellen DeGeneres Show might be yanked off air due to toxic workplace allegations; The Bachelor has named their first-ever Black lead after repeated demands of inclusivity; while this year's Emmy nominees comprises a record number of nonwhite nominees. Times are a changin' indeed, as evidenced by the historic moment when several streaming platforms announced that they'd be pulling shows, movies, and productions that feature blackface. A dehumanising, racist trope that reduces people of colour to costumes and caricatures, some have credited this as a step in the right direction while others claim it merely a performative gesture.

Nonetheless, the motion has (unwittingly) caused us to re-examine our TV-viewing habits — and to scrutinise the fan-favourite characters that have graced the small screen for years. The end result: a list of TV characters whose questionable behaviour we once let slide on account of not knowing any better. From sitcom legends to supposed game changers of the genre, here's every character undeserving of your love in 2020.


Ross Geller, Friends

Yes, we went there. We know it's a hard pill to swallow thanks to the constant romanticisation of Ross and Rachel's storyline coupled with David Schwimmer's undeniable charisma, but it's impossible to overlook how Ross is the literal embodiment of toxic masculinity. He freaks out upon discovering his son plays with Barbie dolls; refuses to hire a male nanny so as to reinforce antiquated gender roles; and gaslights Rachel constantly with regard to her career choices. Sure, the show sometimes condemns his behaviour, but such instances are far and few between. Might we suggest he attend a women studies class — or, at the very least, view a Gillette ad?

 

Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

Or, as we like to call it, Ross Geller 2.0. There is a notable difference, however, where Ted opts to defend his actions under the guise of romance. His declaration of love for Robin on their first date is played off as cute rather than creepy, as is his insistence on pursuing women who have straight-up rejected him. "You can't turn a no into a yes," Barney (sagely) advises in season 3. Ted, naturally, disagrees before succeeding in doing just that. If this is what modern romance is all about, we don't want it.

 

Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl

Jeez, this one is a doozy. Perhaps his storyline was meant to be a play on the typical Prince Charming trope, or maybe he was written to be a villain all along before Ed Westwick enthralled audiences with his flair and devil-may-care attitude. Either way, we'd say it's hard to overlook attempts at date rape, manipulation, and that one time where he literally tried to sell his girlfriend for a hotel. Need we elaborate further?

 

Piper Chapman, Orange Is the New Black

Ah, remember the good old days when the most offensive thing Piper did was cheat on her fiancé with her ex, Alex? Whiny, entitled, and selfish behaviour aside, Piper only gets worse with each season, where she regularly leverages on her status as a white woman to throw people of colour under the bus. Not only does she (willfully) ignore her own privilege, she claims her actions as a form of survival and being, uh, "badass?" Yeah, whatever it is, this ain't it, chief.

 

Hannah Horvath, Girls

Don't get us wrong — we love flawed, relatable women as much as the next gal, but Hannah is so unsympathetic, it's difficult to summon even a shred of empathy for her. Not only is she lazy and unambitious, she routinely blames everyone around her for her failures, lashing out at friends and family for inconsequential "slights" they made against her. She also has a superiority complex where she claims service and retail jobs beneath her as writing is her true calling. This is despite having written about... six whole sentences since season one. Okay, then.

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