There are many characters on television who I love. At the same time, there some whom I loathe and would like nothing better than to see meet their demise (and some grant that wish for me!).
Some of these, however, I just love to hate. I hate ’em, but I’d hate to see them go.
A bit of both groups have found their way onto this list.
I was one of those people during the run of Alias who agreed with Sydney Bristow: Sloane is evil. As evil as you can get. He’s a murderer, a crime lord, and master spy. He’s despicable. But he loves Sydney. He’ll do as much as everyone else to save her, until he needs to kill her. In the hands of anyone else, he would have merely been a crazy thug, but with J.J. Abrams as his creator and Ron Rifkin portraying him, he’s a bad guy I can’t help but love to hate. He’ll declare how much he loves Sydney, and she’ll call him a terrible name and tell him that all she wants to do is watch him die. Then, he’ll just look at her with his lips quivering and I find myself honestly forgetting that this man has been trying to destroy the world for decades! Well done, Mr. Sloane.
2. Eric Cartman
Arvin Sloane is probably low on Cartman’s list of role models. He likely wouldn’t make the cut in favor of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Benito Mussolini, or Joseph Stalin–to name a few. Irreverent is a compliment to this sociopathic fourth-grader who has, more than once, attempted, and nearly succeeded in, conquering or destroying the world.
3. Lauren Reed from Alias
Yes–another J.J. Abrams character. Deal with it!
When Sydney woke up after 2 years of lost time, everything she knows is different. Her father sits in incarceration, Sloane is the head of a global relief organization, and Vaughn–the man she loves–is married to another woman: Lauren Reed. She began as merely being the one who stands firmly in the way of Sydney and Vaughn’s happiness. Then, she went dark side. That is to say, she revealed the inner evil agent she’s been hiding all along. She did an excellent job of making us hate her as we all waited for that cathartic moment when she and Sydney would have a showdown.
4. Dwight Schrute from The Office
With few redeeming qualities other than his dog-like loyalty (despite a few mistakes), Dwight Schrute is “that guy.” He’s the unabashed nerd, the kiss-up, the tattle-tale, the guy who will take it too far. You’ve gotta hate him, but you can’t help but love him…just a little.
5. Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica
James Callis walked the line throughout the Battlestar Galactica reboot between being the angel or the devil–and he had one of each on his shoulder for much of the time. He played a man framed for the destruction of nearly the entire human race, but one who seemed fated to help stamp them out for good. He’s skeevy, slimy, charismatic, and brilliant. He’s a pleasure to watch, because we want to find out where his loyalties truly lie.
6. Benjamin Linus from LOST
Much like Baltar, Ben Linus, leader of the Others who inhabit the Island, remains deliciously intriguing to watch. What began as a short character arc on the show became one of the most compelling characters on television. Not merely good or evil, but completely narcissistic and sociopathic. But to what end? It was a pleasure to watch him be beat to a pulp on a regular basis, because he strung us all along for years!
7. Julian Sark from Alias
A onetime ally of Arvin Sloane and eventual lover and accomplice of Lauren Reed, Sark’s allegiances are fluid–easily shifting. He wants money, that’s it. No deeper motivation drives him. He’s suave, good-looking, and British. What else is there?
Just another sociopath. Narcissist does not begin to describe Lucille Bluth. She’ll lie, cheat, philander, and manipulate whatever and whomever she can in order to keep the life she has. There are few lines she won’t cross, and she never, ever learns. Oh, and she may be a criminal mastermind.
He holds all the answers. He’s the man behind the curtain for most of the X-Files series, twirling his proverbial mustache while Mulder and Scully blunder about looking for “The Truth.” We get little bits here and there from him, he’s ruthless and terrifying, and yet we need to hear the truth from his own lips.
He’s The Joker of the Star Trek universe. He’s out there to cause chaos. Yes, he’s a higher being who should be watching out for us and ensuring that the human race stays on the right path. However, he just can’t resist a little mischief along the way. Whether it’s transporting an unwilling starship’s crew to another world for gladiatorial games, holding an unannounced trial of the human race, or making them act out Robin Hood for his own amusement, Q is a joy to hate, through and through.
11. The Master from Doctor Who
The earlier incarnations of The Master was usually a stodgy, slow moving, arched-eyebrow, old British man who just wanted to rule the universe. John Simm elevated this character through his brilliantly psychotic performance throughout the new series of Doctor Who. He is quite unhinged, yet masterful. I couldn’t abide his victory, but I wouldn’t mind watching him every week.
Janice is the thorn in Chandler’s side throughout the entire Friends series. She just keeps coming back. She’s one of the most annoying characters ever, but she always accentuates some aspect of the friends’ lives through her appearances. I always knew I was in for an exceptional episode when I heard her famous entrance lines.
Howard is another in the skeevy group. He is uncouth and inappropriate to the extreme. He has very few, if any, scruples. He’s just…dirty. I can’t stand him, but at the same time, I just need to see what he’ll do next. And I love hearing his mother yell at him!
14. Dr. Gregory House from House, M.D.
House is an enigma, wrapped in a conundrum, shrouded in mystery. There’s the odd dichotomy throughout this show of House the sociopath who has the entire hospital under his thumb and House the healer, indispensable and the savior of many. The show raises moral and ethical questions throughout, while putting forth quality, addictive shows week in and week out (I’m talking about the finale of season 5 and the premier of season 6).
Sue Sylvester from Glee
Who doesn’t love a power-hungry cheerleading coach do her darnedest to dash the hopes of students by exploiting their statuses as social outcasts or their handicaps? She’s loathsome and evil, yet she keeps coming back to beat the kids’ spirit into the ground. Why do I keep watching? Jane Lynch, that’s why. Love her!
Part 2 continues Monday!