Tag Archives: kids tv

Top 10 Most Annoying and Hated Animated TV Characters

Now before I start this list off, here are a few ground rules:

I have to pick from shows that I actually watched more than two episodes of, but whether or not I like the overall show is irrelevant. Also, I have to pick from the cast of recurring characters, which means nobody who only appeared or starred in just one episode and then was never seen again.

I may cheat once or twice and list more than one character per slot, but that is my only safety net and only for a case when it’s more than two characters.

With that said, let’s get into it.

 

10) Bubbles, The Powerpuff Girls

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Love her color scheme, hate her voice.

I don’t really like infantile characters in general; I prefer the ones who act mature for their age. Preschool student or not, when Bubbles cries like a baby, it’s irritating. I’m fine with her being more timid or naïve than her sisters, but sometimes they act 10 years old and she acts 2, and thus she holds them up. If she’s going to cause a problem or make an existing one worse, it would be best if she weren’t as whiny as all hell. I’m honestly surprised that more boys watching the show didn’t find her obnoxious.

She does grow quite a bit in some episodes, though, so you’ll notice that she isn’t very far down the list.

I just have a cuteness threshold, unlike some people, and Bubbles crossed it way too frequently.

 

9) Blossom, The Powerpuff Girls

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My least favorite of the three main characters.

A lot of people consider Blossom a good role model for kids, and while I don’t disagree, I do think she gets more praise than she deserves. Being smart is a good thing, but no one likes a know-it-all who flaunts it like that makes them better than everyone else. That is how I always saw Blossom as a kid, and I also didn’t like when she was a tattletale. Regardless of age, tattletales are annoying, especially when they do it over something innocuous and petty.

Granted, Bubbles and Buttercup do that too and were particularly obnoxious in the ice breath episode, but I stand by my feelings. I’m tired of seeing arrogant leaders.

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Buttercup gets a pass because she was the least annoying and most badass. If I looked up to any of the Powerpuff Girls, it was probably her.

 

8) Angelica Pickles, Rugrats

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She’s a total brat who either messes with the other kids or gets them in trouble. Half of their stupid misconceptions about the adult world and world in general come from her, even though they know she’s a bully and her tone is always sly and disingenuous. Her well-to-do parents are a bit neglectful, preferring to just buy her whatever she wants and give into her demands unless she actually pisses them off enough for them to punish her.

Rich and bully do not a good character make.

 

7) Deirdra Hortense “Dodie” Bishop, As Told by Ginger

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She’s a social climber and gossiping chatterbox.

Despite Courtney, the rich popular girl on the show, being a bit stupid, vain, and vapid, she is much nicer to Ginger and a far better friend than Dodie. Dodie is willing to compromise her friendships and integrity to get her way, which is not a very good or attractive quality; she longs to be popular more than anything and completely fails to see and be thankful for what she has and the people who actually do care about her. Even if that is somewhat relatable, because we all want to feel accepted as children, it should not come at the price of making other people feel miserable and abandoned.

Also, and this is completely shallow, Dodie sounds and looks extremely punchable. As a kid, I lovingly dubbed her “Frog Mouth,” because even compared to the other character designs, she’s pretty weird looking.

 

6) Penny and her friends, The Proud Family

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The Proud Family was a rare show for me, because I found that every character – and I mean every character, including Penny’s infant twin siblings – did something totally obnoxious and loathsome. No matter how likeable they could be, I hated every character at one point or another, and sometimes my feelings toward them carried over to other episodes, whether or not that’s ultimately justified.

Penny usually meant well, but there were times when her spoiled, popularity-seeking attitude stopped being relatable. That said, she’s a damn saint next to her friends (yes, even Zoey, the nerd).

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LaCienega is the easiest punching bag, because she’s rich, spoiled, and an outright mean girl, even to her supposed friends, but at least she’s pretty honest about who she is. What you see is what you get. I still didn’t get why Penny stayed friends with her; she wasn’t exactly the least popular, most ostracized girl in school or anything.

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No, the one I hated most was Dijonay, or Dodie 2.0 as I called her. Her personality seemed to change on a dime, from supportive to outrageously selfish, and she was always so damn cheerful about it too. At one point, Penny tells her that though they will remain friends, she won’t trust Dijonay anymore, and that was such a bittersweet, what-the-hell moment. Why on earth would you stay good friends with someone like that, knowing that about them? It made absolutely no sense to me.

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Zoey could be relatable at times, but she is such a blind follower, even when she should know that what she’s doing isn’t right. Mousy and mean girl are bad on their own, but there is something so viscerally pathetic and despicable in their combination.

I reluctantly give everyone else in the show a pass. I still enjoyed watching it a lot, but the mean-spiritedness often felt like it came out of left field, and it always left a bad taste in my mouth. Especially when it happened to people who didn’t really deserve it, like when Penny makes a wish that her siblings are old enough that she doesn’t have to babysit them anymore, and literally everyone in the world, including her own parents, act like she doesn’t even exist.

The Proud Family really will push your buttons and make you want to hug them.

 

5) Sarah, Ed Edd n’ Eddy

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Sarah is Ed’s abusive baby sister. She is clearly spoiled by her parents, sleeping in a bedroom fit for a princess while Ed sleeps in the filthy basement (to be fair, he probably makes it worse than it is down there). Her voice is obnoxious and she is always yelling at Ed, making him do things for her, and threatening to tell their mother on him if he doesn’t comply.

What makes this somewhat heartbreaking is that Ed is perfectly pleasant to her. Yes, he is often afraid of getting in trouble with his parents, but he clearly means well and loves her despite the way she treats him. He also tries to defend her occasionally when Eddy fights or messes with her.

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This show was always colorful and fun, but I find it interesting that people are now theorizing that the Eds are all victims of familial abuse, which serves to keep them together while further ostracizing them from the other kids in the Cul-de-Sac. It’s entirely possible and kind of sad, really.

 

4) Patrick Star, Spongebob Squarepants

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A contemporary of delightfully stupid characters like Ed, Patrick had his bad moments in pre-movie Spongebob, but I never really hated him. He was mostly well-meaning, but that also made for some good, funny jokes.

No more, it seems.

Patrick is now basically a sociopath. His stupidity is no longer funny, and at times, even seems deliberately malicious. He does a lot of things for no reason whatsoever, and then acts confused as to why people are upset with him and around him. He’s just a walking (usually sleeping) tub of hedonistic, stupid selfishness.

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Also, I really hate his new, stupid, one-toothed smile. That really makes me think that the writers changed the show to appeal to toddlers, instead of kids and adults. It’s just so forcedly cutesy and stupid. Even if they are young and immature, are Spongebob and Patrick not home-owning adults? There is a difference between idiotic and infantile.

 

3) Jimmy, Ed Edd n’ Eddy

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You know what’s more despicable than an abuser? Someone who keeps them company, sees their behavior, and not only doesn’t stop it, but encourages it. Jimmy is Sarah’s playmate who hates Ed, Edd, and Eddy for seemingly no reason and frequently wants to see them hurt or fail.

I didn’t have a problem with him being effeminate so much as he was just weak and wishy-washy. There is an episode where his foot gets tapped by a clothespin, and he literally begins clutching it, shrieking, “My foot! It’s broken! Owie!” Unless his bones are made of sodden toothpicks, he’s just faking it and sucking up all of the attention around him like a sponge. He relishes being the pampered baby of the group, which is very annoying and, again, oh so punchable.

A lot of people hate him in the episode If It Smells Like An Ed, but I never had a problem with it. The other kids in the Cul-de-Sac are too quick to judge anyway, so it probably wouldn’t have taken much for them to turn on the Eds anyway.

 

2) Peggy Hill, King of the Hill

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I don’t really like this show at all, but I used to watch things on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim when I was bored or waiting for the anime to come on. It’s less funny and more obnoxious than even modern Family Guy, because it’s just boring, folksy rednecks doing nothing.

Pretty much all of my hatred for Peggy comes from an episode called Lupe’s Revenge. She is a substitute Spanish teacher with a less-than-poor mastery of the language, and even worse, she has a ridiculous ego. She goes with the students on a trip to Mexico and orders a Mexican child, Lupe, who tries to sell her gum, to get on the bus and go home with them. Because apparently roll calls and head counts aren’t a thing on school field trips anymore. And border patrols do not exist anymore either.

When she realizes her mistake – and I use “realizes” in the loosest sense of the word – Peggy accommodates Lupe by putting her in a closet for the night and then takes her back to Mexico the next day. Peggy then gets arrested for kidnapping, though initially she thinks that she’s being thanked because, again, she has an inflated ego and can barely speak the language. She refuses to admit that her Spanish is terrible, but inadvertently proves it to the judge, who lets her off the hook.

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So other than that brief scare, she gets no consequences and gets to feel secure in her job and Spanish skills.

Peggy seems like an annoying character regardless, but this is probably the best highlight of her obnoxiousness. She’s a good blueprint for the people I can’t stand in real life, but she still can’t beat…

 

1) Dora Winifred “DW” Read, Arthur

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Oh dear God, this character.

Talk about the most annoying little sister character ever. Beyond that, DW is the epitome of everything people hate about children. She’s spoiled, selfish, picky, gullible, she throws temper tantrums like a mini drama queen, and she sneaks into her brother’s room and unapologetically messes with his things. She’s obviously meant to be cute and precocious, but she looks more smug than anything and seems to enjoy getting Arthur into trouble whenever possible.

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Arthur’s Big Hit is her worst episode in my opinion, because she drives a normally calm kid like her big brother to punch her arm in frustration, and oddly enough, a lot of people empathize with him. He worked really hard and she was repeatedly invasive and disrespectful before breaking the very thing he’d been working on and complaining to him that she shouldn’t have been able to break it.

We never see her get punished or even scolded by her parents, and even when she does apologize, she ruins any meaning it could have had by complaining about the model airplane she broke. “I’m sorry I broke your plane, but what kind of a stupid plan doesn’t fly?”

Arthur gets repeatedly crapped on throughout the rest of the episode, and his parents don’t seem to care that he got punched at school at the end, all because of karma apparently. Yes, he did something wrong, but unlike DW, he learns from his mistake and genuinely says sorry.

I stopped watching Arthur in late elementary school and haven’t tuned in since, and yet all it took was looking at a picture of DW to get me to remember how much I hated her as a kid. That is why she is definitively the worst and most annoying animated tv character I’ve ever seen.

 

 

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Kids’ T.V. vs. Family T.V.

This is going to be an amendment to some of my previous posts, as well as a look at some of the differences between the categories, some more subtle than others.

I’m not the Lorax. I don’t speak for trees.

Well, I do, but not this time around.

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I’ve been throwing around the term “kids’ movies” a lot lately, despite addressing many “grown up” themes and elements in those movies. Kids’ films can have adult aspects, just as adult films can have childish aspects, but I feel that the better term I could have chosen was “family movies,” because the whole family can find things to enjoy about them.

These are the movies that truly transcend age gaps, and sometimes, that means that family members can watch them on their own, without the kids.

And yet, an obnoxious stigma persists, particularly with things like 2D and hand drawn animations.

I’ve said this before, and it probably won’t be the last time here. I don’t have any patience for adults who regard animation and cartoons as “strictly-for-kids” fare, something that is beneath them (and, sometimes they believe, should be beneath other adults as well). It seems as if, to them, animation cannot be considered art in any capacity; that the medium has nothing of value to offer after you’ve passed a certain age. This attitude sometimes extends into live action as well, in family movies, kids’ movies, family t.v. shows, and kids’ t.v. shows.

Part of this is probably due to the generational gap, which strains and influences many changing opinions. But for others, it’s a condescending attitude, and even hypocritical for some.

“I only watch big boy movies! Like those based on comic books!”

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I also don’t like when people treat video games like they are strictly poisonous and have no value, but that’s a topic for another day.

Now, this is not to be confused with people who just don’t care for the styles and genres. It is possible to dislike something, or find it just not your taste, but still acknowledge that it entertains others and does some good in the world.

But just hating to hate, or hating because it doesn’t specifically appeal to you, is arrogant and obnoxious. It’s still a reason, I guess, just a very stupid one.

And let’s face it: some of us still watch things we watched when we were kids.

Look at the popularity of people like the Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick; they make a living off of talking about movies and t.v. shows from the 80’s, 90’s, and onward, mixing in some comedy and historical and pop-cultural context.

Some of it is as good as we remember, and a lot of it isn’t. Hell, a few gems here and there are even better than we remember. But in the interest of bettering things for future generations of kids and their families, as well as demanding decent quality for ourselves and the current generation, it’s good to look at the media and their accompanying trends, tropes, clichés, character archetypes, etc. See what went right, what went wrong, and why. Sometimes “Dear God, why?!”

Let’s not get into gender stuff here, or move too far away from Western entertainment. Those can come later. For now, let’s just look at the age factor, and the divide.

Not everything gets nostalgic credibility and protection. After all, new stuff comes out all the time, and it has to have value too. Some things that adults and young adults watch probably deserve a laugh or a suspicious glance from their peers, but saying that you watch The Powerpuff Girls or Dexter’s Laboratory is not the same as saying you watch Ni Hao Kai-lan.

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Forgive the omission of Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, Adventure Time and many notable others. Also, don’t take this as an objective or subjective ranking of any of these shows.  (Looking at it again, I might have put Pixar between Looney Tunes and MLP/Spongebob) This is a basic scale of maturity, for our convenience.

Things to the left on the graph are the shows and movies that adults are less hesitant or embarrassed to admit that they watch. Regardless of the target audience, these media do little to no talking down to their viewers. They also tend to be less “cheesy,” kid pandering, and in some cases, (again, I’ll talk about this later) less specifically gendered. These shows have messages and morals, their own persuasive elements, but they tend to be less obvious, or “spelled out.”

To the right, we have shows and movies that pander more to kids’ interests, as well as their (typically) lower emotional and intellectual maturity. A lot of these tend to be educationally focused, whether the kids are learning to count and spell, to speak a new language, or learn valuable life lessons. To balance the less extreme right, these media often contain subtle references that would sail far over the heads of the children, but any parents or guardians who may be watching with them (perhaps against their will) would recognize and even chuckle at. Both the extreme and less extreme right typically have explicitly stated morals or messages to teach the audience, and they tend to have less complex (but happy and still colorful) characters.

When I say “pandering,” I’m not trying to imply that pandering is bad and should never be done. It shouldn’t be done when it is cheap and lazy and constantly used; if it is the only thing interesting or redeeming about the movie or show. That is when it can be bad.

When it comes to the extreme right, I see adults watching those more ironically, or to reminisce about things they watched when they were very little.

Once, as a college student, I was taking a class in media, when my professor made a joke, scoffing at Spongebob Squarepants.

For those who don’t know, that goofy yellow kitchen sea-sponge had (and to some extent, still has) a significant population of adult fans. People with and without kids. I used to be a part of it myself.

Why? Because of the unique and colorful characters, hilarious and outlandish scenarios, and, most notably, the humor. It had a touch of well-written, mean-spiritedness at times, but also some very clever visual puns, regular puns, references, and subtly-framed adult jokes. Everything had a point (even if it was only for one moment), and it was well executed for the most part.

I even watched a few old episodes with a certain adult I know, who wishes to remain anonymous. This person told me that they actually sort of “got it,” but if I ever told anyone that, they would deny it. 🙂

Anyway, I actually stuck my neck out a bit in this class and said that it had humor and potential once. Once, long ago, before people like Derek Drymon, Sean Charmatz, “Mr. Lawrence,” Zeus Cervas, and yes, even the once great Aaron Springer beat this series like a dead horse, drained all likability from the characters, and even made numerous, morally reprehensible episodes that stink like prime time feces.

See “The Splinter,” “Stuck in the Wringer,” “Squidbaby,” and “A Pal for Gary,” for reference. And that’s just to name a few.

Some other guy in class, of course, scoffed at that and the class laughed.

Yeah, the show is pretty bad nowadays, but it didn’t use to be. That’s part of what’s so sad about it. It went the way of The Simpsons and still refuses to die.

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Let’s bring up another show with a unique fan base: My Little Pony.

If you refer back to the graph above, you will notice that I’ve put two separate My Little Pony series up there, and on different sections of the right (one of which is paired with Mr. Squarepants). Why would I do something like that?

While the shows have always been a glossy, colorful, toy-selling vehicle for Hasbro, the new series has a couple of interesting features that distinguish it from older series, such as the nightmarishly bland “Generation 3.” These have also brought in a large population of adult fans, men and women averaging ages 15-30!

The first episode (technically a two-parter) was written (and the series was developed for television) by Lauren Faust. Just take a look at some of the work she has done as a writer and animator; a lot of it is for shows and movies that are nostalgic and fondly regarded, such as The Powerpuff Girls and Codename: Kids Next Door. Also of note are the voice actors, two major ones being Tara Strong and John de Lancie, who are both loved by fans young, new, and old, for their onscreen and offscreen personalities.

You can find Tara’s twitter here. if you’re interested.

The animation is colorful and employs the use of Adobe Flash, and the effort put into it shines through more often than not. Songs are kid friendly, of course, but thoughtfully written, beautifully scored, and (usually) given good animation sequences to match. Most notable to adult fans (referred to as “bronies” and “pegasisters”) and parents, I think, are the characters. Most of them are female, but they don’t just gush about fashion or moon over boys 24/7. Two of the ponies are successful business owners, they go on grand adventures, they engage in cartoonish sitcoms, they act like real people you know and are friends with. The ponies have siblings and other family relationships that are decently realistic, good but sometimes strained, and no one has to be specifically in the wrong or the “antagonist” in a lot of cases.

This stands in contrast to the ponies of older generations, who lived in bland and sugary worlds devoid of conflict, with vapid, brainless characters only distinguished by flank tattoos and color schemes.

^For those without the time, patience, or stomach to watch the whole thing, the most interesting thing in this review above is probably right at the end (at about 10:19), when he mentions that most of these episodes were written by men. But, as I’ve said, gender stuff is for a whole other day.

Many people are weirded out by these older fans and their interest in something that was written with little girls in mind. There will always be perverts and creepers out there, after all, and this is just so different from the norm.

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Lauren Faust and the other creative team weren’t sure what to make of it at first, but they’ve come to accept and embrace the new fans, even going so far as to name background characters what the fans have suggested.

If you aren’t new to this phenomenon, and you’ve heard the excuse, “I like it because of the story,” that really does seem like the adult fan consensus. They like the nostalgic references and feel of the show; the likable, dynamic characters; and the show’s trend towards avoiding, subverting, and inverting  common tropes and stereotypes. Not just in media aimed at children, but a lot of media. Things that are simple and like to quietly reinforce the status quo, knowingly or not, for better or worse.

These episodes have made references to a variety of adult things, like the A Team, Dracula, and even Train Spotting. I’m not kidding about that last one. Look up the episode Baby Cakes and go to the last 5-10 minute. It’s brief, but it’s there.

On top of all this, adult fans argue that the messages about friendship, while sometimes basic, obvious, and worded oddly, are often forgotten by kids and adults alike today. Particularly adults. “Bronies” and “Pegasisters” admire the themes of tolerance, acceptance, and coexistence, and encourage each other (and their non-pony peers) to take those lessons to heart. Remember and make use of them, even when people think they’re too old or too good for them. Because sometimes, even adults need reminding.

Sometimes even simple messages have great power and meaning in people’s’ lives. And sometimes, people can be so focused on a colorful drawing or cheese, girly music, that they don’t notice the value under the surface.

Bugs Bunny doesn’t just beat people up. He outwits them. He and his buddies joke and satirize, and reference Groucho Marx. That’s so cool, and so much more than slapstick, violence, and mean-spiritedness just for its own sake.

I’m not arguing that people should reconsider their opinions on things like Dora the Explorer, Nihao Kai-lan, Lazy Town, and a lot of the 6 and younger shows. They’re really just meant to educate on basic levels anyway. Those are the ones I find are best to be outgrown, thought of only in the fond innocence of childhood memories.

I am a lorax, and I speak for The Powerpuff Girls. I speak for Friendship is Magic, Gravity Falls, Looney Tunes, Daria, Batman the Animated Series, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, even Spongebob Squarepants, if only for what he once was. I speak for the Disney, the Dreamworks, and more.

I speak for these t.v. shows and movies, for they have no tongues themselves. I know some others speak with me, but we need more. The kids’ movies  genre isn’t just a dumping ground/easy money printer; like animation in general, it takes time, effort, and care. There is value there, if you care to look. Fun, escapism, and sometimes a genuinely human experience.

And, sadly, there is a lot of junk. Some of it is truly bad, even damaging, and when not caught or explained by parents, it is left to sink into kiddies’ brains and fester, as they struggle to understand how the world works and how it will treat them when they grow up.

Whether the content is good or bad, it deserves to be questioned. Some media deserve more credit and respect than they receive.

 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”

~Theodor Seuss Geisel, The Lorax

 

*Pictures belong to their respective owners. Fox, Hasbro, etc. I drew the Lorax drawing at the start and constructed the graph, but the images and logos in it do not belong to me.