Kill them off now, pleads Declan Cashin as he rounds up the TV characters guaranteed to drive you bonkers
When 'Desperate Housewives' comes to the end of its eight-year run next month, we'll not just be saying goodbye to one of the most successful TV drama series ever made.
We'll also be, thankfully, getting rid of one of the most annoying characters on television -- Susan Mayer, as played by Teri Hatcher.
Susan has long been the weak link in an otherwise consistently entertaining show.
Her endless klutzy pratfalls, hopeless dependence on others -- mainly men -- to rescue her time and again, and whiny self-obsession were enough to test the patience of even the most devoted 'Housewives' fan over the course of eight seasons.
So which other TV characters have proved to be similarly irritating over the years?
'Weekend' picks out some of the worst offenders from other telly favourites, old and new.
Sex and the City
In the early years of 'Sex and the City', Carrie was a sympathetic and likeable protagonist, and Sarah Jessica Parker played her with an effortless charm and charisma.
However, as the show -- and the actress -- grew ever more iconic, it all started to go designer heels-up.
It was towards the end of the fourth series that Carrie -- and SJP's portrayal -- changed from being realistically dysfunctional to an unbearable narcissist whose emotional immaturity, teeth-grindingly irksome girlie mannerisms, and truly monstrous self-absorption made you want to bash the character over the head with her trusty Mac laptop.
Monica Geller and Chandler Bing
This is another example of a hit show taking two perfectly good, funny, engaging characters and rendering them so unrecognisable from their origins that producers may as well have re-cast the parts with totally different actors.
When Monica and Chandler got together at the end of the fourth series, it heralded a whole new phase for the sitcom, but brought out the worst in these two characters, as well as the actors playing them, Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry.
She became ear-splittingly shrill, and her comedic persona suddenly stemmed solely from her being ultra-competitive and OCD- afflicted.
Chandler, meanwhile, was more and more emasculated until there was nothing left but a simpering, bloated man-child in place of a real character.
"Is this the death of feminism?" fretted 'Time' magazine upon Ally McBeal's debut in 1998.
It mightn't have been the death, but this show certainly administered a few near-fatal blows.
The frustrating thing about 'Ally McBeal' was that the show itself was quirky and original, with a raft of interesting supporting characters. But in order to enjoy those elements, you had to first suffer through the interminable wittering, daydreaming, and self-centred acting out of leading lady Ally, played by a sputtering, nervy, breathy Calista Flockhart -- a performance that just exacerbated the character's patience- testing tics.
Two and a Half Men
The problem with Alan stems from both the character and the actor playing him.
Alan himself is a hopeless loser that we're supposed to find adorable and endearing, whereas, in fact, he's just a neurotic moaner who saps the life out of every scene he's in.
Then actor Jon Cryer persists in making matters worse with that permanently gurning, punchable rodent face of his.
Central character Jack Bauer's teenage daughter Kim provoked a reaction of such visceral and intense loathing among fans that you almost began to feel sorry for the poor creature charged with bringing her to life, actress Elisha Cuthbert (now starring in 'Happy Endings' on E4).
Kim was that character that everyone hates: the one always getting into trouble, a disaster magnet of such epic ineptitude that she often rendered dumbstruck her hardened warrior of a dad, Jack.
The character's misadventures reached a nadir in season two when Kim ended up trapped in a forest being terrorised by a cougar -- the actual animal, not a sexually voracious older woman, though that would have been scarcely more incredible.
In truth, any of the glorified teenage singing chipmunks in this frankly ridiculous programme could make this list too, chief among them Kurt and Rachel.
But, as the show's main character, boring drip Will Schuester must be singled out for special attention.
The man just serves no purpose any more other than proffering cheesy, treacly encouragement to his young wards, and the character's innate loserdom is reinforced by actor Matthew Morrison's increasingly dead-eyed, whiny portrayal.
Would anyone even miss this guy if he vanished from the series?
Again, like 'Glee', any number of characters from the sudsy medical melodrama could make the cut here (those squarely in the frame are the since-departed Izzie Stevens and George O'Malley, played by Katherine Heigl and TR Knight respectively).
But few creations on this, or indeed any other, show could match Meredith Grey in terms of sheer toxic unlikeability.
It isn't enough that Meredith, played by Ellen Pompeo, is mopey, needy, whiny and excessively introspective, she has also borrowed the annoying traits of other characters on this list, namely Kim Bauer's damsel-in-distress act, and Susan Mayer's klutzy 'adorability'.
Producers were surely teasing us in the cruellest way when they "killed" Meredith for two episodes in season three, only to bring her back to life, where she was as ghastly and maddening as ever before.
The series isn't even one season old -- another has been commissioned -- but 'New Girl's' Jess has already proved to be one of the most divisive lead characters on any recent TV offering.
How you respond to Zooey Deschanel's idiosyncratic portrayal of kooky Jess is crucial in this regard.
Some viewers find her zany, bubbly antics 'adorkable' -- to co-opt a term that this show seems intent on pushing down our throats -- while others might wish they could push a red button on their remote to transpose the Kim Bauer cougar into 'New Girl' in order to tear Jess apart piece by piece.
But at least the show has enough self-awareness to acknowledge Jess's Marmite persona.
A recent episode featured a character that called Jess out on all her cutesy crap, resulting in one of the first series' strongest instalments to date.
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