There are so many jerks in the real world, so of course we’d find them in fiction too. Whether it’s the jerk who makes you laugh, the jerk you pity, or the jerk you want to strangle, these 15 characters will definitely get a reaction out of you. Most likely it’ll involve a lot of kicking and screaming. There will be some spoilers related to these characters and their shows.
We’re sticking to the fictional ones, even though there are plenty of reality TV stars who could make this list. We’ve only considered characters who are still on currently airing TV shows. It also (for the most part) only includes one character per show… with one very important exception taking the #1 spot. Enjoy some of the worst father figures, foul-mouthed (and not so foul-mouthed) cartoons, and murder-happy jerks with a capital J!
Heads up, since we’re not jerks: there will be some spoilers related to these characters and their shows.
Here are the 15 Biggest Jerks On Television Right Now.
15. Malcolm Merlyn – Arrow
Malcolm Merlyn is considered a misunderstood hero by some. That doesn’t stop him from being quite a jerk. After his wife dies, he avenges her death by murdering her killer. This leads to him leaving his still-mourning son behind to deal with his feelings on his own. Known as Al Sāḥir (“the Magician”), Malcolm pulls a fantastic disappearing act on his son, joining the League of Assassins.
Something slightly worse would be the havoc Merlyn reeks on the Glades, the most dangerous part of Starling City. Not content to just take out the man who killed his wife, Merlyn tries to destroy the entire area, saying “They all deserve to die.” He manages to wipe out the crime-ridden Narrows and, inadvertently, kills the last person he wanted to. His jerkiness continues as he joins the cast of Legends of Tomorrow, ready to give them a lot of trouble as a member of the Legion of Doom.
14. Roger – American Dad
A lot of the characters on American Dad are jerks, but Roger has so many special qualities that make other characters go berserk. When he tries to be nice, it almost kills him. And we mean that literally! Roger’s species apparently need to be jerks in order to live, and Roger’s got it down pat. He does so many mean-spirited things for his own enjoyment, including stealing money from Hayley’s boyfriend (and trying to rape him), manipulating Hayley and Francine into fighting each other, and convincing Steve he was adopted (all because he took Roger’s last chocolate chip cookie), among many other horrible and nearly unspeakable things.
Roger has also murdered several people and threatened or attempted to kill his own adopted family on several occasions. He once went on a killing spree after stealing a limo and becoming a limo driver when he was not paid a measly $20 from five college students. It doesn’t matter where you are: a friend’s funeral, a bathroom, an airplane. Roger will find you.
13. Lucious Lyon – Empire
The CEO and co-founder of Empire Entertainment, all Lucious Lyon cares about is his company and how his sons will improve his legacy. He runs Empire with an iron-fist. A narcissist who calls himself God on multiple occasions, Lucious enjoys manipulating the people around him for his own selfish purposes. He isn’t phased by killing someone to get ahead in life.
His familial relationships are strained at best and one of the biggest reasons for his being on this list. He’s openly homophobic; throwing his son Jamal into a garbage can when he finds him playing dress-up. His relationship with his other son, Hakeem, is not much better; once, after Hakeem insults him, Lucious punches him right in the face. The relationship he has with his son Andre is also strained, especially when Andre is diagnosed as bipolar. Lucious sent his son to an institution after a meltdown, but refused to accept his bipolar condition.
Even when he’s in prison, Lucious continues to manipulate his son into running his empire just as he likes it and continues to tear his family apart. Sure, he had a traumatic childhood, but that doesn’t stop us from labeling him as a jerk supreme.
12. Squidward Tentacles – Spongebob Squarepants
Squidward Tentacles is Spongebob SquarePants‘ miserable, pessimistic neighbor who will most likely shut his door in your face before you can even say “Hello.” Okay, his attitude toward Spongebob is somewhat understandable since some people can’t handle someone as hyper as Spongebob being up in their business all the time. But he’s down right incapable of having a good time, and wants to drag everyone down into his misery.
Squidward thinks that being cultured and artistic is all-important, putting down others whom he feels don’t excel in these areas. However, even when Spongebob shows artistic talent or does something else intelligent, Squidward is quick to try and put him down (not that you can ever really get Spongebob down).
Squidward cares more about his clarinet than being respectful to anyone that he decides in an instant he doesn’t like. Even among people similar to him, Squidward simply has to show them up. It’s almost like the term “jerkward” was created just for him.
11. Vicky – Fairly Oddparents
If you need a babysitter, don’t call this one if you actually want your child well-cared for. The main reason Timmy Turner even needs his fairy godparents (besides his neglectful parents) is because of the living hell his babysitter Vicky put him through. She’ll put on a sweet face for adults, but when left alone with her prey, Vicky will show her true, icky colors.
With no remorse, Vicky enjoys torturing Timmy (and other children) in numerous ways. The only person Vicky cares about is herself, cheating at everything to get ahead and greedily trying to get as much money she can out of adults. She’ll even force Timmy to do her homework for her, often too lazy to do it herself.
When she isn’t putting Timmy through the wringer, she ignores him in favor of watching TV. Nickelodeon put out a video detailing Vicky’s evil moments throughout Fairly Oddparents, which includes her hitting Timmy over the head with a frying pan just so she can practice for an acting role. Definitely don’t play dungeon with this witch.
10. Frank Gallagher – Shameless
Always out drinking at the bar (when he’s not busy being passed out on the floor), Frank Gallagher of Shameless won’t be winning father of the year any time soon. In fact, he could top a list of the worst TV fathers. His numerous kids have to fend for themselves, with their oldest sister serving as much more of a parent than Frank ever does. The kids have to hope they get to Frank’s welfare check before he does, otherwise he’ll spend all their food money on booze.
Frank will do anything to get a drink, even if it means shaving his son’s head and presenting him as a cancer victim. Plus, he’ll happily inject a bit of heroin into his system to get a nice buzz. He will ruin the lives of his kids if it means he gets alcohol into his system, or if they happen to piss him off. His penultimate act of horribleness may be when he flies off the handle and tries to wreck his own daugher’s wedding.
9. Eric Cartman – South Park
You wouldn’t expect so much hate from an elementary student, but Eric Cartman is full of surprises. He’s a narcissist who cares about no one but himself. He created his own amusement park, “Cartmanland,” using his grandmother’s inheritance money. This is just one of Cartman’s numerous get rich quick schemes. He’ll take advantage of his mother’s caring nature, forcing her to do what he wants when he wants it. If she does talk back, Cartman will happily whine to get what he wants.
He’ll happily make fun of all his friends, constantly making jokes about Kenny being poor, Kyle being Jewish (he’s extremely anti-Semitic and worships Hitler), and Stan for being… well, Stan. It’s even worse if you’re on his bad side. Scott Tenorman certainly regrets crossing paths with Cartman. After ticking him off, Cartman turns Scott’s parents into chili and tricks him into eating them.
8. Frank Underwood – House of Cards
A jerk and a politician rolled into one (though some people would say they’re one and the same), Frank Underwood lives up to the “Under” part of his name by being underhanded in every way. Lists have been made detailing Underwood’s horrible crimes throughout his term in House of Cards. If someone gets in the way of his political ambitions, he will not hesitate to take them down. His murder and manipulation knows no bounds. He manipulates Peter Russo into forwarding his political career, killing him and staging it as a suicide in order to become the vice president. He manipulates and kills one journalist and gets another sentenced to a decade in a jail cell.
The man’s indecency may be the highlight of his character, bending people’s wills to fulfill his quest to become the most powerful political figure ever. Whether it’s pissing on his father’s grave or getting the President of the United States to resign, Frank Underwood is an amazing criminal and political mastermind.
7. Sterling Archer – Archer
With an ego bigger than the entire spy agency he works for (and against), Sterling Archer is supposedly one of the best field agents ever. Yes, he’s skilled at being a spy, but he’s also skilled at easily being the biggest jerk in the agency. He loves himself more than anyone around him, thanks in part to his mother’s more than questionable parenting skills. He’ll sleep with women left and right and doesn’t think twice about cheating when he’s in a serious relationship. Plus it doesn’t help that, according to him, “Lying is, like, 95% of what I do.”
Archer doesn’t really empathize with others, too busy taking care of his own needs and putting others down with raunchy jokes. His selfish attitude can easily infuriate his coworkers, much to Archer’s delight. He’ll often bully other men in the agency for not matching his machismo standards.
6. Montgomery Burns – The Simpsons
Montgomery Burns, cares about two things: himself and money. The greediest character in The Simpsons, Mr. Burns will steal candy from a baby and get nothing but joy from it. He’ll sick his guard dogs on guests in his home. One of his evil plans included blocking out the sun with a movable disk so the citizens of Springfield would have to use electricity from his power plant, giving him even more of his oh so precious money. It doesn’t matter what evil he has to inflict on the world; if it means he gets money, Mr. Burns will do it.
Mr. Burns’ villainhood is well-reflected in numerous lists. In Rolling Stone’s list of the “40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time,” Mr. Burns takes the coveted #8 spot thanks to the fact that he’s “so obsessed with becoming even more wealthy that it almost qualifies as both a mental and [physical] illness.” TV Guide names him #2 on their “The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time” list from 2013, coming in ahead of Gus Fring from Breaking Bad and The Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation. So make way for Mr. Burns, the embodiment of greed who will happily step on you if it means he’ll get some money.
5. Peter Griffin – Family Guy
Another Seth MacFarlane character (are you really surprised?), Peter Griffin is the Family Guy father figure you don’t want to have. His stupidity would be charming if he didn’t use it to get whatever he wanted. When he’s declared mentally challenged (or, as the episode title calls him, “Petarded”), Peter uses the title to his advantage. He’ll open bathroom stalls in the ladies room and use the excuse that he’s “retarded” to get away with it.
He also abuses his family in different ways throughout the course of the show. He’ll beat his daughter Meg up, fart in her face, and plays into her horrible self-esteem issues. He does the same to his son, Chris; making him feel bad about his weight when Peter gets liposuction. Peter continues to make the situation worse by getting even more work done, caring little for his son’s feelings.
Then there’s his wife, Lois, who constantly has to put up with his insane antics, such as when Peter took to amusing Stewie by physically hurting her. It’s amazing she and the kids are still with him at all. But that’s just Peter: a loud jerk who frustrates his family, friends, and especially that darn chicken he’ll gladly beat to a bloody pulp on occasion.
4. Rachel Duncan – Orphan Black
The scariest and most diabolical clone on Orphan Black, Rachel Duncan uses her fellow clones to do her bidding. She cares little for others, and her self-preservation instincts lead her to betray her fellow clones. She’s especially resentful toward Sarah for being the only clone capable of having children (she’s thankfully unaware of Helena’s fertility), constantly trying to get back at her for something completely out of her control. Rachel will happily use Sarah’s friends and family against her, manipulating and harming them to get Sarah right where she wants her.
Her other atrocious acts also include trying to pin the murder of her monitor Daniel on Felix in the hopes that Sarah will surrender, and smashing Kira’s bone matter in front of her. She also tricks Evie Cho into trusting her through blackmail and kidnapping, which leads her to getting a public confession from her that Rachel then sends to every reporter at Evie’s conference.
3. Hannah Horvath – Girls
Websites like The Huffington Post claim Hannah is one of the most disliked characters on television and Vulture quotes several tweets from fans who would be happy to see Hannah die and have hated her more than any other fictional (or real) person. There are plenty of reasons this hatred is so high for her. Hannah’s a narcissist who cares about herself more than anyone around her. She’s insensitive and simply wants everyone to sympathize with her without bothering to empathize with anyone else.
The defining moment of Hannah’s jerkiness happens when her editor dies. Instead of the normal reactions to death– grief, anger, denial– Hannah takes her editor’s death as an opportunity to talk to his widow at the man’s own funeral so she can find a new publisher for her book.
2. Negan – The Walking Dead
Negan was the talk of the internet for months during the interval between season 6 and season 7 of The Walking Dead. He meets Rick’s group and quickly takes charge in the one way that he knows will get their attention and pay them back for taking out some of his people: by killing off not one, but two members of their group. Negan, along with his trusty barbed wire-wrapped bat Lucille, wrapped the group around his cruel finger.
Then there is the never-ending havoc Negan seemed to rain on Alexandria. Instead of just taking their supplies and walking away, he purposely made sure the experience was awful for everyone in the town. He took all of their mattresses, refused to allow Rick to talk to his captive Daryl, and relieved them of all their guns. When he leaves and Rick “thanks” him for everything he’s done, Negan answers in the most Negan-way he can: “I just slipped my d**k down your throat and you thanked me for it.” This dangerous psychopath definitely has plenty more up his sleeves for Rick and the rest of Alexandria, and none of it will be good. But it’ll definitely further prove how much of a jerk Negan can be.
1. The Gang — It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
And here we come to a cast of characters so collectively jerky they have to be considered together: The Gang from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
First there’s Charlie Kelly, the janitor of the pub. He’s borderline unhinged and feral His other psychological problems are further aggravated by his alcoholism. And let’s not forget his stalking of The Waitress.
Then there’s Ronald “Mac” McDonald who is so desperate to seem macho and tough that he lashes out at anyone who vaguely threatens that persona. The “father figure” of the group Frank Reynolds. He has dabbled in illegal operations and carries a gun, which he enjoys bringing out in certain situations.
Next up is Dennis Reynolds, who is a narcissist and extremely vain, which are both stoked by the fact that he went to an Ivy League school. He has borderline personality disorder, the symptoms of which include unstable emotions and relationships. When courting women, he has despicably mentioned that the best way to sleep with a woman is to imply she may be raped otherwise.
Dennis Reynold’s twin sister, Deandra “Sweet Dee” Reynolds, may be excluded by the group because she is a woman, but that doesn’t keep her from being a jerk in her own right. She enjoys using others for her own selfish reasons, like pretending to having feelings for Matthew “Rickety Cricket” Mara so she can get his money (later leaving him after he abandons the priesthood for her).
When you combine these 5 sociopaths together then you get the true all-star team of jerks.
Think of anyone worse than the 20 people on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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