As a long-term fan of the sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’, I have to admit that one of the major complaints about the show is 100% true: Our protagonist, Ted Mosby, is a card-carrying Jerky Jerkface with a side order of schmuck.  Not withstanding his repeated inability to accept when his paramours turn out to be real people who have their own thoughts and expectations about relationships, he continually shoots himself in the foot by insisting that relationships be “easy” for him while placing undue stress on his partner.  The old married man in me is offended by his inability to compromise, the nerd in me is offended by his pride in alienating other with his weird fixations and my very soul keens that he gave up the lovely Victoria not once, but THREE SEPARATE TIMES, proof in my book of some sort of brain injury.  Ted’s the kind of character who makes you reassess the other central heroes of your fictions, which leads us to today’s encyclo-PAE-dic query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has similar issues with Zack Morris, the sociopathic manipulator at the center of ‘Saved By The Bell’, asking: Who is the WORST lead character in all of pop-culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Daniel Langsdale
    July 5, 2014 at 11:31 am — Reply

    Walter White’s not the kind of guy anyone should strive to be. Vic Mackey on “The Shield” might be a close second, though.


  2. July 5, 2014 at 11:41 am — Reply

    Having recently taken a stroll down memory lane and watching “Roswell” on Netflix, I finally came to see something people have been telling me for years: Shiri Appleby’s character Liz Parker was just awful. I shouldn’t be surprised since it was a teen drama, but half the time I wanted to smack her for being so ridiculous even for a teenager. But to be fair, I probably didn’t notice back then because I was too busy having a MASSIVE crush on Majandra Delfino.

  3. July 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm — Reply

    Well there is this little thing called the Matthew Show… :P

    • July 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm — Reply

      In actuality though, I’d say the POV character from The Prodigy music video entitled “Smack my Blankety-blank Up” would have to be the worst kind of person ever.

  4. stellarleader
    July 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm — Reply

    As a general rule, the lead character is my least favorite character in any given TV show, movie or book. Ted in HIMYM, Dawson in “Dawson’s Creek”, Clark Kent in “Smalville”, Oliver Queen in “Arrow”… all pretty boring. Now for the *worst* one… I have to say Batman in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”. The only reason I was able to watch that show on its entirety was because I knew there would be *other* people besides Bruce on each episode.

    • July 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm — Reply

      Aquaman in B&B was pretty bad also

      • dan
        July 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm — Reply

        Aquaman was kinda terrible on purpose, and that’s what made him awesome.

        I’m gonna say it tho, Cyclops. He started as a weiner, then became an even shrivellier weiner, and now he’s split into one kinda insufferable weiner and one future-weiner-to-be (alright fine, you can’t blame teenage scott, but still…new malcolm x quasi-magneto cyclops smacks even more of “sullen teen” than actual teenage scott).

  5. Oldcomicfan
    July 6, 2014 at 8:48 am — Reply

    Richie Cunningham from Happy Days. As an actor, Ron Howard is one of the best movie directors out there. Happy Days was a show that I ought to have liked, but Ron Howard’s acting spoiled the whole show for me.

  6. July 7, 2014 at 5:03 am — Reply

    Jeffrey Sinclair from Babylon 5, the character was so stoic and stilted that he appeared wooden. I struggled along until John Sheridan replaced him. It may have been more due to J.M.Stracyzinski’s writing than the actor himself but it still was hard to like the guy.

  7. gary
    July 7, 2014 at 7:07 am — Reply

    Can you imagine meeting a real life George Costanza? **shudders**

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