Saturday, July 10, 2010

TV's Biggest Douchebags

Have you ever been watching a television show and had the irresistible desire to punch a character in the face?  Who hasn't, right?  Well, today we're going to take a look at the ten biggest douchebags in television history.  To be clear about this, I'm not talking about the actors who played them (although in some cases the actor himself was actually a bigger douchebag than the character -- I'm looking at YOU, Dustin Diamond).

First, though, we need to establish the criteria.  To be considered a true television douchebag, one must fall into at least one of the following categories:

Category A: Takes Excessive Abuse
Douchebags of this type take mountains of crap from pretty much everyone they come in contact with.  Name-calling, physical violence, embarrassing pranks, they've seen it all.  They have no backbone and therefore serve as doormats for their antagonists.  In short, they're a statue in a world of pigeons.

Category B: An Over-inflated Self-image  
These guys think that they're charming, attractive, and intelligent while everyone else on the planet just thinks they're dorks.

Category C: Flat-out Geeky
Here we're talking about your stereotypical geeks, complete with goofy glasses, highwater pants, pocket protectors, perhaps a lisp.  This is compounded by the fact that generally speaking, these guys have no idea just how dorky they really are.  Note: This category does not apply to those geeks who are fully aware that they're geeks and are comfortable with it (see "Sheldon, Big Bang Theory").

Category D: Incredibly Annoying
It might be a squeaky voice, maybe it's a particularly grating catch and over-used catch phrase, or perhaps it's just an excessively perky attitude, but these douchebags do nothing but annoy the crap out of basically everyone.  You would cheerfully bludgeon them to death with a pipe wrench. 

Category E: Sponges
These douchebags are completely unable to support themselves emotionally or financially and exist solely by mooching off the system or other people.  Sometimes they express gratitude to those supporting them, but more often they don't . . . it's just take, take, take and whine, whine, whine. 

Anyway, without further ado, here are the top ten, in reverse order:

10. Arnold Horshack (Welcome Back, Kotter)
Douchebag Category: A, C, D

Even among the misfit, remedial class criminals known as the Sweathogs, Arnold was the bottom-feeder.  He constantly took crap from Barbarino and Epstein and would do anything they said in an attempt to be accepted by the group.  His laugh was reminiscent of a seal with a bronchial infection, and whenever he thought he new the answer to one of Mr. Kotter's questions, he'd raise his hand and shout "OOH!  OOH!" like he was giving birth.

Still, Arnold did have sort of an endearing quality about him, and every so often he got the upper hand with his tormentors . . . so he wasn't a complete douchebag.  Still, he was in high school and carried a lunch box.  There's just no getting past that.

9. Ralph Malph (Happy Days)
Douchebag Category: B, D

When you're the dorkiest member of a group that includes someone named Potsie, not much else really needs to be said.  Richie was the smart one, Fonzie was the cool one, Potsie could at least sing.  Ralph always thought of himself as a comedian, but let's be honest, he wasn't all that funny.  His humor basically revolved around tired one-liners and recycled Vaudeville routines, and his tendency to claim "I still got it" didn't fool anyone.  He never had "it".  Hell, the funniest thing about him was his name . . . Ralph Malph.  Seriously, what kind of parents would do that to a kid?  The thing is, Ralph's father was named Mickey (don't believe me?  Click here.) so the Malph family had obviously been screwed up for generations.

8. Danny Partridge (The Partridge Family)
Douchebag Category: B

I'm convinced that Danny Partridge was the inspiration for the phrase "beat him like a red-headed stepchild."  Not that Shirley wasn't his real mom, but now that I think about it, there sure were a lot of different hair colors among the Partridge kids, weren't there?

Anyway, Danny spent most of his time screwing with older brother Keith who was trying to do nothing more than write moderately catchy 70's rock songs and nail all the teeny-boppers he could.  Danny thought he was clever, but he was actually just a hippie version of Eddie Haskell, someone just begging to get the shit beat out of him.

And did anyone else notice that it took him almost two full seasons to realize that you don't strum an electric bass, you pluck it?

7. Mike Brady (The Brady Bunch)
Douchebag Category: None specifically, he's just an all-around douche.

I will admit to a certain degree of bias in my inclusion of Mike Brady on this list, simply because the actor who played him, Robert Reed, was a complete and utter asshole in real life.  I know this from personal experience.  Here's the story  . . . of a dick named Bob Reed.

It was 1988, I was working at a movie theater in Pasadena.  Robert Reed came in to watch some movie, I forget what it was, but for the sake of argument we'll say it was Steel Magnolias.  Halfway through the previews, Reed comes storming out of the theater and confronts me by the ticket booth.

"Are you going to turn down the fucking volume in there, or are we all going to go fucking deaf?" asked the man who once chastised his son Greg for sneaking a goat up to his room.  Not "Excuse me, but the sound in theater five is a bit loud," not "Would you mind turning the sound down just a tad."  Just a barrage of F-bombs.

The character Mike Brady was a douche also, for many reasons.  The episode where he and Sam get busted for illegal parking while dressed up in their Prince Charming and Dopey costumes comes immediately to mind.
6. J. J. Evans (Good Times)
Douchebag Category: A, B, C, D

Lots of TV's misfits had a delusional perception of themselves, but J.J. Evans was the most self-deluded of them all.  He thought he was cool -- no, check that, he thought he was DYN-O-MITE! -- but he was basically just a ghetto version of Screech (more on him in a few minutes).  His sister Thelma and little brother Michael were both much cooler than J.J. and everyone knew it.

To be completely fair about it, though, it wasn't all J.J.'s fault.  Given his physical stature, approximately six feet tall and weighing in at about 58 pounds, the guy was pretty much a walking cartoon.  He looked like he went to the blood bank and forgot to say "when".  He was so skinny he had to wear scuba fins in the shower just to keep from slipping down the drain.  When he turned sideways, he was invisible.

You get the idea.

5. Cliff Claven (Cheers)
Douchebag Category: A, B

A veritable encyclopedia of arcane knowledge, Cliff pestered the patrons of Cheers and endured their constant ridicule with grace and dignity.  The height, or rather, the depth of Cliff's douchbagginess came during his appearance on the show Jeopardy!  With an insurmountable lead heading into Final Jeopardy, all Cliff had to do was not bet everything he had, and he was a sure winner.  However, Cliff HAD bet everything and when he responded to the Jeopardy answer "Archibald Leach, Bernard Schwarz, and Lucille LeSueur" with "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?", he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

His buddy Norm was not surprised.

4. Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)
Douchebag Category: B

Ted shares an apartment with his ex-girlfriend, and as a result, gets a front row seat when she brings home guys that are way better-looking and cooler than he is.  And he's okay with this.  Some might call that attitude mature and honorable, but who do they think they're kidding?  He's a douche.  Plus, he comes off like he thinks he's better than his friends simply because he's a college "professor" and can use big words from time to time. Yeah, he's basically a nice guy, but there are plenty of nice douchebags around.  Most of them are waiters.

3. Stanley Roper (Three's Company)
Douchebag Category: A, D

Leaving aside the fact that this guy was a homophobe before the word even existed, Roper was simply the most annoying and obnoxious landlord ever, or at least until Norman Fell left the show and was replaced by Don Knotts.  Imagine THAT audition.

KNOTTS: How about if I just recycle all my Barney Fife bits?

PRODUCERS: You can keep the stupid grin and the snorting, but aside from that, you'll have to come up with something new.

KNOTTS: Okay, all right.  Can I dress like a pimp?

PRODUCERS: You can dress like a 70-year old white dweeb would THINK a pimp dresses.

KNOTTS: Awesome.  I'll go get my white patent leather shoes. 

Anyway, Roper has got to be the only male character in TV history who consciously avoided sex.  Now granted, his wife wasn't exactly Farrah Fawcett, but you'd think that he'd want to shut off the lights and go for it every once in a while.

Jack, Janet, and Chrissy were constantly putting things over on Roper, most commonly trying to assure him that Jack was gay.  This, of course, led to Roper's mocking Jack by doing a little fairy dance.  Political correctness was still about a decade away.

Oh, and one more thing.  Whenever Roper said something he thought was funny, he looked right into the camera and grinned like an idiot.  Again, a pipe wrench would've been handy right then.

2. Screech (Saved By the Bell)
Douchebag Category: A, C, D

Also known as "The White Urkel," Screech Powers was a member of a peer group that, in the real world, would have had absolutely nothing to do with him.  Oh, sure, Slater would've beaten the shit out of him on a weekly basis, and maybe Zack would've played humiliating pranks on him, but there never would've been anything even remotely resembling friendship between these guys.  And the hot girls?  Forget about it.  Dorks like Screech don't have normal friends in high school.  Hey, I don't make the rules.  If I did, all high school band members would be allowed to have the cheerleader of his choice for an evening of wanton lust, retroactive to 1983.  Are you out there, Lisa DeAngelis?

1. Alan Harper (Two and a Half Men)
Douchebag Category: A, D, E

Okay, Alan got kicked out by his bitch of a wife, and then moved in with his brother Charlie.  Fine.  But the way Alan takes advantage of his brother's generosity enjoying a Malibu beach house, maid service, and free baby-sitting while never offering to kick in some cash once in a while, well, it's disgraceful.  Charlie would be well within his rights to kick the shit out of Alan every Friday night at 7:00.  One particular case comes to mind.  Charlie, for some reason or other, owes Alan about twenty bucks.  When Charlie is slow with the repayment, Alan takes it upon himself to siphon gas out of Charlie's car to cover the value.

That, my friends, is major league douchebag activity right there.  Never mind that you're living rent-free in a million dollar home, Alan, go ahead and be a dick about twenty dollars.

And Alan gets trampled by everyone.  Charlie, his ex, Berta the housekeeper, his other ex (who doesn't have enough brain-power to light a refrigerator bulb), and even his son Jake.  For that reason, as well as many others,  Alan Harper earns the title of "Television's Biggest Douchebag".  Congratulations, Alan, your winner's check is in the mail.

Sure it is.

Feel free to add to this list in the comments section, I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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Quirkyloon said...

Wow. What a ride down television memory lane.

Great choices!

I was sooo diappointed after hearing on some television show that Mr. Bob Reed was a complete and utter jerk in real life.


I always wanted my Dad to be like him. Little did I realize he already WAS!


Eva Gallant said...

I'm with you on these, but I have to confess, I do have a soft spot for Cliffy!

ReformingGeek said...

Alan is definitely a wimp....but a funny one!

Danny Partridge appealed to me for about five days as a teenager.

Mike Brady? He and Carol should have been bobbleheads. They are just too goofy as parents. It's too bad about Robert Reed's behavior at the theater though I'm sure he's not the only celebrity guilty of being an asshole.


Hap said...

I would've put Niles Crane on the list, and maybe Ross Gellar.

corticoWhat said...

Great list! IMHO you left out Robin, "the boy wonder" from the Batman TV Series. He had to be rescued every other episode insuring job security for Bruce Wayne. What's a "boy wonder" anyway?

Mariann Simms said...

I have a soft spot for Cliff as well. The poor guy really tried.

And I have to agree with the addition of Ross Geller and Robin...both of whom could have been played by the same guy...I think they shared the same exact dialogue on many occasions. female douchebags? Do you even call them that?? Anyway...whatever they're called, I'm waiting for your next list about them. :)

J.J. said...

What about Lenny and Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley? And I can't STAND Danny Partridge (aka Bonaduce). Ick!

I also have a soft spot for Cliff, and I love Sheldon! And Leonard. LOVE BBT!

Mr. Condescending said...

hahahah oh god this was good. The brady bunch guy always looked like he would be a DB in real life, your story was hilarious about him. It will give me something to laugh about now that I've worn out my laugher from the "sour cream on the side" situation.

Jeremy from We Took The Bait said...

I'd have to roll with George Costanza (Jason Alexander, "Seinfeld"), who easily fits categories A, C, and E. Never really watched "Seinfeld," so he might be across the board in his douchiness.

Also, Zack Morris from "Saved By the Bell" rivals Screech in the douche factor.

Michelle H. said...

I have to agree with other people's comments. Robin "the boy wonder" from Batman definitely needed his ass kicked for the sheer amount of douchebagginess he showed. As if those annoying catchphrases weren't bad enough, "Golly gee wilikers, Batman!"

Fran Drescher from The Nanny would go on my list of female douchebags. I just can't stand that laugh.

Heff said...

Why did you leave off "The BLACK Urkel" ?

Aria said...

I can only assume that you left off real Urkel because it would have been far too easy... no rundown needed for that one, we all know it; besides your description of one category of douchebag specifically brought to mind Urkel, so that's a no-brainer.

I LOVE the Robert Reed douchebag reasoning. I may have been the only person born in 1971 that did NOT want to be a member of the Brady Bunch EVER. That huge ass house, that Mr. Brady (THE ARCHITECT) designed and had built only had two kids rooms, but he had three sons even before hooking up with Carole. And once he did hook up with her, they had six, count 'em SIX kids from toothless to high school sharing one bathroom. Are You Kidding Me?!? But Alice got her own room and bathroom... sure it was off the kitchen and behind the wall oven, but hey, these days that's a selling point, not a detriment. Not to mention, Mr. Architect, there is no way in Hades that the exterior of the house would look like that if it had that massive downstairs level and only three bedrooms & two bathrooms upstairs. It would have looked more like a pyramid. Just sayin'.

Mrsblogalot said...

HAA!! I think you just about covered them all.

So disappointed in Mike Brady. You'd think he'd at least have tried to keep up a non-douchebag appearance.

Horshack was always like nails on a chalkboard for me. Luckily, I was too busy staring at Barbarino's ass to really let it get to me (-:

Jeanne said...

"Roper has got to be the only male character in TV history who consciously avoided sex."

Um, Al Bundy?

But, in general, you are right on target.

Tgoette said...

LOL! Great list! I have to agree with you on these picks of yours, but am curious about the omission of Steve Urkel. Awesome post.

Mariann Simms said...

Aria - We have a running joke at my house about "The Brady Bunch" and maybe Chris can answer this. While they had that one bathroom upstairs which the boys/girls shared "a bedroom on either side of it"...they never once showed a toilet. I mean, they panned around the whole bathroom in one episode and no friggen toilet! We keep saying that the only toilet they had was in the garage - as they never kept anything in there, not even the car! Okay, there were a couple bikes in there and three boxes. But the toilet was probably in there 'cause it sure as hell wasn't IN THE HOUSE! ;)

Jeremy from We Took The Bait said...

Oh, also Fez (Wilmer Valderamananakins from "That 70's Show.")

Easy target? Sure...

But, that doesn't make him any less of a cock waffle.

Lorena said...

I think I'm too young. I only recognize three of these people.

Suldog said...

I assume you put serious thought into this, as you do everything you write about. So, I'd love to see the list of those you winnowed to arrive at your Top Ten.

And I agree with Michelle. Fran Drescher was insufferable. I enjoy boxing, but MY WIFE hates it. She enjoyed The Nanny, but I couldn't stand listening to Fran Drescher. We made a deal. So long as I didn't watch boxing when MY WIFE was home, she wouldn't ever watch The Nanny if I was home.

Mr. Condescending said...

I have to mention who I believe to be the biggest douchebag on TV right now is. I want to punch a wall just thinking of this DB.

The guy from CSI Miami played by david caruso. It doesn't get ANY douchier than him.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

I agree with all your choices, but what I really want to know is whether you politely turned down the sound for Mike Brady or politely told him to fuck off?

Peter Varvel said...

Ha ha! I guess without the douchebags, we wouldn't have any retro TV to reminisce over . . .
Lisa D - LOL!!!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Skippy from Family Ties. He fell into just about every possible category and more.

I too had a soft spot for Cliff, it couldn't have been easy fending off all those scary dogs all the time. Its no wonder he was a little clueless, the only time we saw him he was hammered.

Anonymous said...

id like to punch through alan harper, and then have my bloody knuckles covered in his flesh punch straight through sheldon coopers lower abdomen and uppercut him vertically splitting him in half then feeding them both to the how I met your mother gang with some polio water at their stupid fucking bar, then after they've all come down with the plague ill bring in the cast of friends to reclaim their tv show rights.

Anonymous said...

Ted Mosby to me is the biggest male bitch in televison history. He's whiney he has no balls and he can never enjoy being laid without planning for the future. Not to mention the show is written in a way that says guys can only have fun if the females concur.

Anonymous said...

Um i think you misunderstood the term "douchebag".. think jersey shore or hardcore pawn or man vs food lol those are loaded with douchebags. This list is full of pussies and dumbasses.. just saying..

Anonymous said...

You forget Raymond's mother. Oh no I'm wrong she is in the A,B, C, D of bitches.

Mike Reiss said...

Some very good contenders here. However, I think the biggest douchebag character I've seen on tv is Michael Scott(Steve Carell's character)on The Office. At least as far as option B goes anyway. I'm not sure how he got left off this list. Alan Harper from 21/2 men would be my number two choice although Charlie Sheen's character wouldn't be too far behind him but in a different way. Another Michael(Ashton Kutcher's character on that 70's show(not so much his 2 1/2 men role)should also be mentioned probably in the same category as Alan Harper but maybe also category A.

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