Before we begin, an important DISCLAIMER: Comic Book Resources, its writers, its editors and the rest of the good people at ThePremium Network do NOT endorse the act of murdering or “destroying” anyone in real life, no matter how incredibly annoying and terrible those people are. Having fantasies about committing such unspeakable crimes against fictional cartoon characters, however, is a completely different story (unless you’re actually Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and have an arsenal of Dip, in which case stop what you’re doing ASAP, you horrible monster). Saying that, you might just want to destroy the characters on this list.
Have you ever watched a cartoon where you were enjoying almost everything except that one character who just ruined every scene they were in? This list “celebrates” those characters, the ones we love to hate! Maybe they were meant to be cool but came off as annoying or maybe they were meant to be annoying and were all too successful. Maybe they singlehandedly ruined an otherwise great show or maybe they were just the most blatant evidence of a deeper rot. Whatever the case was, you aren’t blamed in the slightest if you ever wanted to just destroy them. Even the most saintly human beings might have trouble tolerating these characters.
15. SCRAPPY DOO
Let’s get the most obvious choice for this list out of the way. There’s a reason the TV Tropes page for particularly disliked characters is titled “The Scrappy.” Scooby Doo was never a great cartoon (sorry, folks, remove your nostalgia blinders and see the truth), but the original series at least had likeable enough characters. The catchphrase-spouting Scrappy Doo, in contrast, was the definition of annoying.
Scrappy Doo disrupted and pretty much took over the Scooby cartoons in the early ’80s, but he hasn’t officially appeared in any cartoons since 1988. The companies in charge of the series have realized and even acknowledged how hated he was. Cartoon Network frequently mocked Scrappy in its advertisements. The 2002 live-action movie, meanwhile, made him the main villain out for revenge against the rest of the Mystery Gang.
Sometimes a theme song tells you all you need to know about a show. The 30-second theme to the 1978 Hanna-Barbera Godzilla cartoon starts off seeming like it might be cool. Unfortunately, it’s not that cool, since it’s still a ’70s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, but the dramatic music as Godzilla bursts up from the ocean gets you hyped, and the repeated screams of “GODZILLA” would get any kid excited. The only words that can kill this hype: “And Godzooky…”
That obnoxious little mofo comes down to dumb carnival music, trips around in a lame slapstick sequence, and all interest in the show dies. Some Godzilla fans might think Minilla, Godzilla’s son from the Japanese movies, was shameless child pandering, but he’s nothing compared to Godzilla’s “cowardly nephew” Godzooky.
Most of Family Guy‘s characters could qualify for this list at some point or another. Peter’s obnoxiousness often crosses the line from funny to just annoying, Lois has become more and more of a jerk as the show’s progressed, nobody likes Meg, and even Brian, once the show’s break-out character, became annoyingly preachy. But if only one character must be erased from history, it’s down to either Herbert or Quagmire.
Herbert, as a giant pedophilia joke, is certainly awful, but Quagmire just edges him out for one reason: he’s unavoidable. If you don’t watch Family Guy, you can go your life without even remembering Herbert exists, but you just can’t go through life without hearing someone imitate that obnoxious “giggity.” Being a horrible cartoon character based around sexual assault is one thing, but being a horrible cartoon character based around sexual assault that people like is even scarier.
12. PEPE LE PEW
Overall, it’s impressive how the classic Looney Tunes shorts still hold up today. Yes, some of the pop culture references are now super obscure and there are a few horrible stereotypes, but for the most part those cartoons still entertain viewers of all ages today. One Looney Tunes character who doesn’t hold up, however, is Pepe Le Pew.
His whole schtick was that he really wanted to do it with a cat who wanted nothing to do with him. Somehow, he usually makes it out of these cartoons unscathed. So, at the very least he’s an unrepentant sexual harasser, at worst a gigantic ongoing joke about sexual assault. And for some reason Max Landis is giving this hugely problematic character his own feature length movie, which can only be a disaster.
11. ELMYRA DUFF
Elmyra Duff, a young female version of Elmer Fudd who instead of hunting animals tortured them with kindness, originated as part of the Tiny Toon Adventures cast, but her appearances on that show aren’t why she deserves destruction. She wasn’t a great character there, but she became truly insufferable when she singlehandedly destroyed Pinky and the Brain.
The final season of Pinky and the Brain, retitled Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain, found the titular lab mice no longer seeking world domination but instead living with Elmyra. The execs at The WB were obsessed with her and thought her presence would make the show “more like The Simpsons.” Instead it ruined the show’s successful character dynamic so badly even the theme song complained about it: “It’s what the network wants/Why bother to complain?”
Who’s the worst regular character in Steven Universe? The three most popular answers to this question seem to be Lars, Onion and Ronaldo. Lars is currently in the midst of some serious character development; he’s not the jerk he once was. As for Onion, he can be a little creepy, but he’s just a kid, not worth hatred. That leaves Ronaldo, who deserves every bit of scorn he gets.
Let’s be clear: Ronaldo is actually an incredibly written character, an often hilarious parody of the worst tendencies in nerd culture. The thing is, he’s too real. He’s an amazing characterization of people you hate, and more likely than not, of your younger, stupider self at the moments you’re most ashamed of. Ronaldo isn’t irredeemable and sometimes learns his lesson, but the cringe factor is high.
9. THE HIP HIPPOS
Few of the characters on Animaniacs lack some redeeming value. Everyone loves the Warner Brothers (and Sister), Slappy Squirrel and Pinky and the Brain, but even the less beloved characters had some positive points. The Goodfeathers provided some clever and unexpected parodies. Rita and Runt had excellent musical numbers. Even Chicken Boo had a bizarre poetry to the simplicity and stupidity of its premise. And then there were the Hip Hippos.
How could anyone like these characters? Not even the writers liked Flavio and Marita, two hippos whose only joke was that they were rich snobs who were also fat hippos and… that was it. Nothing about them was the least bit funny or likable. Producer Tom Ruegger’s listed them as his biggest regret with the series. Thankfully they only starred in eight cartoons.
The blatantly pandering cutesy (yet still rather ugly) sidekick of the ThunderCats is just one of the many pieces of evidence that old Saturday morning cartoon producers mostly didn’t think much of the taste and intelligence of their young audiences. Constantly whining and repeating his name in the most annoying voice, some might have loved him, but Snarf in the original 1985 ThunderCats cartoon was unbearable.
Perhaps Snarf didn’t need to be destroyed, only rebooted. In the 2011 ThunderCats reboot, he was a pet, actually pretty cute and mercifully didn’t speak. Also, it can be assumed Snarf was one of the inspirations for Smarf in Too Many Cooks, for which everyone can be thankful exists. Still, few would complain if someone erased Snarf from the old series completely.
Link from The Legend of Zelda video game series is one of the greatest protagonists in the history of video games. A blank slate hero, yes, but one that players continue to deeply invest themselves in as they explore Hyrule, fight monsters and rescue Princess Zelda over and over and over again for decades. Link from the DiC Legend of Zelda cartoon segment of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show is… not so great.
Trying to translate a character designed for players to embody in a medium where there are no players or interactivity is a challenge that’s intimidated many a filmmaker adapting a video game. But there’s one particular reason this version of Link sucks so badly: “EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE ME, PRINCESS!” Those three words are why nobody ever wants to hear Link speak in any of the games.
6. THE MINIONS
The Minions weren’t always so hateable. They were never great characters, and much of their schtick was awfully similar to the Rabbids in the Rayman games, but they were amusing enough as comic relief sidekicks in the first Despicable Me movie. Overexposure, however, killed their appeal. Did anyone need a feature length Minions spin-off movie?
The increasingly unnecessary Minion mythology raises enough uncomfortable questions (if they serve whoever the evilest master is, did they work for Hitler?), but what really made them so loathsome was the memes. If you were friends with any older relatives on Facebook, for a while you couldn’t scroll for two minutes without running into one of those memes, some cliche statement inexplicably grafted onto a Minion picture. Why was that a thing!?
5. THE GARGOYLES
No, not the cool Greg Weisman Gargoyles, but Disney’s other gargoyle characters rank as the worst sidekicks in the canon of Disney animated films. Sidekick characters are frequently divisive, but The Hunchback of Notre Dame stands out as the Disney movie that was the least in need of lowbrow comic relief. Hunchback works amazingly well overall in spite of the bizarreness of adapting such a bleak story into a Disney movie, but the gargoyles just don’t work.
There was a way to make the gargoyles work in the context of the movie: make them Quasimodo’s imaginary friends and nothing more. Sure, their jokes might still be off-putting and their musical number would still be the worst in the movie, but it’d add some psychological depth to the main hero. Instead, the “wacky” climax makes them fighters, asking the audience to buy them as really existing in the movie’s world.
4. THE ANNOYING ORANGE
Does this count as a cartoon? Barely, but if Clutch Cargo counts, then its recent stylistic offspring does as well. The title character of The Annoying Orange more than lived up to his name by being, well, annoying. On top of that, he and all his fruit friends were unnerving and ugly, with live-action human eyes and mouths superimposed on top of fruit bodies in a bizarrely disturbing art style.
The weirdness and novelty might explain why the original short went viral online. The fact that The Annoying Orange became a full Cartoon Network series that lasted TWO WHOLE SEASONS and attracted guest talent including the likes of Alice Cooper, Tim Curry, Patton Oswalt and George Takei is significantly more inexplicable. This orange needed to be juiced sooner.
3. EVERYONE IN THE MOVIE FOODFIGHT!
Hey, it’s “beloved” by its director, so technically it counts! Foodfight!, if you haven’t heard of it, is a movie that wanted to do for food product mascots what Toy Story did for toys. The only problem? Well, everything. There’s absolutely no redeeming value to this movie, and singling out a particular character for a horrible death is a futile task.
There’s Dex Dogtective, who speaks in the worst food puns imaginable (“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a spam”) and might be the reason Charlie Sheen lost his mind. There’s Mr. Clipboard, a nightmarishly animated villain whose evil plan is… to fill a supermarket with generic brand products. There’s the black stereotype Daredevil Dan, the Jewish stereotype Dr. Si Nustrix and the gay stereotype Vlad Chocul. There’s someone to offend everyone and nobody’s happy!
2. SHINJI IKARI
Shinji Ikari, the tragic anti-hero of the classic mecha anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, is another example of a well-written character who is meant to be annoying. A real teenage boy thrust into piloting a giant robot in an apocalyptic war for an organization run by his abusive father WOULD have serious psychological issues. Viewers who’ve dealt with depression could relate to aspects of Shinji’s struggle, but it didn’t make his whiny misery any more pleasant to watch.
The original Evangelion anime served its purpose as a deconstruction. Where Shinji really starts to grate, ironically, is in adaptations’ attempts to “fix” him. Manga series that try to make him a more traditional protagonist just make him bland, while the Rebuild movies thus far have been wildly inconsistent with their character development. Shinji’s journey was worth following the first time, but nobody needs to endure it yet again.
Sometimes a name is too much to live up to. When it was first announced that the male romantic lead for The Legend of Korra was to be named after the deceased Avatar: The Last Airbender actor Mako Iwamatsu, fans were already prepared to fall in love with him. Then the first season actually aired, and the romantic storyline was universally agreed to be the worst part of it. The love triangle plot distracted from the main story, and it got out of hand due to Mako’s sheer stupidity.
Mako only got more obnoxious in the second season, eventually leading to the most satisfying and long overdue break-up in cartoon history. For the last two seasons of the show, the writers worked to improve Mako as a character, emphasizing the actually interesting bond with his brother Bolin, but for many it was too little too late to redeem him.
Who is your least favorite cartoon character that you would like to destroy? Let us know in the comments!
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