Day 23 - Most annoying character
Disclaimer first: like so many things, annoyance is in the eyes of the beholder. One person's much beloved character is another person's well of irritation, and I know I sometimes feel absurdly hurt reading my favourites torn to shreds by internet friends, so I apologize in advance. Another disclaimer: to me, there is a big difference between characters designed to be annoying and who are recognized by their narrative to be - where it's a deliberate part of their characterisation - and characters whose irritation factor is heightened (imo, as always) by the fact that their annoying qualities while for me glaring are either ignored by their narrative or even declared to be virtues. I may sometimes be irritated indeed by the former, but never so much as by the later. Which is why you won't find, say, Ziggy Sobotka from The Wire
as my choice. To quote Jessica Rabbit, he was written that way. :)
The characters whose annoyance factor was out of all proportion to me weren't. They were not supposed to be irritating. But they still managed to push every one of my irritation buttons, and then some. Step forward, Galen from Crusade
, Byron from Babylon 5
and Bill Adama from Battlestar Galactica
, so that I may choose between you. You are relieved, Michael Vaughn from Alias
and Jack Shephard from Lost
, by virtue of having reached the peak of your annoyingness several seasons before your show ended and having improved subsequently. You didn't exactly became favourites, but I made my peace with you and occasionally even felt for you, when I had only wanted to strangle you in your respective third seasons. So, you are not my choice.
On the other hand, it's really hard to pick one of these three gentlemen:
1.) Byron from Babylon 5
. I feel a bit like beating a deceased equine, because Byron is probably going to be topping a lot of replies to this question. I won't say he's universally
loathed, because I actually met a Byron fan in person and another in othe internet, but... he's the closest thing to universally loathed I've known a B5 character to be. The best in show thing about Byron is that he brought Bester back to the show several times, and the best fandom thing is the hilarious filk titled I am the very model of a maudlin telepath
, but neither really justifies his existence. It's... well, everything about him. He's supposed to be a charismatic cult leader, and I'm sorry, but the actor doesn't have charisma, at least not in this role. (He's okay as a Minbari in In the Beginning
.) Also, he has speeches that are JMS in over the top rethorical mode, and you need to be Andreas Katsulas to make these come across as wise and profound. Alas, the actor is no Andreas Katsulas. Then there's the long golden shampoo commercial hair when he's supposed to live in poverty and on the run, and the awful love speeches ("you are my willow").... he's just the very model, you know?
2.) Galen from Crusade
. As opposed to Byron, Galen is really popular in fandom. 99% of what exists of Crusade
fanfiction is about him. So unless you've been following my ramblings since years, you may be surprised I find him so annoying. Here's why: For starters, he's the third example of JMS' tendency of casting a British actor in the role of black-clad, brooding man with a mysterious past (after Marcus and Byron), and at the time it was getting old. Secondly, he's also an example of JMS' Tolkien fanboying, not just because he's a technomage, but because he does the Gandalf thing of mysteriously coming and going and delaying explanations. But it sometimes irritates me even when Gandalf does it, and Galen is no Gandalf. Thirdly, his narrative does not chastize him for endangering everyone else in a gratitious and reckless way to soothe his mourning soul. I think if I had the impression that Path of Tears
meant me to be furious with Galen for the stunt he pulls, I would not mind. After all, my beloved Londo does a great many infuriating things, but in his case, the story means us to see this as wrong. (Or, to remain in the same show, Max Eilerson does a great many selfish things, and I adore him. The difference is of course that the show points out to Max and the viewers alike when he's being a pain in the butt.) But in the case of Galen, I thought the show wanted me to go "awww, poor woobie!", and I most certainly did not. Fourthly, with all my fondness for manipulative characters, female and male alike, I still didn't like what Galen did with Dureena. And I absolutely can't stand his voice, which I have to hear during the credits in every single Crusade episode
. And did I mention that 99% of the existing fanfic is about him? In conclusion: bloody Galen!
3.) William Adama from Battlestar Galactica
. You know, there was a time when I liked Adama, and I've written the fanfiction to prove it
. Also, just recently I rewatched, for the first time since the original broadcast, the first half of season 4 of BSG and went "hm, this is tighter written than I remember... I really like these eps... maybe I was too hard on Adama, these scenes when he reads to Roslin are actually sweet, and Eddie Olmos doesn't overact, he's conveying great warmth here"....and then my rewatch arrived at the episode Sine Qua Non
. At which point not only my Adama annoyance but my Adama hatred came back in full force and all my zen disappeared. I wished Adama had been rejected and spat into the eye by every single of the few characters he cared about. I wished he had been retconned out of existence by a time travelling Romulan. I wished... well, you get the picture. Seriously, there is nothing like Sine Qua Non
to sum up every bad trait Bill Adama ever had and put it to its worst effect. If you wish to know the gory details, here is the review I wrote at the time
, and rewatching gave me only more, not fewer things to complain about. (One annoyance I did not mention in my original review: our hero Adama, informed that his XO got a Cylon prisoner pregnant, not only telling the man that it would have been preferable if Tigh had tortured the woman, but also adding "what would Ellen have said?". I mean, seriously. Adama despised Ellen. (And vice versa.) That the news of Tigh having sex with a Cylon isn't bad to him because it could have been rape (that doesn't even seem to occur to him) and that he declares torture to have been a better alternative is awful enough without adding the hypocrisy of "what would Ellen think of you?" as if Adama had ever had a moment where he didn't wish Ellen to disappear from the universe. And it's very satisfying to me that Ellen, not Bill, gets the ever after with Saul Tigh, oh yes, it is.) To get from Sine Qua Non
back to Adama in general, here is why he wins over Byron and Galen in the degree in which he annoys the living hell out of me: his hypocrisy, self-righteousness, self-pity and complete lack of empathy for anyone outside his very limited circle grew and grew and grew over the course of the show, but unlike at the start this was neither balanced by a display of his good qualities, nor by in-show criticism from sympathetic characters; instead, everyone insisted on admiring him despite the show not giving us any longer reasons for this to be the case. And they let Eddie Olmos go completely overboard with chewing the scenery, severely overestimating my patience for scenes where we see Adama cry, rage, or monologue. And, worst of all, one of the best, most interesting female characters in the last decade, Laura Roslin, was reduced to simply being his love interest, having no virtually no scenes which weren't about Adama in the last ten or so episodes she was in. Byron and Galen at least got neither of them even a complete season to bother me. Adama? Is still getting webisodes.
Most annoying (to me) character ever. ( The rest of the days )