Throughout the month of November, we’re soliciting readers’ help to definitively answer an age-old question: Who is the actual worst character on television? We reviewed your submissions, did our own research, and came up with a list of 32 characters across four different categories, who’ll go head to head over the next four weeks until one of them is crowned as the most despicable, unlikeable, flat-out awful (fictional) person on the small screen.
The Case for Jamm (Parks and Recreation)
Why this character is the actual worst: An orthodontist by trade and a lover of satin bowling jackets by nature, Jeremy Jamm is best known as Leslie Knope’s loyal opposition on the Pawnee City Council. In that capacity, he is effectively an agent of chaos: He tries to defeat Leslie’s (usually extremely sensible) initiatives simply to keep progress from coming to Pawnee. You could look at him as a ridiculous rendering of the Tea Party caucus, or of Congress itself, or really of anyone who sees “compromise” as a kind of surrender: Stupidly obstinate and reflexively arrogant, he is a one-man proponent of the theory of Jamm Exceptionalism. Which is another way of saying that Jeremy Jamm is pretty much a distillation of everything that is currently wrong with the American political system.
Worst moment/s: Any time he uses the phrase “you just got Jammed.”
Worst trait/s: His weird, and mostly unexplained, obsession with defeating Leslie—an obsession that often borders on creepiness. (Remember when Jamm literally stink-bombed Leslie’s wedding, just because he could?)
Redeeming moments/qualities: None. —Megan Garber
The Case for Fitz (Scandal)
Why this character is the actual worst: It’s impossible to beat Linda Holmes’s case for why Fitz is the worst, or Alyssa Rosenberg’s, or Kid Fury’s. Let’s just recap thusly: Fitz is an overprivileged, murderous, man-shaped infant whose libido dictates his foreign policy. As punishment for manipulating the engines of democracy to get him elected, his friends and associates have had to spend his presidency coping with his soul-deep corruption, petty jealousies, and severe allergy to anything that looks like accountability. He has, essentially, everything he’s ever wanted, yet he insists on more, thereby ruining the lives of everyone he says he loves.
Worst moment/s: Sending American troops to war in a bid to save Olivia’s life. Going to the hospital to visit an old friend about to die from cancer, just so he could murder her instead. The fact that he cheated on his wife with at least two different women barely even rates a mention in the long catalogue of Fitz’s sins.
Worst trait/s: He’s one of the richest, most powerful people in the world, with two gorgeous women vying for his affections. Yet this is his only expression.
Redeeming moments/qualities: Olivia and Mellie both out-league Fitz, but he’s nice to look at, preferably without sound/his shirt. —Matt Thompson