HBO / Comedy Central / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

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.

See the bracket in its entirety here.

The Case for Jonah (Veep)

HBO

Why this character is the actual worst: Pretty much all you need to know about Jonah is that he describes himself as the “go-to-guy for all things White House.” Oh, except, there's one more thing to know: He is an assistant. Jonah—arrogant, but with absolutely zero cause—is comically self-aggrandizing. He is the organization kid grown up and in a position of (relative) power. Had Joseph Campbell focused his studies on the mythic trope of “The Buffoon,” Jonah would probably have been the subject of his analysis. Jonah is Dwight Shrute, basically, only with many more sweater vests and much less self-awareness.

Worst moment/s: Jonah’s nemesis, Dan, discovers that Jonah has been running an undercover gossip site in which, among other things, he posted embarrassing photos of the VP’s staff and leaked privileged information. Its nom de blog is “West Wing Man.” After Jonah is fired for it, he screams, “I’m going to be back as the fucking President! Jonah Ryan, 2026!” And then he founds a vlog. He names it “Ryan-tology.” Ugh.

Worst trait/s: Let’s let Jonah do the thing he loves most: speaking for himself: “It’s tremendously exciting for me to have been given such a vital role at such a young age. When I stop to think about it, it literally blows my mind. I think pretty much everyone in DC must be jealous of me. But I’m trying not to get too big-headed about my success.”

Redeeming moments/qualities: Jonah is an unintended force for community, in that everyone on Veep—regardless of party or position—unites to mock him. He has been called “the world’s biggest single-celled organism,” “Jack and the Giant Freak-stalk," the “Jolly Green Jizzface,” and “an early draft of a man, where they just sketched out a giant, mangled skeleton but they didn’t have time to add details, like pigment or self-respect.” —Megan Garber


The Case for Bevers (Broad City)

Comedy Central

Why this character is the actual worst: Ugh, Bevers, whyyyyyy. Why do you have to ruin everything? Why do you have to be so gross? Why do you have to be such a freeloader? Why do you have to be so Bevers?

Worst moment/s: Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the great shoe-pooping incident of season one, episode seven. Not even the time Bevers stupidly screwed up the one favor he could have done for Abbi—helping pick up her crush’s mail from that weird warehouse on North Brother Island.

Worst trait/s: Bevers has no boundaries. None. And he’s as clueless as he is shameless. He masturbates in the living room of an apartment where he does not live. He tries to whip it out at parties. He eats all of Abbi’s food—including ice cream while mostly naked in her bed when she's not home. And he POOPS IN HIS SISTER’S SHOE at a party, then lets Abbi take the fall for it in front of her crush. As Abbi put it to him: “You have a way of tainting everything I love.”

Redeeming moments/qualities: Even though everything Bevers touches turns into a disgusting bodily fluid, he actually means well. Bevers almost (chokes back vomit) has a certain sweetness to him. Which doesn’t make him any less revolting, but may count for something. Then again, ugh, Bevers. —Adrienne LaFrance

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