I don't know why, but everyone loves a good bad guy. Characters like the Joker, Darth Vader, and Loki have become some of pop culture's most beloved characters. Because of this, showrunners have managed to turn villainous characters into some of TV's greatest protagonists. While Francis Underwood from House of Cards have people up in arms in real life, he's a phenomenal character for a #Netflix show. We think we want heroes to succeed, but this list proves that most of us love rooting for the bad guys even more.
Bender (Futurama, 1999-2013)
No matter how bad Bender Bending Rodriguez is, you can't help but laugh at his antics. Sure, kicking his first-born son out of a window may be one of the most despicable things he's ever done, but watching him try and scare Fry to death (in order to get to robot heaven) was just as bad. When he finally makes it to robot heaven, Bender annoys robot God so much that he's kicked out.
Needless, to say, you've got to be a special kind of dirtbag to be kicked out of heaven from God.
Dexter (Dexter, 2006-2013)
I'm certain some Dexter fans will be wondering what makes him bad enough to be included on this list. After all, it's not like he kills innocent people. Dexter Morgan only kills when he believes it's deserved. He kills scum like murderers, rapists, and unrepentant violent criminals. In a way, he's like a more realistic version of the Punisher.
However, there are people who have died because of his actions. His wife, for example, would still be alive if not for him. Granted, she was very annoying, but she didn't deserve to die.
Vic Mackey (The Shield, 2002-2008)
Vic Mackey was one of the first despicable #TV characters that you couldn't help but love. In fact, there is so much more to hate about this character than there is to find likable. He regularly cheats on his wife, had a child with another woman, disrespects authority and abuses his power. He even killed a fellow officer because they were going to inform internal affairs of Vic's illegal operations.
On the other hand, he's funny, the streets are safer when he's allowed to run rampant, and he's fascinating to watch. Whenever he's about to get caught, he does something even worse to get out of it - including murder, blackmail, and sending his best friend to jail.
Walter "Heisenberg" White (Breaking Bad, 2008-2013)
Vic Mackey may have come first, but Walter White is the most notorious on this list. What started as a way to ensure his family's financially stable after his death eventually turned Walter into a ruthless drug lord.
Walter kept making more money as time went on, but his villainous rise was ultimately about power. After being life's punching bag for so long, it felt good to be the one doing the punching. His competition knew better than to mess with him and when they didn't back down, he found a way to have them killed. Walter White was the devil, but millions of people tuned in every week to see how he'd get out of such a messed up situation.
Walter clearly came to love Jesse as a son, but that didn't stop the drug lord from manipulating him at every opportunity. Walter watched as the woman Jesse loved die, and also lied about not being able to save her. He later used her death as a way to keep him around - showing just how terrible this human being was.
Crowley (Supernatural, 2005-)
Crowley was once the boss of all the demons charged with making contracts in return for human souls. Then, he was the literal King of Hell while Lucifer was locked in a cage. That being said, he also helped save the world on multiple occasions. In fact, it looks like he gave his life to save the planet in Supernatural's most recent season finale.
Crowley was a jerk, but he was clever, funny, and an instrumental part of the Winchesters' life. Sam and Dean, despite genuinely despising him, probably consider Crowley a member of the family.
Sterling Archer (Archer, 2009-)
Archer is the frat boy that everyone wishes they would never have to encounter. He's an alcoholic, womanizing jerk who picks on those who are weaker than him. On top of that, he's a handsome spy who, despite his many faults, is really good at his job.
Archer gets a ton of women, but treats the woman he's in love with poorly. At the end of the day, she still loves him and they even have a beautiful daughter together.
Wait, why do we like him again? Well, Archer is funny and has left us with a ton of catchphrases that will be used forever.
"Seriously, are we not doing phrasing?"
Omar Little (The Wire, 2002-2008)
If Dexter is a realistic Punisher, then Omar must be the modern day Robin Hood. In short, Omar steals from drug dealers. Throughout The Wire, no one shed a tear when Omar killed someone because they almost always had it coming.
I found it difficult to include Omar on this list, but he is a killer that does his work illegally. He's an amazing character that was one of the first gay characters who didn't portray a stereotype. Omar Little was even based on a real person, making the character even more intriguing.
Rick Sanchez (Rick and Morty, 2013-)
Rick Sanchez is the most deplorable human being on television. Why? Well, let's break down some of the things he has done in just two seasons of Rick and Morty.
- Irreversibly turns the inhabitants of his original home reality into "Cronenbergs"
- Constantly puts his grandson in grave danger
- Broke up his daughter's marriage
In fact, Rick and Bender would get along incredibly well. He's an alcoholic mess of a person, but he's a hilarious bad-ass who does care dearly about his family - even if he shows it in the strangest of ways.
With these characters in mind, it's not surprising that we keep making villainous protagonists our favorite TV characters. They offer shocking moments, intense conflicts and can surprise us with their morality.
Who's your favorite TV character with a terrible attitude? Let me know with a comment.