TV’s 10 Greatest A-Holes

An asshole isn’t a villain. He isn’t the CEO of an evil conglomerate secretly trying to take over the world. He’s the friend you have to apologize for after the party, but you continue to invite anyways. Here’s a list of the Top 10 TV Assholes; what makes them jerkfaces, dickwads, and tools; and the redeemable qualities that earn them a little place in our hearts.


1. Ross Geller, Friends

What Makes Him an Asshole: Ross is the dangerous Nice Guy™. He thinks he’s being a “friend” by not telling you how he really feels. Then when you finally do hook up, he turns into an insecure, jealous neanderthal. Neanderthals belong on display in your museum, Ross. Not in your bed.

Why We Love Him Anyways: In the end, he’ll skip his important award ceremony to take Rachel to the hospital. And, to be totally honest, they were on a break.


2. David Silver, Beverly Hills, 90210

What Makes Him an Asshole: When Donna Martin finally loses her virginity to David, she tells him it’s because “he waited.” Sure, he waited. Waited in the backseat of a limousine, schtupping Ariel.

Why We Love Him Anyways: His dancing, singing, and rapping skills could give Justin Bieber a run for his money.


3. Zapp Brannigan, Futurama

What Makes Him an Asshole: His shunning of underwear alone is enough to make a person (or alien) sigh. Pompous self-congratulation, sexist innuendos, and a disregard for his troops earn Zapp the rank of Asshole, First Class.

Why We Love Him Anyways: You can’t stay mad at a man in velour.


4. The Cast of Seinfeld

What Makes Them Assholes: The Virgin. The Nose Job. The Big Salad. The Voice. The Puffy Shirt.

Why We Love Them Anyways: The traits that make the Seinfeld cast assholes are the same ones that make them so very relatable. Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer vocalize many of our own thoughts as they navigate the complexities of modern social mores, pointing out the ridiculousness of usually unspoken rules and proprieties. And they’re maybe a little funny while doing so.


5. Michael Scott, The Office

What Makes Him an Asshole: Inappropriate Chris Rock impersonations, board meetings that serve as a testing ground for improv characters, and endless “that’s what she said” jokes are enough to drive HR up the wall. Not one to respect boundaries, if Michael ever says, “that’s not what your mom said last night,” he might actually be serious.

Why We Love Him Anyways: Beneath the clumsy exterior, Michael Scott has a heart of gold. As much as Dunder Mifflin employees roll their eyes at his antics, one look at their faces when he announces he’s leaving Scranton makes it clear that they consider Michael one of their best friends, too.


6. Jessie Spano, Saved By the Bell

What Makes Her an Asshole: For all her talk about looking beyond appearances, Jessie is probably meaner to Screech than any of the other Bayside Tigers are. High-strung even when not hopped up on caffeine pills, Jessie rarely hesitates before taking her anxiety out on her friends.

Why We Love Her Anyways: Someone has to put Bubba in his place when he’s being a sexist pig. Jessie fights the good fight.


7. Coach McGuirk, Home Movies

What Makes Him an Asshole: McGuirk’s gruff exterior and questionable advice make him a surprising choice for children’s soccer coach. Then again, maybe it isn’t so surprising that he spends more time planning his future bartending career than coaching soccer, considering he’s never actually played the game himself.

Why We Love Him Anyways: While his methods may be unorthodox, deep down Coach McGuirk obviously cares about Brendon, Melissa, and Jason. It’s not whether the grill works; it’s that he was there to build it for them.


8. Pete Campbell, Mad Men

What Makes Him an Asshole: Sniveling, whiny, and entitled, Pete Campbell disproves the theory that it’s only Millennials who act like they should be made the boss of the joint from the moment they walk in. He has no problem attempting to blackmail Don or manipulate his father-in-law to get what he wants in his career.

Why We Love Him Anyways: Only someone with Pete’s youthful enthusiasm could cut a rug like this. (Scenes with Alison Brie don’t hurt either.)


9. Jeff Winger, Community

What Makes Him an Asshole: Jeff Winger is too cool for school, including Greendale Community College. Cynical and silver-tongued, Jeff easily succumbs to the temptation to manipulate the people around him for self-serving purposes.

Why We Love Him Anyways: Beneath those abs is a heart that’s grown three sizes since his first day at Greendale. Occasionally, Jeff will give us glimpses of (gasp!) sincere emotion, and he’s used his oratorical power to inspire the study group with many, many an altruistic speech. (Scenes with Alison Brie don’t hurt either.)


10. Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons

What Makes Him an Asshole: Worst. Listicle. Ever.

Why We Love Him Anyways: It’s people like Comic Book Guy who make the internet. That YouTube video of the Charles in Charge theme? Comic Book Guy is the one who painstakingly transferred it from a VHS he’d recorded in 1988. That wiki you read when you couldn’t remember the name of the aliens in Season 3, Episode 1 of Dr. Who? Edited by Comic Book Guy (after an intense debate with one of his comic book patrons.) Wherever there’s a Google search for an obscure piece of knowledge, Comic Book Guy is there.

Try as I might, I have not yet been able to watch all the TV. Who would you add to the list?

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