By their very nature, television characters are a little more extreme in their behavior than people in real life. I mean, they kind of have to be if people are going to watch their shows. Still, some of our favorite characters from the small screen take this behavior a little too far over the line every once in a while. Sure, they get away with it in TV land but in the real world, these eight beloved characters would likely end up in jail or at the very least be greeted with the ol’ side eye by anyone with a lick of sense. So let’s take a look at some of these creepy characters and see if we can’t make TV land just a little safer in the process. We do this because we care, and also because we’re completely ridiculous. You’re welcome, America. You’re welcome.
8 Zack Morris – ‘Saved by the Bell’
What’s so creepy about Zack Morris? After all, he’s popular, good looking, charismatic and he once dated a homeless chick. Well, I’ll tell you: Zack Morris is damn near a sociopath, his generation’s Patrick Bateman. Incredibly glib, Zack plows through cheerleaders, his boss’s daughter, his best friend’s sister, the new girl in school, a chick in a wheelchair, the aforementioned homeless girl, and scores more, all with a plastic smile on his face and a quip at the ready whenever anyone calls him on his bullshit. He keeps an incredibly creepy nerd around named Screech who he shamelessly uses to further his schemes like some modern day Igor and then whenever anything blows up in his face, he actually stops time, further illustrating that the people in his life are basically inanimate chess pieces for him to maneuver around whenever he wants. He’s a near genius but a shitty student, devotes most of his time to ruining the life of his principal, and what’s worse, he went on to star in Franklin & Bash. Obviously, this is a man who has no sense of decency or no regard for his fellow man.
7 Howard Wolowitz – ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Howard Wolowitz may be the horniest man who ever lived. And he’s not shy about it either. Sure, sure, it’s all fun and games when you’ve got a laugh track backing you up, but in real life, he would be dealing with a dozen restraining orders and he’d probably be forced to introduce himself to all of his neighbors as a registered sex offender. The dude has a weird, old married couple-ish relationship with his shrieking harridan of a mother, and it’s probably only a matter of time before Sheldon, Leonard and the gang show up at his place only to find him wearing the old lady’s clothes while her body decomposes in the cellar. I’m already dreading the inevitable CSI/The Big Bang Theory crossover episode when Howard finally snaps. My god, there will be semen and tears everywhere. Oh, and laughter too, if only because the laugh track is a monster with no sense of right or wrong.
6 Alf – ‘Alf’
Look man, Alf might seem like just a loveable old puppet, but let’s not forget, this degenerate is a maniac who likes nothing more than eating the family cat and making life a living hell for the poor, suffering family that made the mistake of giving him a home. The biggest mistake that family ever made was assuming that Alf could even understand their basic human morality. Alf is an alien. He doesn’t respond to the same things that the human heart responds to. It’s only a matter of time before Willie comes home to find his kids dissected, Alf covered in their blood, and the living room littered with the corpses of neighborhood cats. You go ahead and tell me that I’m overreacting but I’ve seen Independence Day. I’ve watched Alien. These sons of bitches aren’t messing around.
5 Charles – ‘Charles in Charge’
On the surface, Charles is just a good-natured, hard-working young college student. But don’t you think there is something weird about a dude who takes a job as a nanny and then spends all of his time completely assimilating into the world of the family that pays him to take care of their kids? I mean, doing a good job is one thing, but Charles –- along with his horny scuzzbucket of a best friend, Buddy Lembeck –- makes himself so ubiquitous in that house that even after the family moves away, no doubt from crippling fear, he stays behind and just attaches himself to the new family that moves in, like some sort of terrible leech. At best, Charles is a dude who doesn’t quite understand the concept of boundaries. At worst, he is a complete psychopath who won’t rest until he is in control of every aspect of that family’s life. Who even knows what atrocities Buddy Lembeck has committed? I fear it’s only a matter of time before all the women in that household are pregnant, the house itself is fortified and Buddy declares Charles the second coming of Christ. The reason Charles’ last name is never given on the show is no doubt because it is something like Manson or Koresh. Nobody needs another Waco.
4 Fez – ‘That 70’s Show’
How is this dude not in federal prison for various sex crimes? How has he not been deported? Somehow, all of his friends tolerate him even though he damn near has to be forcibly restrained from attacking the girls in the group. He hides in their closets, in trees, under the bed, anywhere he can just so he can ogle them. Once again, the evil laugh track saves him from being exposed as the utter pervert and scandalous degenerate that he is, but even the laugh track has its limits. I mean, there are several episodes when the other characters come right out and say he’s a pervert. He’s tried to bone every lady who’s ever crossed his path, he once molested Eric’s mother at the supermarket, he secretly married the Foreman’s slutty daughter and still they actually let this cretin sleep under their roof for a while! He is a hopeless porn addict with no clue how to talk to real women and still, somehow, he ends up getting Mila Kunis to fall in love with him. I… I give up.
3 Mr. Rogers – ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood’
Before you freak out on me, just hear me out, okay? The dude lives alone with a house full of puppets, always has that dazed smile on his face that makes him look like he’s been huffing paint thinner or doing whippets with the mailman, he dresses fastidiously, in that way that only anally retentive serial killer types do, his voice sounds like that old pervert’s on Family Guy, and he devotes his entire life to behaving like an elderly child. Do I really have to say anything else? Who even knows what kind of horrors those poor puppets have been exposed to over the years? Here are some lyrics from his theme song: “So let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since we’re together, we might as well say, would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my… neighbor.” Just picture him quietly whispering those words with his pants off. Case closed. Also, I understand if you need to go shower in acid now and maybe talk to a therapist. I’ll wait until you get back.
2 The Situation – ‘Jersey Shore’
Technically, The Situation is not a fictional character, but… come on. Somehow, I doubt the real Mike Sorrentino behaves just like his reality show alter ego in real life because if he did then there’s no way he wouldn’t have ended up in jail or beaten to death by an enraged husband by now. I mean, this dude makes even Ben Roethlisberger say “Come on, bro, ease up.” Hardly an episode goes by when he isn’t cornering some poor girl at the club, feeling her up and whining at her to come back to the smush room with him. Even his fellow degenerate housemates think he comes on too strong and those dudes would sexually harass a baboon. And let’s not forget the time that he made a sandwich and then sat there in the dark and ate the damn thing while he watched his friend and roommate, Pauly D, have sex with some poor girl. I mean… what?
1 Mr. Belding – ‘Saved by the Bell’
Mr. Belding spent several years so obsessed with his arch-nemesis, Zack Morris, that he actually moved across the country from Indiana to California just so he could continue their little f’d up tango. He then spent the next few years uncomfortably injecting himself into the lives of Zack and his friends, well beyond the point of normalcy. I mean, come on, the dude even ended up vacationing in Hawaii “coincidentally” at the same time that Zack and the gang were there. I’m guessing he probably had pictures of Zack plastered all over his house. He probably called him to the office every day just so he could gaze into his eyes. But eventually Zack got away from him and Belding was left to settle for Zack’s scraps, namely Screech. The two of them developed some sort of bizarre relationship that saw Screech serve as Belding’s lackey the same way that he had for Zack. We’re just lucky the show ended before the inevitable murder/suicide. They would have found Screech dead and Belding sprawled out naked, a gun in his hand, a creepy smile on his face and a Zack Morris wig on his head. You know I’m right. And that’s why Mr. Belding is number one on this list. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a shower and scrub my brain with bleach.
(Previously published on August 10, 2011.)