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Excruciatingly Painful, Exceptionally Annoying Characters We Love to Hate


Identified if not recommended by the five staff members who make up the library's Fave Five team..

Check our other Fave Five lists, too!

Cynthia Cavanaugh Jan Karon's The Mitford Years Series

1146090.jpg It seems almost sacrilegious to be slamming a character in this immensely popular series, but I have to include Cynthia Cavanaugh in the list of detestable characters. As the wife of Tim Cavanaugh, an Episcopalian priest in rural North Carolina, Cynthia was a good addition to the early books in this series. She was an independent, confident childrens book author and illustrator when she first met Father Tim, and their courtship and marriage were an integral part of the series. However, by the last book, In This Mountain, Cynthia had become so whiny, petty and downright annoying that I wished that Karon had somehow written her out altogether. Cynthia didnt play a large role in the new Father Tim series; maybe both Father Tim and Karon had had enough of her too.

Horatio Caine CSI: Miami

1428745.jpg Horatio Caine, the lead character in CSI: Miamilove him or hate him, there's little in between. Caine is played by David Caruso, who interned for the role of a touchy/feely detective for a year on NYPD Blue. He's a savior to children-in-jeopardy and distraught-but-perfectly tanned women in distress ("here's my card, call me if you ever need to talk"). His initial appearance in most episodes is down pat, arriving at the crime scene in his shiny, never-been-off the road Hummer. He stands at the perimeter, just inside the yellow tape, removes his sunglasses, then scans the horizon left and right. Is he looking for the camera? Later, during an interrogation, Caine may speak casually, casting furtive glances at the suspect, but again he looks away when posing a sharp question ("Ah, but how can you explain...."). Is Caine so confident of his senses of taste, touch, smell and hearing that he doesn't need to see the perp squirm uncomfortably before his eyes? Why do I still watch this show on occasion? Maybe I'm hoping that before one of the bad guys gets nabbed for a hideous crime, he'll take out Caine. It could happen, couldn't it?

Polly Duncan Lilian Jackson Brauns The Cat Who Series

1002500.jpg I hate Polly Duncan, the librarian-turned-bookseller in Lilian Jackson Brauns The Cat Who series. Shes prim and prissy and pretentious. I hate her musical laugh. I hate that shes so affected that she says a bientot instead of goodbye. I hate that she named her cat Bootsie. I hate that, while shes violently jealous of Qwill and other women, over 20 years their relationship has apparently progressed no further than calling him dear and occasionally reading aloud to each other after a romantic dinner. I hate her so much that, after investing over 30 years reading this series, I refuse to read any more until Braun does us all a favor and kills the b**** off.

Clarissa Dalloway Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway

1270815.jpg Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway, the main character in Mrs. Dalloway, the supposed literary masterpiece by Virginia Woolf, has got to be the most tedious, small minded and abhorrently BORING character in history. While the book, which was cinematically presented as The Hours, was billed as a detailed rendering of a vivid human life, I found Clarissa to be mind-numbingly dull and exasperatingly petty. As she exclaims histrionically over everything from her former lovers use of a paring knife to the details of her party, I could only think one thing: "Get a life, lady."

Denise Austin Fitness Celebrity

daustin.jpg Despite the fact that she has a new kickboxing DVD out, and is much fitter than I am, and could come after me for saying this, I must confess that I find Denise Austin sooooo annoying that whenever her new Idaho Potato ad comes on TV I switch the channels. My initial annoyance with Denise was formed when I was exposed to her fitness workouts both on ESPN and in her videos. Besides the most cloying voice youve ever heard she also treats her fitness audience like idiots. I dont mind perky, Im perky, but Denises style is so over the top that it distracts from the workout. Trust me, you cant afford to be distracted because Denise cant cue a move to save her life. She doesnt seem to be able to count out beats and she randomly switches the routine without benefit of instruction. Ugh! But obviously not everyone feels the way I do about Denise. She bounces, she bubbles, she perks probably all three on the way to the bank.