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The Hilariously Awful: A Countdown of the Top 10 Female Characters

From the beginning of TV and movies, women have often been pushed to the sidelines in terms of comedy. That’s not to say there were no funny women: Lucille Ball’s genius cannot be denied. But think about it. How many unfunny, nagging wives and annoying sisters can you name compared to the witty, irreverent husband, son, or brother?

Well, no more. Today, there are many female characters who are just as bad as their male counterparts at being rude, vulgar, and generally terrible people.

I love to see it! And hopefully, you do, too. So here’s a list of women from TV and movies who are just so darn terrible we have to laugh.

10 Heather Chandler

You’d have to have a brain tumor for breakfast not to have expected this one.

One of three Heathers in the movie Heathers, Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) is certainly the worst of the trio. That’s probably why she gets killed off about 20 minutes into the film. But within those twenty minutes, she makes quite the impression, rattling off some of the most famous quotes from this classic Winona Ryder/Christian Slater black comedy.

In response to one of the Heathers making herself throw up in the bathroom, she scorns, “Bulimia is so ’87.”

I’d make her drink drain cleaner, too.[1]

9 Sue Sylvester

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Glee is full of female anti-heroes. From Rachel sending a glee club member to a crack house to avoid being beaten in a singing competition to Santana threatening to out a gay character, the cheerleaders of Glee are called the Unholy Trinity for a reason.

But there’s hardly a gym coach on TV who can claim to be funnier than Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester. Sue doesn’t care about anything but her own personal gains. From physical assaults, like pushing the coach of a rival glee club down the stairs so she could get his job, to endless verbal abuse to fellow teachers and students alike. She’s essentially blackmailing her boss, the principal of McKinley High, and can do whatever she wants. So she does.

She falsely accuses a teacher of molestation, tries to fire a student out of a cannon to win a cheerleading competition, and, weirdest of all, traps two students in a fake elevator in an attempt to make them kiss. Not only that, but she pumps aphrodisiac drugs into the air to make them want each other. That’s gotta be illegal. But man, does it make good TV.

And that’s how Sue C’s it.[2]

8 Jacqueline White

Some actresses just have a type that works for them, and I think Jane Krakowski’s is “mean lady.”

On Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Krakowski plays Jaqueline White, a rich mother of two who hires main character Kimmy as a nanny. Uber-rich and out of touch with the world, most of her comedy comes later in the first season when she loses all her money in a divorce.

One of the weirder plots of the show revolves around Jacquiline’s upbringing on a Native American reservation. She tries to vehemently deny her heritage, leading to hilarious scenes between her and her parents.

Her kids are essentially just accessories to her, and one episode revolves around her giving her child medication to keep him from being so hyperactive and… well, you know, childish. Despite her issues throughout the show, she does end up growing as a person, eventually putting all her energy toward changing the offensive name of the Washington Redskins to honor her background.[3]

7 Hannah Horvath

Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) doesn’t try to be a bad person or a funny one. And yet, she perfectly embodies both.

In HBO’s show Girls, the main character Hannah—as described by her own close friend—is “an entitled narcissist.” Hannah isn’t as outwardly mean as other characters on this list, but the things she’s done do suggest that she’s pretty self-involved. As a writer, she seems to only write about herself, going to extremes like taking cocaine just so she can sound cool when she publishes an article about her life.

From the very first scene of the very first episode, we get a taste of Hannah’s hilarious ignorance of anyone else’s feelings as she begs her parents not to cut her off. Her mother explains that since she graduated three years ago but hasn’t had a single job since then, they want to motivate her: Hannah complains to her friends about how unfair they’re being.[4]

6 Regina George

You’d be hard-pressed to find a teen movie character more iconic than Regina George (Rachel McAdams). With her bottle-blonde hair, teeny tiny skirt, and incredibly witty repertoire, it’s no wonder she’s the Queen Bee of Mean Girls.

Many teen movies try to humanize their “mean girl” characters, showing that cruelty is often due to insecurities or fear. Regina George gets no humanization at all: She’s terrible for the sake of being terrible.

Mean Girls is full of quotable moments, but Regina’s lines come out as the cream of the crop: “Get in loser, we’re going shopping” and “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen” are the two that come to mind instantly. Both of these showcase Regina’s brutal way of speaking, even to her closest friends, and go a long way to show just how shrewd and vicious, but also hilarious, teen girls can be.

Maybe she did deserve to get hit by that bus.[5]

5 Lindsay Bluth

There’s not a single member of the Bluth family on Arrested Development who isn’t awful. Except for George Michael, unless you count making out with your cousin as being awful. Which it kind of is… but not morally.

Lindsay Bluth (Portia de Rossi) is the adopted daughter of George Sr. and Lucille Bluth and was raised as the “twin sister” of Michael. From the beginning, her main issue is that she pretty much completely ignores her daughter, Maeby. From not knowing her age to entirely forgetting to pick her up from school, Lindsay is incredibly self-involved. Not to mention her antagonistic feelings toward her husband, whom she admits she only married to anger her mother.

But Lindsay is an interesting case, as most of the time, she genuinely believes she’s doing the right thing. When called out, she’s distressed about her wrongdoings, so even though she’s a terrible mother and wife, she’s not quite as bad as some others on this list.[6]

4 Jenna Maroney

Unlike many other shows on this list, 30 Rock does not revolve around a group of people who are all dreadful people. Everyone on this TV show about the cast and crew of a comedy show at 30 Rockefeller Center does bad things, but generally, you are supposed to sympathize with them.

Not so for Jenna Maroney—another role by actress Jane Krakowski.

This egotistical narcissist will stop at nothing to be the center of everything. Just take one of her best lines upon finding a pregnancy test in the trash: “Oh no… someone’s going to get more attention than me!”

She’s a bad friend and an even worse coworker. But man, can she perform! And she’ll do anything to make sure she’s the only one performing. In one episode, upon finding out one of her costars can sing, she hires someone to punch him in the throat. In another, she threatens to kill herself when someone stops listening to her.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think we’ve all had our Jenna moments.[7]

3 Elaine Benes

Even though she doesn’t appear in the pilot episode, Elaine Benes of Seinfeld has become just as iconic as her male costars.

In “the show about nothing,” Elaine serves as the sole female character. This can be dangerous territory for a TV show created by men, but rest assured, Elaine is funny beyond belief. Her femininity and good looks are often part of the plot, such as the episodes where she and Jerry sleep together and George develops a crush on her.

Though she doesn’t shine comedically in those particular episodes, there are plenty of others where Julia Louis Dreyfuss stands out. Who could forget when she stopped to get candy on the way to visit her boyfriend in the emergency room, kidnapped a dog, or ruined any small business that doesn’t serve her exact needs (poor Soup Nazi)?

And, of course, no dancing scene on television could hope to be as iconic as her bad dancing.[8]

2 Selina Meyer

It’s a testament to Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’s comedic chops that she has two characters on this list.

One of the cleverest political comedies of this decade, Veep starred Louis-Dreyfuss as Selina Meyer, vice president of the United States. She’s like Elaine Benes but with extreme power.

Her insults are legendary. In one of the early seasons, when told that her staff was trying to use a presidential assistant for intelligence, she replies, “That’s like trying to use a croissant as a dildo. It doesn’t work, and it makes a mess.”

Savage.

Meyer only cares about herself, to the detriment of the entire country. Even the most sensitive issues are not off limits: Meyer will change her opinions and alliances at the drop of a hat if it means getting closer to the presidency.

The most cutting example of this is when she allows her assistant, Gary, to go to jail. Gary is a devoted follower of Meyer and probably the closest thing she could call a friend. But when it comes down to it, when someone needs to take the fall for illegal financial activities in the Meyer Fund, she sets poor Gary up rather than let the public think badly of her.[9]

1 Dee Reynolds

Kaitlyn Olson’s portrayal of Dee Reynolds in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will always have a special place in my heart. In the first few episodes of the show, which premiered in 2005, Dee is the moral compass of the gang. As the only woman, she certainly sticks out among the three men, who, in the very first episode, make racist assumptions about her Black friend.

She begs them to be respectful of him. They are not. Including the white men dropping the “n-word” just a few minutes in, the show depicts the men as crazy, awful people, while Dee is the voice of reason. She continues this way for the first few episodes of the first season.

But if you watch a more recent episode (yes, the show is still running!), you’ll notice that Dee is just as bad as the boys, if not worse. Recent exploits include tricking a stripper into shoving his junk in his daughter’s face, having a funeral for a fake baby, and getting her sober friend drunk just because she was bored.

So, what happened between the first episode and these ones? Kaityln Olson did. It’s Always Sunny was created by the men who play the main three characters, and they have since admitted that they didn’t know how to write women characters. Olson suggested that they don’t write a female character; they just write a funny one. With her suggestion, Dee stopped being the “voice of reason” she was written to be and has become one the funniest parts of this already hysterical show.[10]

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Written by Nora McCaughey

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