Mitchell from Modern Family
Mitchell’s function on Modern Family is to rain on everybody’s parade. He’s the dour, red-headed wrench thrown into the gears of familial happiness. He is the fly in the soup of domestic bliss. Neurotic and joyless, he snidely creates conflict in every conversation he is a part of, until he bitterly concedes to the inevitable happy resolution of each episode (but nurses his grudge for seasons). Where he goes, distress and aggravation follow. He slices through the sea of simple pleasures like a bitter, ginger-bearded figure-head on the bow of a ship, leaving a wake of injured pride and hurt feelings.
And that is why it is so great when we get to see him suffer.—Naivasha Dean
Declan from Revenge
I can think of no one more in need of a time out than 17-year-old Declan Porter on Revenge. While his older brother Jack works tirelessly to keep their family business afloat, Declan mopes around the Hamptons complaining about pretty much everything. He calls his dad a loser right before he suffers a fatal heart attack and only seems to care about his inheritance after his father’s death; when his brother refuses to give him a few hundred dollars for an expensive dinner date, he steals lobsters to raise the cash; and when his girlfriend invites him to her parent’s anniversary dinner, his idea of conversation clears the room. Seriously Declan, stop complaining already and do something constructive with your life! If you don’t do anything to improve your situation, outside of extorting your girlfriend’s mother for $25,000, of course, you really can’t complain that life is unfair.—Andrea Marker
Annie from 90210
Maybe the people calling the shots behind the scenes at 90210 heard my silent cries every time I tuned in to watch my Beverly Hills-based guilty pleasure on The CW last season. You see, I just couldn’t take anymore of Annie Wilson (Shenae Grimes) and her incessant whining. Sure, Annie was tolerable enough when she moved to the coveted zip code, but her chipper spirits were soon crushed next to the formidable scheming of Queen Bee Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) — or, more likely, from the guilt of a prom night hit-and-run. Poor, poor Annie! A house arrest, naughty photo scandal, and love-triangle later, The CW wisely decided to give Annie (and me!) a break. These days, she’s fighting for an inheritance and playing second fiddle to Naomi while her brother fights a pill addiction. Here’s hoping it stays that way.—Rebecca Harper
Whitney from “Whitney“
There was a time, before I had read a bunch of books and before I’d met people who abused their pets, when I probably would’ve found Whitney tough and interesting, like a steak left out in the sunny part of a Hallmark store.
Then I realized that the only reason relationships like the ones on “Whitney” exist is because characters like “Whitney” exist. It’s even scarier when it becomes apparent that people are starting to rationalize being in these relationships—the ones that use bitterness for sustenance, where the neighbors have to call the police because whoever had to do the food shopping bought whole dill pickles by accident—by watching shows like this.
If your friend tells you he’s dating someone who is “sort of like Whitney” in any way, let him have your car and tell him to keep going until he can’t read the signs on the highway anymore.
If anyone in this world needs a timeout, it’s Whitney from “Whitney” for being Whitney.—Ben Collins
Jerry from “Parks and Recreation“
Oh, sweet, klutzy Jerry Gergich, whose real name is Gary as we found out in the latest episode of Parks and Rec. How we love thee.
The Pawnee Parks Department’s resident pushover deserves a timeout the least out of his chuckling co-workers, but because he’s clumsy as hell and cursed with sad luck, he’ll probably get it anyway. Unintentionally causing trouble is his mode of operation. This is a man that lied about getting mugged because he was too embarrassed to tell anyone how he really dislocated his shoulder: By dropping a breakfast burrito in a creek then falling while trying desperately to retrieve it. He needs a timeout for his own safety, as well as the safety of humanity.—Sheila Dichoso
Look, Gordon, it’s not as if you’re not doing a good job. I’ve been to your LA restaurant. My compliments. Your work on Kitchen Nightmares saving failing family restaurants is admirable. And your guidance for potential culinary protégées on Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef demonstrates fine leadership ability. That’s not why I brought you here today. No, my concern is that you don’t really play well with others. I appreciate that dealing with hybrid chef/reality stars is a challenge. No one should have to deal with that amount of ego, but that’s still no excuse not to use your inside voice. And even though you find a filthy kitchen filled with vermin and rotting food, tossing off a bunch of F-bombs is just going to put people on the defensive. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with chili-infused honey than you do with a balsamic vinegar reduction. No, Gordon, I’m not talking about actual flies, so please stop yelling. This is exactly the point I was trying to make, and for that you definitely need a time out…and please try to ignore the fact that Gloria, the sous chef from San Jose, is trying to serve your guests undercooked pork with a side of questionable polenta.—Martin Moakler