Unsympathetic Protagonists (open spoilers for various topics)

I was flipping channels earlier tonight, and I came upon the tail end of Into the Wild, and something occurred to me:

I have absolutely NO sympathy for Christopher McCandless. Based on the true story of a kid from a well-to-do family who tries to go off the grid, tries to live off the land in Alaska (despite being very underprepared to do so) and ends up starving to death. Had McCandless actually spent time preparing himself for his undertaking, making sure that he had the correct gear (and actually read a map), his fate may very well have been different. He turned down attempts by different people to help equip him for his journey. Someone offered to buy him warmer clothes, and a tent, and various other items. He said no. If he’d have been properly outfitted, and a similar situation happened, I’d say it’s a tragedy. But he has no one to blame but himself for what happened (and, for anyone that cares, it’s possible that he succumbed to “rabbit starvation).”

From his wiki:

That got me to thinking…there are a couple of other people that I feel the same way about:

  1. Timothy Treadwell in Grizzly Man. I know what he was trying to do. I really do. But, still…you try to live among bears, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day as Bear Jerky.

  2. In literature, I have always wanted to smack the shit out of Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye. Maybe I read it too late. I was in my early 30’s when I read it, and Holden was just a spoiled fucking kid that I could cheerfully have strangled before breakfast. Then again, I’ve heard it said that you were SUPPOSED to feel like that about Holden.

I’m sure there are others. Who stands out in your mind as the protagonist of a film/book/etc that you just cannot sympathize with? I don’t mean a “hooker with a heart of gold” character. But those people you just can’t find ONE redeeming quality in. People that just do not garner your sympathy.

The Player
Bob Roberts

The Flashman series of books
Citizen Cohn (and the corresponding Angels In America segment about Roy Cohn)

Actually, I forget why I’m rooting for Don Draper in Mad Men

Not a novel, but the memoir Lucky by Alice Sebold. (She also wrote the Lovely Bones.) I know a lot of people love it and think she’s a great person (the memoir is about her dealing with getting raped as a college student), but I just found her so hateful and rude and full of herself. I felt bad hating a rape victim but I guess being a victim doesn’t necessarily make one a good or pleasant person.

I think Thomas Covenant is pretty high up there for a lot of people. I’ve only ever read the first couple of books in that series, but he gets brought up a LOT when there’s a discussion of an unsympathetic protagonist.

Peep Show is a british show with thoroughly unlikable main characters.

Greg House is, of course, a bully, an addict and a whiny jerk. I wouldn’t call him unsympathetic, though.

Everybody in Seinfield.

Catcher In The Rye was a horribly dull book. We were forced to read that dreck in high school and I couldn’t stand all. the. WHINING!

Bob Saget in How I Met Your Mother. The story has gone on WAY too long I don’t care anymore!

I’m currently reading Between a Rock and a Hard Place (the book that was filmed recently as 127 Hours) and man, Aron Ralston comes across as kind of a dick. The account of his ordeal in the canyon is interspersed with tales of his previous outdoor adventures and it seems like his whole deal is deliberately putting himself in dangerous situations just so he’ll have bad-ass survival stories. Guess it paid off big time in the end. Ugh.

I’m currently watching all of “The Sopranos”
I’m up to series 5 and, though I don’t know how it all ends (don’t spoil it for me) I suspect (and hope) it is a bloodbath. No one actually deserves to live.
I am really pushed to think of a single likeable character in it.

I am enjoying it though.

I won’t, but I will say that it’s dark.

Not seems like, that’s what he was doing.

A few weeks before the Oscars, Ralston was interviewed by 60 Minutes (I think, it may have been 48 Hours). It was interesting, but he flat out said that he did the shit he did (and he’s still doing it even after cutting off his own arm) so he could say he survived it.

The entire cast of Glee. They were likeable for a few episodes; now they’re all shallow, smug, insufferable gits.

Or maybe it’s just the Autotune overdose making me all stabby.

Victor Frankenstein, of course

Do games count? Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII always made me want to slap him.

Miles in the movie Sideways. The guy steals from his mother. And is so self righteous about “not drinking fucking Merlot” yet his favourite wine, his most prized possesion, a bottle of 1961 Cheval Blanc, is made in large part with merlot. So even his pretention is incorrect!
Just nothing redeeming about this character.

I pretty much hated every character in the cast of Lost, to the point where I wasn’t motivated to continue watching shortly after the second season started.

My first thought was Bigger Thomas from Native Son. Richard Wright gets so wrapped up in the racism motif that he forgets the guy is a rapist and double killer.

And I despise Rhett Butler. Scarlett don’t love you, stop wasting your time.

Yes, thank you. I can honestly say that I do not like any of the characters in that show.

That’s just icing on the cake for me.

Alden Dennis Weer from Peace (by Gene Wolfe) is a pretty unpleasant character. But then, he’s supposed to be.

That’s FRONK-en-shteen.