Unsympathetic Protagonists (open spoilers for various topics)

Nicely done.

Oo! How could I forget Heathcliff and Cathy from Wuthering Heights? The man traumatized and destroyed three generations of two different families, and she was a batshit crazy bitch. How they came to be viewed as tragic romantic figures, I have no idea. Good riddance to both of them.

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, especially the disney film versions.

Peter Pan is a tosser and even Walt Disney said he was disappointed at how unlikeable the character is.

And Tinkerbell is a proper stroppy madam… anytime she doesn’t get her own way she stamps her foot and turns red with rage. Not a great role model for small children (even though by daughter thinks Tinkerbell is the best thing ever).

I lost many discussion points in an PSEO Lit class because I refused to back down from my position that Chris was an irredeemable, self-centered asshole who was trying to get himself killed.

I cannot believe that nobody has yet mentioned Alex from A Clockwork Orange!

Alex and his droogs are utterly, utterly despicable… And yet, the world and the society portrayed in that film are so down the drain that there is nobody else with whom the viewer might experience a tendency to identify (well, perhaps the writer, but he was somewhat dickish at the end, especially given that he knew for a fact that Alex -at that time- was utterly unable to put up any resistance, and that he appeared to enjoy his torturing of Alex. Not that Alex was not a complete bastard, of course).

A film full of bastards, monsters, disgusting people and ineffectual individuals. Fantastic film, but a really nasty one.

I’d take issue with Flashman. Yes, he’s a bully and a coward but I wouldn’t call him unsympathetic. Generally he is just trying to get out of the way when he gets caught up in history. He didn’t ask to be caught up in the retreat from Kabul, sailing a slave ship, or stuck at Little Big Horn - shit just happens to him and the consequences follow.

Mostly true. But in Flashman and the Redskins, he

betrays someone’s trust by selling her into slavery in order to make a few quick bucks.

I have a feeling someone had pointed out to Fraser that for all Flashman constantly referred to himself as a cad, he’d never really done anything very bad “on screen”.

Humbert Humbert in Lolita.

Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces. He only manages to be relatively likable because everyone else is even worse.

Jim in the TV show According to Jim. A total asshole and nearly pathological liar but everyone forgives him because it’s in the script.

Ray Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond. Nearly as bad as Jim.

Heh - I’ve never read Wuthering Heights (or even seen a movie adaptation) but it reminds me of Jane Eyre - Edward Rochester is a real prize, what with the locked-up wife and plans to commit bigamy. OK, the wife he couldn’t help - IIRC it was an arranged marriage, and once she went batshit what else could he do with her? But the bigamy part was pretty sleazy.

Emma Bovary.

Christina RIcci’s character in Prozac Nation. I haven’t read the book, but the filmic version of her character was a needy freak, and she knows. Like in the line: “I have become the girlfriend from hell.” Or something.

I read somewhere that critics were saying that while the performances were all top-notch in the movie, the film would not be a box office success because the protagonist was “so unlikeable.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s true.

Every single character in The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen (with the possible exception of the senile one) would have been improved by a house fire.

Not just that. If he just wanted to die, he could have shot himself. Instead, he gives away the rest of the college money his parents gave him, and disappears. He goes for months at a time without contacting his family (even dropping a postcard saying “I’m alive” would have went a long way in my book), leaving them to wonder if he was dead.

There’s a certain amount of sadism in voluntarily forcing your family to agonize as to whether you’re still alive.

Good call. For that matter, Jack really had no redeeming qualities. The entire trip is supposed to be his bachelor party, and he spends the majority of his time in the film sleeping with a very ugly Asian chick[sup]*[/sup]

How could I have forgotten Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight??:smack:
*This is no way is meant as a racial comment. I’m not disparaging Asians in general. I just think that Sandra Oh is not attractive at all. And she can’t act. Her eyes are too close together, and he face is too long. She reminds me of a crosseyed horse.

Vic Mackey of *The Shield. *You know what you’re in for from the end of the very first episode.

The entire cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

From their Wikipedia entry:

And that’s just the first 10 minutes of the show…

Unsympathetic, perhaps, but the Joker is the antagonist, not the protagonist.

True. I forgot the parameters of my own thread.

Laura Linney’s character in The Big C.

Jimmy McNulty in The Wire. Arrogant prick. He was a good detective and sometimes a good friend, but it’s almost impossible to like him. He was always trying to prove something and never thought very far ahead. Great character though.

My Wife and I made it only through about half of the Eat portion of the movie Eat, Pray, Love before we’d had enough. What a self-absorbed, self-indulgent piece of crap the protagonist in that film was. Yikes.

You’ve got to exclude Charlie though. He’s far more often a victim of the other 4 than a perpetrator. Between the abortion not working, his illiteracy, what all the Santas did to his mom, and the Night Man coming inside him, he’s had a tough time.