JG's Ten Beloved TV Characters Who Were Obvious Psychopaths
By James Guttman Oct 8, 2013 - 10:24 AM
When you see them on television, they're quirky. When you meet them in real life, they're psychos. But make no mistake, they are one in the same. TV shows may celebrate the off-beat nature of some, but we all know they're the last ones you want to be seated next to at a P.T.A. meeting. Take off your rose colored glasses and smell the coffee. It's time to cower in fear for Ten Beloved TV Characters Who Were Obvious Psychopaths…
Schneider (One Day At A Time)
Oh Schneider - the lovable building superintendent with one outfit (two if you count his pajamas). He was always around doing his part to help lonely divorcee Ann Romano and her two hippie children.
Of course, you have to take into account that there was a whole building's worth of tenants. For some reason, they never had clogged drains or cracked windows. If they did, screw 'em. Schneider and his belt were too busy swinging their tools around Miss Romano's kitchen. If he wasn't fixing something, he was helping to solve their 1970s problems like how to stop taking quaaludes or whatnot.
But, of course, everything was on the up and up. Schneider pretended he wasn't there to hit on Miss Romano, whom he was in love with. He was there to be a member of the family. He was there to help and do his job. That's it.
Wonder how the other people who lived in the apartment building felt about that. The creepy dude with the Pepe Le Pew moustache was always too busy to come and see what was up with their broken doorbell because he was helping Julie regain her self esteem after getting a bad grade. Priorities, pal.
But it's not like that was it. No. Our wonderful Schneider just let himself into the Romano residence whenever he felt like it. Sure, they played it for laughs. But think about it. After hearing a loud noise in the living room late at night, would it be less funny if Schneider, who's now let himself into the single mother's apartment and is tip toeing around with a flashlight, wasn't dressed in a sleep hat and nightgown? Sure. It would be terrifying. People would scream. That's scary. Good thing he had the funny pajamas. If only Jeffrey Dahmer had a party hat on, everything would have been fine.
So yeah. Let the love-struck shut-in who looks like he smells like cigarettes and motor oil stroll on in whenever he wants with your kids sleeping in the next room. That's good parenting.
Grouchy Smurf (The Smurfs)
What the hell is wrong with Grouchy Smurf? What a miserable little blue piece of crap.
He was always mad. Whether it was singing, cooking, candy, or puppies, he hated it. He would proudly declare at the top of his lungs that he stood against whatever it is that everyone else liked.
Here's what was so annoying though. Why was he angry? He did nothing all day. NOTHING. Know how I know? Because he had no job. Painter Smurf did the painting. Baker Smurf did the baking. Papa Smurf did the fathering (or what have you). But all this guy did was bitch and moan. In fact, he did it so much, that it was his name.
And why do the Smurfs even want him? I don't know. It only stood to reason that he was constantly thinking about selling them out to Gargamel, right? After all, he hated the rest of the Smurfs. He was open about it. How the hell do you allow this infiltrator to be a part of your commune when there's a common enemy plotting your death? If Smurf Village was America and Gargamel was a terrorist, Grouchy would have been kidnapped by Homeland Security by now and stuck in a pit. It only makes sense.
Grouch lived a long life though. He made it from the start of the series until the end. After that final show aired, one can only assume that he put a rifle into his mouth and smurfed his brains out. Oh, Grouchy. At least he's at peace now.
He always hated peace.
Chet Hunter (Boy Meets World)
Corey Matthews came from the perfect family. But his friend, Shawn Hunter, was a product of a broken trailer. His father, a salesman or something, was never around. It was a heartbreaking.
Well, not really. Laugh tracks hide the heartbreak. Aside from his occasional "I don't belong here, I'm just a trailer boy" breakdowns, Hunter was perfectly well adjusted. He and his BFF did all the crazy things that kids do. They released chickens into the school. They helped Vader win a match during Topanga's Sweet 16. They spent a lot of time alone at their elderly teacher's home.
OK, well maybe that last one was a bit weird. But they did what they did without a second thought of Shawn's awful dad, Chet. His few and far between visits were filled with Mea Culpas and pleas for understanding that he had done the best he could. It's not like ol' Chet was abusive to Shawn, he just wasn't around.
Nope. He wasn't abusive to Shawn. He was abusive to Jack, Shawn's half brother. He drank a lot too. But that was a long time ago and this is Disney, pal.
Everyone deserves a second chance. Remember Beauty and the Beast. Yeah. Now laugh.
His sporadic reappearances substantially eff his sons in the head throughout their lives. However, in an epic moment of clarity, he does finally come to his senses and decides to face his boys to make right all the wrongs he has done. It was a magical episode.
Because he died. Same episode. Like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. Great timing, Chet.
Sadly, we know that he was aware of his health problems, so it looks like he planned this last final mind-fluck on his sons. Good work, pop. That'll really give them something to drink about as they grow up.
Lady Elaine Fairchilde (Mr. Roger's Neighborhood)
On each episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Fred Rogers would drop a tab of purple spiderman acid and trip himself into the Land of Make Believe. We all tripped with him.
The Land was magical and governed by King Friday, who looked just like the playing card. However, it was Lady Elanie that really took the cake as the most bizarre resident of Fred's hallucination. This terrifying creature was one of the scariest puppets I've ever seen in my life.
Forget her frightening face, red phallic-looking nose, and grotesque expression. Lady Elaine was also insane. This isn't a joke. This isn't a "she seemed insane" thing. No. She was, in fact, insane. From her spinning trolley house that whirled around in dizzying circles to her magical boomerang that disrupted the lives of everyone in the Land of Make Believe, Fairchilde wasn't someone you wanted to run into in a dark Neighborhood.
I hate to curse needlessly, but this time it works. Check out a clip of this crazy bitch that begins with her threatening the life of her King. Seriously.
Top this all off with her shrill screeching voice and you have the stuff that nightmares are made of. The only thing about this "woman" that wasn't the creepiest of the show was her name. That honor went to Mr. McFeely.
What the hell were we all watching back then!?
Peter (The Cosby Show)
People used to claim that the Cosby Show was based on unrealistic characters of the 1980s. The Huxtables, who were the featured family on a TV Show named after another family for some unknown reason, had a doctor for a daddy and a lawyer for a mommy. They also had a chubby little white boy that would come over and stare at them blankly every few weeks. No one freaked out.
Rudy's friend Peter never spoke a word. He'd nod here and there. Sometimes he'd smile. Even his father was mute as he picked up his son from the home without uttering a word to Dr. Huxtable. Bill Cosby would make his Jell-o Pudding face and the audience would laugh. No one questioned why he was being ignored in his own home.
The short answer is racism. The cute exchanges between Pete and Bill Cosby were met with laughter. Ha ha. Peter isn't responding to anything Bill is saying! Ha ha ha!
What they never show is Peter returning home to a father in a leather Peter Pan mask hitting him with a stick and screaming, "NEVER TALK TO BLACK PEOPLE! EVER!"
Of course, you're probably wondering why he'd allow his boy to visit Dr. Huxtable's household if he hated African-Americans so much. That answer is simple too. Free healthcare.
Dorothy Zbornak (Golden Girls)
Everyone's least favorite Golden Girl, Dorothy Zbornak, had a surly disposition, intimidating glare, and explosive temper. It was never more apparent than when her good friend would innocently ask for clarification on a statement.
We should call the pizza place and see what's taking so long.
For the delivery?
No! For the CUBAN MISSLE CRISIS, ROSE! Of course the delivery!
Yeah. That happened every week.
A simple misunderstanding by her dimwitted Saint Olaf "best friend" would send Dorothy into a maddening fit. Her nine foot frame would expand into a towering inferno of Maude-like aggression unseen since Bill Bixby as the Incredible Hulk a decade earlier.
Over the course of the series, we all had the chance to hear Dorothy and her mother, Sofia, bitch and moan about her ex-husband Stan. A giant doofus with a bad toupee, Stanly would routinely date younger women despite the fact that he wasn't overly wealthy. The assumption was that they were all blind.
So guess what Dorothy did after 100 seasons of complaining about this goon. Go on.
Yup. She remarried him again. Everyone acted happy for her. They had to. No one could ask this psycho why she would remarry the awful man who cheated on and then left her.
No one could question how she could trash this man for nearly 10 years and then happily become his wife again. How could they? You saw how insane she got over questions about the pizza. Yikes.
Uncle Phil (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Rick Ross. Suge Knight. Uncle Phil Banks. When someone mentions any of these people, I immediately picture all three.
Uncle Phil was bad ass. For a character cast in the role of loving adopted dad, he was an irritable nutcase who could kill everyone in the household, if he saw fit.
Look at what he did to poor Jazz. Will's friendly DJ always had his head in the clouds, but never meant any harm. He'd occasionally misunderstand something, but never anything that warranted, well, this -
Why did he do that?! That's not a small drop either. Pretty sure Jazz got seriously hurt. What the hell is wrong with you, Uncle Phil?!
Keep in mind that at some point during the show, Aunt Viv, Uncle Phil's wife, suddenly disappeared and was replaced by another woman. No one dared to say a word about it. I mean, hell, are you gonna ask him where she went? Good luck with that. He threw Jazz across the street for saying his daughter was pretty.
Years later, I learned that Uncle Phil also did the voice of Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. But, in reality, everyone who was scared to death of Phil Banks knows the truth. It wasn't that Uncle Phil did the voice of Shredder. It was that Shredder did the voice of Uncle Phil.
Jonathan Bower (Who's The Boss?)
His mother was incredibly uptight and his grandmother was a raging slut. It was easy to see that Jonathan Bower had the genetic markers for being a serial killer.
Angela's boy was the pampered version of Tony's hard-edged Samantha. He was a sheltered little wiener with a wide eyed look over every little thing. Like an immigrant on mushrooms, he was just so pure and innocent. Right?
The simmering rage in Jonathan showed itself on rare occasions. The most famous example was during a chaperoned date with a young girl in his class. During the evening, the boy had a feeling that his love interest was secretly interested in the accompanying Tony Danza.
This awoke his beast - his dark passenger, if you will.
How did Jonathan get revenge? Simple. He killed Tony on an episode titled "Jonathan Kills Tony".
As you can see, Jonathan Bower's murder was all in his imagination (which makes it even scarier). But the worst part was that he imagined the entire attack. He imagined the slingshot, the rock, and even the gaping wound in Tony's forehead. However, after the deed was done, he didn't understand that he had genuinely killed someone. He couldn't comprehend what he had done wrong or what happened. I guess that's only creepy when it's Norman Bates, huh?
This sick little freak started dancing around yelling, "I sure got you, Tony!" Then he expressed shock and confusion over his manny's inability to get up. What's the hell? It was the truest insight into the madness that is Jonathan Bower - the warped little killer whose grandma banged the high school wrestling team.
Dee (What's Happening!!)
"What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
" was a Johnny Depp tear-jerking drama about a detached teenager living with his morbidly obese mother and helpless brother. Johnny, as Gilbert, tugged at your heart strings as he dealt with his sad reality.
But when Dee on What's Happening was a detached teenager living with a morbidly obese mother and helpless brother, everyone laughed. The struggles that seem too much for a 17 year old Gilbert Grape seem hilarious when on the shoulders of a miserable 13 year old girl.
Dee's blank expression and dead pan delivery showed her aggression towards everyone around her. What do you expect? All she wants to do is watch television, but she's always being interrupted by her dumb ass brother, Raj, and his friends running after pick-up trucks or something.
Her interactions with everyone from Rerun to her mother show how truly dead inside she is. Unlike waitress Shirley, Dee's comebacks were never emotional or jovial. You never had the feeling that she was kidding around.
Her rank-outs seemed to come from a dark place. She'd stare into space as the laugh track played. If they had replaced the canned chuckles with the theme from the Exorcist, it'd be a completely different show.
After "What's Happening!!"'s initial run, Dee returned for an updated version called "What's Happening Now!!" The program was a fictional depiction of what adulthood would have been like for the family had she not murdered them shortly after the finale.
Judge Margaret Wilbur (My Two Dads)
I want to walk through this slowly.
A girl's mother dies suddenly. Two men, both possibly her father, come up for a custody hearing. The judge, unwilling to determine the identity of the true father, grants ownership of the girl to both of them.
What? Yeah. That's "My Two Dads".
I know what you're thinking. James, this is ancient times. There were no paternity tests back then. What's a judge to do?
Except that, you know, there were paternity tests back then. In fact, a later episode even revolved around a paternity test to figure out which man was the rightful father to Nicole. In the end, they decided not to read the results because they're weirdos and one of the two likes paying for a child who was fathered by another man.
So why do they agree to this insane arrangement? Do the men like each other? Nope. Not at all. The surface explanation was that they both loved the girl's mother so much that they wanted her daughter to remind them of her.
But, of course, no one brings up that her mother was a trollop with two potential dads and no common decency to order that they take a test to determine the paternity before entering in to a nonsensical living arrangement. Yup.
Real love of your life material there.
So what would make these two dads stay together? Simple. The insane judge who created this sociological experiment also happened to buy the apartment building they lived in.
Yup. You read that right. Judge Margaret Wilbur bought the apartment building. Why? Because she's a deranged stalker who likes to play God, that's why. She not only creates maniacal legal precedents, but she also buys their home so she can watch it play out. What a sicko.
The fact that she can do this shows the poor judgment she had in the court case too. Neither man owns a home or even rents their own apartment, but they both get a new daughter. It makes no sense until you realize that Judge Wilbur did all of this so she can sit in her VHS room and fulfill all her voyeuristic fantasies.
Oh, one final piece to the puzzle. Ready? At one point, Dick Butkis joined the show. He owned a café and would routinely get involved in the family's life. Then, one day, he was gone. The café was bought out by a new owner…who named it "The Judge's Court Café."