Split Image; Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries, MIchael Gray and Gina from Peaky Blinders

A bad character arc can ruin a TV show for the fans. Viewers expect to see the characters change over the course of a series, but if those changes seem to go against where the character or characters started off, things can go bad quickly. Even worse is when a character may not have fully developed and backtracks instead of growing further.

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The worst character arcs can ruin the story of a character and turn them into something the audience may no longer recognize. Characters are meant to grow and progress over a series, and when they don’t, when a show’s writers lose the path of a character, these arcs can destroy all the goodwill the show built up with the audience.

10 Elena Gilbert Became Chaotic

The Vampire Diaries

Elena Gilbert with Stefan and Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries TV show.

Elena Gilbert has a terrible development all throughout The Vampire Diaries. What made it worse was how she was doing relatively well prior to her transition into a vampire, but it was all downhill from that moment on. Elena became intolerable, selfish, and more than a little chaotic.

No fan can forget Elena’s constant back and forth with Damon and Stefan. The once sensible Elena became a character that jumped before thinking, causing problems for those around her. Elena’s arc changed her character so much that fans came to dislike her.

9 Leonard Hofstadter Became A Bully

Big Bang Theory

Leonard Hofstadter smiling and reading the newspaper in Big Bang Theory

Leonard from The Big Bang Theory begins the series as a quirky and nerdy yet likable character. But over the course of the show, Leonard becomes mean, selfish, and arrogant. Fans were excited for Leonard once he got together with Penny, but after their first breakup, it seemed to all go downhill for him.

Leonard went from being quirky to selfish in a matter of seasons, and fans did not like the change. Making it worse, Leonard had no valid reason for becoming as harsh and dislikable as he did during the later half of The Big Bang Theory.

8 Joey Tribbiani Backtracked In His Development


Joey wearing all of Chandler's clothes in Friends

When the show first began, Joey Tribbiani was always a joy for Friends fans to watch. Sadly as the show continued, Joey became harder for fans to deal with. While he was never the smartest member of the group, Joey became even less intelligent as the series went on, hitting a point that switched from funny to simply unbelievable.

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Joey showed no real growth throughout the 10 seasons of Friends. If anything, he backtracked, and while the rest of Joey’s friends matured, he continuously fell behind. Joey still may have been a fan-favorite character, but he was less liked by fans in the later seasons of Friends.

7 Debbie Gallagher Went From Hopeful To Harsh


Debbie in front of the house with her hands in the air.

Debbie Gallagher was once the hopeful little sister in Shameless. She soon realized how harsh the world was and adjusted accordingly. This turned Debbie into one of the most disliked characters in Shameless, as she became selfish, rude, and an all-around inconsiderate person.

Debbie became as hash as the world around her, which only caused more drama and hardship for her loved ones. The once sweet hopeful little sister quickly became someone that Season 1 Debbie would disapprove of. Fans would agree that Debbie changed for the worse.

6 Rory Gilmore Lost Herself

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls Rory and Jess

At first, Rory Gilmore came across as kind and responsible – the mature one of the mother/daughter relationship that Gilmore Girls was centered around. But as the series progressed, Rory became a much less likable character. She begins to make several poor decisions that caused problems in her relationship with her mother, Lorelei.

It wasn’t just the poor decisions that Rory made that upset fans, it was also that she started to become selfish. Her poor character arc continued on into Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and fans were sad to see that Rory had just gotten worse since the final seasons of Gilmore Girls. If Rory had held some accountability for her actions, her character would have remained likable through the reboot.

5 Carrie Bradshaw Put Relationships First

Sex And The City

Carrie and Mr. Big from Sex and the City

Carrie Bradshaw was a likable character at the beginning of Sex and the City, but fans agree that she began to lose herself towards the end of the series. She began choosing her romantic relationships over her friends and allowed those relationships to control most of her life.

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Carrie Bradshaw would have remained a likable character if she had grown from her relationships rather than progressively becoming worse after each one. Having Carrie learn from her relationships would have made her a more relatable character.

4 Michael Gray Continuously Caused Problems

Peaky Blinders

Michael Gray and Gina in Peaky Blinders

Michael Gray wasn’t the most likable member of Peaky Blinders to start with, and his arc did nothing to assist in the matter. Michael was introduced in Season 2 and was once an important member of the Shelby business.

Matters quickly ran south and the Shelby family labeled Michael as the “rat.” He was shipped off to America to do business but instead plotted against the Shelby family. Michael Gray learns nothing from his actions as he continuously tries to remove Tommy from the family business and take it for himself.

3 Jaime Lannister Reversed His Development

Game of Thrones

Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones.

Jaime Lannister was extremely hated by fans in the early seasons of Game of Thrones. He then went through a redemption arc that turned him into one of the most loved characters in the show. Instead of staying true to his path of redemption, Jaime veered off course and ruined everything.

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During the final seasons of Game of Thrones, Jaime Lannister reverses everything he accomplished during his redemption arc. This reverts him back to his original hated character from the beginning of Game of Thrones. By the season finale, fans were heartbroken – and angry – by where the show took the character.

2 Robin Schersbatsky Became A Stereotype

How I Met Your Mother

Robin alone Symphony of Illimination How I Met Your Mother

At the beginning of How I Met Your Mother, Robin Scherbatsky was an independent and career-driven woman. She began the series as a likable character that became intolerable by the end. As the series progressed Robin became an insecure and petty character.

Robin’s character arc was a transition to the stereotypical female character often seen in 2000s sitcoms. By the end of How I Met Your Mother, Robin became the exact opposite of the character she was in Season 1. Robin would have remained likable if she continued to grow from Season 1.

1 Tom Haverford Went From Funny To Selfish

Parks And Recreation

Tom Haverford smiling in Parks and Recreation

Tom Haverford began Parks and Recreation as a self-indulgent but loyal and enjoyable character to watch. Over the course of the show, Tom developed into a self-absorbed character that fans found difficult to watch. The more time went on, the more Tom Haverford focused only on himself and manipulated his friends as a means to promote himself and further his career.

Tom’s character arc transitioned him from the once funny character to a character that nearly ruined the story of the overall show. The end result left Tom as an arrogant, selfish character that was no longer worth watching.

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