Monday, May 19, 2008

Worthless TV Character Additions That Damn Near Ruined the Show

A TV show is only as good as the characters that occupy it. When a series begins its first season, there's a reason you're being introduced to that specific group of individuals: they're the ones that the show has been built around. They're the ones that determine how the story will unfold. But once that season ends, the entire game changes. Suddenly the studios and writers are worried about audiences losing interest and ratings dropping.

The solution?
New characters.

These characters are different though. They haven't been added to advance the storyline or bring something unique to the show. They've been added for the sole reason of appealing to a much broader audience, and hopefully, to increase the show's ratings in the process. What seems to be lost on the studios though is that they're not increasing anything; all they're doing is losing the original viewers by spiting the show's established fanbase, since more times than not, these new characters just plain suck.

Nikki & Paulo - Lost
Added: Season 3

Thrown in the mix with all the care and subtlety of a kick to the nuts, new castaways Nikki and Paulo were immediately met with an endless amount of face palms and lengthy shoutings of expletives from practically all loyal viewers of the show. This was due largely to the duo being pathetically introduced as if they had been in the background the entire time, and then that hatred was reaffirmed by the two characters contributing absolutely nothing to the series outside of looking like a couple of incredibly good looking and very tanned models. I mean, c'mon, what else could you possibly want from the characters of your favorite TV show? Certainly not an interesting backstory or, say, a justifiable reason for existence. Nah, we want people who look like they should be posing for Abercrombie & Fitch ads.

If that weren't enough, these two new characters also blatantly brought to light something that really should've gone unsaid: that the group we've been following through all these bizarre occurrences is the "popular" group. You know all those other survivors in the background? Yeah, they're just boring losers (a.k.a. "normal" people, like you or me) who sit around while Jack, Locke, Kate and the rest of the cool kids have all sorts of crazy adventures. With this, it almost felt like the writers were breaking the fourth wall, presenting the show's characters as just that: characters. For me, it really detracted from the reality of the show. (And yes, I know I'm complaining about the reality of a show featuring smoke monsters, cursed numbers, and a magical island.)

There was an upside to these two characters though. After the fans complained enough, the writers went ahead and off'd the annoying couple in the most satisfyingly fucked up way imaginable. "Razzle dazzle," bitches!

Stosh “Piz” Piznarski - Veronica Mars
Added: Season 3

After two spectacular seasons of pure crime-solving bliss, Veronica Mars had unfortunately not picked up enough in viewership to crawl out of its ratings slump, and the writers became desperate. So next to a number of other deeply saddening and unnecessary alterations to the show's flawless format, the writers made their worst decision of all: introducing the annoying, unfunny little twerp Piz.

I don't think the inspiration for his character has been officially stated, but I'm pretty I know who they based him off of: these guys. You may know them as the (supposed) comedy duo "Smosh." If you don't, it's likely because you're not a 15-year-old girl who subscribes to every gay and Asian vlogger on YouTube. If that's the case, then you probably also aren't a fan of emo/scene-looking douchebags who try and fail at being funny at every chance they get. And in turn, you're not the intended audience for the third season of Veronica Mars, which not only managed to confound its fans with what might just be the least appropriate character to ever join a show's cast (eventually even getting more screen time than the other much more appealing supporting characters), but even has the gall to make him a central love interest. Goddamn you Piz. You just about ruined Veronica Mars, and I will forever loathe you with every fiber of my being.

Maya & Alejandro - Heroes
Added: Season 2

Hold on now. Another randomly introduced TV duo that contributes nothing to the show outside of becoming increasingly more annoying with every episode they're in? Did we learn nothing from the third season of Lost? Maya & Alejandro may not be as pointless as the additions of Nikki & Paulo, but they're equally as dull and uninteresting.

Here's a summary of literally every episode featuring the two of them...

Oh no, I keep killing people by filling them with tar (or something)! What have I done? I have been cursed with this terrible burden! I am sad now! Thankfully you are here, Alejandro, as you apparently make it stop for some reason.
Yes, that's what I'm here for. Let me hug you while looking deeply concerned.
Hey guys, what's up? I don't have any powers anymore (fun plot progression, right?), but I'm still super evil. Can I join you?
Of course. I don't know who you are, but you seem like a trustworthy guy. Hey Alejandro, he's going to help us!
I don't trust him.
I trust him.
I don't. You can tell because I'm looking really concerned right now. See? When I frown like this I look really concerned. I'm fascinating.
You're wrong about him! I'm mad at you!
Oh by the way guys... *kills Alejandro* Yeah, he was right.
I'm a dumb bitch. Excuse me while I act sad some more.

End season two.

Can't wait for season three!

Zombie Tony - 24
Added: Season 7

Though I was unable to venture beyond the first season of 24 due to my strong opposition to all plot devices amnesia related and that appallingly bad accent by way of an unintentionally comical Dennis Hopper, it was still sad news to hear that series favorite Tony Almeida had been killed in season five, not even so much as getting a silent "ticking clock" at the end in tribute (as is given to all prominent character's deaths). Did this mean there was a possibility he survived? No, he fucking died. Case closed.

Cue season seven, and guess who's back? Tony Almeida. And now he's the villain. Now, he's a goddamn terrorist.

24 has officially run out of ideas.

Dawn Summers - Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Added: Season 5

I'll leave this one up to you guys to decide, since I've only seen a handful of Buffy episodes, thus I may not be the best source on commenting what a blatant excuse for ratings her character is. She first gets introduced as Buffy's little sister, despite Buffy being established as only child, and then the writers basically switched it around saying, "Oh wait, she's not actually her sister, she's actually some mystical hottie, but who cares, we're still going to act like they're siblings." From then on Dawn become the go-to character for getting in the way and causing all sorts of mayhem.

So what do you think? Does she deserve to be on this list? Let loose your thoughts in the comments below.

Oliver Trask - The O.C.
Added: Season 1

(Contributed by Myles McNutt and Angie Han)

It was a story out of a fairy tale: Girl O.D.’s in Tijuana, sees a therapist where she meets an odd-looking boy, girl allows boy to get close enough that he falls in love, boy is obviously crazy, hijinx ensue. Oliver’s disruptive influence introduced three of the show’s worst tropes: The Character who comes in, screws with emotions, and vanishes into thin air, Helpless Damsel in Distress Marissa, and Every Guy Who Encounters Marissa Falls Madly in Love. The end result was a character who became such a running joke that the series itself had Seth raise the concern that Oliver could return at any moment for the purpose of contrivance. Luckily, he never showed up at the door again.

Lauren Reed, Nadia Santos and Rachel Gibson - Alias
Added: Season 3, 4, and 5, respectively.

(Contributed by Myles McNutt)

Three very attractive actresses were added to Alias’ cast in its final three seasons, as the series began devolving from its original quality to something far less interesting. That the hotness: quality ratio would fail so spectacularly is largely because the three characters were either too contrived, too useless, or too bland. In a show where Jennifer Garner epitomized a character who could kick ass and hit the show’s emotional beats, these female characters never went beyond eye candy to contribute anything to the show’s core narrative beyond being part of some of its worst tangents into mediocre storylines. They were designed to tear apart relationships, convolute mythology, or just add a fresh face to pander to the new viewers ABC wanted to court. By the end, all of them fell by the wayside, even if Nadia was somewhat justified by her fantastic final moment with her father.

Original here

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