When EW released their list of the 20 Most Annoying Characters in TV History, I had several layers of reactions: 1) Why aren't more supporting roles from multicamera '90s sitcoms present? (The '90s was the defining decade of batty, scene-chewy supporting characters.) 2) Good call on Cousin Oliver. 3) Why is the only gay character represented from Smash, a show that began about ten minutes ago? I thought we'd help remedy that third problem with a quick list of the most annoying gay characters on TV. I've excluded soap operas and reality series, so forgive that blip in comprehension, but I've added an important twist: For some of these characters, being annoying is an important, even likable attribute. You can't stare at Jack McFarland for five munutes without embracing his full, loud-ass, annoying glory, right? Right. Here are the 8 characters who sprang to mind, somewhat painfully.
1. Stanford Blatch, Sex and the City
It's hard to believe a few things about Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson): 1) That his biggest contribution to Sex and the City over six seasons was the quote, "She's fashion roadkill!" 2) That he could tolerate the unctuous Carrie Bradshaw with such a pert little smile. 3) That, like Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, he annoyingly believed he was Carrie's best friend. I still remember gawping when Carrie told him he wasn't invited to a "girls night." Ugh. Go star in Failure to Launch, Carrie! Stanford, stop being Carrie's pawn.
2. Big Gay Al, South Park
Behold: The most stunningly annoying gay character in TV history. Big Gay Al is no ordinary homosexual, as even his trademark line, "I'm super, thanks for asking" evolved into one helluva showtune. His fantastically ugly shirt hangs off his body, his yippy wail is an incessant foghorn, and I wouldn't have his annoyingness any other way. He's super. Thanks for asking.
3. Brian Kinney, Queer as Folk (US)
You can say that Brian Kinney (Gale Harold) thoroughly evolved during every season of Queer As Folk, revealing himself to be a complicated, interesting version of the arrogant, dismissive guy we meet in season one, but come on. Brian was cruel to Justin, a bastard to everyone else, and I spent the first couple seasons allotting him respect only when he bared his ass on camera. Nothing is more annoying than a man who's too busy feeling "complicated" to be nice.
4. Anthony Maratino, Sex and the City
Sigh. You've done it again, Darren Star. I suppose if anything is worse than tolerating Carrie Bradshaw on the daily, it's mistaking Charlotte "What Jewish Thing Can I Try Today?" York for a fabulously cool best friend. Not so, Anthony. Not so. If you want respect, don't stand there blathering one-liners about tampons for Charlotte's show dog. Tell Charlotte she's frustratingly simple-minded about most things, maybe. Or not, I guess. On second thought, you and Stanford do deserve each other.
5. Sanjay Patel, Weeds
Though Maulik Pancholy is a hilarious comic actor whose turn as Sanjay gave us one of the most memorable coming-out scenes in history (I even remember the purple tanktop!), there's no denying that his role on Weeds was downright eyeroll-worthy much of the time. Sanjay once chalked up his "crush" on Nancy Botwin to "diva worship" and another time he gave one of those cliched speeches about having perfect gaydar. Ugh. Enough. Fortunately, Pancholy also played the wonderful Jonathan on 30 Rock, one of the freakiest and most original gay characters I've seen in primetime -- until that gig wore thin too. You can still catch him on Whitney, if you do things like watch Whitney, of course.
6. Ray Fiske, Damages
My honest first thought upon seeing the hard-boiled suthuhn lawya' Ray Fiske on Damages: "That looks and sounds like a Romanian man trying to imitate Forrest Gump." Of course, I was wrong. It was a Slovenian man. Apologies to our readers in Bucharest! Zeljko Ivanek may have garnered an Emmy for playing the violently repressed attorney (whose gayness is revealed late in the show's awesome first season), but I will never get over his annoying, annoying, annoying super-twang. When I picture him saying the words, "Arthur Frobisher," I dry-heave.
7. Marshall Gregson, United States of Tara
Now, wait a second: Marshall Gregson (Keir Gilchrist) is one of the most interesting and multidimensional gay teens I've ever seen on TV. He's smart and plainspoken, sympathetic to his mother's condition and understandably resentful too. But Marshall's annoying-ass quirkiness is an unavoidable, yet valuable character trait. When he brews smug cocoa for himself, throws on smug classical records, and smugly smirks at his opnely gay friend Lionel's overt feyness (in the earlier episodes), we can't help but label him woefully self-impressed. Marshall grows a lot, particularly in the show's last season when he endures a brawl with his own mother, but that doesn't mean I wasn't infuriated with him and his tweeness for at least 10 episodes.
8. Jack McFarland, Will and Grace
Let us never forget that the appearance of Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) on primetime in the late '90s was awesome. And necessary. And -- oh yes -- gloriously annoying. He was unabashed, hilarious, real, and unstoppable. He also embodies "flightiness" in ways that The Wright Brothers could've never predicted, and his constant badinage with the equally annoying Karen Walker remains a staggering achievement in telegenic nuisances. Fabulous work all around, sir.