It’s no secret that most TV shows have to keep bringing in fresh blood if they want to keep fans interested. Series’ writers can put the best lines ever written in the hands of the world’s most talented ensemble cast, and fans will still lose interest if you don’t mix in new faces. Heck, sometimes producers have to mix in new characters to mask the fact that some of the original characters are awful. Michael B. Jordan’s Vince Howard breathed new life into the fourth and fifth seasons of Friday Night Lights. Adam Scott’s Ben Wyatt and Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger joined Parks and Recreation at the end of the second season and helped elevate the NBC series to new heights. Then, there’s the other end of things, the Cousin Oliver of it all. The inclusion of a bad character (or a bad actor) can really detract from an otherwise great series. Sometimes they show up late; sometimes the bad seeds are there from the beginning. Here are some of the worst offenders in TV history.
10. Cousin Oliver, ‘The Brady Bunch’
Just for those people who aren’t aware of the trope, this blonde, little moppet joined the family series in 1974, its last season. Funny enough, The Brady Bunch was already officially canceled before Oliver even showed up, so his inclusion whether it was awful or delightful (it wasn’t delightful) didn’t make a difference in the show’s future. That said, the kid’s timing was so horrible — he didn’t show up until the series’ last six episodes — that Cousin Oliver has long been blamed for the end of The Brady Bunch.
9. Dawson Leary, ‘Dawson’s Creek’
When it first aired in 1998, Dawson’s Creek looked poised to take the teen soap opera throne from reigning champs Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210. There was a plucky tomboy, a misunderstood bad boy, a misunderstood bad girl, and then there was freaking Dawson, the wholesome, flavorless nougat at the center of the series. Endlessly self-obsessed and brooding, Dawson very nearly took the wind out of the series’ sails. Fortunately, Pacey was nailing his teacher, so Dawson’s Creek had that going for it.
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