Have you ever watched a show or movie and loved a character, but upon rewatching the same show or movie years later, realized that you feel a completely different way about them? This seems to be a pretty common sentiment. The reasons for such a drastic change in opinion vary; maybe you’re much older and wiser than the first time you watched the show and have a more mature outlook on life than last time, or maybe our society as a whole has become more politically correct and things that were once considered funny aren’t any more.
Here are 10 characters from popular shows and movies who were once loved by the crowds, but are now regarded as less than wonderful. Way less than wonderful.
Ross Gellar from Friends (1994–2004)
To be honest, I’ve never liked Ross and it seems that I am not alone in this. Though he certainly has some funny lines and it’s thoroughly entertaining to watch the rest of his buddies make fun of his many divorces, Ross is kind of terrible. He’s completely pretentious and is pretty awful to Rachel the entire time they are dating, and even afterward. He has insane trust issues when Rachel befriends Mark even though she has done absolutely nothing to suggest that she’s interested in this man. While he was technically within his rights to sleep with someone right after their breakup, most people would still say it’s a scumbag move. And let’s not forget the time that he told Rachel that he handed in all of the paperwork for their annulment after a drunken wedding in Vegas, but had actually lied because he couldn’t handle separating from another marital partner. You’ve already been divorced twice, Ross! Stop trying to protect your ego!
John Smith from Pocahontas (1995)
Let’s start with the fact that this movie is completely inaccurate as far as history goes; there was no romantic attachment between the real John Smith and the real Pocahontas. She did save him from harm and help him out during his time in the New World, but their interactions never extended beyond friendship–which is probably a good thing, considering that John Smith was more than fifteen years older than Pocahontas and that she was a preteen when he first arrived. Ick. Even in the family-friendly Disney version, their relationship is kind of problematic; he belongs to a group of people whose goals are to strike it rich and murder people like Pocahontas.
Nick Parker and Elizabeth James from The Parent Trap (1998)
I’ve watched this movie so many times that if you turn it on, there are some scenes I can speak along to, word for word. Throughout my childhood, I was always rooting for these two to get back together and I think that I’m still glad that they did… But the decision to split the twins up as infants is absolutely despicable. Instead of putting their contempt for each other aside, they chose to deprive their children of the unique bond that twins share and move halfway across the world from each other to make sure the kids would never find out. If you’re not mature enough to be civil to a spouse because you share children that you planned to have, you probably shouldn’t be reproducing. Also, it’s not very nice to throw hair dryers at people. (Looking at you, Elizabeth.)
Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City (1998–2004)
I watched SATC for the first time about a year ago and I have mixed feelings about Carrie Bradshaw; she has redeeming qualities but has also done some pretty awful things. The public at large, however, does not seem to be a huge fan anymore. People have recently been pointing out that she is extremely self-centered, focusing solely on her own problems during times that her friends could really use her help. She’s overly frivolous and spends way too much money on designer outfits, bags, and of course the shoes. Though neither of her main exes are stellar human beings, she’s not a particularly good girlfriend to Big or to Aidan and cheats on both of them with each other at different points in the series and movie spinoffs.
Rory from Gilmore Girls (2000–2007) and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016)
When I was in middle school, several years after the show had wrapped up, I binged on Gilmore Girls and loved all of the characters. Who wouldn’t want to be Rory Gilmore? Looking back… Me. I wouldn’t want to be Rory Gilmore, and others seem to agree.
Though she starts out as an introverted and intelligent young lady that the sleepy town of Stars Hollow idolizes, she’s had some moments where she wasn’t as sweet as everyone made her out to be. Losing her virginity to Dean when he was already married to Lindsay wasn’t this Yale student’s brightest move. Rory was pretty nasty to her mom after dropping out of college for a while and instead of doing something productive with her time, she lived off of her wealthy grandparents–the opposite of what a young Lorelai had done 16 years earlier.
When Rory rejected Logan’s proposal, I felt like her old, ambitious self was back, but then the revival showed that she has not learned from her mistakes. I loved the revival and was glad that it still felt like the show, for the most part, but I was disappointed to see so much wasted potential with this character.
Dumbledore from the Harry Potter franchise (2001–2011)
Everyone loved Dumbledore upon first reading the series or watching the movies, but in hindsight, he wasn’t the greatest. This Hogwarts headmaster withheld a lot of information from Harry Potter that would have helped him out along the way, as well as information about Harry’s parents that Harry probably would have liked to know, considering that he never got the chance to meet them himself and that according to the Mirror of Erised, this was Harry’s greatest desire.
Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014)
Barney Stinson is meant to be funny, and he is. To love this character, though, you have to turn a blind eye to his absolutely terrible treatment of women. He writes and uses a playbook full of tricks and traps to get women to sleep with him, seldom calls them back, and then tells everyone how “crazy” they are. He’s blatantly sexist and even mentions in one episode that he might have sold a woman. Um… That’s problematic. He’s a character that may be entertaining on TV, but probably not someone you would want to be close friends with in real life.
Gabriella Montez from the High School Musical franchise (2006–2008)
Gabriella was a sweet girl, but upon re-watching the movies, people are starting to think that she expected way too much out of Troy. She got pretty mad at him in that second movie because he wasn’t making enough time for her and for his friends, and while her feelings and needs are valid, Troy had a lot on his plate. He was trying to get recruited to play college basketball and potentially earn some big scholarship money and no supportive girlfriend would get in the way of her guy’s dreams just because her feelings were a little hurt. If Gabriella couldn’t handle it, they should have just broken up on good terms instead of her making him feel guilty all the time, especially with the amount of pressure Troy was under already.
Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl (2007–2012)
I’m no Gossip Girl expert, but I know that Chuck has been a fan favorite in the past. I watched the pilot episode last night and once I saw it, my first thought about Chuck was: Are you kidding me? This is the guy everyone raves about? Many other women online do agree with me, thankfully. In addition to being an asshole, Chuck is abusive and tries to take advantage of several women during this show, so I just don’t know what everyone sees in him.
Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
Some people see Ramona as independent, mysterious, and awesome. Others argue that she isn’t so great after all. She doesn’t seem to care about Scott nearly as much as he cares about her, and is she really worth the trouble of battling all of those exes? I don’t think I’d do that for anyone, to be honest. Leave the past in the past.