Ranking TV’s Terrible Men the Internet Loves, From Intolerable to We Get It

Netflix (2); HBO

A troubling phenomenon recurred among TV fans this year. When presented with truly awful men on TV, said truly awful men… were beloved!

We’re not talking about subjectively crappy people here. We’re talking about characters that even the actors who play them think are terrible people — some are literal serial killers! Nevertheless, the “I could fix him” genre persisted. And now there are whole sides of TikTok dedicated to You‘s Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), House of the Dragon‘s Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), and even Monster‘s Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters). Internet: Are you OK?

What makes a guy on TV so terrible that he’s likable? It probably has a lot to do with the actor being well liked in real life. Loving the bad boy is also a tale as old as time — an anti-hero can be very appealing. But there are some evil men on TV whose villainous deeds are sometimes justified by viewers because of their bad-boy love. And while there are a handful of characters for which we understand the fervor, there are some internet obsessions by which we simply cannot abide!

Here, we list TV’s terrible men the internet loved this year, ranked from intolerable to we get it.

INTOLERABLE: Evan Peters in 'Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story'
Courtesy Of Netflix

INTOLERABLE: Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters) in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

We get the Peters appeal, but thinking he’s hot in Dahmer… come to your senses. The Netflix series is so graphic, a family member of one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s 17 victims said they felt “retraumatized” by it. But social media is flooded with people fawning over the character even as he’s seen gruesomely murdering people. Hollywood has a habit of casting hot men as serial killers, and the byproduct is people root for them (hence the creation of this list). It’s arguably a practice that should stop. We’ve had our fill of true crime dramas by now, haven’t we?

Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in 'Stranger Things'
Steve Dietl/Netflix

INTOLERABLE: Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) in Stranger Things

Thinking Vecna is hot — couldn’t be me! This one is intolerable because, well, look at him. Jamie Campbell Bower is a looker, but Vecna looks like he’s dripping slime. No, thanks. Outside of his monstrous means of murder (I can still hear Max’s bones cracking…), Vecna’s looks are actually what’s appealing to some fans.

One TikTok user posted a video of them pretending to lick Vecna’s nose, saying, “Am I the only one that thinks the Vecna is hot?”

Campbell Bower responded in a Netflix video reacting to fan posts, bringing up the “Vecnussy” everyone talked about (it’s a reference to his butt). He can’t fathom why they think the villain is hot, but he’s “grateful” nonetheless.

Penn Badgley in 'You'
John P. Fleenor/Netflix

INTOLERABLE: Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) in You

The internet is convinced they could “fix” the murderous Joe Goldberg, but no one thinks Joe is more intolerable than the man who plays him.

Badgley called Joe “disgusting and unwatchable” in one interview, said he deserves to die in another, and told Netflix, “Obviously Joe is one of the worst people ever. Don’t aspire to be like him, don’t defend him. Ever. Don’t ever defend him. He doesn’t need it.”

He summed it all up to Vanity Fair, saying, “We can’t lead ourselves to believe that if Joe would simply find the right person that he would be happy — because he’s a f***ing murderer.”

And that’s that on that.

Bill Hader in 'Barry'
Merrick Morton/ HBO

INTOLERABLE: Barry (Bill Hader) in Barry

Viewers loved Barry dearly in the first two seasons. But part of the point of Barry is to show he’s irredeemable and always has been.

Barry doesn’t think he’s evil, and therein lies the problem. Bill Hader‘s actor/assassin will never stop killing. And when he’s not killing people, he’s doing things like screaming at his girlfriend in upsetting ways. When she tries to express how it made her feel, he’s incapable of accountability or even seeing what he did to warrant consequences. Barry is a peak anti-hero that we wouldn’t be rooting for if he weren’t the main character. But like Breaking Bad, that’s the point.

Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon'
Ollie Upton/HBO

INTOLERABLE: Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) in House of the Dragon

Viewers have nicknamed House of the Dragon‘s resident bad boy “Daddy Daemon”/”the internet’s boyfriend” (Smith is playing along).

Daemon murdered his first wife to marry his second, was emotionally distant from his children, and caused major problems for just about everybody. But when he started using his worst qualities to protect Rhaenyra, the internet swooned. It took some fans seeing Daemon choke Rhaenyra in the Season 1 finale for them to realize that Daemon is actually, objectively the worst, even though that was made clear in the series premiere. The delusion — it radiated! Writer/executive producer Sara Hess told The Hollywood Reporter she thought the fervor “baffling.”

“Not that Matt isn’t incredibly charismatic and wonderful, and he’s incredible in the role. But Daemon himself is … I don’t want him to be my boyfriend! I’m a little baffled how they’re all, ‘Oh, daddy!’ And I’m just like: ‘Really?’ How — in what way — was he a good partner, father or brother — to anybody? You got me. He ain’t Paul Rudd.”

Daemon does have humanity about him, however. He’s not a monster, but he’s unabashedly a bad guy. This is one of those characters where the very beloved actor is what puts the character on the cusp of the “We Get It” guys.

Ben Barnes in 'Shadow and Bone'
Dávid Lukács/Netflix

We Get It: The Darkling (Ben Barnes) in Shadow and Bone

For viewers, the appeal of The Darkling is he’s evil to everyone but Alina, whose light powers balance out his dark. It’s the “I hate everyone but you, you’re special” trope baked into a hot literary character. Add Ben Barnes to that mix and… we get it. But he is on the cusp of intolerable.

Sam Reid in 'Interview With the Vampire'
Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

We Get It: Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) in Interview With the Vampire

Lestat is a verifiable monster, but self-proclaimed! In fact, he relishes in his murderous bloodlust. Sam Reid‘s portrayal of the Anne Rice vampire is the internet’s favorite evil bitch. And we can respect a villain who never claims to be otherwise! Although the way he treats Louis when on a jilted rampage is entirely intolerable.

Charlie Vickers in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'
Prime Video

We Get It: Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) in The Rings of Power

The signs that Halbrand was evil were there all along in The Rings of Power, but like Galadriel, it took the internet longer to catch on to the hints than it probably should have. If you truly believed Charlie Vickers‘ mysterious character wasn’t evil, we get why his f**kboy vibe would make some swoon. Learning he was a big bad later on no doubt made him hotter to some, too. Hopefully, if you caught on to his true identity early on, you weren’t shipping him with Galadriel…

Matthew Macfadyen in 'Succession'
Graeme Hunter/HBO

We Get It: Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) in Succession

On the internet, Tom Wambsgans is the people’s princess (just look at all the Tom fan cams that we can’t deny we also partook in). But good guys don’t say “do you want to make a deal with the Devil?” as if they’re asking someone to prom. Love you, Tom, but you suck! In fairness, so does the entire family he married into. And people are rooting for him immensely after the recent Succession finale.

To quote my colleague, Leah Williams, “I like want to fix Kendall, but I want to watch Tom win.”

Jeremy Strong in 'Succession'
Macall B. Polay/HBO

We Get It: Kendall Roy in Succession

The internet truly thinks they could fix Kendall Roy. There are literally Etsy shops that make T-shirts saying “I can fix him” with Jeremy Strong‘s face inside of a heart. People just want their favorite emotionally frail nepobaby to thrive. Notably, no one from Succession would be liked by their stans if they met them in real life. But there’s something about Kendall being a fictional sad boy that makes social media swoon.