J.D. on scrubs and Schmidt on New Girl

8 TV “Nice Guys” Who Are Actually Total Trash

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You know the type. They complain the “hot” girls won’t date them. They moan about being stuck in the “friend zone.”

“It’s because I’m a nice guy,” they tell themselves, “Girls only date jerks,” because they think manners and a basic level of human decency means they’re entitled to have sex with whoever they want.

Maybe, in real life, they got that idea in part because sitcoms have been peddling this schtick for years. As the story goes, the heroine eventually has enough of dating the type of guy she’s really interested in and realizes that Mr. Right was there all along, usually in the form of her dorky friend or coworker. This storyline seems to crop up at least once in every popular TV comedy, from Friends to The Big Bang Theory, so it’s not surprising that some men think this brand of persistence (also known as acting stalker-y) might pay off in real life. Here’s our list of eight TV nice guys who are actually THE WORST.

leonard and penny on the big bang theory

(image: CBS)

8) Leonard Hofstadter, The Big Bang Theory

I ummed and ahhed about whether to include Leonard on this list, as compared to the rest of the characters I’ve lined up, he’s not that bad. Still, he’s the perfect example of someone who basically wore down the girl he had a crush on until she settled—not a good thing for either of them. Not that I think a man with a PhD and a good sense of humor is “settling,” but let’s be honest, Penny just wasn’t interested. If he hadn’t followed her around with pathetic puppy dog eyes for a year, she likely would have ended up with someone different.

Even after they’re married, theirs isn’t the most mutually respectful pairing. He goes from being insecure about the perceived inequality in their appearance to bragging about it and treating her like a trophy wife—not to mention that as time goes on, their lack of common interests and differing expectations of their future is becoming more and more of an issue in their relationship. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Penny didn’t even have a surname before she married him, but that’s another problem entirely.

dylan on lovesick

(image: Netflix)

7) Dylan Witter, Lovesick

At first, hipster Dylan’s naïveté and romantic ineptness is charming. He wants to find love; he’s just not very good at it. As a result, he’s ended up in the nightmare situation of having to call every woman he’s ever had sex with to tell them he’s got chlamydia. Unfortunate indeed.

However, as we go further through his list of past relationships, the traits we initially loved him for become frustrating rather than endearing. As he bounces from one relationship to the next, ignoring key signs that this isn’t the girl for him, it becomes harder and harder to sympathize. He also doesn’t treat these ladies as well as he thinks he does, cheating on one ex-girlfriend with a colleague and not even bothering to learn another’s nationality. Still, the ultimate dick move has to be sleeping with his friend Evie, knowing that she has a boyfriend, and keeping it a secret from his new love, Abigail. Seriously not cool.

schmidt in new girl

(image: Fox)

6) Schmidt, New Girl

Schmidt’s toolish antics are a running joke on New Girl—he even has his own “douchebag jar” that he is forced to put money into whenever he does something … well, douchey. In the beginning, it was part of what made his character lovable—the way Max Greenfield and the show’s writers balanced his shallow, self-obsessed nature with more heartwarming moments, not to mention a wacky streak responsible for the show’s most quotable lines. “She’s on a flip phone, Jess. She’s either poor or a time traveler.”

Nevertheless, in the second season, his womanizing ways get the better of him, and he two-times girlfriend Elizabeth with Cece, his ex who he can’t seem to let go of. This blows up in his face, and instead of analyzing where he went wrong (dude, you dated two women at once, it’s not difficult to work out), he blames his friends for telling him to come clean in the first place. Excellent logic. This leads to a long run of Schmidt wearing Cece down to take him back.

However, as we hit New Girl’s seventh and final season, Schmidt has managed to redeem himself. He’s now married to Cece, and the pair have a three-year-old daughter named Ruth (named after Ruth Bader Ginsberg, no less), showing that he’s definitely grown as a person, but those past transgressions are hard to overlook.

j.d. on scrubs

(image: NBC)

5) John Dorian, Scrubs

Season one of Scrubs was where I first came across the “friend zone.” As a preteen, this concept didn’t seem offensive. After all, I was a J.D. and Elliot shipper. However, looking back, I can see the flaws in his logic. I don’t blame the guy for having the hots for his colleague, but treating her friendship as a consolation prize is pretty lame. At least he seems to accept it though, and doesn’t try and push her into a relationship she’s not ready for.

On the other hand, as the show progresses, his attitude towards her changes. In season three, Elliot gets back together with Sean, her perfect dolphin trainer ex-boyfriend who was “the one who got away.” At this point, J.D. becomes obsessed with her all over again, spending months trying to win her heart, even though she’s now in a serious relationship. Eventually, he gets his way and convinces Elliot to dump her boyfriend, only to decide he doesn’t want her anymore. He then tells her this news on the day of his best friend’s wedding. Dick. I know it all ends well, and that they eventually get married in season nine, but smart, independent Elliot could have done so much better.

riley on buffy the vampire slayer

(image: The WB)

4) Riley Finn, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Riley Finn is the definition of toxic masculinity. Sure, at first he seems like a sweet boy from Iowa, and we get that he was meant to be the opposite of her first love Angel and his dark, brooding tendencies. Yet it soon becomes obvious that he’s not as reliable or trustworthy as the Scooby gang assumed, and their romance proves to be an unhealthy one.

As their relationship progresses, Riley is unable to handle Buffy’s superpowers, or the fact that his girlfriend is better than him at everything that makes him “a man.” He responds by going rogue, putting himself in increasingly dangerous situations. This culminates with him sort of cheating on her with a bunch of scummy vampires in a brothel. Real classy.

Their relationship ends after Riley gives Buffy 24 hours to decide if she wants to forgive him for his vampy transgression, or he’ll re-join the military and ditch Sunnydale for South America. Riley didn’t stick around long enough to find out her answer, but personally, I think she dodged a bullet with that one.

jim halpert on the office

3) Jim Halpert, The Office (U.S.)

Like J.D., Jim Halpert from The Office starts out as a (literal) nice guy but becomes more and more of a jerk over time. Hell, in 2017, there was even an internet-wide debate about whether or not Jim was a dick, with the suggestion that Pam should have ended up Mike, the boom mic operator guy.

For many sitcom fans, Jim and Pam are the ultimate TV couple, but I’ve never understood why. I mean, his first kiss with Pam comes after he confesses his love for her and she rejects him. It only happens because, like a creep, he follows her to an empty office and smooches her. Jim, no means no, not “maybe in 10 minutes.”

Then there’s her art show. Where was Jim during this important moment for Pam? Pretending to be a vampire to prank Dwight. Even when they get together, he’s a crappy partner. He doesn’t support her artistic dreams and is a poor co-parent to Cece, not to mention all the times he made big, life changing decisions without telling her (the Athlead job, moving to Philadelphia, buying his parents’ creepy old house). Karen got away relatively unscathed, but Pam is stuck with this guy for life.

ted mosby on how i met your mother

(image: CBS)

2) Ted Mosby, How I Met your Mother

For a someone who wants to get married so desperately, he’s particularly adept at repelling women. He jumped from relationship to relationship throughout the show’s 10 seasons and treated each girl he dated like crap. Remember Natalie, the chick he dumped on her birthday (twice)? Or “Blah Blah,” the ex whose name Ted couldn’t even be bothered to remember?

Ted is far too selfish to be “the romantic” he sees himself as. After all, he constantly goes after women who aren’t ready to couple up and ignores their protests, like Robin and Stella, because deep down, he believes his feelings are more important than theirs. Then, he cheats on Victoria, a woman who doesn’t want to be with him, not to mention the time he befriended Zoe, only to ditch her when he realized she was married and he wasn’t going to get anywhere. Seriously dude, what is wrong with you?

Want to know the main reason why I didn’t buy him and The Mother ending up together? It wasn’t the whole him-and-Robin thing; it was the fact Tracey could have done so much better. I mean, why spend 10 years getting over your tragically deceased first love, just to marry Ted Mosby? What a waste.

ross geller on friends

(image: NBC)

1) Ross Geller, Friends

Probably the most well-known example, he’s been obsessed with Rachel since high school, even founding the “I Hate Rachel Club” as an outlet for his toxic masculinity. Still, had he moved on from her like a normal person, the situation could have been passed off as (a slightly disturbing) a teenage crush. However, his fixation with Rachel persists into adulthood, even after he gets a girlfriend who returns his feelings and who he has far more in common with.

When he finds out that Rachel likes him back towards the end of season one, he writes a pro/con list comparing her to his girlfriend to help him decide who to be with. In this list he points out what he perceives to be Rachel’s flaws, including she’s “just a waitress” with “chubby ankles.” Then, when he finally gets her to forgive him for this and they start dating, he becomes jealous and clingy (not to mention whiny) over her friendship with Mark, nor can he handle her budding career in fashion or the fact that she has a life outside of him.

He punishes her for not taking his shit by sleeping with the girl from the copy place, then refuses to accept responsibility for his actions when she gives him another chance a few months later. GRRR … Plus, he’s homophobic, self-obsessed, and has a serious superiority complex. Rachel, YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED ON THE PLANE.

(featured image: NBC and Fox)

Sophie is a cute feminist butterfly navigating the world one kitty meme at a time, or at least that’s how her best friend described her when she asked for help writing this bio. She likes cheese and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she one day hopes to be the proud owner of a corgi. You can find more of her work at Screen Rant, The Untitled Magazine, and Bolde.

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