The Hottest Bad Asses, Villains, and Weirdos on TV

For years my friends have argued and debated about the film Pretty In Pink. Did Andie make the right choice? Should she have ended up with her crush, Blane? Or best friend Duckie? This is the part of the conversation where I throw my ice cubes at them and yell BORING. The answer is neither. Neither of those guys were ever my choice. I only had eyes for Steff.

The choice is pretty clear. Blaine was weak, Duckie was possessive, and Steff was holding. Okay, Steff was mean, manipulative, and a total scumbag, but what girl didn’t spend her formative years making out with the James Dean poster on her wall?

With the current glut of bland, dimple-chinned super heroes clogging up the airwaves, I tip my glass to the binge-worthy on-screen skeeves, weirdos, and punks who’ll chew a mile of scenery on the way to landing one well-crafted fuck-you line. Here’s to the lovely psychos and beautiful freaks who make life infinitely more interesting.

(Warning—this article is filled with spoilers, blood, guts, and plot points. Read at your own risk.)

KILGRAVE (David Tennant) from Jessica Jones

You know that really manipulative ex-boyfriend who will just not go away? He invades your subconscious, your dreams, and then pops back into your life at the most inopportune times? Well, imagine if he could control your mind. I’m not talking about getting you to take on his student loan payments. I’m talking shit like making you set your own bar on fire, cut a man’s arms off and put them down a disposal, and stab yourself to death. Enter Kevin Kilgrave, a product of childhood experiments gone wrong who can make you do whatever he wants. He’s the nemesis and former kidnapper of Jessica Jones. He controlled her every thought and pushed her to the point of committing murder. As Kilgrave, Tennant saunters and sneers around SoHo, getting grown men to give him their purple Zenga suits in the middle of the street. He has tantrums in high-priced penthouses and dines on five-star meals while ordering patrons to off themselves for his amusement. As Kilgrave sees it, his mind control, once a curse, is now the biggest blessing. “How do you people live like this? Just hoping people will do what you want? It’s unbearable.”

JOB (Hoon Lee) from Banshee

Job has tough competition as Banshee’s biggest weirdo from Lucas Hood—an ex con masquerading as the sheriff who, like the Energizer Bunny, takes a licking but keeps on kicking, punching, stabbing, and fucking the local Amish girl. Then there is local millionaire thug Kai Proctor, former Amish, shunned by his family, who beats his enemies so badly that he has to pick their teeth out of his knuckles and feed their fingers to his Doberman. Despite this…Job is the Banshee standout. Job is a tour-de-force cross-dressing, Goth, Asian cyber hacker who could make the NSA jealz, with a penchant for explosives, haute couture, and devastating one liners. While Lucas is at least trying to blend in, Job rides into town on a motorcycle in outlandish wig and makeup. He doesn’t suffer fools, can’t stand anyone who is behind the times, and woe be upon the idiot who tries to throw shade at his fashion choices. He will cut a small town bitch: “This is Diane Von Furstenberg. Shoo. Go get pregnant, Snooki.” His entire wardrobe of wigs is completely lost on the small, sleepy town of Banshee, PA, but he’s not dressing for them, now is he? The townspeople of Banshee aren’t the only ones who are on the receiving end of his distain. He has no problem telling an entire field of cows to fuck off.

Image via SundanceTV

SOLDIER (Jimmi Simpson) from Hap and Leonard

There is a checklist for figuring out if someone is a psychopath. Solider ticks off pretty much all the boxes. He’s a racist. He kills indiscriminately. He is cunning and callous. He deals drugs, and he will do anything to get what he wants. Soldier is impatient, intimidating, and tyrannical. He likes to take risks: Like breaking into a stranger’s house, have sex there, and hope they return home so he has a reason to kill them. He has no problem with extreme violence. In fact, it’s a big turn-on for him. The only thing that keeps him from being over the top is his love for his girlfriend, Angel. The fact that he can feel an emotion shows he isn’t a completely lost soul. It makes him a creepier individual when he drives nails through a woman’s hand. Unlike most psychopaths, he understands emotion and pain and does it anyway. Jimmi Simpson, decked in a nerdy checkered shirt and glasses, plays Soldier with unhinged charisma. You are never sure which wall he is going to bounce off next. Whether he is in a diner in broad daylight or in a field at midnight, Soldier could lethally strike. You gotta give it up to Soldier. He does it with style. Who else puts on a tape of electronica and dances for his captives before a torture session?

RAMSEY BOLTON (Iwan Rheon) from Game Of Thrones

Hunts humans for sport. Flays people alive. Psychologically tortures and castrates a man. Stabs and kills his father. Rapes and beats his wife. Rapes and beats strangers, or anyone, really. Sets dogs on his stepmother and infant brother and watches as the kinfolk are torn apart. This is Ramsey Bolton’s Tinder profile under what he does for fun.

Maybe he’s just a dick-faced little psychopath who enjoys power and the killing that comes with it.

Maybe he has a chip on his shoulder because he was the bastard son of Roose Bolton. Maybe it’s because he found out that his dad raped his mother and had her husband killed. Maybe he’s just a dick-faced little psychopath who enjoys power and the killing that comes with it. Iwan Rheon, who plays Ramsay with gleeful sadism, lights up with arousal when he gets to kill someone. I swear I can hear the trace of a giggle. Sometimes the killings are calculated, sometimes they’re random, but he always enjoys it. He will kill a soldier that has surrendered, a prisoner who has confessed, a lover—it makes no difference to him—just as long as he is inflicting pain. There is no death scene for Ramsay Bolton that would be satisfying enough at this point. The only thing that softens the blow of this vile character for me, is the knowledge that the actor, Iwan, used to play in a wedding band. So, it can’t be so bad, right? Anyone who covered KC and the Sunshine Band has got to have a soft spot in them somewhere, right?

To quote Ramsay himself…“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”

DODD GERHARDT (Jeffrey Donovan) from Fargo

You could nominate the entire cast of this show as weirdoes, villains, and badasses. It would take days to commend all the eccentricities of the people of Fargo. Dodd has major competition with high body counts and strange quirks, especially going up against Bokeem Woodbine’s creepily cheerful Mike Milligan, a hired hit man who likes to carry out acts of cruelty while quoting everyone from Louis XI to Lewis Carroll. There’s also the hyper violent Native American tracker Hanzee (Zahn McClarnon) whose moral compass broke somewhere between the massacre of the Sioux tribe and the time a ditzy beautician stabbed him in the back with a pair of scissors. And don’t forget doughy butcher Ed Blumquist, who is just trying to keep his wife happy, which includes putting a dead body through his meat grinder. Think about that on your next trip to In-N-Out burger.

In the middle of electrocuting a guy’s nuts, Dodd stops to order a chocolate glazed donut…on second thought, those donuts looked really good.

Dodd Gerhardt is still the weirdest punk of the bunch. With a pursed lip overbite and thousand-yard-stare, his prepubescent styled tantrums stack up bodies. He’s the type of guy who will cut off your ears and call you a weakling for dying on him. He hates women, even his daughter, whom he abuses. As Dodd claims: “Women. Can’t live with them, can’t turn them into cat food,” though you get the feeling he has tried. The only woman he stands down for is Mommy, who he hates taking orders from, but cuddles up to in the back of a car, simpering for comfort after a shootout. Jeffrey Donovan plays Dodd somewhere between a sociopath and a halfwit, which makes him even more dangerous. He’s all id and tyrannical impulse, no control. In the middle of electrocuting a guy’s nuts, Dodd stops to order a chocolate glazed donut…on second thought, those donuts looked really good.

DANIEL HOLDEN (Aden Young) from Rectify

When you’re thrown in prison at the age of 18 for the rape and strangulation of your high-school sweetheart, life is pretty bleak. When you’re on Death Row, it’s pretty much over. Daniel Holden got a reprieve when DNA evidence proved his innocence. Or did it? Even though he was released, everyone except his mother and sister think he is guilty. And even Daniel isn’t sure what is true. He can’t quite remember if he killed the girl or not. Prison is a fucked-up place, and the constant shower rapes and head games sure made him a disturbed individual. Aden Young plays Daniel like an alien landing on Earth for the first time. Everything is a new experience for him from the sunlight filtering through the trees, to a children’s merry go round, to eating a bear claw. His strange, unsettling stare and halting speech is unnerving. He may not be a killer, but he is off his rocker. After his stepbrother taunts him about being raped in prison, he chokes him out, pulls his pants down, and fills his ass crack with coffee grinds. It’s not murder, but not something you want to put on your resume either.

Rectify is a slow burner. You’re not sure if you are watching the tragedy of a man falsely imprisoned or if the weirdest con artist ever is snowing you. You want to believe that he can be redeemed, as does his sweet sister in law who takes him to church to be saved. She is so naïve. Daniel must see a sacrificial lamb when he looks at her.

DANNY RAYBURN (Ben Mendelsohn) from Bloodline

You know that one black sheep in the family—you give them money, make excuses for them over and over again…and then cover up drug trafficking and murder for them. They go and blackmail you with it. You really have no choice but to kill them, right? Danny Rayburn got the short end of the stick in his fancy schmancy Florida family, and he’s making them pay for it, even while dead. Taunting his brothers and sister from the grave with a smug gravely voice, Ben Mendelsohn shifts the energy of every scene he enters. He can unnerve you with a simple exhalation of cigarette smoke. He has pinned his siblings in impossible positions, with the help of his scumbag friends. Every time one problem is solved, the ground moves out from under his siblings. Danny’s disembodied voice sounds off, with a laugh. They will never be free of him. Lucky for us.

Image via Amazon Studios

KD DENNISON (Garrett Dillahunt) from Hand of God

Religion can be a real kick in the teeth. You’re a down on your luck, violent sociopath, trying to get right with the Lord. You finally get out of prison and find a church that will let you worship. Then this judge tells you that God is speaking to him and telling him to kill everyone who crossed him…and he needs your help. Who are you not to say yes?  The Lord says an eye for an eye, or in this case, burying a dude in a construction site for a coma victim. But, you’ve started to take a liking to gardening and growing grass. All those little blades of green grass. If you go back to jail, who will take care of those little blades of grass? Welcome to the tortured, befuddled mind of KD Dennison: Ex con, Jesus worshipper, green thumb, follower. The man believes in the good word, but also puts a homeless dude’s head through a wall when he catches him pissing on the church. Garrett Dillahunt simmers beneath the surface until boiling over. Knowing he’s being controlled, but not quite smart enough to get out from under it, he swings wildly from gentle giant transformed by the gospel to raging murderer whose anger will lead him to rip out his own lawn or someone’s throat.

TYRELL WELLICK (Martin Wallstrom) from Mr. Robot

Everyone knows that to make it in New York City is tough. It’s a rat race. So who would begrudge a smug as fuck, ladder-climbing business VP from going to the slums and paying a homeless guy a few hundred bucks to be curb stomped until unconscious? A dude needs to unwind. Sometimes you have to fuck a male secretary to get the necessary info when you need it. It’s just business. As long as wifey doesn’t find out. It’s tough undermining and maneuvering all day long. When people won’t get out of your way and let you have what you want. Not what you want, but what you deserve. Sometimes you need to go that extra mile and try to seduce your rival’s wife by walking in on her in the bathroom while she’s trying to pee. When that doesn’t make her swoon, you choke her to death.

Tyrell is a millennial Patrick Bateman. He has major anger issues only outshined by his ambition. He hasn’t put on a raincoat and taken a chainsaw to anyone. Mostly because he hasn’t had the opportunity. Or because he doesn’t know where they sell chainsaws, I’m guessing.

Image via Amazon Studios

OBERGRUPPENFURHER JOHN SMITH (Rufus Sewell) from Man in the High Castle

There isn’t a more handsome, chiseled creep in film and television than Rufus Sewell. That’s why it’s so damn terrifying when you put him in a Nazi uniform and it STILL does nothing to quell his sex appeal. They had to go and update the look with a tightly tailored floor-length leather coat, creating a trendier, sexier fascism. It’s almost like Amazon is trying to warn us, or possibly numb us to the inevitable fact that a fascist America is upon us. We need to get used to it.

The crux of the series The Man In the High Castle is the question: “What if the Nazis won the war?” Well, they take over the U.S., slaughtering all “Semite terrorists,” and occupy the eastern half of the country, leaving Japan to occupy the western half.

Commanding this new world is stoic and steely Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith. Living in a well-manicured, Norman Rockwell style utopia, John believes in God, Family, and Hitler, just like any good American does. It’s a jarring image to see Smith toss the ball around in the yard with his son under a swastika flag.

John’s likes: Sailing, ruthlessly torturing prisoners, pushing men off skyscrapers with little more than a shrug.

His dislikes: Having to put down his son for being a cripple, insubordination, and Jews.

CHUCK McGILL (Michael McKean) from Better Call Saul

A lot of nasty villains populate the pre-Heisenberg world of New Mexico. Chuck McGill is the weirdest and worst. Sure, Bob Odenkirk’s Saul/Jimmy bends the rules and thinks the law is only supposed to be used when convenient. But Chuck doesn’t play fair either.  He uses Jimmy when he needs to and discards him when he doesn’t. He dislikes that Jimmy is liked. He undercuts him, negates him, and makes Jimmy doubt himself.

You see the other bad guys coming. You never see when Chuck is about to stab you in the back.

You can argue that cartel heavies are much more villainous than an ailing white lawyer. But Chuck is supposed to be Jimmy’s brother. He is supposed to be on his side. You see the other bad guys coming. You never see when Chuck is about to stab you in the back.

CHIP BASKETS (Zach Galifianakis) from Baskets

While the bulk of these picks are from dramas, if we’re talking weird, you must include the Baskets brothers from the super dark comedy Baskets. The show centers on depressed rodeo clown Chip Baskets. While not always villains, clowns are often terrifying. Zach does double duty, also playing his twin brother Dale (yes, like the chipmunks), who is the more successful, sanctimonious, and irritating of the pair. Every episode is filled with a combination of Galifianakis’s eccentric slapstick and the heartbreaking melancholy of a man who just can’t adult. Chip is wallowing in a failed marriage. His clown training doesn’t have much use in blue collar Bakersfield, California, except at the local rodeo. The audience just wants to see him get hit by the bull. This guy can join a mime gang and fight off a rabid coyote, but can’t stand up to his domineering mother (played by comedian Louie Anderson). As his estranged wife says: “Oh, Cheep, don’t be sad. You’re not zhat type of clune.”

Honorable mentions:

Image via WGN America

TOM MACON (Reed Diamond) from Underground

Lynched his mixed-race bastard son and let the boy swing beneath him as he stood on his flag-draped plantation balcony and stumped for Senator on an anti-abolition platform.

Image via Netflix

THOMAS YATES (Paul Danke) from House of Cards

Everyone is afraid of human sharks, the Underwoods, except for author Thomas Yates, who writes about their devious politics freely, beds Claire, and puts on pearls to play dress up with the one person who can bring the formidable Claire and Frank Underwood to their knees—Claire’s mother.

REVEREND RICHARD GARY WAYNE (Jon Hamm) from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

A rare but obvious comedic choice. Rev. Wayne kidnapped and kept four sister wives in an underground bunker for 15 years and made them hand crank electricity for his jukebox while he worked on his sweet karate moves.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ GACHA (Luis Guzman) from Narcos

Executed his own drug-sniffing dog when it couldn’t detect cocaine that was baked into the side of a fiberglass boat. Is there a PETA branch in Colombia?

Looking forward to:

Walton Goggins—Vice Principals 

The quintessential cowboy creep, Boyd Crowder, who stole the Hateful 8 away from some top-notch actors, is about to tear shit up opposite Danny McBride in a turf war for school administration.

Dominic Cooper—Preacher

The suave Englishman is taking on the comic book role of Jesse Custer, a small town, badass preacher who is hunting down God with the help of his assassin girlfriend and vampire best friend. Squad goals.

Previously posted in The Kindland

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