When A Character Stinks
I've sometimes abandoned reading/watching a story because of a single character. The writer/s must think this person is funny/appealing/recognizable, but for me, they're nothing but irritating. Here are three that get to me.
With apologies to cozy lovers: the amateur sleuth's zany best friend. When she constantly proposes absolutely dumb ideas, like having a seance to find out who the killer is, I'm out. Crazy buddies can be a hoot in a story, but they can also take things from slightly wacky to waaaay too unbelievable.
Other characters that stop me reading/watching are self-obsessed whiners. Even if they have good reason to be messed up, I quickly get tired of their antics. Rusty on Major Crimes is a good example, as is Anaken Skywalker in Star Wars. I never finished watching the movie that explained his background, because I couldn't stand his whiny "it's not fair" attitude. I used to read Kay Scarpetta novels, but the bitchy niece went over the top, and I didn't want to be around her anymore, even in fiction.
The one person who creates, or at least courts, disaster by disobeying logic and rules. For the old folks among us, Dr. Smith from Lost in Space is the prime example. They should have shot that guy into a black hole in the third episode. Yes, I know it's a plot device, but when it's the same character every time, he/she quickly becomes tiresome. In current mystery/cop show offerings, there are officers who go off the rails, investigating crimes they've been told not to, breaking every rule the department has on the books, and mistreating suspects. Disaster is averted when they get the bad guy, but I can't help but be concerned about all the people they bullied along the way.
I know, I know. These are accepted stereotypes for their genres. They make setting up a plot easy, and readers/watchers accept them for what they are. For me, they're deal-breakers. If you aren't creative enough to get past using mass-produced, plaster characters, I'll go somewhere else.
What type of character(s) irritate you?