Friday, March 4, 2016

Who's the Worst... Insertion to an Existing Story?


Doug: Comics, television, etc. Who were those characters who suddenly showed up and upset your apple cart? A comment Rip Jagger made in our annoying characters post inspired this one. In fact, his nominees for annoyance appear at the bottom of these images!




37 comments:

Humanbelly said...

The reality-warping insertion of fully-formed little sister "Dawn" in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is a sure-fire candidate (although for me it was mitigated to a surprisingly large to degree by Michelle Trachtenberg's performance-- she was a comic hoot, honestly!)

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

Herbie wasn't so much an insertion as a substitute/replacement (for Human Torch), but annoying he was.
Staying on the annoying replacement theme, Ezri Dax on DS-9 comes to mind. I found her really grating.

Colin Jones said...

I already mentioned him in the annoying characters comments - Scrappy Doo.

Martinex1 said...

Yes to Scrappy Doo... Ugh! Do Ewoks count as an insertion? Wasn't a fan of the Ewoks.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. You could have a whole sub-category here for Most Annoying New/Youthful/"Cutesy" Character in a TV Sitcom. I think it was a standard trope among TV executives that as family shows child actors got older, eh, let's add a new kid. Stephanie on All in the Family, Rudy on the Cosby Show, new babies on Family Ties, Growing Pains, Full House, etc. This list goes on and on.

All in all, Cousin Oliver would still win in this category.

Tom

Humanbelly said...

Oh! Somehow both edo & Colin's comments made me think of another Annoying Character that I can't believe we overlooked in that earlier post: Wesley Crusher from ST:TNG. Geeze Louize, what a poorly-written character.

The photo of the kid who came in late in The Brady Bunch's run (I'd stopped watching by then) really does suggest an entire post all its own-- or perhaps a legitimate tangent on this one: "Ratings flagging? Add a cute kid!"

Dawn on BUFFY may even have been a Whedon-esque nod to that illegitimate convention, but man, there are an AWFUL lot of shows that tried to play that card. I've seen in dinnertime-making reruns of The Partridge Family that in its final season they brought in this wildly un-talented (albeit certainly cute) little mop-topped kid- a neighbor?- to sing a cloyingly "adorable" little kid song every couple of episodes. The only entertainment in sight was watching the hilariously forced expressions of Delight and Adoring Amusement on the faces of the rest of the cast members. I mean, they were pros, and they were gamely conveying the requirements of the scene. . . but you could see it. You could see behind their eyes the desperation. . . an unvoiced cry of "Oh my god, either get me out of here. . . or kill me-!!"

HB

Doug said...

Martinex --

The definition of "insertion" would be difficult to pin down, as a trilogy like Star Wars was a rolling narrative. If we define the term sort of as Tom did in his sitcom analysis (and Tom - Rudy was on Cosby from the get-go. I think you are referring to Denise's stepdaughter who appeared in the last couple of seasons), then there's an attempt by the producers to freshen the show, reach a new or different demographic audience, etc. Of course, those of us who view Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch as an "insertion" can only cry "malicious intent" on the part of the those same producers.

Edo -- spot on on HERBIE. However, he of course made it into the comics where the Torch was of course still present.

As to Wendy and Marvin -- my "existing story" premise is really just the fact that the JLA existed previously, but when they hit the telly they suddenly got this goofy baggage.

Doug

david_b said...

Too many to count, quite frankly. I'd also put Cousin Oliver and that Partridge Family kid on top as well.

Dotie on 'My Three Sons'.., anyone..?

Maya on 'Space:1999', terrible adolescent 'Saturday-morning' idea forced upon Gerry Anderson (by the New York ITC offices) in order to convince Sir Lew Grade to approve production of another 24 episodes of the show.

Another worst addition that **almost** came to light..? Adding a telepathic (and purple) llama named Willoughby on 'Lost In Space' for a soon-aborted fourth season.

Redartz said...

Here's an echo for the comments expressed regarding the unfortunate "Herbie".

From television: Scott Baio on "Happy Days". By the time of his debut on the show, I was only sporadically watching, but Chachi finished it for me. It basically became the Chachi and Joanie show...

As for Wendy and Marvin- they were a mystery. Even as a kid, I thought: "what does the JLA need these kids for?"

Anonymous said...

Sorry Doug, I got my cute kids mixed up. Yes, that was Olivia not Rudy on the Cosby Show.

Tom

Doug said...

No worries, Tom, especially when cute = annoying!

I mentioned quite some time ago that my wife and I watch Castle on ABC and in reruns on TNT. Well, they jumped the shark last season, but this season features two new characters that would definitely make mention in this conversation. I think a theme beginning to take shape here is that if you feel things need to be "spiced up", then maybe it's time to fade out.

Doug

Karen said...

I'm surprised no one has brought up Mantis yet...

She annoyed me when she just suddenly appeared in Avengers, and stuck around, and around. But looking back, it's clear that the intent was to shake the team up, and she did that. I don't really mind her now when rereading those issues. Although she did feel a bit too much like a pet character at the time.

Doug said...

Well if we want to take it back to comics, how about Spider-Man and Wolverine on the Avengers?

I am so glad I no longer read new comics...

Doug

Humanbelly said...

Oh man-- the entire history of the Avengers reads as a list of intrusive characters, really. I'm not sure there's an era since the Englehart run that doesn't have one example or another.

In the Incredible Hulk, as Wein left the book and, I believe, Roger Stern took over, there was an extremely clumsy, forced effort to create an amusing supporting cast. . . including a failed, conceited magician named Kropotkin the Great. It took far, faaaaaar too long to dispatch of the whole "Kooky Neighbors" motif in that book-- and then it happened so abruptly that it was even more jarring.

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

HB, re: Wesley Crusher. Back when TNG was just starting, when I was in my late teens, I would have totally agreed with you. However, about 10 or so years ago I rewatched all of TNG (when it was being run here on one of the local channels) and found that not only did I not find him that annoying, there was even some episodes in which he was actually a really solid presence.

As for comics, I mentioned Kitty Pryde in the post that inspired this one and I have to say she kind of grew on me after a while (kind of like Wesley Crusher I guess). However, I mostly couldn't stand Warlock in the New Mutants and still think that was a bad idea - an alien with irritating speech patterns that looks like spare parts from the Star Wars prop room. Yeesh.

Anonymous said...

Have to disagree with HB (how are the ducks?) about Dawn in Buffy; I thought that was all quite well done.

Trying to stick with what I took insertions to mean, how about Tom Sawyer in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Mind you, there was a lot more wrong with the film than that.
Which reminds me, the V for Vendetta flick was terrible too, but gahhh! - the Stephen Fry character surely made it worse.
Or Johnny Depp in From Hell; yes, I know he was supposedly based on one of the characters in the book, but he might as well be a new one. (Huh - no wonder Moore has a dislike of Hollywood)

I watched a rerun episode of Marvel's Agents of Shield the other day, against my better judgement. Who are those people?

Everything else I can think of... well, they probably belong in Annoying Characters part 2 or a discussion of retcons.

-sean

Anonymous said...

PS And having a cloud instead of Galactus in the first FF film.
Is that more annoying than Herbie in the cartoon?(Never seen the cartoon myself; generally I really dislike cute robots... but to be fair, I've often found Johnny Storm to be irritating too)

-sean

J.A. Morris said...

Dawn is a perfect example. My wife is a huge Buffy fan, I'm a "casual" fan. Whenever she watches a "Dawn" episode, I yell "you're the shark-jump for this series!" at least once.

Mantis is a good choice, but it's hard for me to pick Mantis because I read those stories as back issues.

I didn't like Angel when he re-joined the X-Men in UXM #139. I've never cared for him as a character and all he did was complain about Wolverine being dangerous. I'm not sure why Byrne/Claremont brought him back, I guess they thought the team needed an "original" X-Man on the roster when Cyclops quit. Added nothing.

david_b said...

Ted McGinley anyone...? He was **the go-to** man for final seasons.

Not really an addition per se.., but I present to you.., the '70s Mustache signifying either the last or close-to-the-last season.

It appeared on..:

- David Soul in the last year of Starsky and Hutch..

- Lee Majors on 6Million Dollar Man

- Martin Milner on Adam-12

- Mr. Kincade on Partridge Family


Only exception was BJ on MASH.

Redartz said...

HB- I had completely forgotten "Kropotkin the Great". Man, I love this community- no bit of trivia is so obscure that it can't be recalled by someone around here!

David_b- love your comment on the 'moustaches'. It just didn't work for Stsve Austin. Yet, as you noted, BJ on MASH wore it fine.
Incidentally, MASH is a great example of the inverse of today's topic. It added several characters along the eay who really connected...

Anonymous said...

It usually bothers me when they suddenly bring in a new character and say "Oh, they were there all along"; Jessica Jones is a good example (though I don't mind her so much, since it was done relatively well) , but the one that really bugged me was Sentry: he knew everyone's secret ID, was everybody's best friend, was Rogue's first lover, blah blah blah, but nobody remembered him because they were all mindwiped or something? I wish I could wipe him from MY memory.

Mike Wilson

Doug said...

Mike, I'd "like" or "favorite" that comment if I could. You may have hit on the best example in comics.

Doug

Martinex1 said...

All I can say is Sentry should have had a mustache. Awesome comments above.

How about Beau on Welcome Back Kotter.?

And I like Jonathan Winters but as a baby on Mork and Mindy he was really annoying.

Karen said...

Ugh, Sentry...agree on how terrible it was to incorporate him into the regular Marvel universe. As a separate story, not a bad idea to explore -what if Superman was a part of the Marvel U? But unnecessary and awful to bring him in and retcon everything.

And didn't they do the same exact thing with another character, Blue Marvel, just a few years ago? You'd think they would have learned. Oh wait, the same people are still running the show.

Anonymous said...

I assume that Wendy, Marvin and that weird dog of theirs all died when their universe was consumed by the Anti-Monitor.
Aquaman tried to muster some tuna to help defend their Earth but it didn't help...
M.P.

Doug said...

Hilarious - spot on.

Doug

Humanbelly said...

(*This comment has been resumed after sitting idle and unfinished for about 7 hours-- whoops!*)

Gosh, and there we see both sides of the Dawn debate, right here before us!
So Sean (down to two ducks, btw, who are fine-- but have decided to stop laying. . . which may not be the most well thought out gameplan on their part for ensuring a long and comfortable lifespan in our yard. . .), I should at least offer that, while I immediately HATED the fact of the whole Dawn Retcon, Michelle Trachtenberg truly did win me over almost immediately with her endearing performance and surprising capacity for comic schtick (in a show that didn't highlight that quality-- yet still used it smartly). No, I never bought the plot stuff surrounding her existence-- but what I liked outweighed what I didn't. And I'll tell ya, J.A., I think the show was having a number of little shark jumps at that point-- although it still remained pretty darned good until that excruciating final season.

Oh! Dodie on My Three Sons was a good early example of the add-a-kid- phenomenon-- although that show had run so long that Ernie was, in fact, an "added" kid when the oldest son (Mike?) left the show. Back when Sharkjump.com was still a website/list-serve, her appearance was commented on rather brutally, and she. . . came across it, and had a few things to say about the ungracious heaping-on that folks tend to do. And she was right-- she loved being on the show, she loved the cast, it was a great memory for her. I felt bad, and heck, I'd never written anything about her!

I suppose Little Ricky on I Love Lucy is even kind of the first example of cute kid milking. . . except that Lucille Ball really was pregnant, so there was no way to not introduce him.

Sentry, yes. A thousand times (or suns?) yes.

Ooo-- in the Star Trek film reboots, doesn't this new version of Scotty have a Cute Alien Sidekick Who Speaks Gibberish? Those films have pluses and minuses-- but that was simply a horror of a something-for-the-kiddies style marketing sin.

HB

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

Didn't Chico and the Man add a kid when Freddie Prince died..?

Anonymous said...

I disagree about the Sentry, to a point. The original miniseries was a well-done one-off story. Shoe-horning him into the Marvel Universe on a regular basis, however, killed the character. I had never heard of Blue Marvel until I read Al Ewing's Mighty Avengers. I liked him in that comic. How good was Ewing's work on Mighty Avengers? It had Greg Land art, and I didn't throw it down in disgust!

If we're talking bad Buffy characters, Dawn had nothing on Kennedy. Brrr, that character sucked.

In terms of bad insert characters, I think the worst is Romulus. He was introduced in the 2000s Wolverine comics as the secret bad guy behind all the bad things in Wolverine's history. His character design is terrible, and he's thankfully been forgotten.

- Mike Loughlin

Humanbelly said...

It did, it did (Freddie Prinze is the name tickling at your memory there, DaveB). Man, and it just didn't work-- they over-played the sentimentality of the loss, rather than just letting the audience recognize it beneath the surface. It was a close, close cast from what I remember at the time, and they just didn't know how to carry on, even though they wanted to out of love and respect for their departed pal. I'm not sure it lasted through that final season.

HB

Anonymous said...

Hmm usually the worst insertions into an existing story usually involve an annoying comic relief character or a blatant attempt to 'sex' up a series, such as Scrappy Doo and 7 of 9 on Star Trek : Voyager respectively.

On the comics side, I'm with Doug - Wolvie and Spidey have absolutely no place in the Avengers for me, except as being an occasional guest star. I'm kinda ambivalent on Kitty Pryde; at the start she seemed to be forced on us readers by Claremont, be she grew on me as time went on. Dazzler, on the other hand, well, that's another story!


- Mike 'jump the shark' from Trinidad & Tobago.

R. Lloyd said...

For me it was Herbie the Robot in the Fantastic Four. I just couldn't understand why they had to add a wise cracking robot to the cast. If they couldn't use the Human Torch, how about Power Man or Medusa from the Inhumans or even the She Hulk? Why a robot that Ben Grimm could smash on a bad day? The robot never added anything to the mix but bad jokes. I was really excited when NBC announced a "New" Fantastic Four" animated series on NBC. However after watching the first one with the real low quality animation I was very disappointed. I much prefer the 1967 Hanna Barbera version because they stayed close to the comics. I could never understand why they couldn't release it on video because it was a good series for it's time. It actually captured the spirit of the comic. All the characters at least sounded true.

Rip Jagger said...

Pipeye, Peepeye, Poopeye and Pupeye! I hated these brats when they showed up in a Popeye cartoon, reputedly his nephews. I could never figure out why they edged out Swee'pea. They look like four little mutants Popeyes. Creepy.

Rip Off

William said...

I used to love the old Plastic Man cartoon when I was a kid. But the show was replete with annoying side-kicks like Plastic Man's ever present girlfriend, Penny, and the overweight, Hawaiian "comedy" relief character, Hula Hula (who stood in for Plas' longtime sidekick Woozy Winks for some odd reason). I guess they figured he added some kind of diversity to the cast, but then they stereotyped him by giving him a derogatory name like "Hula Hula" which kind of defeated the whole purpose.

Those two were bad enough, but when Plas and Penny had a child called Plastic Baby (complete with a little red costume and goggles) that was the proverbial "straw"! The annoying factor was ramped up to "11", and I didn't stick around too long after that. (And neither did the show).

david_b said...

Yep, thanks for the correction on Freddie Prinze, HB.

I was commenting from my phone and didn't know I posted twice (removed the first one).

Yeahhh, it was a tragedy, where they should have just ended the series out of respect.

Ninja said...

SUSTAINED!

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