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Welcome to the Annoying TV Kid Bracket

We locked ourselves in a room and asked an important question: “Which kids have forced me to buy a new TV after I broke my old one by throwing the remote at it?” This is the tournament to decide who is the most annoying child in television history.

Ringer illustration

At some point in between considering livestreaming the loss of her virginity to “raise awareness about human sex trafficking,” deciding to forgo college to instead work for a “for-profit” startup that builds housing for the homeless, condemning “you know, the privatized shams, like banks and credit card companies,” and inadvertently snitching about her mother’s infidelity, it became clear: Big Little Lies’ Abigail Carlson had entered elite Annoying TV Kid territory.

It’s a hallowed classification, full of unrelentingly angsty, unceasingly pretentious, purely obnoxious young people who have served no greater purpose on television but to annoy us beyond belief. Whether we’re talking about Cousin Oliver way back on The Brady Bunch, chocolate pudding-eating Carl on The Walking Dead, or mopey Dana Brody on Homeland, these kids pull attention away from the main narratives of their shows, as incredibly large chunks of episodes are dedicated to their “struggles,” all while audience members pull out their hair while screaming “NO ONE CARES!!!” into the void.

Abigail’s ascendance into this hall of infamy raises a couple of questions: Where exactly does she fit on the Annoying TV Kid scale? And most importantly, who deserves the title of the most annoying TV kid of all time? To answer both those questions, The Ringer is thrilled to introduce The Annoying TV Kid Bracket.

This devastatingly frustrating collection of kids was devised by our own Annoying TV Kid Selection Committee, a small group of people who locked themselves in a room (basically) and asked themselves an important question: “Which kids have forced me to buy a new TV after I broke my old one by throwing the remote at it?” Each member of that group submitted their own personal rankings of annoying kids, which were compiled in a master ranking, after which the kids were seeded accordingly. But now, we put it to you. You can vote here on the website, on Twitter, and on Instagram every day till 5 p.m. ET through Friday. Voting will go as follows:

Monday: Round of 32
Tuesday: Sweet 16
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship

In the words of A.J. Soprano: [makes fart noise]. Cool. Now, let’s get to the matchups.


The Premature Goatee Region

(1) A.J. Soprano, The Sopranos vs. (8) Seasons 3-4 Bobby Draper, Mad Men

1. A.J. Soprano: I’m getting mad just thinking about this doofus. He of the double meatball, pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions, and extra mozzarella pizza (A.J. is the only human ever to get snitched on by a slice of pizza), Tony Soprano’s only son was endlessly whiny, entitled, and altogether incapable. The guy got fired from Blockbuster! Sure, A.J. was a product of Tony’s lackluster parenting, but at some point you gotta stop making excuses for people—and that point is usually when they grow awful facial hair.

8. Seasons 3-4 Bobby Draper: This is the Bobby Draper played by Jared Gilmore, who eventually left Mad Men for a larger role in ABC’s Once Upon a Time. He wasn’t that bad, and was more inconsequential than annoying—but he was mean to Carla, and for that reason we should all hate his guts.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    (1) A.J. Soprano, ‘The Sopranos’
    (7641 votes)
  • 10%
    (8) Seasons 3-4 Bobby Draper, ‘Mad Men’
    (917 votes)
8558 votes total Vote Now

(4) Lily Tucker-Pritchett, Modern Family vs. (5) Rickon Stark, Game of Thrones

4. Lily Tucker-Pritchett: Mitchell and Cameron’s adopted daughter on Modern Family began the show as a delightful source of comic relief. But as she grew up, she turned into a little demon child. She assaulted a baby! She listens to screamo! I think that Lily’s attitude was supposed to be funny, but here’s a rule when it comes to kids: A kid being mean is only funny at age 3 or younger; any sassiness displayed after that is just super annoying.

5. Rickon Stark: Rickon, DO ANYTHING. Stop whining about how hard life is to Bran—you know, the kid who’s paralyzed from the waist down? Stop getting caught by the fucking Umbers. And for the love of god, ZIGZAG, YOU BIG DUMB IDIOT.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (4) Lily Tucker-Pritchett, ‘Modern Family’
    (5149 votes)
  • 44%
    (5) Rickon Stark, ‘Game of Thrones’
    (4182 votes)
9331 votes total Vote Now

(3) Finn Walden, Homeland vs. (6) Walt Lloyd, Lost

3. Finn Walden: Your first memories of Timothée Chalamet may be him saying “hella tight” in Lady Bird or doing peach-related things in Call Me by Your Name, but my first memories of Timothée Chalamet are him playing the vice president’s son in Homeland, in which he was a jerky little shit who committed vehicular manslaughter and then later died off-screen. He really sucked.

6. Walt Lloyd: “Walt grew like seven inches between seasons and it pissed everyone off,” a member of the Annoying TV Kid Selection Committee stated during the voting process, a take that is both correct and an understatement.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    (3) Finn Walden, ‘Homeland’
    (3876 votes)
  • 45%
    (6) Walt Lloyd, ‘Lost’
    (3248 votes)
7124 votes total Vote Now

(2) Kim Bauer, 24 vs. (7) Harrison Morgan, Dexter

2. Kim Bauer: It’s actually a little shocking that Kim isn’t a 1-seed. During the second season of 24 in 2003, she revolutionized the Annoying TV Kid trope. By then she was completely irrelevant to the main plot of 24, but the show kept her story line going by having her … get lost in the wilderness and hunted by a mountain lion. There’s now a TV trope known as “Trapped by Mountain Lions” that describes when a character is so disjointed from the main plot of a show that his or her ongoing inclusion becomes deeply unjustifiable. Kim Bauer’s impact.

7. Harrison Morgan: Sure, Harrison had only grown to be a toddler when Dexter ended, but he was still incredibly annoying. For example, that time when the plot of an entire episode hinged on dumbass Harrison’s inability to run on a treadmill:

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    (2) Kim Bauer, ‘24’
    (5065 votes)
  • 29%
    (7) Harrison Morgan, ‘Dexter’
    (2098 votes)
7163 votes total Vote Now

The Chocolate Pudding Region

(1) Carl Grimes, The Walking Dead vs. (8) Seasons 5-7 Bobby Draper, Mad Men

1. Carl Grimes: Also known as CORAL, Carl Grimes may be the most angst-ridden, useless child ever depicted on TV. He basically got Dale killed in Season 2; his plan to infiltrate Negan’s compound failed instantly; and in Season 4, in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, this kid posted up on the roof of a house and ate pudding with a grating little smirk on his face. Boo this child.

8. Seasons 5-7 Bobby Draper: Let this be known: This Bobby Draper is the most annoying Bobby Draper of all the Bobby Drapers. It’s because of the “Father Abraham” song.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    (1) Carl Grimes, ‘The Walking Dead’
    (5966 votes)
  • 23%
    (8) Seasons 5-7 Bobby Draper, ‘Mad Men’
    (1836 votes)
7802 votes total Vote Now

(4) Becca Moody, Californication vs. (5) Steve Urkel, Family Matters

4. Becca Moody: What an appropriate last name, AMIRITE? The princess of monotone speech and affected faux-Satanism, Hank Moody’s daughter was always one of Californication’s biggest flaws, a fact that became more apparent as the show went on and Becca grew from an annoying kid into a college student who … was still basically just an annoying kid.

5. Steve Urkel: Did I do that? Yeah, man, you did! Now please go spend some time with your own family and stop creeping on a girl who’s clearly not interested.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (4) Becca Moody, ‘Californication’
    (2427 votes)
  • 69%
    (5) Steve Urkel, ‘Family Matters’
    (5628 votes)
8055 votes total Vote Now

(3) Walt Jr., Breaking Bad vs. (6) Ben Geller, Friends

3. Walt Jr.: This is in no way a comment on RJ Mitte, an actor with cerebral palsy who did a tremendous job hanging with the likes of Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Dean Norris on Breaking Bad. It is simply a comment on Walt Jr., a kid who only ever ate breakfast, who insisted on being called FLYNN, and who wouldn’t ever shut up about his friend Louis. He was also pretty shitty to his mom when she separated from his dad; a real misjudgment of character there.

6. Ben Geller: The annoying apple does not fall from the tree. Ross’s son is at his most annoying in “The One With the Truth About London,” when he employs the classic annoying kid tactic of repeating everything Rachel says; he also sides with Ross on the whole “break” thing, and elsewhere, refuses to embrace his Jewish heritage. But to really highlight Ben’s hateability, let me ask you this: If Ben wasn’t such an annoying little shit, then why was he left off the guest list of his own dad’s wedding?

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    (3) Walt Jr., ‘Breaking Bad’
    (4594 votes)
  • 46%
    (6) Ben Geller, ‘Friends’
    (4040 votes)
8634 votes total Vote Now

(2) Glen Bishop, Mad Men vs. (7) Stephanie Tanner, Full House

2. Glen Bishop: Shout-out my weird kinky boy and his obsession with Betty Draper’s hair. Just kidding—the Glen-Betty saga was one of Mad Men’s most inexplicable story lines, and certainly the most uncomfortable. I am glad this milk-chugging creep is out of my life.

7. Stephanie Tanner: The middle child always has it rough, and lacks the authority of the oldest and the attention afforded to the youngest. But that’s no excuse for Stephanie Tanner, the ur-Lily Tucker-Pritchett who was neither as funny nor as good at dancing as she thought. “How rude” is a bad catchphrase.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (2) Glen Bishop, ‘Mad Men’
    (3763 votes)
  • 53%
    (7) Stephanie Tanner, ‘Full House’
    (4332 votes)
8095 votes total Vote Now

The Snitch Region

(1) Paige Jennings, The Americans vs. (8) Sofia Metz, Deadwood

1. Paige Jennings: The eldest daughter of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans may be the only kid in TV history to be so hated that fans literally begged the creators to kill her off. Pretty brutal. Then again, Paige did rat out her parents, so … I get it?

8. Sofia Metz: What was the point of Sofia? Do you know? Could you explain it to me in one sentence? I’ll take this silence not as a comment on Sofia’s muteness, but as confirmation that these questions have no answer.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    (1) Paige Jennings, ‘The Americans’
    (4589 votes)
  • 26%
    (8) Sofia Metz, ‘Deadwood’
    (1679 votes)
6268 votes total Vote Now

(4) Julie Taylor, Friday Night Lights vs. (5) Abigail Carlson, Big Little Lies

4. Julie Taylor: Julie dumped Matt Saracen to date a guy known only as The Swede. I REST MY CASE.

5. Abigail Carlson: For all the reasons outlined in the introduction above, Abigail is an elite Annoying TV Kid. She also listens to Portishead [rolls eyes extremely hard].

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    (4) Julie Taylor, ‘Friday Night Lights’
    (3620 votes)
  • 47%
    (5) Abigail Carlson, ‘Big Little Lies’
    (3255 votes)
6875 votes total Vote Now

(3) Joffrey Baratheon, Game of Thrones vs. (6) Cousin Oliver, The Brady Bunch

3. Joffrey Baratheon: I have to admit I’m struggling with this one. Sure, Joffrey sucked. But he wasn’t annoying in a “man, I wish this show would stop focusing on this kid’s wild hormones and get back to the good stuff” kind of way; he was annoying in a “man, I really wish he’d stop murdering hookers with a crossbow” kind of way, which actually had some narrative value in Game of Thrones. It was extremely satisfying when he choked to death in Season 4, but it was also kind of sad, because no one was more fun to hate than Joffrey.

6. Cousin Oliver: Cousin Oliver, who was brought in during The Brady Bunch’s fifth and final season to keep the child element of the show going as the original kids grew up, was so annoying that he was literally blamed for killing the show. Cousin Oliver and his dumb glasses basically birthed the Annoying TV Kid, and should be respected for such power.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    (3) Joffrey Baratheon, ‘Game of Thrones’
    (5411 votes)
  • 36%
    (6) Cousin Oliver, ‘The Brady Bunch’
    (3115 votes)
8526 votes total Vote Now

(2) Zoey Bartlet, The West Wing vs. (7) Sally Draper, Mad Men

2. Zoey Bartlet: Sure, being the First Daughter is probably tough. But Zoey was also frustratingly determined to date the body man of her dad, the president of the United States of America—which, of course, made things quite complicated. And when that didn’t work out, she dated a French idiot who started a freaking international crisis. Sure, it wasn’t Zoey’s fault that she was drugged and kidnapped as part of said international crisis, but overall she was one of those classic Sorkin kids—annoyingly precocious and completely unable to make good decisions and respect boundaries.

7. Sally Draper: Seen one way, Sally Draper was a smart, intuitive, cool kid who smoked cigarettes. Seen another way, Sally Draper was a rude, entitled, sociopathic twerp who smoked cigarettes. Remember that time she ran down the hall of SCDP and fell on her face? That was pretty annoying.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    (2) Zoey Bartlet, ‘The West Wing’
    (3610 votes)
  • 45%
    (7) Sally Draper, ‘Mad Men’
    (3010 votes)
6620 votes total Vote Now

The Oversized Flannel Region

(1) Dana Brody, Homeland vs. (8) Meadow Soprano, The Sopranos

1. Dana Brody: You know what a show about an American terrorist definitely doesn’t need? Full plot lines devoted to his wildly hormonal daughter, who mostly just mopes/stumbles around the greater Washington, D.C., area in oversize clothes and untied combat boots. Maybe Homeland’s attempt to focus on how Sergeant Brody’s actions affected his family were admirable; but no TV kid has incited more hate—and basically an entire cottage industry of parody—than Dana Brody. Her work as an Annoying TV Kid is sublime and possibly unrivaled.

8. Meadow Soprano: She’s certainly nowhere close to being on A.J.’s level, but Meadow is by all means a spoiled, frustrating kid. The episode when she forces her boyfriend to stay up all night and argue about “what they are” is truly cursed; and her overly woke, Columbia-educated vibes are a definite precursor to the sort of annoying kid subgenre currently being filled by Abigail on Big Little Lies.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    (1) Dana Brody, ‘Homeland’
    (4435 votes)
  • 34%
    (8) Meadow Soprano, ‘The Sopranos’
    (2319 votes)
6754 votes total Vote Now

(4) Manny Delgado, Modern Family vs. (5) Shane Botwin, Weeds

4. Manny Delgado: Manny Delgado is a try-hard dork who wears bowling shirts despite being 12 years old. He is neither as sophisticated nor as charming as he believes; kids who listen to jazz are not cool, they are lame and annoying.

5. Shane Botwin: You’re just trying to enjoy the show about a suburban mom who becomes a drug dealer, and suddenly you have to reckon with her psychopath son who’s out here murdering people with croquet mallets.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    (4) Manny Delgado, ‘Modern Family’
    (4138 votes)
  • 42%
    (5) Shane Botwin, ‘Weeds’
    (3051 votes)
7189 votes total Vote Now

(3) Astor Bennett, Dexter vs. (6) Maddie Conrad, Nashville

3. Astor Bennett: Technically, it wasn’t Astor’s fault—she was inundated with trauma her entire childhood, from witnessing her mother be beaten and raped by her father to later being forced to cope with her mother’s death at the hands of a serial killer. But on a show about a bad guy who hunts down and methodically murders other bad guys, we didn’t have much interest in spending time with a progressively hormonal girl. Maybe that sounds mean, but if you’re voting on this bracket, you probably don’t care that much.

6. Maddie Conrad: Maddie Conrad, as far as I can tell, is the only annoying kid in this bracket to legally emancipate herself from her parents, which is a peak annoying kid move. But even more annoying, her mom was Connie Britton—who would ever want to be emancipated from Connie Britton?!

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (3) Astor Bennett, ‘Dexter’
    (3038 votes)
  • 39%
    (6) Maddie Conrad, ‘Nashville’
    (1991 votes)
5029 votes total Vote Now

(2) Wesley Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation vs. (7) Late Series Kaitlin Cooper, The O.C.

2. Wesley Crusher: “He was just kind of around and annoying and nobody gave a damn about his story arc,” a member of the selection committee explained in nominating Wesley, inadvertently summing up the ethos of all Annoying TV Kids.

7. Late Series Kaitlin Cooper: First of all, I have no beef with the Shailene Woodley version of Marisa Cooper’s little sister—that Kaitlin just wanted to chill with her alopecia-laden horse. But the Kaitlin Cooper of seasons 3 and 4 of The O.C.—played by Willa Holland—was an all-time irritating teen. Brought in to stir the pot and breathe new life into the show, she really just distracted from the good characters on The O.C., disastrously flirted with Chris Brown, and made us miss Marissa—a truly underrated feat that speaks to her overwhelming annoyingness.

Poll

Which Annoying TV Kid Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    (2) Wesley Crusher, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
    (3256 votes)
  • 45%
    (7) Late Series Kaitlin Cooper, ‘The O.C.’
    (2675 votes)
5931 votes total Vote Now

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