Top 5 Ladies I Would Hate in Real Life (but cannot get enough of on film/television)

11 Jun

In real life, bitches can grow tiresome, but on TV we can indulge in all our bitch fantasies by living vicariously through terrible people.  Below is a listing of my top 5 characters in film and television that I would not get along with in real life because of their profound awfulness but whose profound awfulness is profoundly watchable.

Tie for #4 & #5:  The Sugarbaker Girls (Designing Women)

Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) and Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) in a typical tableau, with Julia reprimanding Suzanne and both of them wearing the absolute ’80s-est things they could find in their respective closets that morning

Re:  Detestability:  Julia’s a know-it-all progressive attack dog, and Suzanne is a self-absorbed racist.

Re:  Lovability:  For all Julia’s know-it-all shenanigans, once in a while, she goes on a tirade that’s spot on, and even when it’s not, it’s so eloquent and passionately delivered.  Also, she has a lovely soprano singing voice.  And fabulous clothes.  Suzanne, on the other hand, is the most hilarious woman of the ‘80s.  Remember that time she sang “The Name Game” as a good luck chant when she was gambling in Atlantic City?  Remember that time she had a pet pig?  Remember that time she shot Anthony?

Best Moment:  Julia’s on jury duty—the same week she’s supposed to meet Jimmy Carter (gag)—and she comes home and complains about the idiocy of the case, but Charlene’s such a Girl Scout that she tattles on her and gets the jury sequestered.  From the hotel, she calls Charlene and lets her have it.  The rant grows and grows, culminating in this (delivered enthusiastically in a mellifluous Southern accent, of course):

I’m going to find you and hunt you down like a dog! I’m talking about you running through the woods in the snow with blood hounds ripping your clothes off! And remember Charlene: I have your address. You’d be wise to ask yourself, “Do I know where my baby is?”

After which Charlene tries to reassure herself that Julia would never do such a thing, and Suzanne says,

I think you and your baby better get some black wigs and get the hell out of town.

#3 Mildred Pierce (Mildred Pierce, 1945)

Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) does some calculations while putting the evil eye on someone and wearing a gigantic brooch

Re:  Detestability:  You’re lettin’ your daughter run you, girl!  Get that brat under control!  Also, you have terrible taste in men.  Truly horrendous.

Re:  Lovability:  A lot of that detestability is also her lovability.  She’s so achingly human with her awesome strengths (pulling herself up by her bootstraps; basing her business on baking pies; being a smart, no-nonsense entrepreneur; wearing delicious furs) and her annoying flaws (obsessing over Vida and letting her love blind her).

Best Moment:  Any time she’s narrating in her film noir way.  That time she and Vida get into on the stairs and the insults and slapping fly.  The time she’s wearing a fur coat and brandishing a pistol on a houseboat.

#2 Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind)

Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) obviously does not give a rip. Just take a gander at that expression on her face.

Re:  Detestability:  Stealing husbands!  Taking the dangerous way home!  Not giving a rip about anybody but herself!  Stealing more husbands! Neglecting her children (in the book)!

Re:  Lovability:  She does what she wants and doesn’t care what society thinks.  And she genuinely learns some lessons.  Plus she gets the bitchiest lines and the best best friend who loves her so much AND SO MANY CLOTHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best Moment:  When she’s willing to pimp herself out to Rhett Butler to get the money to save Tara.  Or when she’ll never go hungry again.  Or when she finally realizes she loves Melanie and doesn’t want to bone Ashley.  Or that heartbreaking scene where she’s calling out Rhett’s name while she’s unconscious, and neither of them know it.

#1 Patty Hewes (Damages)

Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) is listening to what you’re saying, but she thinks you’re an idiot. Also, she’s wearing that great satin blouse that she wears in every other episode of season 1.

Re:  Detestability:  Where to even start?  Blackmailing a dude until he kills himself.  Taking out a hit on her best gal pal.  Forcing a miscarriage so that she can pursue a career. Lying.  Manipulating.  Never following any rules.  Generally being the worst.

Re: Lovability:  Great lines, great clothes, great swag.

Best Moment:  In Season 2 when she’s crying and admitting things to Ellen, and we all think she’s emotional and guilty because of what she’s done, but really it’s because she’s just been stabbed.  COLD AS ICE.  Or in Season 3 when she totally uses Alex Benjamin to get back at Ellen.  COLD AS ICE.  Or in Season 3 when she has Hippie Cougar arrested for statutory rape.  COLD AS ICE. Or all those times she fake fires Tom.  COLD AS ICE.

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