'90s Sitcom Kids I Wanted to Strangle

I was obsessed with TV when I was growing up and harbored serious I-need-to-be-a-film-or-television-star-immediately delusions. I’m certain I would have murdered my siblings if doing so meant I’d be given my own sitcom. Naturally, then, when it came to consuming television, my attention was laser focused on the children I saw onscreen. For the most part, I wanted to be them. Stephanie Tanner, Angela Chase, Kelly Kapowski, Claudia Salinger: these were the girls after whom I modeled myself, copying their outfits right down to which side they parted their hair. But there was a whole other crop of TV children I inexplicably and absolutely loathed. Quite simply, they were annoying, and even worse, they were affirmed in their annoyingness! They were child stars! They were doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and pissing me off while they were at it. My top most-hated five:

Michelle Tanner

This pains me to admit since I now consider the Olsen twins to be among the most gorgeous, talented (er, in certain fields), worship-worthy people in the world, but for most of my childhood, I absolutely hated Michelle Tanner. I didn’t understand why people found her cute. That monkey face, the rudeness disguised as childish charm, the grating repetition of her catchphrase, “You got it, dude!” – it was almost too much for me to take. As the baby of my family, I understood what it meant to be spoiled, but not that spoiled. Remember when DJ and Stephanie have Counting Crows tickets and Michelle insists on going too, so they have to draw straws? And of course, stupid little Michelle gets to go instead of Stephanie and she doesn’t even know the music! She calls them the “Counting Cats” for crying out loud! And don’t even get me started on when she cuts in front of Stephanie at Disney World and gets to be princess for the day. I’m offended for all little sisters, everywhere.

Ruthie Camden

I hated Ruthie on sight for purely aesthetic reasons. It never made sense to me that she was supposedly the biological child of Eric and Annie Camden when she looked not only different from every single member of her family, but very possibly of a different nationality altogether. There were rumors she’d been adopted, of course, but in all my years of obsessive 7th Heaven viewing (and researching!), I’ve never found a factual basis. So whatever, let’s pretend Annie somehow gave birth to the little olive-skinned moppet pictured above. Why did she have to also be the most annoying person on the show (and she had tough competition)? She’s bratty, pouty, and an attention whore. Her mission in many episodes is to make her poor mother’s life a living Hell. And she is always, always, always meddling where she doesn’t belong. Fun fact: the actress grew up to post half-naked pictures of herself on the Internet!

Little Richie

On a show famous for a different annoying character, Little Richie somehow managed to steal the irritating spotlight right out from under Urkel’s cheese-scented nose. I don’t really remember the specific plot lines Richie stuck his unnaturally wet-looking curls in the middle of, but I do remember that he was a terrible, terrible actor. Even by kid standards. Sure, kids on TV always sound fake and are bad at pretending to cry or have a secret or, you know, express emotion, but come on! I can still hear Little Richie’s whiny voice demanding attention. Also, you know he’s the reason poor Judy Winslow was abruptly kicked off the show altogether.

Morgan Matthews (the replacement)

It’s creepy enough when shows silently replace an actor with zero acknowledgment or explanation (cough, Roseanne-Modern Family-Family Matters-Gilmore Girls-Seinfeld-Bewitched-The O.C.), but in the case of Boy Meets World, they actually picked a new actress significantly more annoying than the original to take over the role of Cory’s little sister, Morgan. With a wink-wink “Wow, that was the longest time out I’ve ever had!” when the new actress first appeared (blech), we realized we were never going to see cute little Morgan as we knew and loved her again. Instead of a darling little cutie-pie, we were given a precocious pre-teen, supposedly so they could incorporate her into more adult plot lines, which never happened. Apparently, the second actress is a trained counselor now. Please let me walk into therapy one day and see Morgan Matthews II waiting there to advise me.

Mark Taylor

I promise it wasn’t just that he was by far the ugliest of the brothers. Obviously, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my perfect man, and even the oldest brother was kind of hot in a blonde meathead sort of way. Mark, on the other hand… but all the same, it was his personality that tipped him over the edge into becoming someone I thought I might murder one day. Mark was the consummate younger brother, whiny and weak in the face of normal, older brother teasing from his siblings. I actually perversely loved that Brad and Randy were so merciless in their exclusion of their younger brother. Maybe it was some sick better-you-than-me instincts that kicked in, but even as a very excluded younger sister myself, I felt absolutely no pity for Mark.

Maybe it’s a good thing I never fulfilled my dream of being a child star on a hit TV show. Maybe if I had, right now, some other girl would be writing about how I was the single most annoying kid ever to appear on a sitcom. Actually that still sounds pretty awesome.

Images via star1045.com.au, snakkle.com, bossip.com, childstarlets.com, tvlistings.zap2it.com

  • Anonymous

    this is a really weird post to have on a female positive website. why are we getting along over hating on people again? because this chick got staffed on girls?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2302988 Kellie Pittman

      i think you’re missing the point

  • Anonymous

    this is a really weird post to have on a female positive website. why are we getting along over hating on people again? because this chick got staffed on girls?

  • Anonymous

    the hg server seems to be tweaking, i am definitely not anonymously commenting.

  • Anonymous

    Haha! I hated Ruthie Camden too!

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that most of your picks were the youngest child (Ruthie was at least for a good number of years). I think they were written around what is typically believed to be youngest child traits so maybe that is where the problem is. I personally liked all these kids as far as I can remember but it is jarring when a character is replaced by a different actor/actress. Just curious, with which Gilmore Girls character was this done?

    • Sarah Heyward

      Mia, the owner of the Independence Inn. She is played by two different actresses.

  • Anonymous

    I developed an irrational dislike for Stephanie Tanner as soon as her hair got straight (you know exactly the time period switch I’m talking about!). Either I was 1. subconsciously jealous of her curls, 2. subconsciously self-loathing about my straight hair, or 3. she just got unbearable when she got older. Probably all three.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=33701002 Allison Clapp

    i completely agree with the Ruthie Camden one. Couldn’t they at least found a sibling or grandparent or long lost aunt that looked like her?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1664760004 Elle Sciocchetti

    They acknowledged the ‘two Beckys” on Roseanne though! More than once!
    And it happening on Gilmore Girls was so incredibly minor. Mia only appeared in two episodes, seasons apart.

    • Sarah Heyward

      Nothing on Gilmore Girls is minor to me :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112640037 Brandi Marie

    To be fair, Roseanne DID acknowledge the Becky switcharoo. Often. There was an episode about it, they poked fun when Becky #1 came back, and there was even a future episode where “future DJ” went crazy, exclaiming, “they say she’s the same, but she’s not the same.”
    So it was explained, and poked fun at. They did a cute musical about it.

    I’m sorry, I’m too Roseanned for my own good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=541124551 Dara Gross

    Sarah – thanks for clearing that up! Signed – total Gilmore Girls addict who doesn’t know as much as she thought apparently!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=150802109 Emily Hatfield

    I love this. I did not like Mark at ALL, or Ruthie–though let’s be real, every member of the Camden family went through a “eww we all hate you” phase. I was ok with Michelle, it was Stephanie that I couldn’t stand. She was SUCH a pain to DJ alllll the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=825247 Chelsea Ladd

    Who got replaced on the oc?

    • Sarah Heyward

      Kaitlin Cooper!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9201978 Erin Calvin

      And Trey, though the original Trey was only in like … 2 episodes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571440065 Bethany Bellows Tranby

    Couldn’t agree with you more on Michelle Tanner. For unknown reasons, myself being the youngest too, I just loathed her. But, Stephanie was my age and I adored her…so maybe it was just on principle. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1288326302 John-Mark Randomtask Lynch

    Who got replaced on modern family?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775513744 Megan Anne Connolly-Sexton

      Lily

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710146211 MacKenzie Emery Foster

    I completely agree with you about Michelle- what a brat! To this day, I have trouble sitting through any Michelle-centric episode. The fact that she was treated as the baby princess for so long is my only real complaint about this otherwise perfectly absurd show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775513744 Megan Anne Connolly-Sexton

    Who was replaced on Gilmore Girls?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=56902555 Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    Yes yes yes and AMEN to everything but especially about Ruthie Camden. 1) thank you for not being the only person who is in complete disbelief that Ruthie was a biological Camden 2) she became even MORE obnoxious as she got older….it’s like she was reading her lines off of a cue card! Ugh! 3) the only people more annoying than her on 7th Heaven were those twins! Sam and David! omg it was too much for me to handle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=648775434 James Walton

    You need to do a list of characters that disappeared with no explanation why i.e. Donna’s sister on that 70’s show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1036650517 Yoko Moonstar

    I always assumed Ruthie was adopted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14102782 Caroline Jeffery

    oh wow, i didnt/don’t even remember morgan from BMW. lol.
    it’s funny how all your picks are the youngest children, whom i myself related to the most at the time, a youngest child myself, and around the same age as all these youngsters when their shows were on the air. and for the record Full House was a pretty spot-on representation of my househould growing up with two older sisters, so i AM a bit biased there. just how i am not biased toward Last Man Standing.

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