'90s Sitcom Kids I Wanted to StrangleSarah Heyward

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

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  1. Though more of an 80′s sitcom character that rolled into the early 90s, I nominate Vanessa Huxtable for inclusion on this list, or future compilations of aggravating brats.

    Vanessa was always up to something she knew her folks, Clair especially, would disprove of….then when busted, she’d have some god-awful rationale in a voice somehow both high-pitched and cracking, “…but Moooooom…this is who I am” or “but Moooooom….everyone will be there. This is the most important night of my life….”

    Also, her wardrobe is beyond the excuse of “Hey, it was the ’80s”

  2. totally agree on Mark Taylor, especially when he went “goth,” and “artsy.” We get it, no one understood you because you were the youngest–now go and take a shower!!!

  3. I loved the replacement Morgan! And Ruthie when she grew up!

  4. Little Richie! Ugh – Finally someone else said it! THANK YOU!!

    Santina Muha | 7/19/2012 03:07 pm
  5. forever and ever the worst tv sibling of all time, in my opinion, is dawn summers from buffy the vampire slayer. oh man, she was the worst!

  6. As a Gilmore Girls obsessed fan, I have to say, I liked the new Mia better than the old….there was something very motherly about her. The whole Kirk not being Kirk until later on threw me for a loop though.

    Also, Ruthie Camden, the later years, ugh.

  7. I’d ask you not to get me started about Michelle Tanner, but it is too late. Yes, I remember clearly the episodes in Which Michelle screwed Stephanie out of both Princess-for-a-day and the Counting Crows concert. If those weren’t enough to make one’s blood boil, let’s recall the episode in which the family finds and returns a beloved pet parrot and mascot that belongs to a local electronics store owner. As a reward for returning the parrot, this man offers the family to pick out any item from his catelogue. Much debate ensues in the Tanner household as DJ tries to talk the others into the logical choice of a big-screen TV that everyone could enjoy, Stephanie opts for the less awesome kareoke machine, but at least validly points out that they already have a TV; they do not have a kareoke machine. Danny, finally fed up with his older daughters’ bickering decides, “That’s it. I am taking Michelle to the store and she will pick out the reward.” Danny and Michelle return with a *#@!ing cardboard cutout of the store owner.

    No, don’t flip a coin or choose a big-ticket item, sell it and split the profits. Goodness forbid they choose an item that could be donated to the school or to charity. No, no…..let’s have MICHELLE decide what to bring home. Ooooh. I was ready to quit watching the show after that one. If Uncle Jesse weren’t around, I just may have.

    This episode also had me very upset with the parenting techniques of Danny Tanner and the spoiled nature of Generation Y as a whole – with Michelle Tanner as the poster child.

    • I totally agree with this. I recently rewatched all the Full House episode and can’t believe how much I hated Michelle. She was my idol when I was a kid.

  8. Re: Gilmore Girls

    I’m a huge GG fan too! I just don’t think the Mia thing (or the Kirk thing…or the Anna/Sasha thing) takes anything away from the show. Now, if they had tried to replace someone like Rory…

  9. 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.

  10. I always assumed Ruthie was adopted.

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

  12. 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.

  13. Who was replaced on Gilmore Girls?

  14. 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.

  15. Who got replaced on modern family?

  16. 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. :)

  17. Who got replaced on the oc?

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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.