Kid characters can be relied on to bring the cuteness, spouting their precocious lines in an effort to get an easy laugh. But sometimes they age out and turn creepy, and sometimes their rampant misbehavior make them frightening from the start. The ’90s brought us a lot of great kid characters that many of us grew up admiring, like Cory from Boy Meets World and Carlton from Fresh Prince, but there are others who, upon reflection, may have forever tinged your view of children. These are those kids.
Kimmy Gibbler – Full House
Michelle Tanner almost gave audiences toxic levels of adorability as producers kept throwing the Olsen twins fresh catchphrases and Stephanie aged out of her cute-kid role, hanging onto her catchphrases (“How rude!”) for far too long. But despite those crimes, Kimmy Gibbler, the next-door neighbor and friend of oldest daughter, DJ Tanner, sticks out as the most eye roll-inducing kid on Full House. Kimmy was just strange and oddly proud of her grossness. She was also drawn in a broad manner that made her stick out as she irritated the entire Tanner family despite their continued willingness to let her pollute their lives. In reality, you’d build a wall around your child if they brought Kimmy Gibbler home for a playdate.
Angelica Pickles – Rugrats
Some kids are born to be warlords and Angelica is one of them. Pigtails and all. A torturer of the other children that inhabited the Rugrats world, Angelica was an entitled and spoiled nightmare who terrified children and adults. If she was your kid and she got lost at a mall, you might think on your “run away to Mexico and start anew” options for a split second.
Steve Urkel – Family Matters
It’s hard to avoid Kimmy Gibbler comparisons since she and Steve Urkel were both equally irritating, but Steve’s heart was in the right place. With that said, though, he basically took over Family Matters and turned it into The Urkel Show thanks to the popularity of a character that was a manifestation of every bad cliche about nerds that has ever seeped into pop culture. You’ll have to decide if that’s society’s fault or the fault of the character.
Elmyra – Tiny Toon Adventures
Elmyra Duff had a lot of love to give to animals — too much, in fact. More terrifying than annoying (the kid had a hair bow made from a gerbil’s skull), she’d give you second thoughts about having kids for the simple reason that you’d have to get rid of all of your pets and warn the neighbors were she to darken your doorway.
A.J. Soprano – The Sopranos
Even on a show filled with mobsters, thieves, and murderers, A.J. Soprano stood out as one of the most unlikable characters. A petty underachiever, A.J. whined and complained his way through most of the show’s early seasons and became worse as he got older. A wimpy embarrassment to the family name, A.J. never ceased to drive audiences, his parents, and especially his older sister through the roof with his incessant nagging and over-the-top emotional outbursts.
That Kid – Plenty of Shows
There are certain ’90s TV kids who have the ability to annoy without making much of an impression beyond that. A lot of them are pure ripoffs of the other kids on this list and some are amalgamations of the same. In many cases, though, they’re just random irritants that you only recall when your bleary eyes catch a rerun of some forgotten ’90s sitcom at 3 a.m. on a Friday. You won’t even remember little Dougie Whateverhisnameis in the morning, but the damage will have been done.
The kids on the Jason Jones’ The Detour aren’t nearly as evil as the ones on this list, but they might be more creative. In the clip below, that creativity mixes with boredom (always a trigger for misbehavior) and the end result is an unfortunate and unsanitary interaction with some truckers. Why? Because no matter how bad a kid is, they’re still going to have a defender in their put-upon parents.
Catch the premiere of ‘The Detour’ on Monday, April 11 at 9/8c on TBS.