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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Powers Stengel

My Favorite TV Masochists: Inner Saboteur de jour


RuPaul calls it your “inner saboteur”—the perennial voice of perfectionism and self-doubt that seduces you to become the worst version of yourself. When laid bare in story, masochism counterintuitively coaxes me into greater self-reflection and acceptance. While I don’t have to take pleasure in my own pain (it’s an elective process), I can giddily enjoy the pain these polluted protagonists self-promote.

And whose fault is that, Chidi?

So, raise a glass to some of my top masochists on tv.

They’re layered, they’re exciting, they love to hate to fail to love themselves so good. Thank you, self-abnegation squad.

No one can punish you better than you. You make for crunchy, motive slinging tv.

Okay enough compliments. You’re usually bad at taking those. You get all weird.

Masochist List:

  1. Search Party - Full Cast

  2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Titus Andromedon

  3. Insecure - Molly

  4. Bojack Horseman - Bojack

  5. RuPaul's Drag Race - Phi Phi O'Hara

  6. Game of Thrones - Jamie Lannister (Fight me: I loved his ending--getting crushed by love.)

  7. Big Little Lies - Celeste Wright

  8. Shrill - Full Cast

  9. Breaking Bad - Walter White

  10. Glee - Terri (Season one--faking a baby bump in your own marriage??)

  11. 30 Rock - Jonathan

  12. Sex and the City - Carrie Bradshaw (La douleur exquise (exquisite pain) of her love for Big.)

  13. Friends - Chandler Bing

  14. The Office - Michael Scott (Delusional narcissism from masochism. I mean, his relationship with Jan alone.)

  15. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Full Gang. (Special shout out to Sweet Dee.)

  16. Arrested Development - Tobias Fünke

  17. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Buffy

  18. Amy Schumer (who let 12 Angry Men Inside [of] Amy Schumer to discuss her bangability.)

  19. The Good Place - Chidi Anagonye

  20. Whose Line is it Anyway? - Colin Mochrie (as self)

  21. Degrassi, the Next Generation - Emma

  22. How I Met Your Mother - Barney

  23. That 70’s Show - Hyde

  24. Rick and Morty - Jerry

  25. Bridgerton - Simon, Duke of Hastings

  26. Parks and Recreation - Jerry/Gary/Terry Gergich

  27. The Life & Times of Tim - Tim

  28. Orange is the New Black - Taystee, a.k.a. Tasha Jefferson

  29. Desperate Housewives - Bree Van de Kamp

  30. House - Dr. Gregory House

Thanks again to the myriad masochists sucking out their own souls onstage. You’re the worst, which makes you the best. The cage you build for yourself reminds me to unlock my own. NOW GO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID! ;)

Share your own personal favorite acts of small screen self-savagery below!

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