Let's face it, the lives of TV characters always look more exciting and fun than ours -- especially their work lives. They're having cool adventures, pulling off awesome pranks, or succeeding in following their passions. None that ever seems to happen in real life.
We get so attracted to and envious of what we see onscreen, we tend to forget TV characters' jobs are not as glamorous as we think.
Many characters despise their jobs for pretty much the same reasons you hear out in the real world. The bosses won't listen; the assignments are impossible, and it's boring -- incredibly boring.
These characters certainly experienced their share of work-related frustrations. As they found out, it's not always easy to stay cool while your job is crushing your soul.
Rome - A Million Little Things
Many factors contributed to Rome's depression. His job directing meaningless commercials was one of them.
Quitting his job didn't make his depression magically go away, but it was a step to in the right direction to admitting he could not continue going through life pretending everything was fine.
Michelle - Bunheads
Michelle's a triple threat. She sings, acts, and dances. Unfortunately, casting directors are always passing her over.
Tired of rejection, she impulsively accepted a marriage proposal from Hubbel, one of the rare people who could see how special Michelle is, and he took her away from Vegas to Paradise.
It was there she found her calling as a dance teacher to an upcoming generation of Bunheads.
Stamets - Star Trek: Discovery
Stamets loves his research but hated seeing it appropriated for the war effort. Then, to save Discovery, he merged with the spore drive.
It nearly killed him, and the effect it had on his mind wasn't pretty. He was able to recover, but once he did, he discovered that his husband had been murdered.
Stamets was able to find a way to bring Dr. Culber back, but that's a completely different story.
Diane - Cheers
The last job intellectually-minded Diane would want is cocktail waitressing at a place like Cheers, and her highbrow airs did not exactly endear her to Carla and the regulars.
Not content with wasting her life away in a pub, she continued to pursue her literary ambitions, despite the many rejections she had to endure. Close to the date of her wedding with Sam, she received the news a publisher loved one of her unfinished manuscripts and wanted to publish it.
It wasn't quite a happy ending to a long journey for Diane. The price of fulfilling her dream was her relationship with Sam.
Tyrion - Game of Thrones
Tyrion wanted Dany to be a wise and just monarch worthy of ruling Westeros.
Seeing Dany mercilessly rain fire down upon Kings Landing and his siblings' corpses' made him realize he couldn't take being Hand of the Dragon Queen anymore.
It wasn't only Dany's shortcomings that made him miserable but his Tyrion's failures at governance as well. The last thing Tyrion wanted was to continue being part of Westeros' ruling body, but Bran wouldn't have it any other way.
Robin - How I Met Your Mother
Most of what we saw of Robin's work life was pretty embarrassing. She was forced to cover dumb, fluff stories. She starred in an adult diaper commercial that ran for years. Coworkers made of fun of her. There was also the time she slipped on horse poop while on the air.
At least we know she eventually became mega-successful. She became a highly sought after journalist -- traveling the world and finally delivering news stories she wanted to cover.
Too bad her love life would never reach those same highs.
Luke - Gilmore Girls
Wonder why Luke's always grumpy?
If his customers aren't pestering him for the wi-fi password, they're flaunting his rules or coming up with overly complicated food orders. Plus there's the hassle of dealing with Taylor.
However, a lot of Luke's bluster is a facade. He likes running a diner and has a soft spot for the quirky townspeople who are his customers. Don't ask about the wi-fi because it really does annoy him.
Arthie - GLOW
Arthie knew her character Beirut the Mad Bomber was going to be seen as a villain, but she wasn't expecting beer cans to be thrown at her face.
Ever since the taping of the pilot, she has been desperately searching for another wrestling persona.
She tried to give herself a dramatic makeover into a heroic character, but Dawn and Stacy stole the idea right from under her.
Kevin - This Is Us
After his hopes of a football career died, Kevin found his way into acting. It turned out he was good and landed a starring role in a sitcom -- a terrible sitcom.
After being demeaned one too many times, Kevin snapped and quit his job in a way that should have blacklisted him from any other acting gigs.
Instead, leaving The Manny was the best thing he could have done for his career. If Kevin hadn't left, Ron Howard would have never offered him the chance to co-star with Slyvester Stallone in a big-budget prestige film.
Linda - Better Off Ted
Considering the unethical business practices, the nightmarish bureaucracy, and the high likelihood the lab guys will accidentally turn you into a mutant, Linda's not wrong to be upset that she works for Veridian Dynamics.
Though she often tries to take a stand, she finds herself getting caught in the crossfire and joining Medieval Fight Club to work out the stress.
Her efforts to make Veridian haven't been completely in vain. She did get the company to create a roof garden.
Mitchell - Modern Family
Mitchell likes being a lawyer well enough but finding the right area of law to practice was more of a challenge than he anticipated
He tried environmental and criminal law. He experienced both the large firm and non-profit way of doing things. He took up scrapbooking when he was unemployed.
Ultimately, he reached this conclusion: stop working for others and start your own law firm.
Klinger - M*A*S*H
Klinger is a hardworking corporal who always puts the wounded first. The problem is he hates being in a warzone and witnessing all the deaths war causes, which is why he will do anything to get out.
He'll dress like Scarlett O'Hara, eat a Jeep, and hang glide his way to freedom.
None of his schemes ever worked, and, to the surprise of everyone, Klinger stayed in Korea after everyone else went home.
Chloe - Lucifer
When Chloe met Lucifer, she was on the outs with most of her co-workers.
After she partnered up with Lucifer, the relationships with her colleagues improved, but then she was stuck putting up with Lucifer's eccentricities and impulsiveness.
Despite his eccentricities, self-centeredness, and unreliableness, which often gets in the way of solving murders, Chloe wasn't entirely impervious to Lucifer's charms. She fell for the Devil.
Ted - Scrubs
Ted is mostly inept as a lawyer. He never gets any respect. Worst of all, Dr. Kelso uses him as a personal punching bag.
It's no surprise he tried to throw himself off Sacred Heart's roof and why the best thing he could do for himself was quit being an attorney and become a traveling musician -- which landed him in Cougar Town.
Eve - Killing Eve
Even though she worked for British Intelligence, Eve was wasting away as she was always to desk duty.
She got her opportunity for a more exciting job when assigned to track drown Villanelle. Now anything related to Villanelle comes with a lot of grief, and the assignment is creating havoc in Eve's personal and professional life.
It doesn't get much more desperate than being shot at and left for dead, which is how where we left Eve. Perhaps she's rethinking the decision to leave behind the paperwork for fieldwork. Probably not but we won't find out until the next season airs.
Jim - The Office
How bored does Jim get at work? Well, every so often he dies of boredom. Luckily, Pam can revive him.
Despite the boredom and the stupidity and Dwight, Jim really does owe everything he has to Dunder Miflin and has said so.
Dean Pelton - Community
When wacky shenanigans occur at Greendale, the Dean is usually the first person to go overbroad.
It's because he's really driven to make Greendale better. His efforts don't usually work out and actually makes things worse for Greendale -- Hearts of Darkness level of worse.
Despite the harm the Dean can cause -- including doing unspeakable things to the soft-serve machine -- the Study Group forgives him.
One, they know the Dean really loves them even if he's ashamed of Greendale. Two, just like them, the Dean is a flawed person who needs a place to sort things out, which means there's no better place for him than Greendale.
Penny - The Big Bang Theory
Penny was never shy about admitting she was only waitressing until her acting career took off.
After she quit The Cheesecake Factory to focus full-time on acting, her big break never came.
She found success as a pharmaceutical rep, but it didn't give her much personal fulfillment. She thought about returning to acting, but in a sign of real maturity, Penny realized she liked the perks of financial stability.
Chidi - The Good Place
Chidi likes being an ethics professor, and he's a good teacher. The problem is his students tend to torture him.
He doesn't give up them though, and eventually, they start listening. It's because of him that an Arizona dirtbag and a demon became their best selves and are ready to revolutionize the afterlife.
Who had it the worst?
Who most speaks to your work situation?
Hit the comments!
Becca Newton wis a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in February of 2023