You gotta love a good bad boy. That quintessential television character always seems two-dimensional on the page until they get fleshed out into living, breathing, brooding boys who don’t want your heart but you’re still compelled to yank it from your chest and give it to them anyway. It’s up to the actors who play them to let their softer side show through just enough to make you love/hate them and look forward to the next time they grace your screen. I shuffled through my long list of favorite shows in my head and realized that almost every single one had one of those leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, look-me-in-the-eyes-and-swoon kind of guys. So this topic is going to be broken into segments and we’re going to explore it over the next couple PSAs. (Because I said so.) Stay tuned for characters from Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smash, Gilmore Girls, That ‘70s Show, and more. First up:
Daryl Dixon | The Walking Dead
Played by Norman Reedus
You really need me to explain this one? Any Dead fan loves Daryl. I’d love to meet a Dead fan who doesn’t love Daryl so I can ask them why the hell not. Dude’s a straight-up badass. Crossbow. Gun show. When he picked up baby Judith and dubbed her “Lil Asskicker,” I swear my ovaries imploded. When he found Walker Merle and his face crumpled? I can’t even. It’s become a cliché at this point to love him, which I kind of hate, but I’m still perfectly content to swoon and wait for him and Carol to get. It. On. Aside from the physical attraction and the badass-ery, he’s definitely the character who has grown the most over the past five seasons. He went from a bigoted redneck to Rick’s right-hand man and that’s my favorite part.
Shawn Hunter | Boy Meets World
Played by Rider Strong
Shawn was never really a bad boy. People love the phrase “bad boy with a heart of gold,” but that actually rings true for Cory Matthews’ best bud. Shawn grew up with nearly-absent parents and if not for his rock-solid friendship with Cory, his adolescence might have ended much differently. He acknowledges that his rough upbringing impacts his current relationships and strives to make things different for himself. And when he sails off into the sunset with Cory and Topanga and Eric, NYC-bound in the series finale, you truly believe he’s going to do that. Anyone watching the sequel now airing on Disney Channel (Girl Meets World), knows that he’s got a solid career, but still no roots. It’s exciting to be able to watch, well over a decade later, where he might end up.
Alex Karev | Grey’s Anatomy
Played by Justin Chambers
Oh, Alex. He was such a jerk when Grey’s first started. He had sarcasm down to an art and he lived his life the way he’d been forced to learn how to due to his rough childhood. He grew as a man and it was clear that Izzie affected that. But once he realized he was capable of being a good person and out from under her influence, he became downright admirable. He’s fully committed to treating kids, he never compromises who he is, and finally seems to have found a happily ever after with Jo, which has been a loooong time coming. Plus he’s usually pretty hilarious.