Everyone loves a good workplace sitcom or drama. They almost always ring true to real life since, well, we all work! Much like real life, most TV bosses on these shows would probably be a nightmare to work for. While they’re fun to watch, many of them are totally inept and problematic. From office tirades to sexual harassment to everything in between, we’re amazed that their employees put up with it!
There are very few TV bosses that seem even remotely capable at their jobs. As crazy as it drives us — and their employees! — we can’t help but love watching their antics on TV. We know for sure, though, that we would never want to work for them! Here are some of the absolute worst TV bosses of all time!
Spongebob (Tom Kenny) is a model employee at the Krusty Krab. He shows up on time every day, does his job to the best of his ability, and tries not to cause any problems. His boss, on the other hand, is a model of how not to lead a team or run a restaurant. Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) uses and abuses his employees with ease all in the pursuit of money. There is no one greedier in the deep blue sea! He works his team ragged and skirts the boundaries of what is ethical to save a few bucks here and there. Krabs may be business savvy but he’s also a callous old man!
When your chief of medicine is an unfeeling jerk, maybe they shouldn’t be in charge of a hospital! Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins) is the chief of medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital, and he is the last person you want working in a place with sick patients. Kelso is rude, gruff, and only interested in what’s going to be good for him — not his patients. He treats all of the important people who help the hospital run as just nameless, faceless people who he can take advantage of and overwork. We’ll never know why he got into this line of work since he clearly isn’t interested in the well-being of others!
Louie (Danny DeVito) is every employee's worst nightmare. DePalma is the head dispatcher for the Sunshine Cab Company and he spends more time bullying his drivers than doing his job. He knows he’s a garbage person and toxic boss but doesn’t care one bit! This morally corrupt boss will do anything if it's good for him, no matter what it may cost other people. Oh, and there was a little incident where he was peeping on a female employee while she was changing at work! How he didn’t get fired is beyond us but we can’t imagine working for a man so vile.
What can you even say about a man as outwardly offensive as Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven)?! As a high-profile Hollywood agent, Ari is in touch with all kinds of people each day, and he’s rude to every single one of them. He swears at co-workers and clients alike, he bashes people based on sexuality and race, and his ego is big enough to fill the state of California. Hollywood egomaniacs are about a dime a dozen, but Ari seems to be the worst to work for. That is if you can last more than a week working for him without running out of the office in tears!
Malory (Jessica Walter) isn’t exactly a hands-on boss. She’s more the type to bark orders, berate, and demand things get done. As the former head of a spy agency, she constantly put her employees in danger and didn’t really care. The only employee she maybe cares about is her son, and even then, we’re not totally sure! When it's revealed that the spying her agency had been doing was completely illegal since they weren’t licensed, she takes her team and forces them into drug smuggling to compensate for everyone losing their covert ops jobs. (Because that’s the same thing?) Malory will do anything to make a quick buck!
Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) has been working her way up MODE magazine for years. Her entire career is based on becoming Editor-in-Chief. So when she loses out to the publisher's son, her new goal is to make his life a living hell. She does anything and everything to destroy his career and bolster her own, and uses the minions under her to support her nefarious plans. Eventually, Wilhelmina gets the promotion she so desperately wants, but her day in the son doesn’t last long. She’s soon fired due to falling sales and is demoted right back down to where she started. You can be mean and claw your way to the top, but it doesn’t mean you’ll stay there!
You would think your dad being the boss would be awesome, but not if you’re the Bluth kids! George Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor) not only gets to be a bad father to his kids, but a horrible boss also. He embezzled money out of the company, built houses for Saddam Hussein, and even faked his death to escape it all. Then he left the care of his flailing company in the hands of his ill-prepared children who soon realize what a mess he’s made of everything. George doesn’t have half the business acumen he seems to think he does and all of his accomplishments were completely self-serving. I’d hate to be his employee, and would especially hate to be his family!
Hewes (Glenn Close) is a masterful lawyer and her skills in the courtroom led to her being a huge manipulator outside of it. She is especially antagonistic towards her employee Ellen (Rosy Byrne) and basically ruins her life whenever possible. First and foremost, she nearly has the young woman murdered when she begins to see her as a liability. She then spends years playing head games with her concerning the near-death experience and eventually effs with Ellen so badly that she abandons her career in law to get away from this toxic environment. It’s no wonder why, in the end, Patty ends up alone in her misery since no one wants anything to do with her!
As far as crappy TV bosses go, Buck (Stephen Root) is one of the worst. The owner of Strickland propane is one of the most selfish, money-grubbing bosses there is. He’s even let his — ahem — extracurricular activities affect his work life and the lives of his employees. Buck doesn’t care at all about his company and instead lets his best employees run it with no recognition or compensation. Without them, his negligence would undoubtedly sink the company! He’s beyond lazy and his vested interested in drugs and women makes him a scummy person and completely aloof boss!
Jack (Alex Baldwin) may be a good boss to Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), but as a head honcho at NBC, he literally ignores everyone else in the 30 Rockafeller Center! He treats his assistant like trash and constantly upends his life. Jack's scheming and masterminding are always to make himself more successful, never to benefit the business or its workers. But at the end of the day, his big focus is Liz’s The Girly Show, a small cog in the NBC machine. Other than Liz and her team, he never interacts with any of his subordinates! What kind of boss doesn’t even interact with his team?!
Mr. Burns (Harry Shearer) is such a bad boss that pretty much everyone in Springfield had a reason to shoot him. Burns will do anything for more money, more power, and more people to trample in the process. He doesn’t know any of his employee's names, releases hounds on people he doesn’t like, and simply has a menacing look about him! When he is shot, it becomes a huge investigation into who did it because it could literally be anyone. He has so many enemies since he was so horrible to his employees! His greed is unparalleled on TV!
Tony’s (James Gandolfini) isn’t just a boss — he’s the boss. He rules his “family” as a genial but fear-inducing mob boss in New Jersey. On the surface, he’s a good dad and husband, but underneath there’s a deep-seated anger and a proclivity for “whacking” anyone who gets in his way! Tony doesn’t have “employees,” he has lackies, and while they may think they’re his friend, at the end of the day, he makes it clear that he’s the one in charge and their opinions don’t matter. They even have to laugh at his lame jokes to keep him happy (and to keep themselves safe!). His rule ends in tragedy for many of those under him.
No boss on TV is more foul-mouthed than Ramsay! He’s also the only one on this list that’s not only a boss on TV but a boss in real life as well, leading several celebrated restaurants around the globe. But on TV screens, he’s the Hell’s Kitchen devil, bringing down the hammer to the chefs who come to compete there. He shouts insults at the competitors, calls them stupid, reprimands their cooking skill, and regularly tosses the dishes they make in the trash. He’s such a bad boss that it’s basically the entire reason he’s so famous! While his tactics may push people to fulfill their true potential, there’s no denying that he is pretty problematic in the things he says. We love watching him on TV, but we definitely don’t want to work for him!
There is no denying Don (Jon Hamm) is a genius ad salesman. But he seems like he would be horrific to work for! Well, unless you’re a pretty secretary because then you might end up his wife! His rampant sexual harassment is no joke, though, and he regularly takes advantage of the women in the office. That's only when he chooses to show up to work, though, since he basically decides if/when he'll make an appearance and get some work done. The work he does manage to do is revolutionary, but there’s no excuse for the way he behaves in the office and how he treats those around him. Oh, and some of those brilliant ideas? Not his. He takes the glory and the money and leaves his employees feeling worthless.
Dina (Lauren Ash) is a TV boss who let power go straight to her head. As the Assistant Store Manager at big-box store Cloud 9, she’s ruthless in leading her team and running the store. She even berates her boss, the actual store manager, and basically forces him into being meek against her. Dina loves giving orders — er, did we saying giving? We meant barking. She is a power-hungry lunatic who once watched her entire go on strike for unfair working conditions and basically told them all the store will be better off without them. Rude! Deep down she has some good moments and truly does care about some of the people on her team, but when she’s in work-mode, she’s incapable of being chill.
Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) is hilarious and a beloved part of The Office, but he is a truly a nightmare of a boss! Like, one of the worst of all time. Michael is constantly making us laugh but upon further inspection, his abuse towards his employees and completely upside-down views about race, religion, gender, and sex are problematic AF. He constantly brings his personal life into the workplace in inappropriate and awkward ways. Oh, and he’s totally inept at decision-making and confronting people! What kind of boss is that?! Not a good one at all. Michael Scott may be one of the best parts of The Office, but he’s the worst part of the Dunder-Mifflin office!