17 TV Characters Who Had Such Wildly Different Personalities At The Start, They May As Well Be Separate Characters

1 year ago 81

There's character development, and then there's this.

Most TV characters change in some capacity over the run of the show, for better or for worse. It wouldn't be good storytelling if everyone stayed exactly the same forever and never grew at all.

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Sometimes a character undergoes incredible development, has a redemption arc, or just naturally evolves over the course of the series.

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Other times, however, a character's personality seems to do a complete 180 out of nowhere, to the point where it doesn't even feel like the same character. In fact, it almost feels like the writers decided to completely scrap the original character altogether.

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Here are 17 TV characters who had such drastic personality changes, they were basically rewritten entirely:

Warning: Spoilers ahead!!!

Note: #13 contains references to sexual assault.

1. Eric Matthews from Boy Meets World


Eric might as well be the poster boy for this. He started off as Cory's cool big brother who was charming, full of himself, and of average intelligence. But then he basically became a complete dummy overnight, and his character was reduced to the laughingstock of the family. 

2. Donna Martin from Beverly Hills, 90210


Donna was mostly just a background character initially, but she still had a significantly different personality back then. During Season 1, she's an image-obsessed party girl like Kelly, even throwing a big bash with tons of guys while her parents are out of town. Later, however, she's portrayed as the innocent, sweet one of the group.  

3. Imogen Moreno from Degrassi: The Next Generation


Degrassi characters rarely stay consistent throughout their arcs, but Imogen essentially had a complete personality shift. She was initially manipulative and obsessive, even persuading Eli to stop taking his medication — her early personality is similar to Esme's character in Degrassi: Next Class. Later, she's mostly just a quirky, free-spirited girl who usually tries to do the right thing.

4. Tristan Milligan from Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class

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Tristan was always a bit dramatic and shallow, but his personality really took a huge turn after his best friend, Tori, left. He became extremely self-absorbed, rude, and downright cruel at times — by Next Class, his character was hardly recognizable from the sweet, insecure kid back in Season 11 of The Next Generation who just wanted to be loved for who he was.

5. Dean Forester from Gilmore Girls

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Alright hear me out: I am far from a Dean fan, but I have to admit that he really wasn't terrible in Season 1. In fact, his character was a lot more layered at first — he rode a motorcycle, read books, and had a slightly mysterious, charming vibe at first. But by Season 2, he was basically just a jealous jock who didn't understand Rory's ambitions.

6. Teddy Wells from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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Okay so, to be fair, Teddy was never intended to be a super compelling main character. He was introduced as Amy's love interest, and that was basically it. However, the guy at least had some personality in the beginning. Later, he was literally just known for being incredibly boring. He also became super, super desperate to win Amy back, which was a sharp contrast from how he acted in earlier seasons.

7. Megan Parker from Drake & Josh


In the early seasons, Megan was an annoying, but harmless little sister. Her pranks got on her brothers' nerves, but they were more just mischievous and funny than anything. In the later seasons, however, she became cruel and devious, like she was determined to actually torture the boys. 

8. Derek Morgan from Criminal Minds

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This one wasn't as drastic of a change as some on this list, but it's still worth mentioning. When Derek was first introduced, he was portrayed as the team's intelligent and sensitive crime expert who always dressed to impress. After Season 1, however, his character was much more of a "tough guy." He traded out his suits for casual wear and focused on fighting.

9. Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars


Alison felt like a character whom the show wanted to redeem, but couldn't quite figure out how to do so. As we saw in flashbacks, her entire personality before her disappearance was high school mean girl to the extreme — I mean, the girl literally had an entire town wanting to kill her at age 15. After she returned though, she just sort of...became nice? It's understandable that all the trauma might change her personality, but her complete transformation felt too rushed to be a true redemption arc. 

10. Kermit the Frog from The Muppets

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I know, I know, I'm talking about a Muppet. But guess what: Kermit really did have some serious personality changes. In fact, Cheryl Henson, daughter of Kermit's creator Jim Henson, criticized Kermit's puppeteer Steve Whitmire — who was fired in 2017 — for the way he portrayed the character after her father's death, saying he "performed Kermit as a bitter, angry, depressed victim." 

11. Kelly Kapoor from The Office


The true outspoken drama queen of Dunder Mifflin, it's hard to remember that Kelly wasn't this way at all when she was first introduced. Her character, who didn't really come into focus for a couple of seasons, was initially portrayed as mostly quiet and chill (save for the time she slapped Michael in the episode "Diversity"). 

12. Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


This was mostly a case of a difference between the pilot and the rest of the show. In the first episode, Carlton was maybe a little snobby, but generally an average, chill dude. After the pilot, however, he was a certified rich kid who relied on the family butler to do nearly everything for him. No complaints, though — it definitely made for good comedy.

13. Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl

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To be completely clear, Chuck is still very much a terrible person. However, the pilot set him up to be a sociopathic villain to the extreme, attempting to sexually assault both Serena and Jenny in one episode. Chuck was only a secondary character and a villain in the books. However, when he ended up being a breakout character whose chemistry with Blair (Leighton Meester) was popular amongst fans, the show pivoted away from this initial plan and took his character in a different direction. His character still did awful things, but he wasn't written as the same depraved villain as he was in the pilot.

14. Cat Valentine from Victorious and Sam & Cat


It's hard to remember sometimes, but Cat actually started off as a pretty normal, reasonably intelligent character. By Season 2 of Victorious, however, she was played up as the "dumb friend" to the extreme, with her ditziness constantly being used as the butt of the show's jokes.

15. Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation


To be fair, Parks and Recreation was a pretty different show altogether in the first season. In Season 1, she was somewhat of the female version of Michael Scott from The Office — totally incompetent at her job and silly to the extreme. After the first season, though, she becomes much more ambitious, hard-working, and competitive. 

16. Deb Scott from One Tree Hill

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It's hard to remember sometimes, but Deb actually started out as a decent (though flawed) parent to Nathan at the beginning of the show. By Season 2, however, she was a completely different person. You could argue that everything she went through changed her, but there was a world of difference between the Deb who voluntarily ran Karen's café for her so she could go to Italy, and the Deb who wielded a gun, tried to kill Dan, and angrily stormed into her son's school classroom demanding he give her pills.

17. And finally, Ursula Buffay from Friends and Mad About You


This is an odd, but interesting one! Before she landed the role of Phoebe on Friends, Lisa Kudrow played a waitress named Ursula on NBC's Mad About You. Although Ursula started off as a guest character, Kudrow brought so much personality to the role that they kept her around. The most surprising part? Ursula was nice in this universe. 

“When Friends got its time slot on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. after Mad About You, everybody realized we needed some explanation for the audience — why are they seeing the same girl with the same voice at 8:00 and 8:30 on two different shows?” Kudrow said in an interview with Comedy Central UK.

And thus, Phoebe's twin, Ursula, was born. Except in the Friends universe, she was definitely NOT as nice. The more you know!

Got another example of a character who should be on this list? Tell us in the comments!

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