Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

TV Shows Famous Actors Regret Doing

Throughout the past few decades, television has entered its "Golden Age," and with series like The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones ushering in a new standard for dramatic shows, as well as groundbreaking comedies like Atlanta and The Office, film actors have started moving from the big screen to its smaller counterpart. With huge names like Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, and Drew Barrymore taking breathers from the film industry to appear in shows like Westworld, Big Little Lies, and Santa Clarita Diet, television is bigger than ever. And in addition to proving a worthy home for big talent, it's also a great vehicle for stars on the rise.

However, for some actors who worked on television, they end up with serious misgivings about particular shows on which they appeared, leaving those productions with bad memories and a sense of disappointment. From teen stars to legendary comedians, there are a whole lot of actors who seriously regret playing in certain TV shows.

Mischa Barton majorly regrets The O.C.

A star who began work on a huge hit show while she was fairly young, Mischa Barton took on a starring role on the teen soap The O.C., which chronicled the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Southern California's Orange County. As Marissa Cooper, the rich, beautiful, and troubled girl next door, Barton strikes up a relationship with brooding outsider Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), becomes friends with Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts (Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson, respectively), and deals with school, drinking problems, and plenty of ups and downs with her dramatic and difficult parents.

Barton left the show during its third and penultimate season after her character was killed in a car crash, a fact that she actually ended up spoiling just before the episode aired, but she later admitted that if she could do it all over again, she probably wouldn't have taken the role at all. Though McKenzie, Brody, and Bilson were firmly in their twenties during their time on the show, Barton was just 17 when she started, and in retrospect, she said, "People say be grateful for what you have, but it certainly was not the kind of thing I was expecting it to be." Marissa Cooper might be Barton's biggest role to date, but it's clear that it ended up disrupting her life in a pretty significant way.

Mandy Patinkin couldn't stand Criminal Minds

Mandy Patinkin has been one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood for decades, but before his long-running role on Showtime's Homeland alongside Claire Danes, he had a few botched stints on television, appearing on both Chicago Hope and Criminal Minds for just two seasons before leaving both shows. As far as Chicago Hope was concerned, Patinkin simply wanted to be able to spend more time with his family and couldn't handle the schedule, but Criminal Minds was a different matter entirely

Patinkin signed on to play Jason Gideon, a criminal profiler with a dark past, but he ended up exiting the series before the third season premiered due to "creative differences," which is a polite way of saying he hated the material. Patinkin told New York Magazine that he was ultimately shocked by the show's gory, disturbing content, saying, "I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn't think I would get to work in television again." Patinkin even went so far as to call the show his "biggest public mistake," mincing no words about his biggest career regret.

Stephen Dillane didn't want to win the Game of Thrones

During the height of Game of Thrones, which ended its run as one of the most lauded and watched series of all time, most actors probably would've given anything for the chance to kill or be killed in Westeros. In fact, plenty of performers wound up with stints on the show, which was famous for brutally murdering its characters in completely unexpected ways. However, it seems as if an actor who spent five seasons in the Seven Kingdoms would rather have not visited the realm at all.

Stephen Dillane played Stannis Baratheon, brother of the late King Robert and seemingly rightful heir to the throne. However, after trying to fight every obstacle in his path, he falls in battle at the hands of Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) after going so far as to burn his own young daughter at the stake as a war sacrifice. Ultimately, it turns out Dillane might have been just as tortured as the character he played. Apparently, he had trouble understanding the storylines, relying on co-star Liam Cunningham (who played Davos Seaworth) to explain them, which he felt created a bad performance overall. Even after his time on Thrones, Dillane claimed he would turn on the show only to turn it back off again because he was unable to follow it, proving this notoriously complex series was even mysterious to those involved.

Chevy Chase loves criticizing Community

When NBC's new sitcom Community premiered in 2009, the cast was a pretty promising bunch, from future Atlanta star Donald Glover to The Hangover's Ken Jeong to Alison Brie, who would go on to appear in Mad Men and GLOW. Plus, there was former Saturday Night Live star Chevy Chase, who was best known for his series of National Lampoon films. Chase infamously parted ways with SNL on incredibly negative terms, so it may have been a bit of a calculated risk to give him a role in something as small as Community, and in the end, it might not have been the right call.

Chase stuck it out on Community for four seasons despite several high-profile tiffs with the show's creator, Dan Harmon, but he never missed the opportunity to criticize the show in public, telling The Huffington Post that signing onto the series was a "big mistake," and that as a sitcom, the entire project was the "lowest form of television." Considering that Chevy reportedly quit abruptly in the middle of the fourth season by simply walking off of the set, this seems in line with his old behavior, making Chase a bad example for the next generation of actors. 

Isaac Hayes had problems with South Park

Before adult animated series like BoJack HorsemanArcher, and Big Mouth started to seriously push the envelope on dirty, boundary-breaking animation, there was South Park, the original controversial cartoon. No topic was untouchable for creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who brought the insane, raunchy Colorado town of South Park to life with absurd voice acting, heightened situations, and hot-off-the-press topical references. However, one longtime performer on the show eventually hit his limit, quitting suddenly over a joke that he thought went way too far.

A 2005 episode of South Park that relentlessly skewered Scientology apparently angered Isaac Hayes, a public Scientologist who played Chef on the show. Hayes didn't seem too upset at first, basically saying it was all in good fun. But apparently his attitude changed, because in early 2006, he issued a statement saying the show had finally gone too far, citing "religious intolerance." Hayes was released from his contract, but after his passing in 2008, his son, Isaac Hayes III, said his father actually suffered a stroke before that statement was issued, and someone involved with the Church of Scientology quit on his behalf, providing a much more tragic twist to this story than anyone could have anticipated.

Robert Reed wanted to say goodbye to The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch trafficked in feel-good humor and easy, goofy jokes. An ensemble cast by nature, everyone is familiar with the story of a man named Brady, his wife Carol, and their sons and daughters, all adjusting to life in a much bigger family. It was all pretty sweet and sappy, but according to the guy who played Mike Brady, the show could've been a lot more clever in its execution.

Robert Reed was a classically trained actor who even attended London's famous Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The man spent most of his early career as a Shakespearean actor, so it's not entirely surprising that he was unhappy with The Brady Bunch's material. He frequently clashed with the show's producer, Sherwood Schwartz, a veteran of the much sillier Gilligan's Island, and he would give Schwartz unwarranted notes before flat-out refusing to appear in the show's final episode. Schwartz apparently wanted to replace Reed if the show continued, but it ended up getting canceled before Reed could get the ax. Reed later said he took the role purely for financial reasons, but it definitely seems like it was more trouble than it was worth for him in the end.

Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus had their hearts broken by Hannah Montana

Child stars often work to shed their squeaky-clean images as they move towards adulthood, but few performers have worked harder at this than Miley Cyrus. After making her name on Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, where she played a teen girl who's secretly a pop star, Cyrus pivoted hard in the post-Hannah years, making a name for herself as a controversial and unpredictable artist. Despite her often ridiculous antics, Cyrus' undeniable talent has kept her in the cultural lexicon, and she has said the role definitely did some "damage" to her "psyche," but perhaps that made her who she is today.

Though Miley Cyrus says she doesn't completely regret the show, her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, who appeared on the show as Miley's father, has a totally different take. In 2011, the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer told GQ that the show "destroyed his family," and that he wished the series had never happened, saying he would "take it back in a second. And that makes sense considering that he'd just split up with his wife and wasn't speaking to Miley at the time. In recent years, it seems that the two have patched things up, but it's certainly tough to hear that this crowd-pleasing children's show led to such a difficult situation for the Cyrus family.

Charlie Sheen and Angus T. Jones couldn't stand Two and a Half Men

Standard laugh track sitcoms don't usually deal with huge drama behind the scenes, but there are exceptions to every rule, and one of them is Two and a Half Men. The show starred Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen, and Angus T. Jones as the "half," as he started his time on the show as a young child. For his part, Cryer described pretty difficult working conditions, but that likely has everything to do with Charlie Sheen's infamous meltdowns on set before he ultimately quit the show in spectacular fashion. During a call on The Alex Jones Show, Sheen went on a rant about his time on the series, calling producer Chuck Lorre a "turd" and a "clown," as well as throwing in some anti-Semitic slurs for good measure. Before the show's end, Sheen exited, and Lorre got his revenge, killing Sheen's character off as gruesomely as possible.

Jones apparently wasn't particularly happy with his time on the show either, slamming the entire production in a bizarre YouTube video made during his stint on the series in 2012. Amazingly, Jones stayed on the show until 2014, but he referred to himself as a "paid hypocrite," making it extremely clear that he regretted basically every second of his time on Two and a Half Men.

The Jonas Brothers really regret their Disney series

The Jonas Brothers — made up of Kevin, Joe, and Nick — became superstars thanks in part to the Disney Channel and original movies like Camp Rock, but they have some serious regrets about their Disney Channel series. Starting in the spring of 2009, the three starred in their own show, Jonas (renamed Jonas L.A. in its second and final season), presenting a fictionalized version of their lives as a boy band.

When Jonas L.A. didn't continue past its second season, it was clearly a huge relief for all three Jonases. In 2013, Joe told Vulture, "The thing about the show was that some of the writing on it was terrible. It just ended up being some weird slapstick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at. We went along with it at the time, because we thought Disney was our only real shot, and we were terrified that it could all be taken away from us at any moment."

Apparently, all three brothers agreed. In 2019, in their Amazon documentary Chasing Happiness, they again admitted they really regretted Jonas L.A., with Nick saying the show was "just a bad move" and Kevin revealing that the series definitely wasn't "on brand." The brothers have survived and thrived in the years since, but clearly, they don't spend much time rewatching episodes of Jonas L.A.

Evangeline Lilly doesn't have fond memories of Lost

Lost remains one of the biggest television hits in recent memory, but one of its stars had a less than positive experience behind the scenes.

Evangeline Lilly, who starred as Kate Austen for the show's entire run, revealed that not only was she unhappy with Kate's character arc, but that she was often miserable on set in a July 2018 episode of The Lost Boys podcast (which was later reported by E!). "At the beginning, she was kind of cool," she said of her character. "And then as the show went on, I felt like she became more and more predictable and obnoxious."

To make matters worse, Lilly even detailed some instances of sexual harassment and coercion on set when it came to scenes that required various states of undress. "In season 3, I'd had a bad experience on set with being basically cornered into doing a scene partially naked, and I felt had no choice in the matter. I was mortified and I was trembling, and when it finished, I was crying my eyes out," Lilly revealed. However, when confronted with a similar situation in season 4, she bravely spoke up: "I then said, 'That's it. No more. You can write whatever you want — [but] I won't do it. I will never take my clothes off on this show again.' And I didn't." Lilly is an MCU superhero now, but for one dark moment, Lost left her feeling powerless.