When I was a kid, I loved the Smurfs. Still do, in fact -- especially Jokey and his crazy laugh and penchant for exploding gifts. Looking back, I'm sure my parents were less than thrilled by the inane songs and predictable storylines, but at least they didn't have to deal with the modern children's television characters who cross the line from mildly annoying to "Turn that off before I develop a migraine!" in about 30 seconds flat. (And I didn't have the ability to watch the Smurfs 24/7 on streaming video, DVD, or DVR.)
To be fair, none of the characters I've included in this slideshow are intended for parents -- and they do have some redeeming educational qualities -- but that doesn't make them any less annoying.
Dora the Explorer
She shrieks, she wanders off in the jungle without parental supervision and her clothes never match. (Plus, her head is disproportionately large for her body.) I sure hope she keeps Boots awash in flea and tick repellant, or else she's likely to come down with some nasty disease.
She does introduce the basics of the Spanish language to many kids who might not be exposed otherwise and, to her credit, I'd never heard of a tapier before I watched the show. Still, my friend Michelle said it best: "I hate Dora. Quit telling my kid to say it again and louder. She is loud enough."