TV's Most Stressed Characters

Today, the U.K. is celebrating National Stress Awareness Day. But if you're feeling like the most stressed creature on the planet lately, TV characters can put that all in perspective.

Have work woes left you crying from your mouth? Has misplacing a certain item left you screaming in rage — in public? If not, you're at least a little more calm than these TV characters. Some are naturally anxious people. Others have extreme stress that comes from extreme circumstances (covering up a murder, for instance). The super-stressed hero or heroine has become an important part of the modern sitcom. So let these characters' obviously frayed nerves remind you to take a moment for some calming, deep breaths.

Opener Photo: MediaPunch/REX Shutterstock.
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1 of 11
Liz Lemon — 30 Rock (2006-2013)

Liz made the kind of defeated-by-stress cries of distress you only wish you could make. And her anxiety was warranted; trying to have it all is tough. But when stress turns you into a Gollum-like monster, it's time to take a yoga class.
2 of 11
Ben Wyatt — Parks and Rec (2009-2015)

Chris or Andy high on morphine wouldn't have been nearly as funny, because they were already high on life (and possibly helium and bee pollen, respectively). But seeing a super-chill Ben — whose stressors included his loved ones, the police force, and ice — is hysterical.
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3 of 11
Niles Crane — Frasier (1993-2004)

When anything could be dangerous (a dirty spoon, a public chair that hasn't been properly sanitized, a very athletic lover of your ex-wife), stress is naturally going to pile on. The trick is lighting a lavender-scented candle before you get to the spontaneous-public-nudity phase.
4 of 11
Rory Gilmore — Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

Not even Rory's many lists can reduce her stress. But she's even more undone when she no longer has all the things to do. Some people's base level is stress, and it's best not to disrupt that.
5 of 11
Annie Edison — Community (2009-2015)

This reaction? It was sparked by a lost pen. That is a big bubble of stress being popped by a Bic.
6 of 11
Cory Matthews —Boy Meets World (1993-2000)

The poor boy was wound up too tight since childhood. Jealousy is his biggest source of stress, but later on, he branches out into hypochondria.
7 of 11
Seth Cohen — The O.C. (2003-2007)

Poor Seth and his fish-sex ways. He was great at overthinking things, so events that could have been pleasant memories became looming, nightmarish balls of stress.
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8 of 11
George Michael — Arrested Development (2003-)

Not all stress breaks involve screaming. Sometimes, giving in to the large boulder of stress on your back means just lying face-down on some (luckily very clean-looking) carpet.
9 of 11
Ted Mosby — How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

Actually, maybe the more stressed-out characters are his poor, long-suffering children. Living off spiders will do that to you.
10 of 11
Michaela Pratt — How To Get Away With Murder (2014-)

The only one on this list who can't be helped with a gift certificate for a spa. Covering up multiple murders should be a stressful business. Even always-calm Conner gets a little shaken up by these piles of lies.
11 of 11
Manny Delgado — Modern Family (2009-)

Manny's single cool-and-collected moment in the series. He's a young man with many aspirations, professionally and romantically. That's going to take its toll.
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