Jenna Hamilton has come a long way since the first episode of Awkward. Obviously, pushing through the aftermath of what everyone thinks is a failed suicide attempt is gonna change a person. Jenna made the best of her crazy situation and started a blog to become a better, more confident version of herself. Her change may have gotten her into a love triangle and some other uncomfortable situations, but it was still an improvement and made Jenna a great example of a TV character who changed for the better. Here’s a round-up of nine more characters who might’ve started out sucky or sad or stupid but changed during their series for the better.
Rachel Green (Friends)
When Friends premiered, Rachel was a spoiled runaway bride who couldn’t survive on her own. She could barely make a cup of coffee at her job at Central Perk. But throughout the show’s ten seasons Rachel became an independent woman (well, sort of, she still lived with roommates) and broke into the fashion world with jobs at Bloomingdale’s and Ralph Lauren.
Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl)
Sometimes change for the better doesn’t stick right away. Chuck was a complete jerk when Gossip Girl started. Then he was nice. Then he was an jerk again. Then nice. Back and forth and back and forth until the show’s finale last fall. When the show ended, he had overcome a number of crazy personal problems and was able to finally be a decent person for good.
Snooki (Jersey Shore/ Snooki and JWOWW)
I know what you’re thinking: this doesn’t count because Snooki is a real person. While this has some truth to it, I would argue that Nicole Polizzi is a real person, while Snooki is more of a character. Snooki went from a crazy, poof haired drunkard to a crazy, less-poofy haired mom. Yeah, she still gets wild sometimes, but it’s nothing compared to the falling over in the street Jersey Shore Snooki that you would never want around a baby in a million years.
Summer Roberts (The OC)
Summer Roberts was straight up mean at the start of The OC. If you watch episodes from the very beginning of the first season, it doesn’t even seem like the same person. She continued being fairly ditzy (even when she would later get into Brown University) and a little judgmental throughout the series, but she quickly became a much nicer person.
Jackie Burkhart (That 70s Show)
Like Summer Roberts, Jackie is ditzy. I’d say, even ditzier than Summer. Jackie starts the show as an immature, airhead who dates equally dumb Kelso. She remains this way for a while, but after breaking up with Kelso and starting to date Hyde, she chills out some, is less annoying, and fits in better with the rest of the gang.
Samantha Jones (Sex and the City)
For most of the series, Samantha was a man-eater who didn’t care about love or getting married like the rest of the women did. As the show went on, Samantha began having relationships where she did get an emotional attachment and in the end she ended up with Smith Jerrod. As for what happened after that in the movies, I won’t even touch on. I’m pretty sure it’s generally accepted to not talk about the Sex and the City movies anyway.
Nene Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta)
Again, I know this is a real person, but Nene is on a television show and so I’m deciding that she qualifies as a character. On the current season of Real Housewives, Nene left Atlanta for LA when she got a role on The New Normal. It’s pretty hard to go from Real Housewives to anything else successfully (remember when Kim tried to be a singer). Usually it’s the other way around– women who have previously had some sort of claim to fame (no matter how small) end up on this show, so being able to get out with something better to do is a good thing.
Don Draper (Mad Men)
Don Draper changed in two ways. First, he became Don Draper instead of Dick Whitman (we know this through flashbacks, but I still think it counts). This allowed him to start a new life and cope with his past. Second, after splitting from Betty Draper, he married Megan and… didn’t cheat on her! Yet…
Michael Scott (The Office)
Michael was not the best manager when The Office began. His jokes were harsher (like that time he made Pam cry by pretending she was fired) and he was more pathetic (“I love inside jokes. I’d someday like to be a part of one.”) As the show went on, the employees at Dunder-Mifflin began to appreciate Michael Scott for his good qualities and eventually he was able to finally leave Scranton to go be with his love, Holly.
So there they are, ten TV characters who changed for the better. If you want to see more Jenna Hamilton, be sure to check out a new episode of Awkward tonight at 10/9c on MTV.