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Most unfair, psychopathic, rotten bosses on TV and film


Worst bosses

Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons."
Image source: Fox

Who doesn't love to hate a mean boss? They've been great fodder for TV, stage, films and cartoons. They're not always so much fun in real life, though.

Researchers are looking into what makes a bad boss tick, and what they are finding isn't always pretty.

Industrial organizational psychologist Paul Babiak said about 4 percent of the 203 executives he studied were diagnosable psychopaths, compared to about 1 percent of the broader population. A person is considered a psychopath if they score very high on an evaluation that looks at four factors and finds that they are particularly manipulative, without remorse or empathy, live a deviant lifestyle and are antisocial.

(Read more: Sometimes, the boss really is a psycho.)

Published 26 July 2013

Ari Gold of "Entourage"

Ari Gold from Entourage
Image source: HBO

Hollywood über-agent Ariel Gold (played by Jeremy Piven) was great at his job, but especially mean to his gay assistant and always ready with a crass homophobic put-down.

Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada"

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada."
Source: 20 Century Fox

Meryl Streep stylishly played Miranda Priestly, the officious fashion magazine editor in "The Devil Wears Prada" who had no troubles stiletto-squashing her underlings. Her line: "Please bore someone else with your... questions."

Franklin Hart Jr. from "9 to 5"

Image source: 20th Century Fox

In 1980's "9 to 5," Dabney Coleman plays Franklin M. Hart, Jr., a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" who passed off his employees ideas as his own, devised ways to topple onto his secretary (played by Dolly Parton,) and kept working conditions as inconvenient as possible.

Bill Lundbergh of "Office Space"

Gary Cole as Bill Lundbergh in "Office Space"
Image source: 20th Century Fox

Gary Cole plays slimy, callous boss Bill Lumbergh in 1999's "Office Space," a spoof on corporate life and downsizing. Key quote: "Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too."

Wilhelmina Slater of "Ugly Betty"

Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera seen on the set of the TV show Ugly Betty on location in Central Park.
Marcel Thomas | FilmMagic | Getty Images

In the TV show "Ugly Betty," Vanessa Williams plays Wilhelmina Slater, a conniving ladder-climber at MODE magazine.

Louie De Palma of "Taxi"

Danny DeVito as Louie De Palma in the TAXI
CBS | Getty Images

Danny DeVito made Louie DePalma a household name in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hurling insults from within the caged-in dispatch office was DePalma's favorite managerial style. Key quote: "All dispatchers are scum."

Blake in "Glengarry Glen Ross"

Alec Baldwin as Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross
Image source: New Line Cinema

Alec Baldwin played an abusive boss in David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," the story of wheeling and dealing in the cutthroat real-estate business. His favorite line: "A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing."

Montgomery Burns of "The Simpsons"

Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons."
Image source: Fox

Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns of the animated hit "The Simpsons" is the evil head of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, known for being horrible and heartless in all sorts of creative ways. Defining quote: "Smithers, release the hounds."