Oh, the unflinchingly cruel passage of time.
Actually, scratch that -- it should be, "oh, the unflinchingly cruel passage of time that can only be adequately expressed on television by the presence of ridiculous flashback hair."
From "Lost" to "Scandal" to every single vampire drama there is, the flashback scene has become a crucial storytelling element on many of our favorite shows. This frequently means you have to alter a character's look to convey the passage of time to the audience, and for some -- mostly male -- characters, that can only really be done with wigs, since it's quite difficult to make characters look younger onscreen. (Also, for vampire shows, the wigs can be used to immediately identify a certain time period.)
There have been numerous flashback hairpieces in this here golden television age, but these 17 are the best (meaning worst) offenders:
17. Jack Porter, "Revenge"
The only thing Emily should be getting revenge on is her childhood boyfriend's flashback wig.
16. Klaus Mikaelson, "The Vampire Diaries"/"The Originals"
Vampires with awful hair are a recurring theme on this list. Klaus' isn't the worst of the bunch, but it's certainly hilarious every time it pops up.
15. Boone, "Lost"
Ian Somerhalder managed to escape the bad vampire hair curse on "The Vampire Diaries" -- both Damon and Stefan Salvatore have remained impeccably coiffed throughout their 150-ish year existence -- but he was not so lucky when it came to "Lost." In more ways than one.
14. Robin Sparkles, "How I Met Your Mother"
Hey man, this hair created a Canadian pop star, so I can't knock it too much.
13, 12, 11, 10. Chandler Bing, Rachel Green, Ross Gellar, and Monica Gellar, "Friends"
How many cameras were on you(r hair)? To be honest, I'm not even sure if all of these are even wigs, but there's so much product in this hair that it counts.
9. Eric Northman, "True Blood"
Eric is an ancient creature, so it makes sense that, throughout his 1,000+ years on this earth, he went through some "experimental" hair phases.
8. Angelus, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"/"Angel"
At least Angelus' terrible look matched his terrible, Victorian-era personality, so I guess it fits? Either way, at least it wasn't as bad as...
7. Spike, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"
Poor Spike. Forever doomed to play second-fiddle to Angel (except on this list) and have seriously terrible hair.
6. John Locke, "Lost"
Don't tell me that I can't wear amazing flashback hairpieces.
5. David/Prince Charming, "Once Upon A Time"
True story: Ginnifer Goodwin fell in love with Josh Dallas in real life, while he was wearing this wig.
4. Elijah Mikaelson, "The Vampire Diaries"/"The Originals"
Before there was Fabio, there was the Original vampire with the Original romance novel-ready hair. How the ladies ever went for Klaus when this luscious wig was in play is just beyond me.
3. Nick Miller, "New Girl"
The '90s were a rough time for Nick Miller.
2. Huck, "Scandal"
Someone actually thought this was a good idea.
1. Oliver Queen, "Arrow"
It's just. So. Douchey.