Thursday, February 7, 2008

top 10 tv characters

NOTE: Virtually all of the information on this list comes from Wikipedia or IMDB. And I know some people hate Wikipedia, but it's convenient, and it's not like this is my masters thesis.

This might be the toughest Top 10 list so far. I had this idea when I stumbled across Bravo!'s list of the top 100, but I didn't like most of theirs, so I brainstormed some of my own, and before I knew it, I had a list of more than 30 quality candidates. After a full minute of deliberation, I pared the list down to 10. Before that, those who deserve honorable mention: Kevin Arnold, Niles Crane, Isaac Jaffe, Joey Tribbiani, Cliff Huxtable, Norm Peterson, Bull Shannon, Dauber Daubinski, Richard Belding, etc., etc., etc.

Now that that's out of the way, here, with coniderable trepidation, I submit to you the Top 10 TV Characters of All-Time:

10. Rose Nylund (Golden Girls)
SOME ROSE TRIVIA: She was born out of wedlock to a monk and his lover...She was raised in an orphanage and convinced that her father was Bob Hope (until she met her real father late in the series)...She's a native of St. Olaf, MN...She married Charlie Nylund...Charlie and Rose had 5 children...Blanche invited her to live with the rest of the girls after seeing her give a stray cat to a boy at the grocery store...She won St. Olaf's Woman of the Year award in 1988...She had the "highest suicide rate" at the Suicide Prevention Center at which she worked
MEMORABLE ROSE QUOTE: "Like we say in St. Olaf, Christmas without fruitcake is like St. Sigmund's Day without the headless boy."

9. Lowell Mather (Wings)
SOME LOWELL TRIVIA: He's the dim-witted handyman at the airport...Divorced his wife Bunny when he found out she was cheating on him...Brian sank his houseboat...He's quite a cook...Ends up leaving Nantucket to enter the Witness Protection Program after witnessing a mob hit...The name Lowell Mather is an allusion to the Lowell House and the Mather House, dorms on the Harvard campus
MEMORABLE LOWELL QUOTE: "I give blood all the time. Just between you and me, Roy, I'll do anything for a sugar cookie."

8. Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)
SOME BARNEY TRIVIA: Transformed from a coffee-guzzling hippie into a womanizer after a girlfriend, Shannon, left him for a suited, better-established man shortly before she and Barney were going to work for the Peace Corps in Nigeria...Has a gay, black brother named James (Wayne Brady)...The voice of Barney's mother is Megan Mullally...Works for UltraSew, a manufacturer of military weaponry, petroleum, and the exteriors of tennis balls...Claims to have licked every national landmark in the United States...Nicknamed "Swarley"...Lost the Slap Bet to Marshall (and has currently received 3 of his 5 slaps)
MEMORABLE BARNEY QUOTE: "Think of me like Yoda. But instead of being little and green, I wear suits and I'm awesome."

7. Alex P. Keaton (Family Ties)
SOME ALEX TRIVIA: Born in Africa (while his parents were with the Peace Corps)...Kept a picture of Richard Nixon above his bed...Attended Leland College, where dated Ellen (portrayed by real-life wife Tracy Pollan) and Lauren (Courteney Cox)...Closet Doors fan (no pun intended)...Eventually became a Republican senator for Ohio, according to the series finale of Spin City
MEMORABLE ALEX QUOTE: "Mallory, someone stupid called...sometime today...about something trivial."

6. Frank Costanza (Seinfeld)
SOME FRANK TRIVIA: Did not appear in the series until "The Handicap Spot" (Season 4)...Fluent in Korean...Enjoys Latin music and TV Guide...Hates mice but loves squirrels...Refuses to remove his shoes in public...Retired religious icon importer...Inventor of Festivus and the "stop short" move
MEMORABLE FRANK QUOTE: "I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna' hear about them!"

5. Jack McFarland (Will and Grace)
SOME JACK TRIVIA: Former Banana Republic salesperson, Barney's salesperson, acting teacher, student nurse, surfer, Jennifer Lopez/Janet Jackson back-up dancer, and OutTV producer...Collects celebirty hair clippings...Claims to have "come out" in pre-school...Formerly-married to Rosario...Father of Elliot (whose mother is played by Rosie O'Donnell)...Inventor of the McFarland Method of Acting ("Acting is attracting!")
MEMORABLE JACK QUOTE: "Well, if you're wanting to make muskrat love with your girlfriend, why are you on the phone with me? (Pause.) Yeah, I thought so. You're my new best friend. Call me every five minutes."

4. Doogie Howser, M.D. (Doogie Howser, M.D.)
SOME DOOGIE TRIVIA: Finished high school in 9 weeks, graduated from Princeton at age 10, became a doctor at 14...Would have, according to Steven Bochco, left medicine to become a writer if the show hadn't been abruptly cancelled by ABC...Personal journal is available for all to read at
MEMORABLE DOOGIE QUOTE (after a patient declares, "You're a kid!"): "True, but I'm also a genius. If you have a problem with that, I can get you someone who's older but not as smart as me."

3. Frank Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)
SOME FRANK TRIVIA: Served in the Korean War...Married Marie because he "wanted sex"...Keeps score at Allie's t-ball games...Once crashed his car into Ray and Debra's living room
MEMORABLE FRANK QUOTE: "Pretty soon she'll get a mood that lasts maybe five days. Then it's a week. Then, what was once a bad mood takes over and becomes her only mood. And then, you become like me, where not a day goes by that I don't wish that there was a comet screaming towards Earth to bring me sweet relief!"

2. Dwight K. Schrute (The Office)
SOME DWIGHT TRIVIA: Assistant Regional Manager (and top salesman) of the Scranton branch of the Dunder-Miffling Paper Company...Loves Count Chocula cereal, muscle cars, his Casio calculator-watch, Birkenstocks, bobblehead dolls, laser tag, paintball, traditional corn husk dolls, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, 24, Alias, Smallville, The Apprentice, Heroes, and Lost...Claims to have a perfect immune system...Can play the guitar and the recorder...Owns a beet farm with his cousin Mose...Can be reached at the following phone number: 1-800-984-367. Seriously, call it.
MEMORABLE DWIGHT QUOTE: "Why tip someone for a job I'm capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones."

1. Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)
SOME HOMER TRIVIA: Has an IQ of 55...Hates Mr. Burns, work, and Ned Flanders...Has an 8-track player in his car...Email address is a tabloid web page at (again, you can check it out)...#35 on TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All-Time...#2 on TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All-Time
MEMORABLE HOMER QUOTE: "Look, the thing about my family is there's five of us. Marge, Bart, Girl Bart, the one who doesn't talk, and the fat guy. How I loathe him."

So there you go. And look at all of the crazy connections:

- Lowell witnessed a mob hit; Rose almost married a man who ended up being in the mob.
- Rose thought her father was Bob Hope; Barney thought his father was Bob Barker.
- Barney always suits up; Alex had a propensity for dressing up.
- Barney was going to go to Nigeria with the Peace Corps; Alex was born in Africa while his parents were serving in the Peace Corps.
- Jack has hair clippings from all four Golden Girls, including Rose.
- Neil Patrick Harris plays Barney and Doogie.
- Rose was St. Olaf's Woman of the Year; Frank B. was Man of the Year at the lodge.
- There are two fathers on the list named Frank.

Fascinating stuff. Later gators.


Sara said...

Also interesting that Lowell was nominated for an Oscar for Sideways... and, I think the best Barney quote is: "You know what I do when I'm depressed? I stop being depressed and start being awesome."

The Smith's said...

But what about ED?! Right, Sara and Stacy?

And Dwight IS a heck of a beet farmer, but I'd have to pick Michael over him. "This is an environment of welcoming, so you should just get the hell outta here."

I'll sign off with the best barney stinson quote: "Moist. Moist. Moist."
(geez that sounded gross)

Stacy said...

Swarley is only #8??? Travesty.

a tv fan

PS - Casey McCall? Dan Rydell? Sniff.

PPS - It wasn't the series finale of Spin City - just MJF's last show...

Stacy said...

Oh, Ed!!! That should totally be on DVD!!! :( Phil Stubbs certainly rivals Barney, Dwight, and Lowell for best sidekick.

PS - Sara's such a copy cat. That was my favorite Barney quote even before the Baker family started watching How I Met Your Mother.

Claire said...

Listing Dwight as #2 just earned you a Schrute buck! But only one. Dwight is not generous.