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Lovin' Handfuls: The Ultimate TV Ladies' Men

Updated on March 18, 2012

Ready Or Not

In the history of television, there have been several characters who have become memorable. Not necessarily for looks, talent, or intelligence but some combination of other attributes that made them TV icons. Namely sex appeal, charm, or deceitfulness. So I'd like to present a collection of some of television's best ladies' men and how they impacted their respective series.

Of course, I will not be addressing all Lotharios from all of television, but a variety of them. In particular guys from sitcoms and dramas in recent memory. I also would like to see if they eventually settled down or had that capacity. So if I leave anyone off that you think could make a future Hub, please feel free to let me know below in comments.

Can't Leave 'Em Alone: Sam Malone

If you've watched any given episode of the NBC classic sitcom, Cheers, I'm sure you've witnessed Sam Malone's (Ted Danson) greatest the field that is. Sam Malone was known as one half of Sam and Diane (Shelley Long), but during the many times they were off and maybe even a tad on, Sam was all about the ladies. But it was also undeniable how much he cared for his friends.

Even though he owned Cheers through most of the series, Sam wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. That was obvious through his lack of common knowledge. However, that didn't stop him from trying to get with everything and anything that looked female. From a suicidal friend of Diane's to daughters of ex-girlfriends, there was no woman off limits to him.

Sam did try to reconcile with Diane once and for all in the series finale, but everyone knew it was too easy. No matter how many skirts he chased, his heart truly belonged to the bar where everybody knows you're name and that's where he decided to go once and for all.

If Sam were still in television today, I think he may have settled considerably and by that I mean at least one woman a season. He probably would have been caught in another compromising situation with a paramour and may even have a child or two by now. But I'm sure he still talks to Norm (George Wendt), Carla (Rhea Perlman), Cliff (George Ratzenberger) and the gang as well.

Money Can't Buy Love: Steve Sanders

Everyone knows Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley) and Emily Valentine (Christine Elise), Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) and Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), David Silver (Brian Austin Green) and Donna Martin (Tori Spelling), but what about Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) and anyone who said yes? Beverly Hills, 90210 was the hottest zip code for ten years and for Steve, he thought that zip code included any cute beach bunny, brunette babe, or college coed he could coax.

Steve was initially seen as a jerk, mainly because of his constant attempts to sabotage first love Kelly Taylor by spreading rumors and lies. He followed that up by trying to seduce anyone in West Beverly and beyond who was willing and able. Because of this, not only was his car stolen, but his grades suffered and he eventually almost flunked out of school.

Steve continued to love every woman in sight, even trying to steal Brandon Walsh's thunder in pursuing a beach bunny. He then fell pray to the manipulative feminine wiles of Valerie Malone (Tiffani Thiessen), but after getting swindled out of dignity and dollar, he decided to try and date exclusively.

While his first few attempts were futile, he ended up dating chancellor's daughter Clare Arnold for two years and then single mother Carly Reynolds (portrayed by future Oscar winner, Hillary Swank). He finally met his match in newspaper associate Janet Sosna (Lindsay Price) who he marries and has a daughter with.

I'm sure Steve, had he remained a television force would remain devoted to his family. Over the years as high school and college student, he saw the damage of short-lived relationships and probably didn't want to relive those years.

The Big Little Man On Campus: Ron Johnson

When you think of A Different World, you probably think of Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) and her active defiance of her parents, Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) and Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and they're longsuffering romance, or maybe even Freddie (Cree Summer) and her ridiculous antics. But somewhere far down the line is Ron Johnson (Darryl M. Bell), Dwayne Wayne's best friend and perhaps the most socially active member of Hillman College.

Ron wasn't too much into books, sports, or anything that related to school that didn't pertain to women, women, and more women. He always was in search of romance, even when the odds were against him. And the odds just weren't about the situation, it was also Ron himself. Short, bespectacled, and with less than a stellar sense of fashion- he was no one's first choice.

Ron actively pursued Whitley, until he realized he had no shot whatsoever. Ron then chased various beauties of the week and in one episode had so much on his social calendar, he got caught. The sad part was he was actually genuine about one girl, who happened to be portrayed by Halle Berry, however, he was so sneaky she dumped him.

Ron dated Kimberly Reese (Charmele Brown), but realized their differences were too great to keep them together. After a longstanding rivalry with Freddie Brooks, they became romantically involved in a relationship that lasted through the end of the series.

Had Ron remained in TV land, I'm sure he would have tried to maintain a relationship with Freddie and they may have even married. Would it have lasted? Maybe, but only if Ron Johnson finally realizes that not every girl loves him as much as he loves them.

The Unlucky in Love Doctor: Dr. James Wilson

How does one deal with being House's best friend? Is it through drugs? Is it through alcohol? Or is it through the unconditional love of people who don't love you the same way? Well, for Dr. James Wilson, it's shown through his dedication to medicine and to love.

If there's a way to categorize Wilson or even compare him, I would venture to say that he's the fictional male equivalent to J.Lo. How you may ask? Well, that lies in the fact that even House in his jaded worldview, can tell Wilson likes to help people that he falls in love with their potential, even though they may have nothing in common.

Wilson is always trying to rationalize his decisions by saying something to the degree of, "This is different, she's trying to (fill in the blank)." Yet again and again, he is proven wrong. It's not different, it's only worse than the time before.

Wilson is noticeably different than the rest of the men named in this hub because he commits, or rather commits to the furthest extent, which is marriage, living together, a check for law school, etc. Dr. Wilson always thinks with his heart before his head.

Wilson will probably settle down or swear off women altogether, depending on if he thinks his future romances through. Hopefully he does and in another few years, he won't be one of TV's most hopeless romantics.

Fakes It Till He Makes It: Joey Tribbiani

Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) is one of the most lovable characters in recent memory. Not only is he clueless, he's also gullible and kooky. He loves any woman that walks by him and doesn't care to think through any of his decisions. Joey lives in the moment.

His pickup line is quite simple, "How you doin'?" has become his calling card. Sometimes, when really trying to get the girl or seem sympathetic he'll really lay it on thick. Remember in the pilot where he casually made it look like he was concerned for runaway bride Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), but really was looking for some fun? Or what about the many times he convinced lovelorn roommate Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) to go on a double date and always saddled him with the less attractive woman (even Chandler's own wacked out ex, Janice)?

Joey loves sex, food, and fun. That's obvious because he's okay with being an actor who's usually looking for work. He even sleeps with co-stars or attempts to sleep with them. But Joey did have girlfriends, even if he unceremoniously dumps them, gets abandoned by them, or Chandler actually steals a kiss from one.

Over the course of the show, Joey is also shown to have a lot of heart. He cherishes his friendship with Chandler, he adopts Chick and Duck, and he warns his girl friends about guys they like who might be worse than he is.

But the biggest step in Joey's evolution was his crush on Rachel. It was more than just a crush. Who could forget when Joey suddenly realized he liked Rachel? He struggled and agonized over trying to fight his feelings and even after pursuing them, realized how much he valued their friendship.

Joey did get his own show and tried to settle down and had he lived longer on our television, I think he would have. He always seemed to cherish Chandler and Monica's (Courtney Cox) relationship, so much so he kept it a secret. Present Joey probably would be a wonderful uncle to Chandler and Monica's twins, as well as Ross and Rachel's daughter and a devoted father himself. He didn't always do things the right way, but he always valued those who mattered the most to his life.

Lawless in Love: Arnie Becker

Lawyers have a horrible reputation for being faithful. From hanging clients out to dry to causing ruthless heartbreaks, they are probably the television characters most well known for not taking their personal life as seriously as their job. LA Law's Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen) was no exception.

He would betray clients' confidence for a win. Arnie would charm women for case information. And most egregiously, he got involved with his secretary, Roxanne Melman (Susan Ruttan). Arnie also played with his co-workers emotions to manipulate results. It's no wonder, his own parents pulled him into their nasty divorce.

He was married at the beginning of the series, but as soon as his wife found out about his cheating that ended. Ever the commit-phobe he dodged any commitment to his lovers. However, he was noted as a loyal friend. He helped other friends throughout the office who happened to be engaged in a dispute.

Arnie was admirable in that for the most part he pulled no punches. He didn't front saying his was ready to get married and commit. Arnie, for the most part had the same mantra in his professional life as his personal life, close the deal quickly and the result the works for him.

As the series ended, Arnie seemed to mellow. That is, as much as a snarky, deceitful lawyer can go from ice cold to slightly thawed. Had he remained in television, I'm sure he would have played around enough to get burned and get caught to stop for good. Or at least figure out how he might be better off alone.

The Pro Bro: Barney Stinson

When we first met Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) six years ago, it seemed he was going nowhere fast. He was only interested in pretty, young things who satisfied his love of power and sex. Barney did have another side to him. The side that admired his black gay brother (Wayne Brady), the side that had a fake family to please his mother, the side that somehow believed Bob Barker was his biological father.

His duality of character often worked against each other. He pretended to woo women only to get them in bed. Barney even kept a running list of his conquests, but he wasn't always successful. As Marshall's chart showed us, he only has a one percent success rate. He eventually had to resort to costumes and disguises to get attention.

Barney still was the guy who made fun of Ted (Josh Radnor) and his open pursuit of romance. He constantly was trying to make Ted his bro. Barney also made fun of Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily's (Allison Hannigan) relationship. But some part of him longed for that and as the seasons progressed we could see that coming more to the forefront.

He eventually fell hard for Robin (Cobie Smulders). Their relationship was complicated because they both had trouble dealing with emotions, but somehow the spark remained even after they broke up. Barney tried to enact his playbook to convince himself he liked playing the field.

However in season six, he met Nora and decided to give monogamy another try. Of course, his incessant lying ruined his chances. Barney continued to act like he was pursuing random hook-ups, but it began to show after meeting his father that he wanted something more. At the end of season six and the beginning of season seven, we see the gang at Barney's wedding where it's reveled Ted meets the titular mother.

The seventh season has now began with Barney trying to regain Nora's trust and Robin secretly fighting her feelings for Barney. Only time will tell who Barney picks, but it's good to know that he's decided to follow his heart.


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    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      That's a good observation, I'm not sure either about Matt LeBlanc and Ian Ziering mainly because they haven't been on TV as much.

    • profile image

      juliafranceschini 6 years ago

      Cool and inventive hub. I wonder if most of these actors are unable to escape their roles as ladies men? Especially for Matt LeBlanc and Ian Ziering, I can only see them as their TV characters no matter what else they do or don't do.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Cogerson! I don't know if I have a favorite, but Sam is definitely an entertaining character.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Very well done Alecia, no doubt you know your television history....I like most of the ladies men you talked about...but my favorite is Sam Malone.....I was so happy when the series ended with Sam at the you say....where his heart belonged. Great history...and fascinating information in this hub...voted way way up...great job.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      @hpdneau: Thank you for reading!

      @mirror_eyes: That sounds like a great idea for a future hub, I'll keep this in mind! Thanks!

      @Neerizzle: Thanks for your comments!

    • Neerizzle profile image

      Neerizzle 6 years ago from Canada

      Woah very detailed and interesting hub, good job! voted up and interesting!

    • mirror_eyes profile image

      mirror_eyes 6 years ago from north Texas

      It would be interesting to see a profile of actors who have it equally both onscreen and off, and - if there are any - those who have it ONLY onscreen but live a quiet, more secluded lifestyle offscreen (and are not married).

    • hpedneau profile image

      Holly Pedneau 6 years ago from Princeton, West Virginia

      great hub! I thought about it before I clicked on your hub-- I got 3 right (Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Priestley, and Ted Danson.