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My Favorite Television Characters Since 2000.
In order to concentrate more on school and writing, I'm actually going to be getting rid of TV at my house and sticking with my owned DVD's, netflix and good old fashioned computers for my TV fixes. What follows are a few of my favorite TV characters of the last twelve years. Characters that have made me laugh, cry, kick ass, and be generally entertained. They are in alphabetical order by first name. I hope you find them interesting!
Andy Bernard, "The Office", played by Ed Helms
It's really hard to pick a favorite character from The Office and I debated internally for hours between Andy Bernard, Dwight Shrute (Rainn Wilson) and Michael Scott (Steve Carrel), but, Andy takes the cake. We first met Andy when he transferred to Scranton from the Connecticut branch and I fell in love with the character when he instantly started sucking up. He has an outgoing personality and eternal optimism that lead hm to believe he is cooler then he actually is, and Ed Helms plays him beautifully. The professional rivalry between he and Shrute is classic and played up even more so because the two men have the same romantic interests. Ed Helms became one of my favorite comedic actors after watching The Hangover (ultimately forcing all empathetic individuals to ask the question, "What, indeed, do tigers dream of?") and that, ultimately, is what placed Andy in top position amongst the staff of Dunder-Mifflin.
The Office airs on NBC Thursdays at 9 pm and in syndication.
Aunt Sue, "Saturday Night Live", played by Kristin Wiig
My wife is Aunt Sue. She was compared to Aunt Sue long before she'd ever seen the sketch or knew who Kristin Wiig was. She has trouble keeping surprises (for a month, she refused to talk to my dad before his surprise 60th birthday party because she was worried she would spill the beans... and she loves my dad). She's also easily excitable. Saturday Night Live has seen a resurgence after a decade of lameness and Kristen Wiiig is at the heart of it primarily with her character Aunt Sue, but also with the ultimate one upper, Penelope. SNL is extremely stingy with their sketches online, so I encourage you just to sit down and watch the show.
Saturday Night Live airs on NBC on (get this) Saturday Nights at 11:30 and in syndication.
SNL is super stingy with their videos. This is the best I can do...
Brian Griffin, "Family Guy", voiced by Seth McFarlane
If anyone knows me, they know I love dogs. But, more then that,I love politically liberal dogs who write novels and have an affinity for cigarettes, marijuana and martinis. Griffin is voiced by Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane in McFarlane's actual speaking voice. He's a middle aged dog, wise in the ways of the world with a crush on his human master (Lois) and a penchant for bedding a series of hot (human) coeds (include one voiced by Drew Barrymore). He offers sage advice, and, in the words of Stewy looks like snoopy and that "makes me smile." Mostly, though, Brian is loyal and protective of his family (even the baby, Stewy, also voiced by McFarlane, despite their tenuous relationship.) and, despite his great intelligence, is, in the end, just a dog, who chases after his own tail.
Family Guy airs on FOX on Sundays at 9 pm and is almost on constantly on TBS and the Cartoon Network and other channels in syndication.
Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, "Boardwalk Empire", played by Steve Buscemi
Martin Scorcese's prohibition era HBO series, Boardwalk Empire , borrows heavily from history and his character, played by Steve Buscemi, is based on real life gangster Enoch Thompson. Buscemi's Nucky Thompson is arrogant, violent, narcissistic, selfish and ruthless. At the same time, he's likeable and I find myself rooting for him, even though he's a murderous and evil man. He's the corrupt treasurer of 1920s Atlantic City and moonlights as a bootlegger, election rigger, and bribe taker/receiver. His criminal activity is aided by his brother Eli's role and the sheriff of AC. Since the show is on HBO and is filled with sex, violence and profanity, it's hard to find clips that I can post on Hubpages, but I managed to find one that wasn't a straight up spoiler (i.e., the season two finale). Steve Buscemi is brilliant in this role and deserves to be the star of the show.
Boardwalk Empire can be seen on HBO on Sunday evenings at 6 pm.
Cameron Tucker, "Modern Family", played by Eric Stonestreet
Cameron Tucker is the partner of Mitchell. Eric Stonestreet, the actor who plays Cameron is straight but you'd never know it by watching the show. Apparently Stonestreet got the part by channeling his mother for the audition. There's so many great characters on America's best comedy (I don't buy that Two and a Half Men is. That show is stupid.), Cameron is always good for a laugh. He's sensitive yet strong. He's eager to please, confident in his relationship with Mitchell yet often insecure as a father and is always trying to fit in with his in laws. He's a house husband and dad, and seems content as such, and is a very doting parent. As you can see from the video below, he is always trying to impress his father in law and goes over the top and gets excited about things. He's sort of a male version of Aunt Sue. Also, if you're not watching Modern Family... why not?
Modern Family airs on ABC on Wednesdays at 9 pm.
Gob Bluth, "Arrested Development", played by Will Arnett
Gob (pronounced Job) Bluth is obsessed with magic. He fancies himself a magician and seems to only be able to perform magic when the song "The Final Countdown" by Europe is playing. He's a hilarious caricature of the entitled rich older brother. He's cocky, hilarious, pompous, lazy and, well, stupid. He is a man so obsessed with lies, that he would not admit to not consummating marriage (with real life wife Amy Poehler) in order to continue the charade of sexual prowess. Arnett plays him brilliantly and he earns his place as my favorite character on the cult classic Arrested Development . The clip below actually encapsulates him very very well as the entitled rich kid out of touch with the common man that he is. This show was not on the air long enough (only three seasons), but it can still be seen in syndication and a feature length film is in production.
Arrested Development can be seen in syndication on IFC.
Jack Bauer, "24", played by Kiefer Sutherland
To be honest, I have CTU agent Jack Bauer on this list mostly because I'm afraid of what might happen if I don't. Jack Bauer is a badass and is responsible for numerous terrorist deaths and has personally put a stop to at least a dozen terrorist plots. He's a former special forces military man and believes in duty to country first, often going around basic rules and bureaucrats to get the job done. He's spent much time in jail, even spending some time in a Chinese prison. He's a rich man's MacGyver, able to make bombs out of every day items and has also been shown flying helicopters, small planes, boats and anything else that can be driven. He's also an expert in torture and interrogation. There are entire YouTube videos that show every kill he ever committed over the shows eight seasons. He also says "dammit" and "We're running out of time" a lot. 24 is my all time favorite TV show (if you're unfamiliar with the concept of the show, each season is one real time day where a series of disasters are planned and must be stopped).
24 is in syndication.
Dr. Gregory House, "House", played by Hugh Laurie
Dr. House is a jerk. He's a doctor with no bedside manner and no compassion for his patients or his colleagues. He's sarcastic, sardonic, funny, prideful, arrogant. He's also a genius. Before the series began, the character was shot by a patient and now walks with a limp and a cane (both often used to brilliant dramatic affect), and developed a Vicodin addiction (which he still hasn't kicked, despite many stints in the clink and even prison and the looney bin), because of it. Dr. House is one of the top diagnosticians in the country-- maybe the world-- and he essentially runs the show at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital. Even calling patients, colleagues and superiors idiots and morons right to their faces won't get him fired. In the words of his former boss, He's "the best we've got." Watching his interactions with colleagues and patients alike is thoroughly entertaining.
House airs on Fox Mondays at 9 pm.
Jack Donaghy, "30 Rock", played by Alec Baldwin
Jack Donaghy is the big wig at the NBC television network. He's arrogant, hilarious and an ultra conservative. The latter fact is extra funny if one is aware of Alec Baldwin's personal politics. Jack Donaghy is wise in the business world but is surprisingly often befuddled in his personal life and often seeks advice from matronly employee, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). He is not willing to budge on his personal views and opinions and looks down on those who don't agree with him, and also on the poor. You will have no shortage of brilliant quotes from Mr. Donaghy. He's extremely patriotic and, when his child was born in Canada, he replied that he would "still treat it like a human baby." He also had an affair with Condoleeza Rice. His quick wit and infectious personality make him one of the top male sitcom characters of all time.
30 Rock airs on NBC at 8 pm on Thursdays.
Red Forman, "That 70's Show," played by Kurtwood Smith
Ah, the patriarch of the Forman family, the typical working class father of 1970s Wisconsin, the curmudgeonly, no bull shitting, putting-foot-in-ass Red Forman. Hard on his wife, harder on his "dumb ass' kids, but, ultimately, loving and supportive, Kurtwood Smith is the perfect actor for this role, rekindling his role as the curmudgeonly father in Dead Poets Society, and I was pleased to find a video of him saying the word "ass" many times. Enjoy him and enjoy the show.
That 70's Show is in syndication.
Ron Swanson, "Parks and Recreation", played by Nick Offerman
Ron Swanson is a quote machine and a mans man. His gruff exterior doesn't hide anything, as he lacks guile. What you see is what you get. He has a double barreled shotgun on his desk at the Parks Department in Indiana and two ex wives named Tammy (One of whom is portrayed by real life spouse, Megan Mulally). He lives in a cabin and has a bitchin' mustache. He's a libertarian, a survivalist and a hilarious carnivore. He rarely smiles and only cries when the beloved pony, Sebastian, passes away. Nick Offerman has never won or (to my knowledge) been nominated for an Emmy for his role as Ron Swanson... but he should be.
Parks and Recreation airs on NBC at 8:30 pm on Thursdays.
Jess, "New Girl", played by Zooey Deschanel
With apologies to my beautiful and vivacious wife, Zooey DeSchanel as Jess, the girl on the emotional mend who moves into to a sweet warehouse apartment with three 30-something men, is charming and loveable. New Girl is charming, unassuming and quirky and you feel that you are actually seeing very little acting from Deschanel but are, instead, getting a glimpse into her actual character, personality and quirkiness. The show is super cute and I better not say anything else.
New Girl airs on Fox on Tuesdays at 8 PM.
Lt.. Jim Dangle, "Reno 911," played by Thomas Lennon
Famous for his short shorts, stereotypical cop mustache and flamboyant nature, Lt. Jim Dangle is top cop in Reno, Nevada. His sexuality is always hinted at yet never explicitly confirmed. He refers to himself as a "law enforcement cheetah" and to his sometime sexual partner, Lt. Weigel as an "unfortunate looking woman." Reno 911 , of course, is an irreverent spoof of the show Cops and others like it, where the police officers often find themselves in situations that befuddle them but would be routine for real cops. Lt. Dangle leads the charge and attributes the shortness of his shorts to his ability to fight crime faster and be more free. He's also a bicycle cop much of the time and one of the running gags of the show is that his bike always gets stolen. Thomas Lennon is the producer of the show and his character is the producer of law and order in Washoe County, Nevada.
Reno 911 has been cancelled, but still airs on Comedy Central on weekdays at 11:30 am.
Ron Swanson Quotes
Dr. Sheldon Cooper, "The Big Bang Theory", played by Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a theoretical physicist from Texas. He lacks an understanding of sarcasm, irony and humor and also lacks basic human empathy and humility. He is probably afflicted with both Aspbergers and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He lives by a strict set of rules and doesn't function well if they're broken, and they often are (usually purposefully by his roommate and best friend Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, played by Johnny Galecki). He also flaunts his intelligence and lack of a sex drive and is seen as the breakout character of the show. Much of the humor derives from his hubris and lack of basic social skills despite his being a certified genius. His favorite comic book hero is The Flash.
The Big Bang Theory airs on CBS on Thursday evenings at 8 and is also in syndication.
Sue Heck, "The Middle", played by Eden Sher
The Middle has slowly grown on me. I originally started watching because I saw the janitor from Scrubs on a new TV show and wanted to see what he was up to. I continued watching because of precocious middle child, Sue Heck and her indomitable spirit and eternal optimism. As the middle child, she is often overlooked. With a dumb jock older brother (Axl) and brainy younger brother (Brick), it's easy to see why. Sue fails at nearly everything she tries, but this doesn't break her spirit and she is always trying things. She goes unnoticed at school and at home, yet is a good student with an ever present smile. She's hilarious and the actress who portrays her, Eden Sher, is one of the most talented young comedic actresses on television today.
The Middle airs on ABC on Wednesday evenings at 8 pm.
Walter White, "Breaking Bad", played by Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston proved his comedic genius as the fun loving father on Fox's Malcolm in the Middle . He's earned his place as one of the finest living dramatic actors as well with his portrayal of Walter White, a fifty year old mild mannered high school chemistry teacher who gets a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. With a pregnant wife and a special needs teenage son, White needs to find a way to earn money to secure his and his family's futures. He of course, decides to become a meth cook and dealer and ends up, as the series progresses making the finest, purest meth in all of Albuquerque. It's blue. Complicated by an unsuspecting DEA agent brother in law whom he is always having to throw off the path, White's physical transformation is remarkable and, despite the subject matter, the show is in no way gratuitous, irreverent or flippant. Breaking Bad is the best currently airing dramatic series. Next season, season five, will be the last, I suggest you get caught up before then.
Breaking Bad airs on AMC on Sundays at 9 pm.