My Top 10 Sarcastic TV Characters
I love compiling lists, it's what I do when I am not writing poetry, and it is probably a form of therapy for me that helps me keep my O.C.D's in order . I love sarcasm, and anyone who knows me personally, knows me well for it, hence my username 'Sarcasticool', in fact I am either loved or hated for it by all who know me.(I intend to write a hub on sarcasm soon, so stay tuned), and I love television, which was for me, in a rather traumatic childhood, my only friend and comfort. Sad I know, but such was my life. Now, if you combine all these three great loves of mine together, you come up with this top 10 list of mine. I really enjoyed making this list and I hope you enjoy reading it. I do rather take pride in my lists, as I do my poetry, and I hope that shows through with most of my works.
So, let the countdown begin...
No # 10
Character: Blackadder II & IV
Actor: Rowan Atkinson
TV series: Blackadder (1983-1989)
Profile: A sarcastically pessimistic Lord & a British officer. Surrounded by a seemingly endless supply of idiots, how can you not ooze sarcasm?
Blackadder: We've been sitting her since Christmas 1914, during which time millions of men have died, and we've moved no further than an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping.
Blackadder: [to Baldrick] This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof, saying 'This Is a Large Crisis'. A large crisis requires a large plan. Get me two pencils and a pair of underpants!
Rowan Atkinson is such a talented actor with his different roles of Blackadder and his ability to adjust from one character to another, lest we forget Mr Bean?
No # 9
Character: Benson DuBois
Actor: Robert Guillaume
TV series: Soap (1977-1981), Benson (1986)
Profile: Ill-tempered wisecracking butler of the Tate family, who, even though he had his sarcastic jibes go unrecognised, didn't deter him from speaking them. He later appeared in his own spin-off show called Benson.
Gretchen: I'm going out and have myself a wild time.
Benson DuBois: Don't forget your library card.
Katherine Olivia Gatling: Benson, what's a broken heart?
Benson DuBois: Oh, there's no such thing, Katie. It's just a term we use to describe one of life's little disappointment that comes close to killing you.
Before Niles from The Nanny and Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, there was Benson, and he was the best of the best as far as sarcastic, wisecracking butlers go. I mean sure I could have thrown these guys into the list too, along with Lynn Belvedere, but I thought Benson can represent all these guys as the embodiment of their stereotypical characters, as he had all their qualities rolled into one.
No # 8
Alex P. Keaton
Michael J Fox
Family Ties (1982-1989)
Highly intelligent sarcastic conservative republican teenage son of hippie parents, Elyse and Steven Keaton. One of his heroes is Richard Nixon.
Alex P. Keaton: "Remember when we were kids and I run you over with my bicycle?
Erwin 'Skippy' Handleman: Yes.
Alex P. Keaton: I have a car now.”
“Alex P. Keaton: What were you protesting?, good grooming?”
(Reaction to seeing a photo of his parents at a 1960s protest rally)
This is where M.J. Fox got his start…Alex P. Keaton is a brilliantly created character, that even today has a rather unique fan following. There is even an article in the New York Times, asking the question ; “What would Alex P. Keaton do?” In today’s political arena.
No # 7
Sarcastic working class married mother of three children, with a very loud, outspoken attitude. Her daughter on the show Darlene is equally as sarcastic.
“Bonnie Watkins: When I'm feeling down, I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to talk to anyone.
Roseanne: Well, see, now, that's where we differ. When I'm in a bad mood, I can't wait to spread it around.”
“Booker Brooks: [trying to explain to Jackie why he is so late for their date] I was on the phone with my mother.
[Jackie makes a face, Dan snickers]
Booker Brooks: I was!
Roseanne: Jeeze, Booker, you ought to take a shovel around with you when you travel.”
The character is based on her real life, stand up comedian nature.
Whether on screen or off, Roseanne is… Roseanne!
No # 6
Chandler Muriel Bing
Chandler was the smart wisecracking roommate of Joey. His legendary wit and sarcasm never left him without an insult or a sassy comeback.
Chandler: “All right, look if you absolutely have to tell her the truth, at least wait until the timing's right. And that's what deathbeds are for.”
Ross: Chandler entered a Vanilla Ice look-alike contest and *won*!
Chandler: Ross came fourth and cried!
Ross: The door's closed! I can't see anything with the door closed!
Chandler: And the inventor of the door rests happily in his grave.
One of those TV characters that you would just watch the show for!
No # 5
Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce
A clever witted doctor who served in Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH), and could always drag out the sarcasm when needed, and at times could lighten the mood in an otherwise dire situation.
Hawkeye: It was the least I could do. I always do the least I can do.
Hawkeye: When you mail that, you better wear a disguise. Why don't you dress up as a human being? No-one will recognize you.
Frank Burns: I know I'm a real asset.
Hawkeye: You're only off by two letters.
Alda acted this part so well, and was the only actor to appear in every single episode of MASH.
No # 4
Fawlty Towers (1975-1979)
Basil Fawlty is the snobbish and often paranoid owner and manager of the Fawlty Towers Hotel in Torquay. He fakes being pleasant to his guests, mindful of his watchful wife Cybil, but secretly hates the guests, and is often on the edge of insanity whilst trying to run the hotel.
Sybil Fawlty: [Sybil suggests a way to get rid of Manuel's rat] Perhaps it would be simplest to have him put to S-L-E-E-P.
Basil Fawlty: Who? Him or the rat? I could get a discount if we get them both done.
Basil Fawlty: [two guests are speaking to Basil in German] Oh, German. I'm sorry, I thought there was something wrong with you.
Basil Fawlty: This is typical. Absolutely typical... of the kind of...
Basil Fawlty: ARSE I have to put up with from you people. You ponce in here expecting to be waited on hand and foot, while I'm trying to run a hotel here. Have you any idea of how much there is to do? Do you ever think of that? Of course not, you're all too busy sticking your noses into every corner, poking around for things to complain about, aren't you? Well let me tell you something - this is exactly how Nazi Germany started. A lot of layabouts with nothing better to do than to cause trouble. Well I've had fifteen years of pandering to the likes of you, and I've had enough. I've had it. Come on, pack your bags and get out.
Sybil Fawlty: [to a customer who has just given Basil a tip for a horse race] Basil doesn't bet on the horses anymore,
Sybil Fawlty: do you?
Basil Fawlty: No, that particular avenue of pleasure has been closed off.
Sybil Fawlty: And we don't want it opened up again, do we?
Basil Fawlty: No, you don't dear.
With his bitterly sneering sarcastic attitude, amidst a hotel full of ironic misfortunes and his incompetent staff, Basil Fawlty reigns supreme in his own mind, thanks to his wife.
The Character of Basil Fawlty was based on a real person.
No # 3
Alphonse “Alfonz” Hercules Bundy
Married With Children (1987-1997)
Al Bundy is the very non-Politicly Correct husband of Peg Bundy and father of the dysfunctional Bundy family who finds himself resentful of his life and the irony of his misfortunes. He works as a shoe salesman where he insults mostly the over weight woman who go in the shoe store. He is full of sarcasm, with no shortage of wisecracks. He is almost always in conflict with his feminist neighbour Marcy.
Peg : You haven't been very nice to my family
Al : Neither has nature, go bother it!
Al : Any last words, punk?
Teenage gang leader : Yeah, your wife's good in bed!
Al : So you're a liar, too! (Al and Bud proceed to beat up the entire street gang)
Peggy: Did you miss me?
Al: With every bullet, so far.
Al: I've seen her from the front, I've seen her from the back. / I've seen her in a chair, I've seen her in a sack. / I've seen her stand, I've seen her crouch. / I've seen her on her stupid couch. / I do not like her in the mall; I do not like her in the hall. / I do not like her in my life; I do not like my big red wife.
Bud: Dad, you can't put a dog outside in the middle of winter. It's inhumane.
Al: No Bud, inhumane would be to force him to work at a shoe store for minimum wage and then have him come home to a red-headed Shih Tzu.
This sums up Al Bundy:
Politically, Al appears to be a conservative. He is known for being fiercely patriotic (he flaunts his American citizenship as a source of pride when he goes to England ) , expresses deep affection for John Wayne (he cites Hondo as his all time favourite movie), often picks fights with his feminist neighbour Marcy, and revealed his admiration of President Dwight Eisenhower on a number of occasions.
“Al hates fat women, his job, the prospect of having sex with his wife, his feminist neighbour Marcy D'Arcy, and the French. He loves dirty magazines, free beer, and bowling and "nudie" bars, and often cherishes the glory moment of his past - scoring four touchdowns "in a single game"
No # 2
Percival "Perry" Cox, M.D.
Dr Cox is a doctor of internal medicine and the current Interim Chief of Medicine formerly the Attending Physician of Internal Medicine and Residency Director at Sacred Heart Hospital. Dr. Cox is sarcastic and narcissistic, with a quick, cruel wit. He is the often easily irritated and bitter mentor of John “J.D” Dorian, formerly an intern now doctor and the show's main character, which he regularly belittles and mocks. Cox refers to J.D as “newbie” and a barrage of girly names.
The way Dr Cox cuts people down to size, with a verbal assault of sarcasm is like poetry in motion. He earns his spot at number # 2!
Dr Cox: I'm gonna go ahead and say this just as carefully as possible so I don't overstate it: Dr. Kelso is the most evil human being on the planet. And may, in fact, be Satan, himself.
Dr Cox: Gosh, I'm sorry, nervous guy, but I just can't do your work for you. But, what do you say you head on down to the library and look it up in the New England Journal of Who Gives a Rat's Ass? You've got to leave this instant - this second - this moment. Just go.
Dr Cox: That TIPS procedure was for Mrs. Blitt down in 103. You see, she doesn't have insurance; Mr. Martinez, on the other hand, had great insurance. Should I talk slower or go get a nurse who speaks fluent moron?
Dr Cox: Nine pounds in a _week_!? Let me ask you a quick question: are you trying to make my head explode? Because you have no idea just how frustrating it is working your _ass_ off trying to inflate a tiny little balloon inside someone's clogged artery. And all that a person has to do, really, is -- oh, I don't know -- go for a walk in the morning or choke down a fresh green salad. And you come back here looking like that!?! And I know, I know, here I'm supposed to be Dr. Give A Crap, but you wanna know the God's honest truth? And this is a fact -- you are what you eat, and you clearly went out and devoured a big fat guy, didn'cha!
Nurse Carla Espinosa is the only person in the whole hospital Dr Cox respects and calls by their real name, he fell in love with her in the first season. They are very close friends.
No # 1
Gregory House, M.D
House M.D (2004 - present)
Dr Gregory House is Head of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. He is an antisocial drug addicted medical genius who appears to also have a PhD in Sarcasm. He is bitterly sarcastic and obnoxious to his patients and fellow colleagues, who he treats like morons. House is not scared to bend the rules to get what he wants or tell people their short falls to their face. The misery of his life and the fact that he constantly has to live with pain and only partial use of his leg because of infarction surgery done against his will makes him so much bitterer.
House insults everyone, doctors, nurses, patients, family, colleagues and even his only friend Dr. James Wilson.
House is a strong non-conformist and gives little regard to how others perceive him. Throughout the series, he displays sardonic contempt for authority figures. House shows an almost constant disregard for his own appearance, possessing permanent stubble and dressing informally in jeans and a t-shirt. He avoids wearing the standard white lab coat to avoid patients recognizing him as a doctor. – Wikipedia
It seems that House was grumpy before he had his leg surgery, and after it he got even worse due to the pain.
His boss Lisa Cuddy claimed that after the surgery he was … “an egomaniacal, narcissistic pain in the ass - same as before.”
Dr. Eric Foreman: I think your argument is specious.
Dr. Gregory House: I think your tie is ugly.
Dr. Cameron: You want me to tell a man whose wife is about to die that she may have cheated on him?
Dr. Gregory House: No, I want you to be polite and let her die.
Dr. Cameron, Dr. Eric Foreman, Dr. Robert Chase: [speaking about patient's symptoms] we’ve got rectal bleeding.
Dr. Gregory House: What, all three of you?
Dr. Cameron: [discussing a patient's diagnosis] What about sex?
Dr. Gregory House: Well, it might get complicated. We work together. I am older, certainly, but maybe you like that.
Dr. Cameron: I meant maybe he has neurosyphilis.
Dr. Gregory House: Heh, nice cover.
Dr. Gregory House: "If I was kidding I'd be dressed like you”
Dr. Gregory House: [addressing the patients sitting in the waiting room of the hospital] Hello, sick people and their loved ones! In the interest of saving time and avoiding a lot of boring chitchat later, I'm Doctor Gregory House; you can call me "Greg." I'm one of three doctors staffing this clinic this morning. This ray of sunshine is Doctor Lisa Cuddy. Doctor Cuddy runs this whole hospital, so unfortunately she's much too busy to deal with you. I am a board certified diagnostician with a double specialty of infectious disease and nephrology. I am also the only doctor currently employed at this hospital who is forced to be here against his will. That is true, isn't it? But not to worry, because for most of you, this job could be done by a monkey with a bottle of Motrin. Speaking of which, if you're particularly annoying, you may see me reach for this: this is Vicodin. It's mine! You can't have any! And no, I do not have a pain management problem, I have a pain problem... but who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm too stoned to tell. So, who wants me?
House is definitely Number # 1 because in my opinion he is the embodiment of sarcasm on TV and oddly enough he is the only one in this list in a drama and not a comedy or sitcom, and for him to pull of the sarcasm consistently in a real life, often serious scenario, is superb. Hugh Laurie is brilliant as House and his character is well crafted, even if it is partly borrowed from Sherlock Holmes.
Sources: Some Profile and character information is gathered from various internet sites such as Wikipedia and quotes from IMDB and other TV related sites. The compilation and selection of characters however and their order in this list are of my own creation and selection, including most of the additional comments.