Monday, May 31, 2010
Entertainment Weekly made another list of classics with Homer Simpson at the top, so I thought I'd help them branch out. Thus, my top 50 characters of (their rules) the past 20 years. No double-dipping, so people from the magazine like Tony Soprano won't show up here, too, and I obviously haven't seen everything. I'm suffering from what's probably The (still unexplained) Infection from Lost, so be nice: these are my favorites, not objective bests.
Mel from Flight of the Conchords - Kristen Schaal is a master of shameless creepiness.
Mufasa from The Lion King - The ultimate '90s kid role model.
Patrick Bateman from American Psycho - His business cards alone are fascinating.
Prior Walter from Angels in America - Even against Meryl Streep and Al Pacino, Justin Kirk's the star.
X-Man aka Nate Grey from X-Man and the Marvel universe - The Age of Apocalypse storyline broke right after I got into X-Men as a tyke, and alt-Cable was somehow so cool he crossed over permanently.
And now, the moment at least I've been waiting for,
The Top 50 Other Characters from the Past 20 Years
50. Linda Richman - "Coffee Talk" sketches, Saturday Night Live
Challengers for SNL's best recurring character of the past 20 years?
49. Dil - The Crying Game
The reason we invented the spoiler alert.
48. Leonard - Memento
Freaky tattoos have never been cooler. Or more tragic.
47. Elim Garak - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The best tailor in the history of fiction, Garak episodes always brought the intrigue, tragedy, and comedy in equal measures.
46. Sterling Archer - Archer
A Freudian man-child who sucks at the Covert and rocks at the Ops. Give it time: I wager he'll rise up through the ranks with a few more hours under his belt.
45. The Middleman - The Middleman
It was a close call between Parks and Recreation's newest guest star aka Dub Dub, Ida the cranky robot, and MM himself, but Matt Keeslar's too awesome.
44. Senator Tankerbell (Dixiecrat) - Mr. Show with Bob and David
My all-time favorite social ultraconservative.
43. Angel - Rent
EW picked Mimi, so props to them.
42. WALL-E - WALL-E
I can't believe they didn't snatch WALL-E up. He's everyone's favorite plucky animated robot.
41. Penny Lane - Almost Famous
Show some respect, man.
40. Dr. Bashir - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Selling friendships and romances and work strife and existential wonder all, Dr. Bashir's the third best character in the Star Trek universe. Just wait till you get to Season 5.
39. Poppy - Happy-Go-Lucky
A model for everyone.
38. Sarah Silverman - Standup, Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, and The Sarah Silverman Program
Selfish, childlike idiocy enables the Sarah Silverman character to get away with hysterical, controversial absurdism.
37. Lester Freamon - The Wire
EW ranked Omar, though not as highly as he deserves, leaving me with the smartest man in the Baltimore PD.
36. Michael, Michael and David - Stella
They're so dedicated to their reality that you buy whatever ridiculousness transpires next.
35. The Busy Philipps character - Freaks and Geeks, Dawson's Creek, How I Met Your Mother, Cougar Town
It's been a slow but steady honing of the wacky, flighty sorority chick with feelings: she first wowed in high school, then she took over the college years of Dawson's Creek, then she won Ted the tricycle (maybe), and now she effortlessly dominates Cougar Town.
34. Doug - The State
For a guy who can barely say, "I'm outta here," in the appropriate number of syllables, Doug's eloquence is pretty funny.
33. Yorick - Y—The Last Man
Don't tell me how it ends. At the moment, Yorick and Ampersand are the awesomest guys with the awesomest names on the planet.
32. Gay Perry - Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
The dominant one in the decade's best buddy team.
31. Jesse & Celine - Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
I hope the next one's set in the back row of a dollar theater and called During Twilight.
30. Shosana - Inglourious Basterds
Maybe it's just been too long, but no one from Kill Bill matches up to Lt. Aldo Raine, Colonel Hans Landa or my personal favorite, the mastermind of the alternate French resistance.
29. Harley Quinn - Batman: The Animated Series and the DC universe
Head over heels and equally mad, Harley Quinn is the newest bestest Batvillain.
28. Al Swearengen - Deadwood
Tweeth George Lazenby: "It's strange that after the Harry Lime floodgates opened: anti-heroes galore, but we had to wait till Al Swearengen for the anti-villain."
27. Elaine Benice - Seinfeld
Get OUT! The Soup Nazi vendetta, the little kicks, the Christmas card: Elaine's always been my favorite worst person.
26. Artie - The Larry Sanders Show
The Bones McCoy of late night. Hank's probably the breakout and Larry's by far the most fleshed out, but you always feel for Artie, the silent hero.
25. Bill Munny - Unforgiven
What an oversight, EW. Someone needs to return to a time when Clint Eastwood was interesting.
24. Clementine - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The best performance from one of our best English actresses.
23. Regina George - Mean Girls
So you agree? The quotablest queen bee.
22. Will Parry - His Dark Materials
Runners up include Lyra, Mary Malone, and Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby.
21. Julie Cooper - The OC
The Real Housewives have nothing on the fiercest, funniest socialite of the past two decades.
20. Sunflash the Mace - The Redwall series
The most stylish badger-lord in the woods, and with the coolest companion to boot.
19. Gaius Baltar - Battlestar Galactica
Humanity's worst administrative decider is its most sympathetic genocider.
18. Desmond Hume - Lost
17. Joan Holloway Harris - Mad Men
I can't even imagine how awesome Joan would be in a less restrictive time.
16. Blake aka "Fuck you—that's my name." - Glengarry Glen Ross
The play's from the '80s, but this character was written for Alec Baldwin for the film, and boy, is it a knockout.
15. Max Fischer - Rushmore
Hello?! Is anyone at EW home? No, you're right, Sue Sylvester is a far better character.
14. Chris Morris - The Day Today and Brass Eye
Before there was The Daily Show, there was The Day Today, in which Chris Morris played a hilariously combative and absurd newscaster spoofing not the content of news programs but the format. Then he went on to Brass Eye to mock hysteria with many of the same people. Together they compose the best television satire of the '90s.
13. Severus Snape - The Harry Potter series
Not even JK Rowling and her childish textbook psychology can reduce her greatest character, the masterfully duplicitous dungeon master.
12. Liz Lemon - 30 Rock
In four years, Tina Fey has proven to be the most dependable actor on 30 Rock. Just don't put her in HD.
11. The Mariner - "The Mariner's Revenge Song"
The most fun throwback adventure song has one formidable hero.
10. Veronica Mars - Veronica Mars
Fiction's coolest teenager.
9. Narrator - Fishing with John
The greatest thing about this unfortunately short-lived series it that the narrator, perhaps to entertain himself, invents his own storylines for the taciturn fishers.
8. Malcolm Tucker - The Thick of It and In the Loop
The cunningest linguist on either side of the pond.
7. Captain Mal Reynolds - Firefly and Serenity
The biggest, damnest hero.
6. Father - The Road
Our personal, Oprah-approved Jehovah on Earth.
5. Anton Chigurh - No Country for Old Men
Like Father from The Road, Chigurh has debuted both in print and on film in the past decade, a riveting, unsettlingly funny force of nature.
4. Johnny - Naked
The EW-selected Dude aside, misanthropic existentialist (nihilist?) Johnny's the performance and character of '90s English-language cinema, at least that I've seen so far.
3. Gambit - X-Men and the Marvel universe
Introduced in 1990, Gambit was a rock star to '90s X-Men aficionados, and a retcon involving the Mutant Massacre only increases his intrigue. I have no idea what's going on now, but I do hope Gambit has learned to speak less annoyingly.
2. Laura Roslin - Battlestar Galactica
My favorite member of the Bush dynasty is this star of the genuinely intelligent, quintessential Bush Administration show Battlestar Galactica.
1. The Arrested Development ensemble
I'd pick Lucille, no question, but then I'd also end up filling out the list with Tobias Funke, Michael Bluth, Kitty Sanchez, Barry Zuckerkorn and his secretary, J. Walter Weatherman, Lucille 2, Warden Gentles, and everyone else on down to the aforepictured Nazhgalia—"Hell-oh my god." So in the interest of efficiency, everyone takes the top slot.
Now I'd love to hear some of your favorite characters from the past 20 years, especially from stuff I haven't seen/read/molested yet.
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Posted by Brandon Nowalk at 7:57 PM