TV’s 10 Best Characters In 2011
1.) Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones – Do you want me to go into this? Okay, but first, you need to go slam your hand in a hot oven door if you need to have Tyrion, and all of his glory, explained to you. Tyrion, the charming playboy-dwarf of the Lannister clan – who are kinda / sorta the bad guys as of now in Game of Thrones – is the closest thing to an audience-surrogate we have on the show. But at the same time, not at all. The other characters assume Tyrion is just a casual observer while he secretly is a silver-tongued political-acrobat that navigates all this mixed-up monarchy motherfuckery with such aplomb that we will willingly worship his snarky one-liners on bended knee. When your parents ask you what hip TV shows they should be watching, tell them Game of Thrones. When they ask you why, don’t mention the snow-zombies or dragons, just mention the Emmy-winning little person.
Hail, Dinklage the victor!
2.) Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation – He can’t clip his toenails. They’re too strong. He has to use a metal file. He once ordered “all the eggs and all the bacon” a restaurant had when his steak proved inadequate. Ron does not consider fish to be meat, it’s practically a vegetable. He survived a gunshot to the head. Normally, burritos are too ethnic of a food for him to eat, but he was persuaded to eat one once because it was called “The Meat Tornado.” The fact that The Meat Tornado once killed a guy was just icing on the cake. In Ron Swanson’s mind, there are no curse-words, except for one: “taxes.” He was born ready and he knows that old wooden sailing ships are beautiful.
3.) Abed Nadir, Community – Community probably began life as a Joel McHale vehicle (Did it? I know Joel is a huge fan of the site, so if you can comment, Joel, please do!), but McHale’s Zen-narcissism and hyper-snark didn’t draw me in at first – no, for me, it was Community’s meta-icon, Abed. Abed may or may not know he’s on a sitcom in the best way possible, continually commenting on how their show-world is, well, like a TV show. Acting simultaneously as the level-headed judicator and quote-spouting madman, he dresses up like Batman, a xenomorph, Clint Eastwood, and Jesus, among others, and he finds his place in the show as the beating nerd-heart inside all of us. Some think he has mild Asperger’s, but in reality, he’s completely un-diagnosable. Abed, don’t change. NBC, don’t cancel the show.
4.) Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead – Since all the other characters on the show are self-pitying, neurotic, desperate, or depressed, it didn’t take long to chose the best character on AMC’s zombie-walker-drama. Daryl has developed into the character that has people saying, “That’s exactly what I would have done if I had a crossbow and there were zombies walkers everywhere.” Increasingly humanized and always resourceful, he’s the second person on this list that’s been shot in the head and survived, and therefore your arguments against him being the best character on the show are invalid.
5.) Frank Reynolds, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Did you ever have a friend that was a terrible influence on people that were already kind of awful? Maybe somebody’s dad that would buy you wooden crate of fireworks after dismissing your bottle rockets as inadequate? Frank Reynolds is the devil that sits on the devil’s shoulder, adding even worse ideas into the Gang’s plans on Always Sunny, corrupting the already pitiable Charlie even further. Frank once combined food and booze into one item when he invented rum-ham, which is exactly what it sounds like, and his hair has been getting increasingly psychotic-looking, probably signifying how many times he has cheated death. If only every sitcom has a character like Frank that could take terrible ideas and make them evil. Earth would be better for it.
6.) Gus Fring, Breaking Bad – The best character on arguably the best drama on the air right now. (SPOILERS): Gus is a fantastic villain. He’s probably killed more people than he’s spoken complete sentences and he has a Terminator-caliber clairvoyance to sense threats against him. Despite being physically unimposing, he is entirely fearless, killing a Mexican drug cartel’s leader with poisoned tequila (which he himself later vomited back up (like ya do (like a BAUS!!)) over a territory dispute. If you’ve seen the season 4 finale, then you, like me, probably shouted “How did he live through that?!” at the TV. He is a drug-dealing, fried-chicken shilling, vegan mega-murderer, and therefore, he is on the list.
7.) Snow White / Mary Margaret Blanchard, Once Upon A Time – Basically, this show is about Snow White’s baby being put in a magic cupboard to avoid an evil queen’s curse that sends the fairytale kingdom to a horrible town called Storybrooke, and the baby avoids the curse and grows up in Phoenix, AZ, and the baby has a baby, and that baby is adopted by the evil queen’s evil alternate-reality manifestation in. . . Maine? Is the show about amnesia? Or magic? Look, I missed the pilot episode and I’m still enjoying the bejeezus out of this show.
Once Upon A Time is drinkable yogurt. It’s schlock and adorable and rarely dull, but the best character is the schoolteacher / princess-rogue Snow White. Played as a nervous pixie in the real world and a troll-slaying huntress in the fairytale flashbacks, she has believable chemistry with every other character and a desperately-charming love story that anybody with a beating heart will root for. #CharmingAndSnowFTW
8.) Rumpelstiltskin / Mister Gold, Once Upon A Time – The gold-smeared half-Gollum / half-Joker steals every scene he’s in and reminds us why Robert Carlyle is a Secret Genius. This show is run by some Lost alumni, which means there are going to be some oily creepers manipulating things in the background, and the downright frightening Rumpelstiltskin chooses to operate in plain view because he has things people need. He’s evil to the heroes’ faces and they just have to deal with it, the mark of a great villain (see: Iago, ‘Othello’). With an unclear motive outside of greed and narcissism, Rumpelstiltskin, and his real-world alter-ego Mr. Gold, are fast-tracked for wicked success.
9.) Jess (New Girl) and Jess (True Blood) – Whereas other sites would insist that one of these Jesses is bestest, we don’t. They’re both equally-good. Zooey D’s Jess Day validates New Girl’s existence, making nervous goofiness charming, and making “adorkable” a word. On the darker side, there’s Jess Hamby, who I want to give the Most-Improved Award, beginning life as an obnoxious vampire prodigy on True Blood before developing into the only good character in all of season 4’s mudfucking witch-shit. Also, I pity Deborah Ann Woll for having to weep blood constantly. It looks uncomfortable.
10.) Roger Smith, American Dad! – Seth MacFarlane gets a bad rap, deservedly so sometimes. That said, do not write-off American Dad!, his first post-Family Guy show that has completely surpassed its predecessor, and the best character on the show is Roger, the gray, duck-footed alien that lives in the Smith family’s attic. Roger possesses a Hobbesian (as in Calvin & Hobbes) quality to dress up in disguises that nobody but the family can see through, letting him walk freely out in the world. Hijinx ensue and there’s not a Conway Twitty or cutaway gag to be found.
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