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The 47 Best Television Characters Of All Time Part 1

Disclaimer: The reason that I ended this list at forty-seven isn’t that I’m lazy or hungover. While both those things might be true usually, I stopped at forty-seven to leave room for the shows I haven’t started/finished yet. For instance, I’m currently wrapping up season two of The Wire, and while I know that Omar and Mcnulty will most likely be on this list once I’m finished, it would be disingenuous to have them before their character arcs fully play out. Also, because you assholes are going to say some shit about it, I haven’t watched Game Of Thrones (I wonder if the ending is good), but I plan to when football season ends. Along with GOT, I would say there are two or three other shows I haven’t gotten around to watch, so if any no-brainers are missing here just know that’s why. With that being said, some of the shows you guys are into just suck cock. Who the fuck is out here watching This is Us?! Touch grass. 

47. Fernando Sucre Prison Break (Hulu)

I would argue that pound for pound season one of Prison Break is the best season of television I’ve ever watched. That is a take to which I’m willing to go to war. Of course, shits going to get pretty repetitive when the concept behind the first season of your TV show is a group of men planning on escaping prison, but overall it’s a pretty damn good show. The reason Sucre has a spot on my list is because I admire his loyalty. No matter what either Scofield brother asked of him, he got it done. Also, during the entire show, we sympathize with him because of his relationship with his daughter’s mother—great character with a big heart and a shiny ass head. 

46. Debra Morgan Dexter (Hulu Premium)

Sure, the whole I really want to fuck my adopted brother thing was a little…much. However, I really did/do (considering the show is coming back in six days) like Debra Morgan. She’s ambitious, she has weird ticks, and she’s the only girl I’ve ever seen say the word fuck more than I do. Jennifer Carpenter did such a good job portraying Debra Morgan that a lot of people perceive that Debra’s character flaws were those of Carpenter when in reality, she just did a great job playing a frazzled character. Hopefully, her taste in men in season nine will equate to her ability to scan a crime scene. 

45. Liz Lemon 30 Rock (Hulu)

I’ve always been a fan of self-deprecating humor, and that’s something Tina Fey did very well when she played an exaggerated version of herself. There’s no point in me describing Liz Lemon when Jack Donaghy has already so eloquently illustrated her as a “New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for…a week.”

44. Eric Forman That ’70s Show (Daytime Cable TV Every Fucking Day)

That ’70s Show is the undisputed champion of I’m hungover with a half-hour to kill before I actually have to do something, I’ve just masturbated, and I’m having an existential crisis type television. At its very core, That ’70s Show defines comfort television. The jokes are never funny enough where you’re laughing out loud, and the plotlines are never intense enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, but we can all agree that it’s a good show. The writers did an excellent job making Eric’s character relatable to all those who have experienced young adulthood while also keeping many of the circumstances surrounding him specific to the ’70s.

43. Leon Black Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO Max/Amazon Prime)

The contrast between Larry and Leon is the funniest of any two characters in television history. The addition of the Black family in general made for one of the best seasons in comedy TV you will ever see- even reading that sentence out loud is funny. Between his vernacular, his outlandish advice, and J.B. Smoove’s brilliance, he is the perfect complementary character for Larry David.

42. Nicky Nichols Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

Orange Is The New Black is one of those rare shows where the protagonist fucking sucks, yet the side characters are so alluring that it’s still a phenomenal series. A quick-witted drug addict with all the tropes that come with having daddy issues, Nicky Nichols exemplifies loyalty and persistence as she fights a lifelong battle with addiction. Even though she comes off as a sarcastic junkie, her heart is in the right place, and throughout the series, we see her grow wiser as the seasons progress. Her character arc ends perfectly as she takes the head chef position, symbolizing her transformation into becoming the “new Red.”

41.Sally Draper Mad Men (Amazon Prime)

While most Mad Men rankings wouldn’t have Sally Draper representing even a top-five list for characters from the show, I beg to differ. Her Mom is a bitch, her Dad is a psychopath who thinks strictly with his penis, and for most of the series, she’s not allowed to spend time with the only person who seems to understand her. Even though her brother Bobby is recasted sixty-four fucking times, she’s a great sister that is given an overwhelming amount of responsibility at a young age, and as the oldest sibling in my family, I can resonate with that. A superbly underrated character.

40. Uncle Phil The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (HBO Max)

In life, unless you’re good enough at sports to where you’re playing an intense summer schedule, there are a good one or two summers where you have nothing to do. When I was twelve/thirteen, I wasn’t old enough to get a job, but I was too old to be in summer camps, so I just kind of fucked around for approximately eighty days. During that time, I watched a lot of day-time The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. We all know the relationship that transcends between Uncle Phil and Will throughout the show, which birthed what I would argue is the greatest television scene of all time. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Uncle Phil was probably an admirable patriarchal figure for a lot of kids. RIP.

39. Tim Riggins Friday Night Lights (Peacock)

Whenever I’m in a place that’s sort of white trash, I’ll see at least one guy wearing a shirt that says I’m not gay but $20 is $20. I feel like they should make something similar for Tim Riggins #nohomo #justspeakingmytruth. Tim Riggins has some Huckleberry Finn-type qualities where you’re watching the show, and you see him make a million bad decisions, but at the end of the day, you can’t not love the guy. From waking up at age sixteen with a bottle of whiskey to taking the blame for his brother’s chop shop, he’s a fascinating character through and through. Guys want to be him; girls want to be with him. 

38. Christopher Moltisanti The Sopranos (HBO Max)

Being from New Jersey, watching The Sopranos wasn’t all that enlightening. You could really get the whole show by knowing one Italian kid from West Caldwell, but that’s neither here nor there. Christopher Moltisanti is the fantastic idiot that we all know and love. Tony trusts him with his most sensitive jobs, yet he always finds a way to be at odds with his uncle. He goes from being addicted to Heroin to being addicted to Soda, he roughs up his fianceé, and he has more jumpsuits than I have wearable pairs of socks. Speaking from experience, he is in almost every way an accurate depiction of a mafia soldier. 

37. Kenny Powers Eastbound & Down (HBO Max)

Sometimes shows are so stupid that they’re amazing, and that’s what you have with Eastbound & Down. Like any other Danny McBride character, Kenny is a cocky son of a bitch that engages in every vice possible. His journey getting back to the big leagues comes with some of the funniest one-liners and hilariously ignorant statements I’ve ever heard. If you liked Talladega Nights, then Eastbound is for sure a show for you. 

36. Ari Gold Entourage (HBO Max)

Entourage was a great show where every actor played their role well, but nobody did it better over eight seasons than Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold. Every time Ari hit the screen, the show became must-watch television. His relationship with every character in the show- ranging from his gay secretary Lloyd to his wife- is both chaotic and hysterical. He is an animated man who palpably cares about himself more than others, and I would go as far as saying he is better at roasting than Jeff Ross. An eight-minute YouTube compilation of Ari Gold’s best freakouts can make even the worst days turn around. 

35. Stan Marsh South Park (SouthParkStudious.com)

Obviously, Cartman cracks my top five, so I chose to put Stan on this list because he is responsible for giving me my favorite South Park episodes of all time: You’re Getting Old (where everything he hears sounds like shit), With Apologies To Jesse Jackson (Randy says the N-Word on Wheel of Fortune and Token and Stan debate the power of the epithet in question), Trapped In The Closet (Tom Cruise is stuck in the closet), and Raisins (when Wendy breaks up with Stan). Randy and Stan could have been interchangeable on this list, but I needed some Marsh family representation at thirty-five.

34. Rickety Cricket It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Hulu)

The decay of Matthew Mara, the priest to Rickety Cricket, is one of the best bits in what I believe to be the best television comedy of all time (South Park being 1B). At this point in the show, I can’t even comfortably eat when Cricket shows up on the screen. I mean, Jesus Christ, look at this

33. Andy Dwyer Parks and Recreation (Peacock)

Andy is the human form of a golden retriever. He is easily the best character from Parks and Rec because of the chaotic energy he brings in every scene. His relationship with April seems like it shouldn’t work on paper but their cat and dog personalities fit surprisingly well together. Andy is always looking for someone to help regardless if he actually can. This is what made his time on Parks and Rec both hilarious and heartwarming.

32. Alyssa Foley The End Of The F**king World (Netflix)

The End Of The F**king World got the ax from Netflix a few years ago. From all indications I’ve seen online, I’m the only one that gives a shit. It was a great show about two teenage misfits who begin a relationship (a semi-psychopath named James and a deeply damaged girl named Alyssa). And while the show might be over, Alyssa Foley cracks my top fifty because she is one of the rawest characters I’ve ever seen. Instead of channeling her life’s misfortunes into an obsession with her zodiac sign, she’s confident and adventurous. Both these qualities also make her incredibly attractive. If you have time to waste a long weekend of your life, which many of you do, I’ve seen the relationships you’re in; I would one-hundred percent recommend this show. 

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Written by Bobby D'Angelo

TFM middle school penis game champion. Rutgers student.

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