Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The 100 Greatest TV Show Characters (Part 10)

55: Xena: Joxer (Ted Raimi)
Joxer the Mighty
He's very tidy
Everyone admires him
He's so handsome it's a sin
When you're in jeopardy
Don't call the cavalry
There's a better remedy
(Although he doesn't work for free)
He's every man's trusty,
He's every woman's fantasy,
Plus he's goo-oood company
He's Joxer—I'm Joxer the Mighty!

54: Firefly: Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin)
Every single character on Firefly apart from Book (you are RUBBISH, Shephard Book) was fun to watch up on the small screen. Jayne Cobb is no exception, being a self-serving bastard who is sticking around with the rest of the characters on their tiny little spacecraft only until he gets a better deal somewhere else. He has no regard for any of the others, so long as he ends up with a paycheque at the end of each job they take and somewhere to sleep. And also, guns. He was a big fan of guns. Adam Baldwin took this snide character and gave him no pathos at all, and yet still made the public like him. Jayne had respect for only a few members of the crew, but Baldwin managed to convey this very subtly – so when Joss Whedon eventually made an episode which hinged around this (I’m thinking of the superb scene featuring Mal and Jayne in the airlock, and will say no more of it to anyone who hasn’t seen) it all came spilling out and felt natural instead of forced. That single scene was what propelled Jayne into this list. Adam Baldwin is much more versatile as an actor than he is given credit for.

53: My Name Is Earl: Randy Hickey (Ethan Suplee)
At the time this list was being written, which is something close to two years ago My Name Is Earl was still seen as one of the bigger comedy shows around. Having Jason Lee play the main character helped with this of course, because Jason Lee is an insanely talented person, but the real stars of the show turned out to be the supporting cast. From Jaime Pressly’s white-trash squawking mother to her boyfriend, who is called… Crabman, there is nary a dud in there. Most of all, there is a massive winner in the form of Ethan Suplee’s character, Randy Hickey. Earl’s brother Randy is not smart or particularly agile, and may in fact be the closest thing to Winnie The Pooh ever seen in real-life TV. He is a big bumbling fool, but the sort of bumbling fool that most people would want to hug. There isn’t a bad bone in his body (most of the time) and he just wants things to be silly, because he’s barely developed mentally. It’s encouraging.

52: Will and Grace: Jack Walker (Sean Hayes)
Everyone needs an intensely annoying camp-gay stereotype in their lives. I know that I certainly have one! But for all those people out there who are missing out on their fix of gay-o-rama look no further than Will & Grace. Nobody liked the two main characters – well, maybe Will had his moments, but Grace was infuriating – and the show quickly honed in on the two characters of Jack and Karen. They took over proceedings entirely, with Sean Hayes’ unabashedly madcap character filling every scene he was in with shrieking, enthusiasm, and irritating quips. More often than not he was hateable, but he was insistently watchable. With him on the screen, none of the other cast members could get a look-in. Karen was better, but Jack was undeniably eye-catching.

51: The American Office: Pam (Jenna Fischer)
The Office is a reactive show rather than a show where the characters make things happen for themselves. Due to the nature of the program none of the cast can ever really change their status quo in a memorable way, which you’d think would mean that they’re less interesting. No! Pam the receptionist – called Dawn in the original, remember, and played by Lucy Davis – is a lovely character, and effortlessly adorable. This is mostly due to the talents of Jenna Fischer, who has managed to pitch herself as the girl of any man’s dreams whilst seeming like a real, broken person and not a wish-fulfilment fantasy. When you watch a sitcom and some of the characters exist simply so they can be romantic interest, they are almost always annoying and feel misplaced. Pam from The Office feels like an integral part of the show, and that’s no mean feat.

1 comment:

  1. I do love Jack. I never really watched any of the other shows mentioned, so I can't comment on them

    But YAY for the best gay on TV!