The situation comedy is a sub-genre that I can confidently say will never die. There’s something so satisfying about seeing a host of lovable characters live out their fictional lives, and sometimes, a character comes along that is a cut above the rest, one that you look forward to seeing every episode, one that never fail to leave you in hysterics, and one that will remain in your memory long after their show has ended, and here are five of those characters.
Phil Dunphy – Modern Family
The whole cast of ABC’s Modern Family is simply wonderful, so it is difficult to pick just one of its many characters to add to this list, but it just feels right that Phil should be the one chosen. He is consistently positive, upbeat, and loving towards his family, and his happy-go-lucky, dimwitted attitude is enough to keep us loving this forty-something, father of three. Ty Burrell’s two Emmy awards are enough to stand testament to just how great a character that Phillip Humphrey Dunphy truly is, and it’s impossible to imagine Modern Family without him.
Grandad – Only Fools & Horses
With absolutely no disrespect to Buster Merryfield’s Uncle Albert, he nearly made the list in his own right, but it is his predecessor, Grandad, who truly steals the show. The hilariously incompetent grandfather of Del Boy & Rodney, Grandad is always on hand to offer advice to his grandsons, whether it be a tale from the misfortune of his youth, or information he’s learned on his journey through life, but one thing is for sure, when Grandad tells a story, you can guarantee a loud fit of laughter will follow. Played excellently by Lennard Pearce, Grandad unfortunately only lasted until series three of the show, as the talented Mr Pearce passed away in real life. One can only imagine what hilarity might have been had he lived to be a part of some of the later episodes.
Brian Potter – Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights
Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights is honestly one of my favourite TV shows of all time, it is the pinnacle of British comedy in my personal opinion, and that’s thanks in no small part to the shows protagonist, the wheelchair-bound, foul-mouthed, working men’s club owner, Brian Potter. Potter is without a doubt one of the best comedy characters ever created, we see his patience and sanity tested as he tries to keep the Bolton-based Phoenix Club up and running. Kay’s performance utilises a perfect combination of comedic timing and excellent swearing, and the character would be a standout in any show. Even, on several occasions, eclipsing the shows ultra-popular security guard combination of Max & Paddy, who would go on to star in their own spin-off.
Tracy Jordan – 30 Rock
30 Rock is one of the most re-watchable comedies ever made, it is a shining example for all American sitcom producers to follow and it will never stop being funny. The highlight of this American comedy masterpiece is without a doubt the mentally unstable comedy actor, Tracy Jordan. Portrayed on the show by Tracy Morgan, the star of the fictional show TGS is funny in just about every way, from his interactions with his entourage, his completely random and utterly side-splitting one-liners, to his zany and lovable friendship with NBC Page, Kenneth Parcell. Tracy Jordan is a character that you look forward to seeing, and quite frankly it’s a crime that he hasn’t been given his own spin-off show yet, because I think i speak for all 30 Rock fans when I say that we’d love to see more of this utterly hilarious man.
Dr Niles Crane – Frasier
You cannot talk about show-stealing sitcom characters without mentioning Niles Crane. The more socially awkward of the Crane brother, Niles’ character trumps that of his brother, Frasier, in almost every way. Niles is witty, intelligent, sharp, and utterly useless in a great deal of social situations, but you cannot help but route for him as the show progresses. You want him to win Daphne over, and you want him to outshine Frasier whenever the two are in competition. David Hyde Pierce’s Emmy winning performance will forever go down as one of the all time greats, and it’s truly difficult to think of a character who’s more deserving than Dr Niles Crane.
Was your favourite show-stealing sitcom character missed out? Any on the list you disagree with? Have a list idea or review request? Drop them in the comments or send them through the contact page on the blog.
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