When you see the same characters week-in and week-out, they tend to become not only ingrained in our memories but also carved into a special place in a hearts and minds. Often times, we watch, wishing and hoping that our families are as awesome and cultured as the Huxtables; our parents are as kind and funny as the aforementioned Cliff and Claire, or the Seavers, the Taylors, Keatons, heck, maybe even the Bundys, if your family is full of cynics. Perhaps some of us long to be a part of the cool groups of kids on 90210 or at Bayside High, drink coffee with our six favorite Friends or do absolutely nothing except wax eloquently about the mundane whilst getting into sitcom style situations ala Seinfeld. Whatever your tastes may be, there is no doubt that all of us aboard couch force one have enjoyed the company of these characters at one point or another.
Even though we still can hang out with our favorite characters of television’s past in re-runs, Netflix and DVDs, television is still giving us great characters and families to wish we were a part of.
The Pritchett / Delgado / Dunphy / Tucker Clan (Modern Family)
Certainly one of the best and brightest shows to have come out of the pipeline in recent memory is Modern Family. Now in its third season, the mockumentry series about three inter-related families works on many levels simply because of how realistic it is; maybe not in its situations, but definitely in its characters and how they interact with one another. As an MF’er (that’s Modern Family fan), it’s easy to envision yourself as part of this family. You have weird uncles; a dad who tries the best he can to be super dad and super friend all in one; and some great mischievous kids (and adults) to have zany adventures with. The MF family will go down in history as one the most endearing families on television thanks to the perfect mix of out-of-control wackiness and realistic emotions that everyone can relate to.
Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)
Like so many wacky next door neighbors before him, Dr. Sheldon Cooper has all kinds of quirks to make you hit pause on the DVR so you can continue dying from laughter. However, on The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is one of the show’s main stars, which makes Parsons’ job even harder – he’s got to be as odd as he can be, while still being relatable. For the comic book nerds out there, Sheldon is our hero, saying what needs to be said when it needs to be said without (intentionally) hurting feelings; constantly aspiring to win that Nobel Prize; and being the biggest comic book nerd in the galaxy.
Abed Nadir (Community)
We were bound to find one sooner or later: a television character as real as all of us couch potatoes. Abed is a walking encyclopedia of television and movie knowledge. You know the type – heck if you’re like me, then you are the type— only Abed is funny, and like Kramer before him, he has no qualms about pointing out other characters’ foibles. NBC might have cruelly benched Community and Joel McHale might have originally been the series’ main star, but Danny Pudi (and Donald Glover’s Troy Barnes) are the show’s true breakout stars. If anyone at NBC has any brain cells left, they’ll put Greendale Community College classes back in session real soon.
Gregory House, MD (House)
He’s irascible, incorrigible, unstable, and irreverent. Ask any House fan and they’ll tell you if they were ever (knock on wood) in a situation that landed them in the hospital, they’d want Dr. House to solve the medical mystery. House is envisioned as Sherlock Holmes type of character (Holmes loved his opium, as House does his Vicodin) and Hugh Laurie has brought so much more to the character, creating a new American icon the process. Not bad at all for a British comedic actor previously known best for his role on the U.K. series, Black Adder. House may be a drama, but it’s Laurie’s antics and wit that can make any bad diagnosis laughable.
Charlie Harper (Two and a Half Men)
There’s a reason that Charlie Sheen is seemingly indestructible –and it’s not because he’s a Vatican Assassin Warlock with Tiger Blood. It’s because the guy is actually made of Teflon and rubber. Everyone in Hollywood and America love a great comeback story and Sheen has had a slew of them. While his latest and most publicized tirades got him fired from the top-rated series that made him the highest paid actor on television, the guy has an army of fans waiting with bated breath to see what’s next. It’s one of the reasons Charlie Harper worked so well. Never mind that the role was written with him in mind, Sheen infused Harper with that sort of loveable reckless abandon and a dangerous side that we all wish we could have – maybe then we could get away with nearly half the crap that Charlie Harper got away with for eight years on Two and a Half Men. I’m still holding out against hope that ratings will get so bad that Charlie pulls a Kenny McCormick and simply walks back onto the show at the end of an episode. Alan would stare agape in shock and disbelief and ask how it happened and Charlie will look at his brother, give him a hug and deadpan “Alan, I’ve got tiger blood and I’m a warlock from Mars. Rose can’t kill me and I still plan on marrying her.” For now though, we still have re-runs of the lothario gone wild.
Marshall Eriksen (How I Met Your Mother)
Ted Mosby might be the lead character of How I Met Your Mother and Barney might be the show’s wacky breakout star, but Marshall Eriksen (and his relationship with Lilly) is the series’ heart and soul. When Marshall is having the time of his life, it’s infectious and we viewers are enjoying his happiness too. When he is heartbroken, HIMYM is at its most tear-jerking. While the show has had its emotional montages and crazy goat-laden birthday parties, Marshall’s journey from big goofball to loving husband and soon–to–be father has been the real plot thread that has kept How I Met Your Mother ticking while we await the show’s big reveal to occur.
Jess Day (New Girl)
I’m going out on a ginormous limb here, but though it’s not even ten episodes in, the pretty adorkable New Girl has created a new girl who girls want to hang with and guys want to be with. Zooey Deschanel may not be perfect – and neither is her character, Jess — but that’s part of why she’s awesome. She warms your heart with how oddball and weird she can be. We can all related to the girl who tries way too hard to be liked by everyone and who is nice to everyone. I should also make special mention of New Girl’s Schmidt (Max Greenfield). Greenfield’s comedic timing and fearlessness in making his character a complete D-Bag steal every scene; he’s clearly the standout male of the show.
There are all kinds of great characters we could put on this list that many of us love more than our own friends and family. If I left any of them out leave some comment love below or catch me on Twitter @CouchForceOne.