Thinking back, I’ve always been a fan of characters that aren’t the popular main character. Where most kids liked t-rex, I liked triceratops. (he had fuckin spears on his head!) Everybody liked Kermit, I was a Gonzo fan. Daffy is infinitely funnier than Bugs. Maybe it’s from having little brother syndrome. Maybe it’s cause I have a “moral flexibility” and I think main characters are usually too weak and lame to do what needs to be done lest the audience like them a little less. That’s not to say I always like the goofy sidekick that’s only there for comic relief and for the main character to save. Fuck that guy. That guy is just there to make the main character look better. Nay. I’m a fan of the character that’s okay hanging in shadows and making shit happen any way he (or she) can. Whenever I watch TV, I tend to develop a greater liking for “secondary” characters. These guys and girls don’t have the same set of rigid TV rules of the typical main character and tend to be much cooler as a result. When a show actually takes the time to develop these characters, it instantly jumps up a notch for me. So here are my top 5 non-main TV characters that I could come up with in five minutes.
#1 Boyd Crowder
Boyd is the reason Justified is in my top three shows on TV right now. Walton Goggins took a guy that was supposed to be a stereotypical redneck villain destined to get shot dead in the first episode and turned him into an Emmy nominated badass. You win this round Dinklage. Boyd’s eloquence makes him seem all the more devious and likeable. But he isn’t a complete psychopath that kills without regard to consequences. Boyd takes the time to plan out his escapades and is always a step ahead the rest of the Harlan riff raff. He’ll work for any side as long as it furthers his own ends. That’s the way a proper villain should be. When push comes to shove, Boyd is the best triggerman around. He’s the perfect counterpoint to Raylan’s shoot first, ask questions later method. The bigger his hair, the more badass his scene will be.
#2 Gus Fring
Gus is the definition of a professional. He’s calm, collected, and brilliant. If something could be a problem, Gus sends Mike to deal with it. There’s no room in Gus’s world for leniency or hesitation. (He shoulda off’d Jesse when he had the chance) He never seems to make a rash decision, going so far as to wait over twenty years to get revenge on the Mexican Cartel once he’s assured that he can operate independently. The slow burn and stillness of Gus’s scenes always made me squirm. His proficiency with a box cutter is pretty amazing. (most uncomfortable scene ever) My favorite opening from last season was the flashback to the 80’s where we see a young, naïve Gus trying to break into the meth game. While I can’t say Gus is my favorite character, I will say that I respect the dude more than I could ever respect Walt. Also, most epic death scene ever?
#3 Roger Sterling
Roger Sterling is the kind of functioning alcoholic I aspire to be. One of the partners of Sterling Cooper and later Sterling Cooper Draper Price, Roger seems to have coasted his way through life with a drink in hand. He’s always ready with amazing one-liners even when feet are cut off by lawn mowers. That was awesome by the way. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Sterling lately though. Two heart attacks, a divorce, and the loss of Lucky Strike have taken their toll on Roger. However, his upcoming divorce seems to have been just the thing he needed to return to greatness. I expect great things from Roger as Mad Men wraps up. Either he’s going to marry Joan and raise his little bastard kid or he’s going to drop dead from heart attack #3. Either way, he’s an American hero.
#4 Gob Bluth
George Oscar Bluth is my favorite character living in a world of amazing characters. Everything about Gob screams shallow and manipulative and awesome. He has a massive inferiority complex and only seeks approval from people that reject him. If someone does show him kindness, he sees it as weakness and attacks immediately. Gob relies on bravado and a GMC commercial voice to get through life. Get a few drinks in me and I’ll call somebody a chicken Gob-style. I hope to buy the album Franklin Comes Alive when the series is renewed. Jason Bateman was a brilliant straight man on AD, and his best fall guy was Will Arnett. My day isn’t complete if I don’t follow up a sentence with “Come on!”
#5 Randy Marsh
Randy is one of those secondary characters that took an extremely long time to flesh out. For the first few seasons of South Park he was just another parent. I love that as the show has aged, Stan has become more of the voice of reason as Randy has regressed. He’s basically one of the kids, but he has the ability to do whatever he wants because no one can really tell him no. Trey and Matt tend to use Randy whenever a parent is in the news. My favorite episode by far is Randy fighting his way through the little league circuit. His turn as Steamy Ray Vaughn was pretty epic. Add to that his time on Wheel of Fortune, and Randy has definitely surpassed everyone else as the best SP character.
*My runner up was Walton Goggins as Shane in The Shield. But that’s way too much Goggins to put in one list.