The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!

1105_coverTo help celebrate Entertainment Weekly‘s 20th anniversary (one more year and we can finally drink booze!), the writers and editors have carefully curated a list of the 100 greatest characters in pop-culture over the last 20 years. Whether the fictional women, men, ogres, muppets, babies, and cartoon rockers who made our list were initially created before 1990 didn’t matter so long as they made a lasting impact in the culture after 1990. Some characters were so inseparable in our minds and hearts — like a certain highly articulate TV mother and daughter, for example — that we simply listed them together. (Hey, it’s our list, so we get to make the rules.) Rest assured, we carefully deliberated, debated, argued, and bickered over who would make the cut and where they deserved to be ranked; after you take a look at our list, please feel free to do the same in the comments.

100. Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights
99. The Bride from Kill Bill
98. Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels
97. Violet Weston from August: Osage County
96. Bernie Mac from The Bernie Mac Show
95. Wilhelmina from Ugly Betty
94. Truman from The Truman Show
93. Game Boys: Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series; Kratos from the God of War series; and Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV
92. Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time
91. Hancock from Hancock
90. Marge Gunderson from Fargo
89. Wikus van de Merwe from District 9
88. Napoleon Dynamite from Napoleon Dynamite
87. Tony Stark from the Iron Man series
86. Karen Walker and Jack McFarland from Will & Grace
85. Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood
84. Dr. Gregory House from House, M.D.
83. Jen Yu from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
82. Tracy Flick from Election
81. Amanda Woodward from Melrose Place
80. Gorillaz, the animated rock band
79. Elphaba from Wicked
78. Patty Hewes from Damages
77. Mimi Marquez from Rent
76. Tyler Durden from Fight Club
75. David Brent from The Office (original version)
74. Don Draper from Mad Men
73. Catherine Trammell from Basic Instinct
72. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace from Battlestar Galactica
71. Det. Alonzo Harris from Training Day
70. Mary Katherine Gallagher from Saturday Night Live
69. Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada
68. Effie White from Dreamgirls
67. Borat from Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
66. Allie and Noah from The Notebook
65. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
64. Maximus from Gladiator
63. John Locke from Lost
62. Jimmy Corrigan from Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
61. Vic Mackey from The Shield
60. Mary Jones from Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Saphhire
59. Master Chief from the Halo series
58. Thelma and Louise from Thelma & Louise
57. Clayton Bigsby from Chappelle’s Show
56. Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother
55. Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock
54. Juno from Juno
53. Edward Cullen from the Twilight saga
52. Annie Wilkes from Misery
51. Omar Little from The Wire
50. Pearl the Landlord from
49. Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman
48. Red from The Shawshank Redemption
47. Corky St. Clair Waiting for Guffman
46. Jerry Maguire from Jerry Maguire
45. Stewie Griffin from Family Guy
44. Jack Bauer from 24
43. Cal Stephanides from Middlesex
42. Sydney Bristow from Alias
41. Harold and Kumar from the Harold & Kumar series
40. Ron Burgundy from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
39. Gob Bluth from Arrested Development
38. Elmo from Sesame Street
37. Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects
36. Gollum from The Lord of the Rings
35. Dexter Morgan from Dexter
34. Cher from Clueless
33. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2: Judgment Day
32. Beavis and Butt-Head from Beavis and Butt-Head
31. Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump
30. “Stephen Colbert” from The Colbert Report
29. Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction
28. Madea from several Tyler Perry films and plays
27. Frasier from Frasier
26. Kavalier and Clay from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
25. Woody from the Toy Story series
24. Felicity Porter from Felicity
23. Austin Powers from the Austin Powers series
22. Eric Cartman from South Park
21. Roseanne Conner from Roseanne
20. Ally McBeal from Ally McBeal
19. Morpheus from The Matrix series
18. Sue Sylvester from Glee
17. Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider franchise
16. Bridget Jones from the Bridget Jones series
15. Shrek from the Shrek series
14. Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski from The Big Lebowski
13. Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean series
12. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files
11. Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld
10. SpongeBob SquarePants from SpongeBob SquarePants
9. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City
8. Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs and its sequels
7. Edward Scissorhands from Edward Scissorhands
6. Rachel Green from Friends
5. The Joker from The Dark Knight
4. Tony Soprano from The Sopranos
3. Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series
1. Homer Simpson from The Simpsons

For more from our 100 Greatest Characters Issue, including Will Ferrell on Ron Burgundy, Johnny Depp on Jack Sparrow, Joss Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and an interview with Homer Simpson, pick up the issue on newsstands now.

Comments (1478 total) Add your comment
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  • K

    I think John Locke and Jack Shepard should be grouped together and share the No. 63 spot.

    • Madd


      • Anna

        Every character on Lost is pretty spectacular so I agree with all of you. John, Jack, Ben, Desmond,Hurley, Sawyer, Charlie all great.

      • TRUE

        what a crappy list…..

      • anirudh

        Lost is not that good a show. Many of the episodes, scenes and situations are not well-written. It’s ridiculously boring and irritating at times!

    • Billy

      Disagree. Ben Linus should replace both.

      • Jackie

        I second Billy’s comment!

      • jennie

        Agree with billy ben Linus should deff be on this list

      • Casey

        I think Ben Linus is a better character than Locke but in terms of iconic status, then John Locke is a better pick. When you think of Lost, you’d think of him first (some might say Jack even).

      • KWise

        Agree- Ben Linus should be on there.

      • jackJack

        WHERE WAS BENJAMIN LINUS???? I mean, Gorillaz? Elmo is so pre-1990s, right? And John Locke would really be nothing without Ben. I mean, hello! Villian redeemed! Villian with the scariest line readings of things like “If you mean time-traveling bunnies, then yes.” I mean….

        And no Summer Heights High? I mean. Mr. G! Jami’e! Jonah!! WHERE ARE THEY??? they are 20,000x better than some of these characters…..

      • Liz

        @Casey, I actually think of Desmond Hume when I think of Lost. Also, I think Harry Potter should have been number 1. Homer 2 and Buffy 3. Harry Potter does have a personality(in the books) and it’s actually the kind of personality that kids should be reading about. P.S. WTF is Edward Cullen above Barney STinson? BARNEY STIN-SON! Haha!

      • Chris

        I’m with Billy – Ben Linus should definitely be on there!

      • JB

        I agree Billy, Ben Linus has to be on this list.

      • j.m.

        yeah, can’t believe ben linus didn’t make the list, lots of great characters on lost, but ben was the best!

      • waitingforme

        Okay, what about Hurley or Charlie or Sawyer?

      • James


      • s

        I completely agree. Ben Linus was the most memorable character of the whole show. Terry O’Quinn is a fantastic actor, but Locke isn’t as compelling as Ben for me.

      • P.

        I agree with Billy, Benjamin Linus should replace Locke and move up on the list

      • DeniseR

        I just wrote a letter to the editor to complain about their list. I think Locke and Benjamin Linus should be paired in the top 10. Dexter should be in the top 10 as well. Couldn’t believe they left Linus off!

    • mary q contrary

      You can’t bundle them. They didn’t share the majority of their scenes together, and had very divergent story lines.

      • gorillazown

        i dont know who ben linus is and i dont care! gorillaz deserve to be on here more so than edward cullen (you know who you are)

      • gorillazown

        i dont know who ben linus is and i dont care! gorillaz deserve to be on here more so than edward cullen (you know who you are)

    • t.t

      i think buffy should be number 2
      I mean harry potter has no real personality
      and edward cullen really?

      • Ron Weasley

        Take that back, Muggle!!!

      • ernie

        Maybe he is there to represent the whole phenomenon? He IS an everyman. I love Harry Potter more than almost anything, but I agree with that muggle’s comment.

      • DRK

        I think Buffy should be #1.
        William Shatner’s Hair from “Robot Chicken” should be #2, and Homer should be #3.

        Harry Potter should be #201 after one of those preschool cartoons nobody ever heard of.

      • TK

        Agreed, and where is Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly?


        Come on – where’s the love for the Warrior Princess???!!! She never makes these retarded lists but XENA rules over Buffy

      • Jenn

        Seriously? Have you even read the books? Harry Potter has a lot of personality, and he deserves that spot 100%. God damn Muggles now a days… I agree with the Edward Cullen comment though, he should be moved way down the list, to 100 – if even that. Actually, let’s just take him off. Avada Kedavra, Cedric! (again)

      • kimmy

        lol @ ron weasley!!

      • HERMIONE


      • rochelle thorne

        Love that Buffy was on the list but I’d vote for Spike! And no Ash from Evil Dead? How about an honorable mention list?

      • steve

        Rachel from friends at no. 6?!? I never watched friends or was that big of a fan… but come on. So many better characters should be ahead of her. in fact i can think of about 94 of them.

      • @t.t.

        Harry Potter has no personality?? Right….

      • @DRK

        Buffy is a great character, but she definitely doesn’t deserve the number one spot. I think Homer is too much of an idiot to be number one. I would’ve put Harry at number one and Buffy at number 2 and then Homer as number 3 (if those had to be the top 3). I’m surprised only Locke made it from the Lost cast. There are so many brilliant characters on that show and in the HP series. I would not have put Rachel from Friends or that glittery vampire on the list. Did they even include LeStat or Louis from Interview with the Vampire?? What about all the brilliant vamps on True Blood or even Angel? And WHY is Hancock on that list?? The concept of an irresponsible, alcoholic superhero is intriguing, but the movie was so bad that the character is completely forgettable. This list needs to be redone, ASAP!

      • ken

        @t.t I suppose you’ve never read Harry Potter books? Well then you should, Muggle.
        man, he deserves #1..!
        agree w/ ed cullen comment, anyway.

      • @T.T

        Just because he has no outlandish quirks or doesn’t immediately fit into an easy mold (like “the rebel”) does not mean Harry Potter lacks a personality. He is a very well defined persona, just not as exaggerated as, say, a Jack Sparrow type.

      • Bryan

        All i can say is, where is Bender?

      • camille

        yeah thats what i said edward cullen??comon people

      • Lamar

        Where is Michael Scofield or T-bag Bagwell from Prison Break on this list… What an outrage. Cheers for Omar Little from The Wire. Very deep character.

      • Jenna

        I agree that Buffy should be number 2. That means that Harry Potter should be bumped up to number 1! Unless… Buffy and Harry can tie for first?!

      • Robin

        That’s seriously insulting to say that Harry Potter has no personality. You think that millions of people all over the world of all different ages flocked to a bland and ordinary character that has no personality? The charm of Harry Potter is the realism in the characters.

    • Jenn

      I definitely agree that Jack Shepherd and john Locke equally deserve to be on the list; their characters were constantly interlocked in a Faith/Science debate and in the end it came down to the two of them, and as a result, they both died iconic deaths.

    • Bill

      Buffy FTW!!! =D

      • jodipo

        Buffy should be number 2,with Harry Potter as #1.I mean Homer Simpson? Really?

        and I second XENA! I cannot believe she was left off the list. A character that was wildly popular enough to get her own spinoff, and after almost a decade off the air is still an icon for a whole group of people.

        EW, you really missed the mark by leaving her off your list

    • NinaV

      I think Benjamin Linus should be on the list, and that John Locke should be a lot further up on the list!

      • steve

        i totally agree. I think if they do this in 10 years or so john locke will crack the top 20

    • Addison

      Jean-Luc Picard

    • Anne-Marie Brown

      I think that they should have been all grouped together and put at #2 if not #1 :) Altho – I do think Homer rocked the 90′s and well hey, he’s still going – but LOST did Rock even harder :)

    • cookie

      the real question is Where is Doc Holiday. Easily in the top 10

    • Patrick Quinn

      hell no. they are complete other people. john and jack are opposites in the begging of the show and in the end john takes jacks original view of himself as a failure

  • Ceballos

    I know these lists are bound to stir up controversy…but Hancock from “Hancock”?!

    Did Will Smith pay you guys in cash or did he simply promise to give you an exclusive interview when MIB III comes out?

    Also, while I love Tim Riggins, I think Eric and Tami Taylor deserved the “FNL” slot for being the coolest, most realistic, sexiest married couple on TV in the last 20 years.

    • nodnarb

      The whole list sucked… but Hancock was indeed a head-scratcher. The problem was that they didn’t define what they meant by “great.” I mean, Sue Sylvester is funny on Glee, but hardly the same caliber as Homer Simpson and Harry Potter. And don’t even get me started on Edward Cullen.

      • Zach

        Sue Sylvester is higher than Wilhelmina and ROSEANNE. How and why, what gives?

      • Marie

        I agree with Zach. Wilhelmina deserves a higher place on the list and she deserves a higher place that Sue Sylvester. Sorry, but one season of Glee for Sue is not enough to top everything that Wilhelmena did.
        I’m also happy that Omar Little from The Wire made it in at #51.

      • mary q contrary

        Guys, I hate to break it to you, but while Wilhelmina surely deserves a spot on the list, Sue is by far the more creative, funny, outrageous character.

      • Ceballos

        I think we can all agree that Wilhemina deserves a higher slot than HANCOCK!

      • @Mary

        no one is debating Wilhelmena’s right to be on the list. but it is a fact that Sue has not surpassed Wilhelmena yet. Sorry Mary, you’re wrong. Sue may be funny, but she’s not great yet.

      • maya

        Mary I agree with you, seriously i never even heard of sue (or knew her name for that matter) until reading this list, i simply don’t watch bad TV, and Glee is one Bad TV

      • Tim

        I’d be interested to find out how many of these characters are from Warner Brothers (EW’s parent company)… Serioulsy, a pretty terrible list or it has been by far the the worst artistic period of all time. Rachel Green at #6? Come on!

      • Amy

        Sue Sylvester was ranked a lot lower than Homer Simpson or Harry Potter. But I think she’s a great character, though I was a bit skeptical at the choice just because Glee is so new that it barely counts as the past twenty years.

    • Billy

      Totally agree. And if the criteria is “so long as they made a lasting impact in the culture after 1990″ I have no idea how Hancock and Tony Stark made it over Spiderman and Batman… or even Wolverine for that matter.

      • Vikki Sixx

        Batman probably didn’t get picked due to being overshadowed by the Joker.

      • Mike

        Because those characters have been around for over 50 years.. hense why Hulk, any X-man or Star Trek characters aren’t on the list

      • Wade Wilson

        Mike both Joker and Iron Man have been around for longer than 20 years so your logic makes no sense.

      • BJ

        Iron Man practically has 50 years of history (1963) and The Joker has over 60 years (1940) so technically neither of them should be on this list.

    • Vince from NYC

      Ha.. It took me 15 minutes to remember what Hancock was..Now I remember, though I wish I didn’t.. That was an aweful movie..

      • Jon

        Your spelling is awful…

      • mary q contrary

        Your attitude is awful, Jon.

      • Katrina

        Aweful (adj.) So awful it inspires Awe

      • Peter

        Can you at least check your spelling before you correct someone Katrina. I mean it just makes you look ridiculous when you get it wrong!

      • Aaron

        Peter, it is called a joke. It’s in your dictionary if you don’t know what that is.

    • Bonnie Moe

      totally agree about Tami and Eric Taylor. And WTH is Sheldon Cooper? I must have missed him somewhere.

      • Katie

        Yeah! Sheldon is superior to most of these! Hancock? Edward FREAKING Cullen? Sheldon dominates them all.

    • mary q contrary

      I love that Tim Riggins is on here, and he’s certainly more of a “character” than Eric and Tami, though I love them all equally. As for Hancock, well that’s just a joke. I mean, he was marginally funny at the time, and I guess you could call him “outrageously vulgar”, but iconic? Not even close.

      • Amy

        Ditto to the Tim Riggins love. Whoever at EW got him on the list, I owe you a beer.

    • KEVIN

      Hancock was a complete original character, a superhero movie NOT adapted from a comic. An original, therefore his spot on this list is not so far fetched

    • Wil

      UGH they put Hancock on here and left off Veronica Mars!? BLASPHEMY.

      • s

        Excellent point Wil! I mean seriously, Hancock? Was this a typo? Did someone lose a bet? Veronica Mars, who EW normally loves, deserves a spot for sure. On another note, yay for Omar! Should really be higher, but I’ll take what I can get.

      • Chris

        Agree no Veronica Mars? FAIL!

      • Zol

        SRSLY, Veronica Mars should be here.

    • Jeff

      What about ‘Stephen Colbert’?

      • John

        Definitely deserved his spot. Not only is his show amazing, but his literature is great too!

    • shawshank

      I’m so glad others are already calling out this dubious ranking. It is completely baffling that Hancock could be included but not Clementine or Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  • who cares

    never heard of kavalier & clay

    • Quinnie

      Might want to check out a bookstore or library once in a while

      • Matt

        Easy on the snark there. You’re probably one of those pretentious hipsters.

      • Eric

        @Matt: or just someone who reads.

      • who cares

        @quinnie, i read plenty, still never heard of them. i guess i’m not as cool as you.

      • JDT

        @whocares, don’t know how you missed it. That book was all over Borders displays for months when it came out, has been picked as one of the best books of the year/decade by many lists, etc. I have not read it or anything by the author but it was inescapable for anyone who reads as a hobby.

      • TJhooker

        @JDT, not everybody spends their afternoons perusing borders you moron. Some of us are able to sustain relationships with real people in real life.

      • bec

        @TJhooker. Really? Real people in real life? And you’re commenting on an article about characters? Really.

      • Matt

        Are you doing a Seth and Amy bit there bec?

      • JDT


    • mary q contrary

      I’m not gonna rag on the guy just because he hasn’t heard of the book, but I gotta say, it was an incredibly entertaining read (for myself, my husband, AND my dad, who I gave it to for Father’s Day a couple years ago), and they certainly deserve a spot on the list. Anyone who hasn’t read it should definitely give it a try. It’s the kind of book that appeals to a lot of different tastes.

      • JDT

        You responded better than I did :)

    • murley

      you should check out the book. one of the spots on the list i 100% agree with. ALMOST forgive john locke being listed below edward cullen. almost.

    • s

      I’m not sure how to say this without being a snob, but it’s a pretty famous book, not gonna lie. Also weird of you to complain about one of the few spots on this list that actually went to book characters. Even weirder that someone who clearly isn’t super-literary, which is fine and everything, would bother commenting about one of many books he/she hasn’t heard of. If you stay even a little informed about the contemporary literary scene, you’d of heard of it, and if you don’t, then I don’t know why you’d comment about not having heard of it.

  • Madd

    Should be higher: Truman, Dexter, The Bride, and Daniel Plainview.
    Should be with their entire team: Ron Burgandy (NEWS TEAM…ASSEMBLE!!!!!!), Carrie Bradshaw, and Rachel Green.
    I really think the entire Bluth clan should be together as well. GOB was awesome, but what about Buster, Tobias, “Her?!”, etc?

    • Ugula

      Absolutely agree. The SATC girls and Friends should be ranked together with their singled out counterparts.

      • Abby

        Completely agree.
        As influential and entertaining as Friends was, not one of the characters had enough personality or depth to be considered ‘great’ by themselves. Exactly why ‘Joey’ failed so badly…

    • Pam

      Well put! I am an admitted Friends fanatic and actually own all 10 seasons on DVD. However, what did Rachel Green accomplish that the other 5 didn’t?? Definitely should have been the whole gang together!!

    • AT

      What about Dick Soloman from 3rd Rock, Patrick Bateman, Anton Chigurh?

      • s

        Dick Soloman!!! Excellent catch! Anton Chigurh wasn’t on the list? I’m surprised!

  • Justin

    Morpheus from the Matrix is number #19? He wasn’t even the best character in the Matrix itself lol. Jack Bauer should be in the top 20.

    • Iona

      Yeah, I like Morpheus and The Matrix, but that one really does seem not-well-considered. #19? No way.

    • mikey

      While I agree he’s a top 20 character, Jack Bauer should be #24

      • winston

        point for mikey.

    • sillysymphony

      or even on the top 10! but yeah #24 would have been but why is he way down to 44? doh! and why only sarah connor of terminator?what about john? where’s william wallace rom this list? or schindler? lol and why is homer #1 and buffy #3? why? why? i have to agree that morpheus should be included on the list…. but so is Neo & trinity.

      • husane

        well morpheus was more of a character than both neo or trinity so i think its a good choice and as for homer comon u just used his most used quote ” DOH ” and ur complaining about him? i think homer is the best character or the # 1 spot hes just inside everyone alive

  • Rich

    How was Rachel Green from Friends #6? Chandler and Phoebe were MUCH better characters. Even they don’t belong in the top 10.

    • jmo

      THANK YOU! I’m still scratching my head on that one. Throw the whole cast in but to single Jennifer Aniston’s character?!? And like you said, the top 10? Really??

    • nodnarb

      Hey, I don’t know anyone who went into a hair salon and asked for “The Phoebe.”

      • mary q contrary

        one fabulous haircut a great character does not make

    • AK

      She was once America’s Sweetheart.

      • emery

        well sometimes it’s not just about the hair. the entire cast should be on the list.

      • Phoebe

        Right on, Emery!

    • Sara

      How is Rachel Green on the list? Any one of the lead characters from Lost (Desmond Hume, Benjamin Linus, and Sayid Jarrah are all standouts) demonstrate ten times more creativity on the part of their writers than any character on Friends.

      • Aaron

        I disagree. I think the fact that Friends lasted longer, was loved by way more people than Lost (maybe not on this site, and was a TV comedy set in NYC during the attacks of 9/11 that gave hope and humor to a nation in its time of darkness made Friends a way better show than Lost. Lost is great, don’t get me wrong. However, for a comedy to last 10 seasons, the characters had to be great and iconic and they were.

      • AT

        The only Green that should have been on the list is GREEN MAN! from It’s Always Sunny..

      • Pam

        OMG! Now I need to vomit!! Seriously?? Lost over Friends? I doubt that. Friends will live on like all the great sit-coms do. We’ll be watching it in syndication 20+ years from now. Lost will be…well, Lost.

      • Cate

        I love Friends and Lost, but don’t think it’s productive to compare the two, especially in terms of how long each show ran. And the immense cult following that LOST has will undoubtedly prevent it from ever being LOST.

      • bethb

        I think Phoebe is a more memorable character than Rachel.

      • anirudh

        Lost is not that good a show ! Many of it’s Episodes and Situations are neither well-written nor executed, It’s ridiculously boring and irritating at times!

    • Ames

      I think the apartment deserves to be higher than Rachel.

      • Anna

        I disagree Pam, Lost is addictive, Friends is not. The Lost storyline is interwoven with mythology and the great characters. And like Cate said, there is a big cult following Lost that will absolutly prevent it from ever becoming lost. Even though Friends was a good show, Lost was one million times better.

      • L

        @Anna, really? Lost is addictive and Friends isn’t? Tell that to the people that start watching Lost in the middle and are so confused they quit! Friends you can watch anywhere at anytime

      • Holden

        Friends never made me want to know what would happen next. Lost is dramatic, compelling, emotionally gripping, etc. Friends is not so much like that.

    • K

      Yeah, Rachel over Chandler I find mind-boggling. His speech mannerisms and Phoebe’s “Smelly Cat” song will live on longer than a dumb old haircut.

    • LOL

      And how is Kramer #11? George is much more memorable.

      • D

        Agreed. Elaine too.

    • Celia

      @Rich: I completely agree. I thought every character on that show was better than Rachel. She was so boring and annoying.

    • AT

      Liz Lemon or Jack Donaghey are both better characters than Tracy Jordan also.

    • s

      Rachel was my least favorite character on a show I didn’t care for that much anyway. That really should have been a cumulative spot for all of the friends, and it should have been lower on the list. Same is true for SATC.

    • Maggie

      Rachel being on the list is a joke. Her hair briefly had an impact on society, but that’s about it. Friends is a great show, but there is nothing about Rachel that makes her a character that “made a lasting impact in the culture.”

  • Jen

    At least one, (if not all) of the Golden Girls should’ve made the list.

    • ncmacasl

      GGs were late 80s. Last 20 years is 1990-2010.

      • Teri

        GGs were still on in the early 90′s and they’re just as popular today as they were 20 years ago.

      • D

        I personally saw a taping and can vouch it was in the early 90s.

    • Kristen

      Definitely!!! They may have been on in the late 80s but they influence today’s culture. Betty White anyone?

  • Karen B

    I can not believe that “Angela Chase” from My So-Called Life was omitted from your list. One of the first teenagers to walk, talk, and think like a real teenage girl, she is still oft-quoted by myself and my friends. We still love the way Jordan leans…

    • Katie


    • kelsey

      For that matter, Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks.

      • Angie

        Or Bill. Or Daniel. Or Kim Kelly. Or Sam. Or Neal. Or Nick. Or Ken. Or Mr. Weir. Or Mrs. Weir. Or Mr. Rosso. Or Millie. Gah! I love Freaks and Geeks.

      • shawshank


    • G

      I was just thinking Jordan Catalano should be on this list. The epitome of the elusive high school crush.

    • Victoria

      Totally agree!! I was waiting for someone to mention Angela from MSCL! She is one of the only female TV characters who I (and I think many other teenage girls) can really relate to.

    • Jennifer

      I agree!

    • s

      True dat. Would have loved to see Rickie too, but I didn’t exactly get my hopes up.

  • EC

    What about Jason Bourne?? Three excellent movies under his belt and nothing but Tony Stark with one good movie and one eehh movie and he’s on there? The guy paved the way for Jack Bauer!

    • Woot

      The Bourne Identity came out in 2002. 24 premiered in 2001. Yes the books came out first, but that is an extremely different medium.

    • ladyjamibro

      The fact that Jason Bourne is not on this list makes it lose all credibility

      • Woot

        True. Hancock > Jason Bourne? I think not! Maybe they didn’t put him on because he IS so similar to Jack Bauer.

      • Aaron

        I agree. Also, Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy, Tobey MacGuire as Spiderman, Will Smith as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Dori from Finding Nemo, or Derek Zoolander? Oh, and putting quotation marks around someone’s name does not make them a character . (i.e. Oprah vs. “Oprah,” Stephen Colbert vs. “Stephen Colbert”)

      • bec

        Agreed Aaron, about the quotes. And Fresh Prince!

      • Laine

        But Stephen Colbert_is_a character…otherwise he wouldn’t be funny, he would just be scary. And I don’t think Oprah was on the list.

      • mary q contrary

        Derek Shepherd? Is that a joke? In what universe is he one of the 100 greatest characters of the last 20 years?

      • suse

        Agreed. Derek Shepherd (“McDreamy”), is about the biggest international sex symbol to have come from television, even if he is not the strongest character. EVERYONE knows who McDreamy is and he should be on the list!

      • AT

        Agree with Jason Bourne. If you have Stephen Colbert then why not Jon Stewart? What about Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvement? More Lost characters should have been on it (atleast Linus and Shephard), and Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle.

      • maya

        Aaron (and to suse) I agree on about The fresh Prince, However if we are to choose one TV doctor of the last 20 years the competition is between House, or Mark Green and/or Doug Ross from ER. they are far better and have more depth then “McDreamy” will ever have.
        in ten years no one is really gonna remember him, ER is simply timeless and so is House.

      • mary q contrary

        @Suse: The reason Stephen Colbert is on the list is because his “Stephen Colbert” persona from the Colbert Report is a character. He is playing a ridiculously right-wing, self-absorbed, completely hilarious character. I think Jon Stewart is equally talented at what he does, but he is not playing character. He’s just being himself.

  • Ally

    Rachel Greene ABOVE Jack Bauer? Are you kidding me? Whatever you’re smoking over there, EW, I would love some.

    • KEVIN

      don’t hate beast!

    • LR

      rachel green above about 90 of these characters is insane…she wasn’t even one of the top 3 characters in Friends

      • s

        She wasn’t even one of the top 5 characters in Friends!

      • Swiz

        totally agree..rachael green was the most boring and replaceable.

  • Kat

    Interesting list. I wonder how long it took you guys to debate who made the list and what places they got. There are definitely a few I would debate and a few I think might be missing (you included Barney Stinson but not Sheldon Cooper? They have equivalent importance as characters in my mind; as a nerdlover, I’d personally give Sheldon the edge), but that’s the fun of these lists! Plus in the interests of full disclosure, I’d have to admit that while I was alive when all of these characters first appeared, I was not necessarily in possession of all my adult teeth, so I may not have the appropriate exposure to pop culture from the earlier part of the last twenty years needed to accurately judge…

    • mary q contrary

      Frankly, I’m kind of shocked Sheldon didn’t make the list. I’m not a regular viewer, but he’s one of the better sitcom characters of the last 10 years. The guy makes me laugh so hard I snort, even when I don’t understand half of what he’s saying.

      • Diane

        My first thought was “Where’s Sheldon?”

      • Alicia

        I agree, Sheldon should definitely be on the list.

      • Rumplestiltskin

        Where’s Alan Harper [Two And a Half Men], Kirk {Gilmore Girls], Adrian Monk, Niles Crane [so much funnier than Frasier]?

    • Mojo Mom

      Where are Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott???? David Brent does not cover them IMHO.

      • Gracie

        That’s what I thought. Unfortunately, I have never seen the original… so I can’t say whether it is better or not. But, Dwight & Michael… and the rest of the cast for that matter… should have made the list. I can never be in a bad mood watching that show!

      • Kevin

        I totally agree, those were the first missed characters that came to mind after reading this list

    • D

      More like a dumb and meaningless list. Colbert 30? Seriously? I have not even seen about 2/3 of the list.

    • D

      Correction- I have seen almost half. Still a dumb list. Comparing apples and oranges. I would rather have a top 100 comedy tv show character list.

  • nykolus


  • Kaye

    I think Marge Gunderson should be way, way higher. An absolutely iconic character who embodied much of what it is to be American. One of the all-time classic and brilliant characters in American cinema, and hugely influential on pop culture as well. You betcha.

    • Jordan

      Totally agree.

  • Ed

    Hancock made the list? Really? It was a horrible movie. Disagree with that one.

    • Ames

      It’s not just that Hancock was a bad movie, but they could’ve chosen from a dozen other Will Smith roles. The Fresh Prince for one.

      • Celia

        I like his characters in MIB, Fresh Prince, and Independence Day ten times better than Hancock.

      • Maggie

        What cultural impact did Hancock make that put that character on the list?

  • brando814

    Madea better than Tim Riggins? Methinks not.

    • mary q contrary

      Seriously! Anything touched by Tyler Perry (excluding projects he just rides the coattails of, like Precious) should be stricken from any Best Of lists. Period. The man is a hack, and his movies are embarrassingly bad.

      • Jon Green

        Agreed – have you ever watched any of Tyler Perry’s shows – painfully weak – nothing is every funny in the least

      • Rumplestiltskin

        Agreed. Dave Chappelle has 10x the talent that Tyler Perry has.

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