Swamped by a litany of mediocre TV shows, it is becoming increasingly arduous to come across shows , that are truly memorable. More difficult is to find those rare characters who manage to create an indelible impression in our minds and hearts. In fact , if we are truly honest with ourselves, we donot have any favorite TV shows , but shows which feature our favorite TV characters. Television networks have tacitly acknowledged this reality, by creating numerous spin offs like Joey and Angel, which were premised on the hit television series. Our culture is greatly shaped by popular TV personalities , who ultimately become adopted relatives we all share and laugh with. Can you imagine an episode of How I Met Your Mother , without Barney Stinson’s tomfoolery or an episode of FRIENDS, without Chandler’s trademark sarcastic wit. Great characters give birth to memorable TV shows. In that spirit , here are a two of those extraordinary characters.
Abed Nadir- Community.
The most outstanding , standout character in the cult comedy series Community. Although Community, which is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent and sophisticated comedy shows to grace our television , hosts a brilliant and eclectic ensemble, it is the character of Abed Nadir that starkly stands out from the rest of the crew and sparkles with wit, humor and creativity.
Acoording to his fictional biography, Abed Nadir is a Palestinian –Pole hybrid, who moved to US along with his family from Palestine. He is portayed as a socially awkard, nearly emotionless person, who cites pop culture references to connect with people. Whatever glimpses the show has given about Abed’s personal life, speaks of a traumatic childhood. His parents split when he was young, and he was left under the care of an overprotective, harsh conservative father, who raised his son in a cloistered environment. He was so cut off from the real world, that Abed remained socially inept, emotionally stunted.
Since all his childhood memories came through movies and television, he started viewing the entire world through the prism of television and films. He became so disenchanted with the travails of,his real life, that he became obsessed and somewhat lost in the fake world of movies and television, that he created in his mind and around him
However, featuring such quirky, emotionally vacant characters that act as pop culture machines is not a unique concept, as it has been tried and tested with varying degree of success in other sitcoms also. But what makes Abed unique is how well fleshed out his character is in Community, in a stark contrast to other sitcoms where such characters are merely used as gimmicks and props and nothing more.
Although the show may have started with Joe Mchale (Jeffrey) as the leading protagonist, over the course of three seasons the focus has subtly shifted towards Abed, which is a vindication of the character’s tremendous potential.. It is ironic that some of the show’s most emotionally poignant moments have revolved around Abed, a character that displays little to no emotion.
His perfectly timed pop culture citings, deadpan delivery and social confusion, has made him immensely popular among fans of this show. The hilarity level goes through the roof , when he is paired with best friend Troy. Their on screen chemistry is mind boggling and terrific, and even though the writers might possibly had a different character arc in mind for Troy, they shelved it to perhaps create the best bromance on television.
Barney Stinson –How I Met Your Mother
The serial womanizer, the king of catchphrases, the suave Wall Street Guy, with serious daddy issues Barnabus “Barney” is a fictional character from the hit CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” . When I first chanced upon HIMYM, I immediately felt that it was a very poor rip off of Friends. A group of friends living in New York, in their mid twenties or early thirties navigating their way through the tortuous terrain of the dating world – Haven’t we all seen that happen before umpteenth number of times?. But it was Barney and Barney only that made me stick to this show….and boy ain’t I happy that I did?. Barney Stinson is perhaps the only truly despicable character, currently on TV that you’ll like and root for despite being a chronic womanizer, a pathological liar and a serial manipulator. But despite these glaring flaws, the character is so consistently hilarious and charming that one cannot help but overlook them and revel in his wit instead.
Starting as a peripheral cartoonish character in Season 1, Barney has single-handedly carried the show for seven seasons and is largely credited for the show’s soaring popularity. Most of the shows humor load falls on his shoulders, and Barney rarely disappoints.It would have been an easy and convenient option for the show’s writers to create a mindless skirtchaser whose sole function in the show would have been to bag women and nothing more. But kudos to the writers for making Brney so much more than a simple womanizer.
Barney is extremely, intelligent and witty, sometimes discomfitingly observant of the people around him. He is straight and upfront about his irascible, womanizing nature in front of his friends , which adds to his charm. The sheer repertoire of catchphrases he has in his arsenal , makes him a master. He showed why “suiting up” is cool and how words like “legendary” and “awesome” can be used to great effect.
It is somewhat ironical, that a role of a chronic womanizer is played with such aplomb by a gay actor. But then again the only thing the role required was oodles of charm, and Neil Patrick Harris has that in abundance.
Despite being on for more than seven seasons,the ratings of How I Met Your Mother , surprisingly has never really dipped. Much of it’s success should be attributed to Barney Stinson, who for me is the breakout character that keeps this somewhat jaded comedy show running.