2009 Primies: Best Characters

By on Dec 25, 2009 in The Primies |

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Because it’s the end of the year (and of the decade), every TV critic is releasing best-of lists. And I am no exception, though small-potatoes I may be. Ergo I announce the First Annual Primie Awards! And the first category honors the 15 characters whom I appreciate most, in descending order of awesomeness. Frankly, the shows below would just be suckier without them!

  1. Sue Sylvester (Glee) When Sue swaggers onscreen in one of her splashy tracksuits, you know that she’s say something both wildly inappropriate and gut-bustingly funny. The malicious comments she deploys in her jihad against McKinley High’s glee club almost makes you root for her. Played by Jane Lynch.
  2. Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation) The reluctant supervisor of Pawnee’s parks department had a breakout season that had him facing off with his domineering ex, presiding over the breakfast buffet at a strip club, enjoying a shoe-shining a bit too much, and having his scalp leaded with buckshot. Played by Nick Offerman.
  3. Walter Bishop (Fringe) Last season, we saw the charming kookiness behind Walter’s mad-scientist-ness.  Now we’re seeing the vulnerability behind that charming kookiness. What layer will be unearthed next? Played by John Noble.
  4. Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica) Love her or hate her, you have to acknowledge that Starbuck’s so-called destiny directly influenced the fate of humankind… in a way that’s very open to interpretation. Played by Katee Sackhoff.
  5. Manny Delgado (Modern Family) One of the youngest and yet most mature members of the Pritchett clan, Manny is wise beyond his years—and quite the fencer, too. Played by Rico Rodriguez.
  6. Benjamin Linus (Lost) In a show that specializes in shades of gray, it’s no surprise that Ben isn’t relentlessly villainous. We’ve seen glimpses of his humanity. But just before we start to like him, he does something like staging a character’s suicide—and we’re reminded of how much we hate him (and love to hate him). Played by Michael Emerson.
  7. Arizona Robbins (Grey’s Anatomy) She’s often viewed as the happy-go-lucky pediatrics doc, but between her anguish over little Wallace and her blurting out “I love you” to Callie in the episode “Invest in Love,” she won me over. Played by Jessica Capshaw.
  8. Troy/Abed (Community) Some of the funniest moments of Community came in the final minute of each episode when the credits were rolling—an end tag that became the Troy and Abed Show after the hilarious Spanish 101 rap (a.k.a. “La Biblioteca”). Community has been uneven so far, but Troy and Abed represent reliable comedy. Comedy you can believe in! Played by Danny Pudi and Donald Glover, respectively.
  9. Saul Tigh (Battlestar Galactica) For reasons too spoilery to reveal here, ole One Eye Tigh had some of the most tumultuous internal conflict in Battlestar’s final season. Let’s just say that he found himself intimately associated with those who were once his enemies. Played by Michael Hogan.
  10. Jenna Maroney (30 Rock) Ditzy fame-whore Jenna is everything that Liz Lemon isn’t, but just as much of a dysfunctional human. Her constant oversharing gives us mere glimpses into her bizarre life. (For example: “The reason I speak with a slight English inflection in my voice is because I lost my virginity to the My Fair Lady soundtrack.”) Played by Jane Krakowski.
  11. Lester Patel (Chuck) Lester went from neurotic tech nerd to neurotic tech nerd and rock star with the debut of cover band Jeffster, performing awesomely bad versions of 80s classics like “Africa” and “Mr. Roboto.” True, Lester is only one half of Jeffster, but his bandmate Jeff is just too out-there for this list! Played by Vik Sahay.
  12. Victor (Dollhouse) Besides a few face slashes here or there, Victor is the doll with the most fun: his “imprints” involve bedding boss Adelle DeWitt, acting like an exact clone of tech-whiz Topher, or channeling his inner sorority girl. And hey, those cuts healed remarkably fast, didn’t they? Played by Enver Gjokaj.
  13. Hoyt Fortenberry (True Blood) As one of the only truly good residents of Bon Temps, Hoyt became more than just a background player this season when he fell in love with newly-vampirized Jessica, much to the dismay of his oppressively devout mother. His evolution from (momma’s) boy to man was great to see. Played by Jim Parrack.
  14. Walter White, Jr. (Breaking Bad) His relationship with his emotionally-elusive dad is tenuous, but Junior still went to incredible (and touching) lengths last season to raise money for Senior’s cancer care. Played by R.J. Mitte.
  15. Anna (V) Leader of the Visitors, Anna is alternately calculating, eloquent, manipulative, and alluring. A wolf in sheep’s (well-tailored) clothing. Played by Morena Baccarin.