2011 Primies: Best Characters

By on Jan 12, 2012 in The Primies |

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The start of a new year makes us all reflect on the previous 365 days, but it makes this blogger reminisce not only about the year that was but also the television that was. That’s right: as is tradition this time of year, it’s time for another round of the Primies. Not the most prestigious awards, perhaps, but let’s hope it’s a bit more entertaining (and maybe even more credible) than last night’s People Choice Awards? In any case, here are the characters I appreciated the most in 2011. And I should also take this opportunity to categorically commend the actors who portray these characters, since even the best writing needs the perfect delivery. Finally, let this be a warning to all ye who continue: spoilers abound!

  1. Debra Morgan (Dexter) This season saw this profanity-spewing Miami Metro detective was make lieutenant, but the promotion alienated her from her team. Couple that loneliness with her disconnectedness with her brother, and the revelation of what that dependency means, and the revelation of who her brother is; and you get a woman for whom every aspect of life is unraveling. Played by Jennifer Carpenter.
  2. Mags Bennett (Justified) The matriarch of the Bennett family was always ready with a glass of her famous “apple pie” on top of the table and a sawed-off shotgun below it. She could have easily been portrayed as a backwoods simpleton, but her cunning and deviousness almost outstripped Raylan’s in the culmination of the Bennett/Givens feud. Played by Margo Martindale.
  3. Kristina Braverman (Parenthood) Kristina has a lot on her plate these days: a teenage daughter on the brink of adulthood, a son with Asberger’s, a weeks-old baby, and a husband starting his own business—not to mention a zany bunch of in-laws. And she handles it all with an admirable amount of patience and compassion, but her humanity truly comes through when it all proves too much for her. That realness makes her brand of “parenthood” the most relatable of the show. Played by Monica Potter.
  4. Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Modern Family) Disregarding her sex appeal (reluctantly), Gloria is a pleasure to watch every week because of two reasons: her Colombian accent is ripe for comedy, and her references to her upbringing—e.g. any anecdote starting off with “In my country…”—are reliably funny. Played by Sofia Vergara.
  5. Santana Lopez (Glee) Despite the Glee fatigue some of us are feeling, one of the better developments of late is the amount of time Santana is in the spotlight. Once known as the other Cheerio singing back-up for Quinn, this pistol from Lima Heights Adjacent has been showing off her considerable pipes recently, particularly in duets with Mercedes. Played by Naya Rivera.
  6. Constance Langdon (American Horror Story) Never mind that the Tinseltown limelight never shone upon her, never mind that she murdered her husband and her maid, and never mind that her children are all resting in peace (or otherwise), Constance is still unflappable—not to mention perfectly coiffed. Played by Jessica Lange.
  7. Eli Gold (The Good Wife) A brilliant strategist, Eli’s political savvy and tactics won Peter Florrick the seat of State’s Attorney, but he always seems two poll points away from a nervous breakdown. In fact, he is at his comedic best when he loses his cool. (Talking to the chairman of the Democratic Committee, he sputters, “Where did you go to school, you idiot!”) Played by Alan Cumming.
  8. Rubber Man (American Horror Story) Easily the most unnerving (if not totally terrifying) character of the year, the silent, omnipresent Rubber Man haunted, raped, and/or murdered inhabitants of the so-called Murder House—and we won’t even dwell on what he did with the fire poker. Played by Riley Schmidt, Evan Peters, and Dylan McDermott.
  9. Lafayette Reynolds (True Blood) Honoring Lafayette on this list is long overdue, since his gaudy style and cutting remarks make him one of my (and so many other Truebies’) favorite characters. But he deserves even more recognition this season for being put through the ringer. Not only was he embodied by not one but two spirits, but his boyfriend and (presumably) his cousin lost their lives. Time will tell how or if he recovers from these blows. Played by Nelsan Ellis.
  10. Amber Braverman (Parenthood) Amber has grown up so much since the days of her teenage rebellion, but she still has so much further to go. Her transition into adulthood and her struggles making it on her own are recognizable to me and probably anyone my age. Played by Mae Whitman.
  11. Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl) After establishing herself as the Queen Bee of the Upper East Side youth the previous three seasons, Seasons 4 and 5 has shown a softer side of Blair—evidenced in her platonic dependence on Dan. And this Dan appreciates the dimensionality. Played by Leighton Meester.
  12. Burt Chance (Raising Hope) Easily amused, never mature, and never quite capable or competent, Burt still transcends poor-white-trash humor and becomes endearing because he’s so good-natured and well-meaning. That said, he’s funniest when his stupidity rears its airy head. Played by Garret Dillahunt.
  13. Tom Haverford (Parks and Recreation) Normally, this level of delusional confidence would grow tiresome, but with Tom, it’s always entertaining. His storylines are even funnier when his self-promotion comes this close to paying off before he puts his foot in his mouth or otherwise happens to blow his cover. Played by Aziz Ansari.
  14. Dickie Bennett (Justified) Deficient of his mother’s cleverness, Dickie is a bit of an idiot—but a dangerous idiot because of his fast trigger-finger and even faster temper. Still, he had a hickish way with words, and for that I salute him. Played by Jeremy Davies.
  15. Henry Burton (Grey’s Anatomy) Effortless charm is not a common personality trait, but Henry has it. And though he was never pessimistic about his health troubles (or anything else for that matter), Henry always struck me as an underdog type, which is why it was so good to see Teddy make him happy. Played by Scott Foley.