TV Underdogs to Fall in Love With

Have you ever readily poised yourself, pizza and glass of vino in hand, to watch the latest overseas smash sitcom everyone at your work/gym/party won’t stop raving about and you instantly fall in love with a new character? (Yes, I’m looking at you, Jessica Day.) Or even dusting off that old school box set you forgot existed underneath your bed, like, “I could totally get a job at , right?” RIGHT?!

It’s like a whole new relationship cycle once you realise you’ve struck gold. Oh how I  thought I’d love to be Miss Jessa Johansson in Girls before I realised that being someone’s crack spirit guide and a premature marriage was just a little bit much for me (Don’t worry, Jemima, I still love you!). And so, here are just a handful of my personal favourite fictional outcasts that I fall head-over-heels for every time.

Daria Morgendorffer – Daria

Not represented distinctively as a feminist per se, but undeniably a strong-willed, independent woman throughout all five seasons, She is misanthropic and interrogates domination (especially when presented from her peers and tutors) but is also full to the brim with sharp comebacks and sarcastic tendencies. The lowest form of wit? Not when the writers of the show went as far as making this Beavis & Butthead character spinoff almost as successful as the aforementioned, whilst adding a pinch of satirical pointers into the mix. And also saying to females of that generation “Hey, it’s ok to be a little different!” Those boots, that eye roll and one of the most instantly recognisable middle-finger-up-to-society theme songs of its time.

Dennis/Denise Bryson – Twin Peaks

I don’t know one person that doesn’t like Twin Peaks, hell, I don’t know one person that doesn’t love it. Sure, we all find Kyle MacLachlan playing Agent Dale Cooper as a total hottie protagonist (mention the words ‘Orson’ or ’Hodge’ and I will seriously slap you in the face) and the character of Laura Palma played by Sheryl Lee could never be described as anything less than the epitome of prom queen perfect. However, it’s the character of a transvestite officer (was Dennis Bryson, then ‘Denise’) played by David Duchovny that I really would want to crawl around beneath the skin of. Without a shadow of a doubt, the combined success of David Lynch’s twisted world and end results of writing when linked with a cryptic use of comedic undertones, is what really made the show something of a cult classic, loved the world over. The scene where Copper first reunites with Bryson since the character switched from a ‘he’ to a ‘she’? Priceless! I mean, who wouldn’t want to go for a girls’ lunch over a few Martinis’ with a face like that?!

Lane Kim – Gilmore Girls

Lane Kim is most known for being Rory Gilmore’s best friend in Stars Hollow, popping up every several episodes to discuss boys, school and her repressive home life. Due to a severely religious upbringing under her Mother’s household, Lane is presented as a rebellious character. Although, what makes me love her so much, is that she isn’t doing this in a destructive sense or hurting anyone else in the process. Instead, simply wanting to continue following Rock’n’Roll in as many aspects as possible and letting nothing get in the way of her passion. Concealing a CD stash full of rarities within her bedroom that most punk DJ’s would be envious of, thanks to the likes of The White Stripes, Sonic Youth, Pixies and even in one episode, Lane sending Rory out in the snow when she is house-bound in order to collect a Belle & Sebastian record. An empowering female drummer, full of wit and the perfect soundtrack to accompany everything sneakily tucked away under many a floorboard, it’s no wonder she nabbed a hottie like Adam Brody come his introduction in season three. ULTIMATE. SWOON.

Dewey – Malcolm In The Middle

Unmistakably the runt of the litter within the MITM household. After receiving numerous brotherly “beatings” and several evident incidents of age-prejudice, Dewy still manages to maintain an intellectual level much higher than his age. Recognised for his unconventional butter-wouldn’t-melt baby face and being a highly-talented musical wonder (as one casually does in middle-school, #NBD).

Remember the time he sang ‘I’m A Little Teapot’ whilst being repeatedly hit by Rhys’s sling-shots and sought his revenge by pretending he was talking to Lois on the phone when, in fact, there was no-one on the other end but an automated salesperson? How you like that month-long grounding now, huh, Reece? Or even the scene in which he dons a chocolate mustache and dances to ABBA’s ‘Fernando’, resulting in an elderly woman being hospitalized? Unfortunate? Most certainly. Comedy gold, you betcha. Not that I don’t, obviously, love all the mini members of my extended family to the moon and back but just once in a while, can every family be blessed with a Dewey, please?

Nick Andopolis – Freaks & Geeks

The Judd Apatow-produced gem of the late 90s, Freaks & Geeks, indented the very being of the continual wave of teen trendy outcast sitcoms come the turn of the millennium. And by presenting itself as much more lighthearted than its predecessor, My So-Called Life. Let’s just say I’d always been more team Linda Cardellini than Angela Chase. It also helped launch the careers of Hollywood adolescent hot shots James Franco and Seth Rogen. As later generations that were too young first-time around (GUILTY!) have rediscovered the series, it seems to me that whilst most are busy getting lightheaded over a leather-clad, sunken-eyed Daniel Desario, it was the awkwardly cheeky presence of Nick Andopolis played by Jason Segel that I was permanently transfixed by, throughout. Be it his seventeen-year-old attempt at chivalry by offering to pay for Linda’s share of the beer keg the gang was attempting to score for the weekend party, or the look of despair on his face when two weeks after Led Zep’s loss of his hero, John Bonham, Segel successfully channelled one of the most sensitive yet face-palmingly blunderous characters going.

Sure, he made a singular jackass move when he tried to undo Lindsay’s bra after misreading her signals, but hey, what member of the male species knew how to show his emotions at that age? At least he learnt from his mistakes when he composed his (hilarious) ‘Lady L’ song that was laden with metaphors for her and that disco dance scene from the definitive ‘Discos & Dragons’ episode where as they part ways he aggressively/longingly looks back at Lindsay. HE STILL HAD FEELINGS FOR HER, I CAN SENSE IT! I don’t know, maybe it’s that sheep lined denim jacket or the fact that I have a thing for drummers, but Nick is a wondrous underdog that remains to keep Freaks & Geeks feeling true-to-life and fabulously teenage relevant, even today.

Read more from Leah Connolly here.

Images via here, here, here, here and here.

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