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TV Squad Ten: Most outrageous characters on TV

by Debra McDuffee, posted Jan 6th 2009 11:02AM
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother

Random House defines outrageous as highly unusual or unconventional; extravagant; remarkable. It's as though they've been watching TV, and wrote their definition to fit some of the crazy characters on television shows today.

Oh, don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. I love these larger-than-life characters, played to perfection by the talented actors who grace these roles. Some fit in perfectly with their surroundings, others stand out like a sore thumb amongst castmates. One thing they all have in common, though, is that watching them is pure entertainment.

Patrick Jane (played by Simon Baker on The Mentalist)

Jane doesn't quite have the social graces to blend into society, and that's why I love him. The frumpy suits, the obnoxious antics, and the constant pushing of the envelope make for some good TV. From card counting in the casino to reading Lisbon's mind; hypnotizing suspects to making a sandwich in a victim's home, Jane's done it all. Unconventional, to say the least.

The Devil (played by Ray Wise on Reaper)
Yeah, I know, you would have picked Sock. To me, Sock is too pedestrian and too obvious. The Devil, on the other hand, is a refined outrageous, with his snazzy suits, sarcastic attitude and the way he plays with Sam. You just never know when this guy is going to snap, and that's what put him on this list.

Eliot Spencer (played by Christian Kane on Leverage)

Let's see ... what could be more unconventional than a "retrieval specialist" with a zest for violence and a love for all things ammo? The hair, the flashbacks, the full-out admissions that he's hurt people, and the way he deals with the opposition all give dear Eliot a primo spot on this list. Did I mention the hair?

Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother)

Swarly? He's legendary, alright. Who else on TV is going to do a 64 team match-up of the girls he slept with to find out which one is stalking him? Make up Christmas -- and Hanukkah -- songs about boinking Ted's sister? Wear a suit all the time? OK, The Devil on Reaper might have that one.

Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie on House, M.D.)

Only in a fictional world would you have a doctor with a bedside manner quite this poor. An office war with Cuddy (smashing a toilet with a sledgehammer?), blackmailing his team, outing Thirteen's Huntington's, making fun of every clinic patient who has the misfortune of House walking through the exam room door. Oh, did I forget to mention an addiction to pain pills and an incredible talent for the piano? An unusual affinity for soap operas? A limp and a motorcycle...

Ray Carling (played by Michael Imperioli on Life on Mars)
I know, you would have chosen Harvey Keitel's Lieutenant, right? Well, Keitel's character was far too multi-dimensional for me to call him outrageous when compared to Ray Carling, the stereotype of the '70s cop. The long hair and the mustache, the abusive nature and the smart-ass attitude go a long way. But when you add in the fact that of course he hates the new guy, Sam Tyler, he just screams outrageous for me.

Dwight Schrute (played by Rainn Wilson on The Office)

Dwight is a suck-up with Michael one moment, and a sucker for Angela the next. He bought Princess Unicorn dolls to swindle pathetic parents. He falls for Jim's pranks, every time. He's a stickler for the rules, but then tries to frame Toby. With Dwight, you never know what he's going to do next. But wait, you do.

Sam Axe (played by Bruce Campbell on Burn Notice)

Unconventional? Let's couple the Hawaiian shirts, shall we, with the philandering, slightly sleazy "store front" that is Sam's outward demeanor. But the back room, oh, the back room, where the tortured Sam spends time, a loyal friend, a talented spy. A paradox, this outrageous Sam.

Shawn Spencer (played by James Roday on Psych)

Unconventional? Am I stuttering? Psychic antics aside (they've toned these down in recent episodes, hallelujah), Shawn's spunk, sass with Gus, come-on lines with Jules, jabs at Lassie, and besting his dad put crazy Shawn on my list. How could I forget the '80s pop culture references....

Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock)
Tracy is too over-the-top, Kenneth just too geeky. I pick Jack for this list, for his relationship with his mother, for his love for all things Miami, for his dependence on Lemon, and for the consistently best one-liners of the show. Subtle outrageous is what we're going for with Jack.

Could this list be longer than ten? You bet! I don't watch every show, and I'm sure we disagree on some of them. I didn't set out to pick the most obnoxious characters on TV, but instead a well-rounded list of characters who all made the list for different reasons. Share your list in the comments.

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27 Comments

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brian

glad charlie crews was mentioned, I feel that Life doesn't get any pub but it is my second favorite show on right now, after Lost and before House...

February 28 2009 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Collins

DEAN WINCHESTER wins this one. He loves classic rock, has the best one-liners, and survived Hell. Oh and he makes a 4DR Impala sexy, while kicking some serious butt. He's definitely outrageous in the best way, one of a kind.

January 17 2009 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Törék Eszter

Gregory House 4 ever :)

January 08 2009 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thisgirltv

I agree with whoever brought up Pushing Daisies. Those characters were all outrageous and Life's Charlie Crews definitely fits in this one.

If we take it over to BBC America, Captain Jack Harkness would make an excellent candidate.

January 08 2009 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Berkeley Beth

Excellent List, in particular your write up about Patrick Jane. Simon Baker does a stand up job portraying this character. I just hope the Network does not change it, now that The Mentalist is the highest rated new show.

Bruce Campbell, love his character on Burn Notice. The right actor for the right part. I know a lot of men like him, unfortunately dated a few of them.

January 07 2009 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SISSERS

What? Women cant be on the list too???? Id go with Abby on "NCSI", or Berta on "Two and a Half Men" (ok, she might be more obnoxious then outrageous). But I think Joy on "My Name is Earl" is number one!

January 06 2009 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr Ed

I was watching this show the Mentalist for the first time and I realized this guy looks like the Professor (Russel Johnson) from Gilligans Island! Almost a dead ringer!
He could be in a remake of G.I. as the PROF.

January 06 2009 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

Wait... are you implying that Swarley is actually SATAN???

Ya know, I could see it!

A near perfect column Debra, except it probably needs to be Top 50 instead of Top 10. I agree with all the additions here, particularly Ben from LOST, Jack from 24 (and throw in Chloe for good measure), Charlie Crews from Life, Denny Crane, Cartman and Sheldon Cooper. Maybe you could do a follow up?

January 06 2009 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GL

Ray Wise is tremendous and I agree with Brad about Cartman, that kid is over the line.

January 06 2009 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nova

+1 for Charlie for always sunny.

He can't read! it's hilarious every time. Constantly huffing glue and paint. obsessed with the waitress.

Everyone of those characters on Always Sunny could top this list with ease, but charlie is definitely my favorite.

January 06 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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