TV Squad Ten: Most outrageous characters on TV
by Debra McDuffee, posted Jan 6th 2009 11:02AM
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.