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October 31, 2014

TV Squad Ten: TV's biggest rule breakers

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 28th 2009 10:56AM
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Rules are meant to be broken... especially for these ten television characters. For them, the rest of the world has one standard to live by and they have another. It makes them interesting and fun to watch... you just wouldn't necessarily want to be the person having to deal with them because they could drive you to distraction. Here's my ten pack of characters who live in a world of their own, according to no rules except their own. From the not-too-bad to the really bad.

10. Patrick Jane, The Mentalist

You would think that as a consultant to the CBI -- California Bureau of Investigation -- Patrick Jane would be compelled to uphold the rules and regulations of the department. However, Jane is a free spirit when it comes to office protocol. He does his own thing. For instance, bugging the office of a CBI higher-up is definitely not kosher. Jane doesn't care; he did it anyway and will probably get away with it.

9. Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock
Being a successful, overpaid and privileged comedy star of TGS, Tracey Jordan is insulated. The only rules Tracy follows are those that Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy force him to. Anything outside the studio is up for grabs. Even Angie can't keep him from breaking the rules. He has necklace that reads "open marriage," so don't even mention marital vows.
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8. Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother
There are some rules that are very important to Barney, like the Bro Code. Or wearing a suit. But, generally speaking, the rules of polite society don't apply to Barney. He once pretended to be realtor to get into a furnished apartment so he could make love to a woman and leaves her the next morning, deceiving her completely. It wasn't right, but in Barney world, it was just fine.

old_christine_barb7. Christine Campbell, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Christine has spent so many years ignoring the rules that these days she's barely aware that they exist. For instance, her affair with Richie's teacher, which was unethical. Then there was marrying Barb to keep her from being deported. That was illegal. Christine doesn't seem to know that the rules are there for a reason. She doesn't care or even know that she's supposed to care.

6. Dwight Schrute, The Office
Dwight is a rule breaker when it suits him. That might make him a borderline sociopath. At times, he is a strict advocate of procedures and rules and would gladly rat out a fellow worker who veers from them. However, if Michael tells him to do something reprehensible, like set up Toby to be busted by the police, Dwight is right there to make it happen.

5. Don Draper, Mad Men
To the outside world, Madison Avenue creative director Don seems like he's following the rules. Even in the time in which he's living, 1963, Don skirts the rules. Having drinks during business hours is business as usual then, but bedding female clients to get their business, isn't. And taking a business trip and disappearing for a few weeks was not how to succeed in corporate America then or now, but Don gets away with it. Rules are clearly for other mad men, not Draper.

4. Sue Sylvester, Glee
For a woman like Sue, McKinley High School is her kingdom and she's the only monarch. She can call the shots and defy every rule that other teachers have to follow. To a colleague like glee club director Will Schuester, Sue is a bully who gets away with pushing his kids around. Because of her seniority and the success of her Cheerios, Sue breaks the rules because she can.
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3. Gregory House, House, MD
It's not surprising that a physician like House would abhor the rules of Princeton Plainsboro. House wants to practice diagnostic medicine, not do clinic hours. So he ignores Cuddy's rules and does what he wants. But that's small potatoes compared to the Vicodan habit that House has only recently gotten under control. While using, House broke the law and the rules to get his pain meds.

2. Gabriel Sylar, Heroes
Sylar has extraordinary powers that have turned him into a stone-cold killing machine. Slicing the top of a victim's head off to expose their brains definitely qualifies as being against the rules. Sylar has been unlike the others with powers because he has no compunction about flaunting his blatant disregard for the law and every rule imaginable.

dexter_boat1. Dexter Morgan, Dexter
If you break the rules for the greater good, are you still the worst rule breaker on TV today? Yes, because Dexter Morgan is a serial killer. The fact that his victims deserve to die doesn't alter the fact that Dexter knows he shouldn't be doing what he's doing. And using the information he gleans by working in the Miami P.D. just makes it worse because he's supposed to be part of the legal system.

[Check out SlashControl for clips and episodes from these shows.]

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keelytm

Sorry about that getting posted three times! I think there might be a glitch in your system. It never told me my comment was published, it just kept having that spinning "waiting" circle. Then, when I looked down, it had published it three times! I can't find anywhere to remove two of the comments myself, so would you be able to do that? I don't want it to look like spam on your page!

October 13 2012 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
keelytm

I thought you compiled a pretty good list. And I think some of them could definitely use counseling, if they existed in the real world. Most of the characters I am willing to forgive their rule breaking because they are compelling people. People like Tracy Morgan, though...he's just kind of irritating and someone should force him into couples counseling in AZ with his poor wife! Maybe if they get sent away to a counseling retreat in a state like Arizona, he would come back and be more of a likeable character. ( http://www.arizonacouples.com )

October 13 2012 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Therapist

Curb Your Enthusiasm is about nothing more than Larry David constantly breaking rules, albeit "unwritten" ones (though everyone on CYE, including Larry himself, acts as though these rules are indeed written in stone except when they are the ones accused of being the rule breakers).
And how is bauer not on this list? He kidnapped the president of the US, pretty sure there is some rule against that.http://www.theravive.com

November 15 2009 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scott

LIE TO ME's Cal Lightman should be on the list. He even breaks codes of ethics ffs!

October 30 2009 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MIke

Two words: VIC MACKEY

October 29 2009 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pau;

Naming Sylar as a rulebreaker is just stupid. Why don't you just name every villian in every show ever.

And yes, Bauer should have totally made it on the top of this list. But I suppose this is only about shows that are right now at this very moment on TV.

And House breaking the clinic rule or the vicodan rules aren't even all the interesting. What is interesting is how House breaks rules in order to do his job. He has his team break the law, by breaking an entering to his patient's home. He has people forge signatures, or ask not for permission but ask for forgiveness...or just don't even ask, just lie...all in order to solve that puzzle. It's not even about saving lives to him, it's all about solving the puzzle, and that's what makes House an interesting rule breaker. He even breaks the rule where you're supposed to be doing good for the good of people and save lives, he breaks them to fulfill his desire of solving puzzles....

October 28 2009 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
justin

umm how is bauer not on this list? He kidnapped the president of the US, pretty sure there is some rule against that

October 28 2009 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sandy

What about Jack Bauer from 24, all he does is break rules and restrictions that get in his way.

October 28 2009 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Wow no Larry David? Curb Your Enthusiasm is about nothing more than Larry David constantly breaking rules, albeit "unwritten" ones (though everyone on CYE, including Larry himself, acts as though these rules are indeed written in stone except when they are the ones accused of being the rule breakers). Still, is anyone on TV accused of doing more wrong, hurting and offending more people, and causing more trouble than Larry David?

And Dexter doesn't count, he's a friggin' serial killer. Murdering dozens of people in cold blood is well beyond the scope of mere rule breaking.

October 28 2009 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fsu120

What about Jack Bauer?

October 28 2009 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fsu120's comment
superbagman

Bauer got left of the top list of TV interrogators as well, which was just...laughable. Say what you will about the quality of 24 as of late, but Jack Bauer deserves to be on both lists.

October 28 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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