Ranked!: Top 20 Television Neighbors

For this week's Ranked!, we decided to take a look at our favorite television neighbors!

20. Lewis & Oswald, The Drew Carey Show

The Drew Carey Show is one of the great comedies of the '90s. I loved the show's sensibilities, goofy and good-natured without devolving into treacle. So much of what made the show work came from Lewis & Oswald, the enthusiastic dimwit and the indolent genius. I'm not even sure where they lived, but they were always there, as they had nothing else to do but be the kind of buffoonery normally relegated to cartoons. But unlike so many TV neighbors they seemed genuine, never falling back on tag lines and feeling somehow recognizable and relatable, the type of guys you could totally see yourself having a beer with. They had a spark of improvisational energy that was unique among TV neighbors, and we could use more of their goofy charm on TV today.--CroutonBoy

19. Rhoda Morgenstern, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Oh, Rhoda. Life must've been hard for you. What was it like being friends with a luminous Prom Queen like Mary Richards? Despite the fact that you were her BFF, there must've have been nights when you sat in your own dingy studio, thinking about Little Miss Perfect with her beautiful apartment, her exciting job in television, her svelteness, her carefully crafted awkwardness designed to draw in all those charming sideburned suitors... Meanwhile, you were the quirky, abrasive pal with the irritating mother and the string of laughable boyfriends who went out with you because of your "great personality" only to dump you before episode's end.

I like to imagine you in your dark apartment, one floor above your best friend, sitting at your vanity with black candles burning around you, slowly poking needles into your Mary Richards voodoo doll. Sure, you got your own show later. Sure, you eventually got a better job, going from a window dresser to a photographer. You even married a lovable roughneck named Joe. But let's face the truth, Rhoda. Always a bridesmaid, am I right?--Didactic Pirate

18. Mr. Feeny, Boy Meets World

Mr. Feeny: "Do good."

Topanga: "Don't you mean do well?"

Mr. Feeny: "No. I mean do *good.*"

That is one of many favorite quotes from this show (from the finale), and regularly among my list of moments of television that are sure to make me cry every time. Mr. Feeny will forever go down as the greatest teacher television has ever seen. He's literally watched these kids grow up, having taught them throughout their lives and straight in to college. While he remains stoic and proper as much as he can (and we respect him for that), we see his love for these kids as more than students - as his friends. It's rare to see this in a student-teacher relationship, and fi you have it (as I do) hold on tight. We should all be so lucky as to have a Fee-he-heeny in our lives!--J-Hawke

17. Skippy, Family Ties

I know I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating that I was kind of a geeky loser in high school. I was also someone who was (for whatever sick reason) unable to learn the lesson that trying to get a date with a girl who was way out of my league (and, in many cases, in a completely different sport) was a recipe for constant misery.

That being the case, how could the hapless Skippy Handleman not be one of my favorite TV neighbors of all time? Skippy was, for all intents and purposes, me. And Mallory Keaton was every hot girl I ever tried to get a date with who was happy to unload her problems on the poor geeky guy who would do anything in the world for her but was, alas, destined to fall head-over-heels for some idiot with two brain cells and a motorcycle.


But Skippy... or, at least, Marc Price... got his revenge on the cool kids a few years later in the hilarious horror movie Trick Or Treat. (Good stuff... you should check it out if you can find it.) Me? I just gave up on being cool and embraced the geeky. Sometimes that works out.--Dave

16. Fred and Ethel Mertz, I Love Lucy

If anybody sets the gold standard for lovable TV neighbors, it's Fred and Ethel Mertz. Were they appropriately nosy? Check. Did they enter the Ricardos' home without knocking, under the pretense of borrowing a cup of sugar? Frequently. Take part in wacky schemes and capers? Indubitably. Go with the Ricardos on family trips? All the time. (Hollywood, Europe, Japan...) Some say the funny foursome had a co-dependent group dynamic. Well, sure. It was a little weird when the Mertzes followed the Ricardos all the way to Connecticut when Lucy and Ricky decided to move out of the city. But the fact is, this frumpy couple in all their vitriolic glory rounded out one of the greatest comedy families in television. You don't have Ricky and Lucy without Fred and Ethel. And you wouldn't want to.--Didactic Pirate

15. Mr. Furley, Three's Company

When Mr. Furley took over as landlord on Three's Company, I'd guess there were fans of the show that thought he’d never be as good as Mr. Roper. The Ropers were great, but I thought Mr. Furley was hilarious as well. How can Don Knotts NOT be hilarious? His expressions were priceless. Was Jack Tripper the first "gay" character on television? I know he wasn't gay but the premise was that he could live with the two female roommates because he was gay. Many of the jokes on Three's Company would not be considered politically correct anymore, as with a lot of the humor from older shows, but the sexual innuendo and Mr. Furley's habit of eavesdropping made for many funny moments.--Heather

14. Larry, Three's Company

Larry Dallas lived upstairs from Jack, Janet, and the blond revolving cast of roomates on the hit TV show Three's Company. Larry was a total manwhore who often wore his shirts wide open for all to cast their eyes upon his lovely sprouting chest hair. Larry loved to impress the ladies by lying to them about his occupation. The used car salesman often pretended to be a doctor or someone famous to try to bed a hot chick. Underneath that wannabee exterior, Larry is actually a good guy - and his character appeared in both spinoffs: The Ropers and Three's A Crowd.--Jay

13. Barney and Betty Rubble, The Flintstones

The Rubbles are the original sitcom neighbors, predating Ed & Trixie Norton by a few million years. To this day, I still think of Barney as the ultimate best pal. He's a loyal friend, reliable bowling buddy, talented drummer, and member of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes. He had a fantastic laugh, and as crazy as Fred's schemes were he'd go along because that's what friends do. And with all due respect to Penny from The Big Bang Theory, Betty Rubble is absolutely the hottest neighbor in the history of TV comedy. Not to mention she and Wilma were great friends, too! Hell, their kids even dated! Who wouldn't want neighbors as well matched at the Flintstones and Rubbles? They're perfect.--CroutonBoy

12. Steve Urkel, Family Matters

Steve Urkel, from the family sitcom Family Matters, comes in at #12. Jaleel White played the nerdy, nasal-voiced, annoying yet lovable kid next door that always seemed to ruin the day for the Winslows. Urkel was obsessed with Laura Winslow, to the dismay of her cop father, Carl. Urkel's trademark wardrobe included pants held up to his nipples by suspenders, thick eyeglasses, and strange gait that reminded me of someone trying to get a wedgie out of their butt. Urkel might have been a genius, but he was clumsy, often breaking something. Although Urkel originally was meant to be a secondary character, he actually became the show's most popular character. Before there was Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory), there was Steve Urkel, the original TV nerd.--Jay

11. Kimmie Gibler, Full House

"Hey Tanner-inos!" This catch-cry never failed to elicit a groan or lame insult from a Full House resident every time their neighbor and DJ's BFF Kimmy Gibbler crossed over to their side of the fence. Here's one particularly nasty burn from Danny Tanner, the dad, of all people: "Kimmy, I know I should be punishing you and not your parents, but go home." Ouch! Since Kimmy had stinky feet and her biggest hater Stephanie was my favorite Tanner (hey, we were the same age, okay?), I didn't see anything wrong with it at the time. Fast forward twenty years and I realize just how wrong I was. Sure, Kimmy was weird and irritating, but have you taken a long, hard look at the Tanner clan and their living arrangements? There's got to be some serious issues there. Plus, I can't think of a bigger example of "irritating" than Joey Gladstone. In other words, talk about a house of hypocrites!

Andrea Barber, who played Kimmy, has spoken to The Vine about all the shit the Tanners gave her character, explaining, "She was this annoying kid who didn't care what others thought and so it was okay to treat her like the Tanners did." Hold the phone. A kid who could rise above the hate, deal with being neglected by her parents (where were they all the time?), and pull off a pair of neon tights? I'd go as far as to say that Kimmy Gibbler was the real role model of Full House, carefully camouflaged in rainbow-colored leopard-print clothing, of course.--Bree

10. Quagmire, Family Guy

In the town of Quahog, it's hard not to be upstaged by the antics of Peter Griffin. But when even some of the Griffin family members tend to get lost in the background (shut up, Meg!), just about every ten-second Glen Quagmire walk-on is memorable. He's really kind of an awful person when you think about it. I mean, he hits on any female that moves, stalks his best friend's wife, and keeps sex slaves imprisoned in his house (electronically tagged in case they escape and he has to track them down). Then again, I guess all of that makes the stuff that Peter does look almost laudable by comparison.

Of all of the friends of Peter Griffin, I personally thought it was Quagmire (rather than Cleveland) who should have gotten his own show... but maybe, if we saw any more of what Quagmire does in his everyday life, he'd just go from being quirky to creepy.--Dave

9. The D'Arcys, Married With Children

Marcy (Rhodes) D'Arcy, neighbor and best friend of Peggy and worst enemy of her petulant neanderthal husband Al, took a second (and far more interesting) husband after her first (Steve) had enough of her. Before the day was out she'd found herself a dimwitted frat boy prince (blond and magnificent Jefferson) and was rewarded for all her bad behavior with a husband who mocked and disrespected her in equal measure. While the relationship between Marcy and Al was adversarial at best, her new beau's rapport with her much reviled nemesis was a slap in the face and a huge point of contention. Because she had few redeeming qualities, Marcy's plight seemed well deserved by those of us who used to watch the show but every once in awhile she'd give the boorish head of the Bundy household a much needed kick in his sad sack pants.--Dufmanno

8. Wilson, Home Improvement

Though we only saw the top half of his face for all but the tail-end of the last episode, Wilson was as important to Home Improvement as and of those Taylor boys. What's funny to me is his oddness would be considered completely semi-normal by today's standards. He's into just about anything any other country has to offer, and clearly as smart as his entire next-door neighboring family combined. Yet he doesn't gloat and is there with cryptic yet great advice every single time.--J-Hawke

7. The Fonz, Happy Days

The Fonz had to have been one of the first, if not the first, biker-dude characters on television. He had a way with the women but a soft spot for the family downstairs. Whenever Howard and Marion were slacking in the parental supervision department, Fonzie seemed to be there to show Richie and Joanie the way. Though perhaps technically not a neighbor and more of a tenant, Fonzie perhaps created the neighbor's (no knocking) entrance that later Kramer was to perfect. The Fonz was so cool that even when he wasn't so cool he was cool enough to coin a new phrase. Who else could jump a shark?--Heather

6. Winnie Cooper, The Wonder Years

When we last saw her in the final double episode of The Wonder Years, everybody's favorite girl next door and childhood crush Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper was a beautiful teenager figuring out whether Kevin Arnold would be her happily ever after at a hometown 4th Of July parade. But for six seasons prior, we watched with unabashed interest as the gorgeous brown eyed neighbor with a heart of gold lost her brother and waded through adolescence side by side with her friends Kevin and Paul. Watching them navigate the everyday dramas that populate the lives of most suburban teens helped cement their place in our hearts as we tuned in to see what kind of human speed bump they'd have to drive over each week. Eventually Winnie moved four miles away and began attending a new junior high but her relationship with Kevin lasted a lifetime.--Dufmanno

5. Lenny & Squiggy, Laverne & Shirley

Like many on our list, Lenny & Squiggy were comic relief on their show. I didn't realize that at the time because I was eight years old. I didn't know what comic relief was. I just knew they were unlike anything I had ever seen on tv or in my neighborhood. They were greasers, had slicked-back hair, and would bite their palms when they were turned on. I still don't get that last one. But at the time, when most kids my age were looking up to the Fonz, I felt a kinship with the lovable, harmless outcasts that lived next door to Laverne & Shirley.--Chris

4. Ned Flanders, The Simpsons

Howdy doodley neighbor! How can you not LOVE Ned Flanders, the ultimate in friendly neighbors? Nedward (yes, that's his real first name) started off as a sideline gag for Homer to hate and blossomed into a sympathetic and entertainingly naive heart-on-his-sleeve major character in a Simpsons world that's full of snark and cynicism. He's the guy that's always cloyingly cheerful, has a kind word for everyone, is relentlessly optimistic, and you kind of want to strangle him even while admiring his steadfastness.--Archphoenix

3. Penny, The Big Bang Theory

If this was a list of the Hottest TV Neighbors Of All Time, The Big Bang Theory's Penny would come in at #1 (and probably #2 as well, just for good measure). She's the non-genius waitress that lives next door to braniacs Sheldon and Leonard. But what she lacks in measurable IQ points, she makes up for in common sense, something most of the male characters on this show lack. She is sassy and funny and sweet and cute, the quissential girl next door.--Chris

2. Chandler & Joey, Friends

Friends was a huge monster show while I was in college and I honest to God rearranged my class schedule one year because I'd had a semester with an evening physics lab that was at the same time as Friends and it was utterly and completely unacceptable. That was some must see tv and I missed it week after week for a full semester. Why was I such a devotee? Because it was a show we watched together as a group of, well, friends - it was event television. Why was it so compelling? The chemistry between the six actors. And also because I lived in an all girls' dorm and the thought of cool funny, kinda hot guy neighbors? YES PLEASE. Honestly, Joey and Chandler were awesome neighbors. You could use Joey to get rid of old food in the fridge, and Chandler was always good for a laugh. The bromance between the two was adorable. Mostly though, those guys had their backs - they were just big ole sweeties. You could do worse for neighbors, much worse.--Archphoenix

1. Kramer, Seinfeld

When I was given my assignment to write about Cosmo Kramer, the best TV neighbor of all time, my first thought was, "How on earth am I going to sum him up in just one paragraph?" Mind you, Elaine Benes summed him up in just two words: Hipster Doofus. But he was so much more than that. Nay, he was so much more than just a TV neighbor. I mean, the character that burst through Jerry Seinfeld's door for nine seasons even inspired a painting that famously caused this conflicted response from an art patron: "He's a loathsome, offensive brute. Yet I can't look away." Yes, on many levels he may have been a hipster doofus, but he made our number one spot by a landslide. To millions of viewers, Kramer was wild, wacky, a muse with sublime buttocks, a womanizer, a gambler, a fruit lover, coulrophobic (that's someone who's afraid of clowns – don't say you don't ever learn anything from this site), an entrepreneur, a yearner, and a free spirit.

Then again, maybe I don't need a paragraph to sum Kramer up and justify his number one spot. Perhaps just a nonsensical "Dididi" will suffice.--Bree

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