The 29 Greatest Sitcom Characters in TV History

fresh prince of bel air

Sitcom characters often have weird quirks and distinct personalities. Everyone has a sitcom character they love — from sarcastic womanizers to idiotic professionals to ignorant sweethearts to stubborn cynics. Here are 29 of our favorite sitcom characters.

1. Michael Scott, The Office

Michael Scott in The Office
Image Credit: Universal Television.

Michael Scott's obliviousness and general failures might have frustrated the people he worked with in The Office, but at the end of the day, those personal and professional shortcomings made him an indelible piece of TV history. 

2. Uncle Phil, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) James Avery
Image Credit: NBC Productions.

With a mix of stern authority and paternal warmth, Uncle Phil was the ultimate sitcom dad figure. Sure, he could be a buzzkill for some of Will's fun, but he proved time and time again that he would be there when it counted. 

3. Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm 

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Image Credit: HBO Entertainment.

Larry David's brand of dry humor seeped into every aspect of Curb Your Enthusiasm, including the show's version of himself. His awkwardness has made the show one of the most iconic of the 2000s. 

4. Will Smith, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will Smith
Image Credit: NBC.

After emerging as a rap star in the late ’80s, Will Smith became the star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and nothing was really the same. In the role, he played an alternate version of himself, with this variant being a troubled Philadelphia kid who moves to Bel-Air after getting into a fight. Holding down this role, Will proved both his comedic and dramatic chops, even if his acting skills weren't all there at first. 

5. George Costanza, Seinfeld

Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander
Image Credit: West/Shapiro Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment.

George Costanza is one of those characters that can be truly divisive, as some love him, others hate him, and many love to hate him! His mannerisms, woes, and tensions on screen are unforgettable, cementing him as one of the greatest characters of all time. 

6. Hawkeye, MASH

MASH Alan Alda, Mike Farrell
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Many M*A*S*H characters are favorites among fans, but Hawkeye takes the cake. His witty ways, charming demeanor, and edgy comments make him irresistible. While he's a saucy womanizer, he's also kind and responsible, making him a complex and lovable character.

7. Captain Raymond Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Andre Braugher
Image Credit: Dr. Goor Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment and Universal Television.

Captain Raymond Holt presides over the precinct and rides the line between strict and caring as he tries to warm up to his underlings. Holt is a sensational character because he's gay but avoids all the stereotypical gay tropes that Hollywood has overused.

8. Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation Nick Offerman, Amy Poehler
Image Credit: Universal Television.

Ron Swanson is an iconic character, as he tries to be stoic and selfish but can't help but love his friends. He's surrounded by hilarious and unique characters, but his gruffness and Nick Offerman's fantastic delivery of every line make him one of the most beloved.

9. Frank Reynolds, It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Danny DeVito, Charlie Day
Image Credit: 3 Arts Entertainment, RCG Productions, and FXP.

Frank is a gross character who constantly delivers jokes that will have you rolling on the floor. Is he a good person? No. Is he a rib-tickling comedy genius? Yes. As always, Danny DeVito transforms the character into something distinct and wildly funny, and the show wouldn't be what it is without him.

10. Niles Crane, Frasier

Frasier David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves
Image Credit: Paramount Network Television, Grub Street Productions, and Grammnet Productions.

Every character on Frasier is wonderfully hilarious, but Niles Crane is always a favorite. His meek ways and exaggerated mannerisms make him a delight to watch. Whether cowering to his unseen wife or competing with his brother, he's amusingly awkward and insecure.

11. Dwight Schrute, The Office

The Office Rainn Wilson
Image Credit: Deedle-Dee Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Michael Scott is in the running, but Dwight Schrute is easily one of the most memorable and funny characters ever written. His commitment to his weirdness means that his character delivers endless surprises.

12. Abed Nadir, Community

Community Danny Pudi
Image Credit: Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television, and Universal Television.

The Greendale Seven are all iconic in their own right, but Abed is a truly distinct character. He lives in the world of TV and makes everything meta, pulling the audience in and forming a connection with viewers. His social struggles make him endearing, despite his robotic mannerisms.

13. Perry Cox, Scrubs

Scrubs John C. McGinley
Image Credit: Doozer Productions and ABC Studios.

Dr. Perry Cox's sarcasm and brutal honesty make him one of the best sitcom characters. His toxic relationship with his wife, commitment to his patients, and distaste for JD all contribute to his complex and sometimes relatable character.

14. Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development

Arrested Development Jessica Walter
Image Credit: Imagine Television, The Hurwitz Company, and 20th Century Fox Television.

Lucille Bluth is one of the funniest characters on Arrested Development. She's a cold, cruel mother obsessed with money and appearances. Her bluntness and out-of-touch comments make her an absurd character who always hits your funny bone.

15. Hal Wilkerson, Malcolm in the Middle

Malcolm in the Middle Bryan Cranston
Image Credit: Satin City, Regency Television, and Fox Television Studios.

Hal is the father on Malcolm in the Middle, and while he and his wife are insanely funny together, he takes the cake as one of the best sitcom characters. Played by the always fantastic Bryan Cranston, Hal is a sensitive man obsessed with his wife and tries to be the best parent he can but sometimes misses the mark. It's worth noting the show never confirms the last name “Wilkerson,” but fans have found clues to indicate this is their last name.

16. Moira Rose, Schitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek Catherine O'Hara
Image Credit: CBC Television.

Moira Rose is similar to Lucille Bluth, as they both seem to think money grows on trees and they're entitled to everything. Moira, played by the fabulous Catherine O'Hara, has a wispy voice and vapid personality that make her subtly funny. Instead of loud, boisterous jokes, Moira delivers ridiculous but understated lines that will always make you laugh.

17. Kitty Forman, That '70s Show

That '70s Show Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp
Image Credit: The Carsey-Werner Company.

Kitty and Red are both great, but I had to give it to Kitty because of her hilarious little laugh on this fun 90s sitcom. She's always trying to calm Red down and has a playful and upbeat attitude, always trying to keep the family happy. But when she reaches her breaking point and cracks, her spiraling is beyond hilarious.

18. Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy Lucille Ball, Mary Wickes
Image Credit: Desilu Productions.

Lucy Ricardo is one of the most iconic sitcom characters who set the stage for all the hilarious women who followed her. Her wild antics and well-intentioned shenanigans make her lovable and relatable. She was a confident but caring woman who was impossible not to adore.

19. Rose Nylund, The Golden Girls

The Golden Girls Betty White
Image Credit: Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions and Touchstone Television.

All the Golden Girls are delightful in their own way, but Ms. Betty White won. Her loving but ditsy ways make her irresistible, especially when contrasted with some of the snootier characters on the show. She was the punchline for much of the show, but that didn't stop people from falling in love with her.

20. Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

Modern Family Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Modern Family is riddled with spectacular characters, but none quite as lovable as Phil. He's a well-meaning guy just trying to be the best dad he can while loving his uptight wife. He's completely unpretentious and kind but sometimes puts his foot in his mouth with lines that will have you dying from laughter.

21. Reverend Jim Ignatowski, Taxi

Taxi Christopher Lloyd
Image Credit: John Charles Walters Productions and Paramount Television.

Reverend Jim was a gentle soul on Taxi and perfectly captures the vibe of the 1960s. He tended to be spacey and odd but still one of the most lovable drivers on the show. Jim was liked because of his hilarious demeanor and constant confusion, which is relatable in many ways.

22. Carlton Banks, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Alfonso Ribeiro
Image Credit: The Stuffed Dog Company, NBC Productions, and Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.

Who could ever forget the Carlton dance? Carlton Banks is one of the most outrageous and weird sitcom characters who constantly embarrasses himself. Like George Costanza, Carlton always tries to be cool and casual but rarely accomplishes his goal.

23. Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show

The Andy Griffith Show Don Knotts
Image Credit: Danny Thomas Enterprises, Mayberry Enterprises, and CBS Productions.

Barney Fife was easily the funniest character on The Andy Griffith Show. Surrounded by honest and sincere character, Barney's awkward mannerisms and dense comments are always the lightest part of the show.

24. Arthur Spooner, King of Queens

The King of Queens Jerry Stiller
Image Credit: Hanley Productions and CBS Productions.

Arthur Spooner is Carrie's dad on King of Queens. As always, Jerry Stiller is unbelievably funny, with his boisterous voice and absurd one-liners. People love him because he's over-the-top, making it impossible not to chuckle at how exaggerated and dramatic he is.

25. Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers John Cleese
Image Credit: BBC.

Basil Fawlty is an impossible man with little patience and a rude, snobby demeanor. He seems to be frustrated by everything and everyone, including his wife. Nevertheless, fans love his obtuse character and cynical ways that make him fun to watch.

26. Coach Ernie Pantusso, Cheers

Cheers Nicholas Colasanto
Image Credit: Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions and Paramount Network Television.

It's hard to pick just one character from the 80s sitcom Cheers, but we vote for Coach! As a former coach for the Red Sox, Coach is stern and responsible, but he's also sweet and caring. He's happy with a simple life now, working at the bar and hanging with his buddies. While he's a charmingly uncomplicated character, he still delivers some of the funniest lines.

27. Joey Tribiani, Friends

Friends Matt LeBlanc
Image Credit: Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

Everyone has a favorite character from Friends, but Joey Tribiani is one of the most loved because of his endearing ways. He's not the brightest bulb and can be a selfish womanizer, but at the end of the day, he has a huge heart and would do anything for his friends.

28. Maurice Moss, The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd Richard Ayoade
Image Credit: Talkback Thames and Delightful Industries.

Maurice is the awkward and socially challenged mama's boy in The IT Crowd. He's a layered character, one of the most intelligent people on the show, but he can behave very childishly in certain situations. He gets bullied by other characters, but the audience loves his sensitive demeanor and funny lines.

29. Father Dougal McGuire, Father Ted

Father Ted Dermot Morgan, Ardal O'Hanlon
Image Credit: Hat Trick Productions.

Father Dougal is one of the three main priests in the sitcom Father Ted. He's a dim-witted and ignorant man who knows almost nothing about Catholicism. He's a cheerful, innocent man with a kind soul that endears him to the audience. Dougal is well-liked because his naivety and pureness directly contrast with the other cynical characters.