The 5 Best TV Characters Under The Radar

Last week I gave you all my recommendations for the upcoming fall TV season. The process of combining all the shows I watch into a single schedule made me start to think about all the great characters these shows represent. While everybody loves watching Jim, Pam, Michael, and Dwight on The Office, what makes that show so great is the cast of outstanding characters that comes along with those stars.

A great supporting character can occasionally go episodes at a time without any screen time, but then they show up and can completely steal the scene, even from the main character. It’s these characters that really make today’s top shows work, and I’ve got my 5 favorite supporting characters for you, in no particular order, after the break.

To make this list, I only took characters that weren’t part of the main cast. In Community, all the characters share the screen time and story lines. These have to be characters that don’t typically have the spotlight, but always grab my attention when they enter a scene.

Madeline Westen (AKA ‘Mom’) from Burn Notice

The character Michael Westen is a very take charge type of guy. He likes to control the situation, know his exit strategy at all times, he’s smarter than you and he knows it. But that entire dynamic is turned on it’s head whenever him Mom comes into play.

She speaks to him with authority, even on matters outside of her expertise. She’s not afraid to put him in his place and tell him what to do, as any Mom should with their son… it’s just quite a bit more amusing when their son is a top of the line spy. Every time Madeline and Michael share the screen together, fireworks fly, and it’s honestly some of the best moments Burn Notice has to offer.

Señor Chang from Community

I’ve stated before how Community would have easily been my favorite new show in almost any season, it was only because of my immense love for Modern Family that it didn’t get top billing… well, Señor Chang was one of the big reasons that was the case. I found a fantastic YouTube video to display his awesomeness, but they’ve disabled embedding, so you’ll have to head over there to check it out.

Señor Chang almost seems crazier every time he’s on screen, which makes every spanish class brim over with possibilities. The times he interacts with the main characters outside of the classroom allow us the opportunity to delve even further into his over the top antics and outrageous personality. This is one character I’m very excited to see more of from this outstanding show.

“Jeffster” (AKA Jeff and Lester) from Chuck

Sure, technically these are two separate characters, but Jeff and Lester always show up together (I’m not sure I’ve seen either of them on screen without the other) and there’s really no reason to discuss either of them individually.

By day, Jeff and Lester work with Chuck at the Nerd Herd in the Buy More. By night, they are rock gods, covering some of the most epic rock ballads of all time. Everything from Mr. Roboto to Blaze of Glory, these two usually provide at least one hilarious performance every season (not to mention all the mischief they accidentally create trying to learn about Chuck and his mysterious secret life), typically as some sort of distraction and musical background for whatever action is currently at hand. I’m really looking forward to more performances like this one:

Darryl from The Office
Darryl Philbin has spent much of the first 6 seasons of The Office in the background. He was the manager of the warehouse for Dunder Mifflin, and rarely interacted with the regular cast members. Whenever he’s found himself in front of the camera though, it’s met with rousing success. While Kelly and Ryan were broken up, Darryl was used by Kelly to make Ryan jealous. Darryl helped to create the jingle for the commercial the office made for Dunder Mifflin. It’s just been here and there, but Darryl has been intertwined in the story along the way. He’s also had an interesting relationship with Michael Scott:
  • Michael refers to him as “Mittah Rogers”, a nickname with an interesting evolution: it began as “Regis” (as Darryl’s last name is Philbin, a reference to Regis Philbin), then “Reeg”, “Rog”, “Roger”, and “Mistah Rogers”, and then finally settling on “Mittah Rogers”.
  • Michael views Darryl secretly as some sort of street thug because he is black. He also goes to Darryl whenever he needs ‘street cred.’ Darry teaches Michael “black man phrases”, such as “fleece it out”, “goin’ mach five”, “bippity boppity gimme the zoppity”, and “dinkin’ flicka.”
  • Darryl also taught Michael the term “Fluffy Fingers”, the resolution for two gang members who have a problem with one another – tickling.
Darryl was moved up into the offices this past season by the new management, and because of this, has taken on a much larger role in the series. I expect him to be much more involved in the coming season(s), which is to the benefit of us all.

The Kids from Modern Family

I really tried to think of any one kid that stood out from the rest, but I just couldn’t do it. Each and every one of them had at a couple laugh out loud moments in the first season, and they were rarely the center of attention while creating those laughs.

As kids usually are in sitcoms, the kids on Modern Family are almost always minding their own business somewhere in the background, and are only utilized as a main character to help move the story along for the adults. But even in this capacity, at least one of them seem to have at least 1 moment every episode that just completely catches me off-guard or causes a complete ‘pause the show to finish laughing, rewind to watch it again’ moment. It was in large part due to the kids on this show that Modern Family shot into my top 10 favorite shows of all time, and will help it to continue climbing as it moves into the upcoming season.

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Dave Sack

has been tasked with the great responsibility of covering all things entertainment related. His career is a quest of epic proportions. What that quest is ultimately leading toward is a mystery to us all. His family (wife & son), football, coaching, movies, and video games take up most of his time.


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