Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who's your favorite TV nemesis?

Since there's nothing new on the boob tube this week,I thought it would be fun to discuss a great television topic-favorite so bad they're good characters.

I call them nemesis rather than villian because while they do plague the main characters,their agenda is not always a black hat-tie-the-girl-to-the-traintracks,my deathray-will-destroy-Metropolis deal. They can simply exist to annoy the lead or supply some much needed turmoil into the plot. They usually have three important traits;being the complete opposite of the major person on the show,have a flunky who either helps or hinder them and some redeeming trait that can make he/she more than a cardboard cutout.

Sometimes,a nemesis can become more appealing than some of the regular good guy characters and even turn into friends(annoying ones to be sure,but still). They can even get their own spin-off show or appear on one,if their appeal is strong. Here are some of my personal favorite foes:

Nellie Oleson: Little House on the Prairie's Laura Ingalls was one of my childhood icons and she was perfectly offset by Nasty Nellie Oleson,the spoiled rich bitch with the harpy mom(really felt bad for Mr. Oleson in that family)and bratty little brother Willie who lorded over Walnut Grove with her never changing sausage curls and wicked ways. She would always find a way to show off her privilged status of shopkeeper's daughter by flaunting her new clothes,fancy toys and candy taken right from her parents' store display.

In later years,Nellie started to mellow out and wound up marrying a nice fellow and having twins. The show still felt the need for her bitchery and even had the senior Olesons adopt a female Cousin Oliver version of Nellie to keep the bitch factor going. Nice try but there's no topping the original prairie bitch.

Cordelia Chase: From the first moment she appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Cordelia strutted her stuff as Queen C of the Sunnydale High campus as a reminder of what Buffy used to be and in some ways,wished that she still was. It would be foolish to write Cordy off as an airhead;the girl was wicked smart when she wanted to be and her verbal putdowns were some of the wittiest dialogue on the show.

One of Cordy's main targets of mockery was Willow which showcased her snottiness to to a T:

Cordelia wound up become a full fledged Scoobie(especially after dating reviled nerd Xander)but never lost her sharp tongue completely. Her character grew and graduated to leading lady in the BTVS spin-off,Angel where she even gained psychic powers and fell in love with Buffy's old beau. Some fans thought that she had changed too much but by Angel's 100th episode,the stylish smart talking gal we all knew and loved had made her comeback and graceful departure all at once.

Taylor Doose: Stars Hollow wouldn't be the same sweetly insane town that it is without Taylor in his Mr. Rogers sweaters running around trying to turn the place into a 1950's historical theme park. While he drives Luke crazy with his persistant anal retentative ideas and gives Lorelai an easy target for her lightning fast jibs,many times he's his own worst enemy. The slightest change in the world around him can set off quite an amusing tirade:

Aunt Esther:One of the best sparring partners Fred G. Sandford ever had was his tough as nails,bible thumping sister-in-law who never failed in her duty to make sure her nephew Lamont was being looked after and to deliver verbal smackdowns to Fred on a regular basis. One thing I loved about Aunt Esther was that she gave as good as she got:

Dwight Schrute: When I first saw The Office,I thought that Jim was being mean to him for no reason but I soon caught on to why such goofing on him was neccessary. Dwight is every annoying co-worker who thinks they're better than you and is completely clueless about how truly ridiculous they are. This season,Michael Scott's assistant to the regional manager may have met his match in Stamford transfer Andy,the Bizarro version of himself:

Okay,talk amongst yourselves-here's a topic:who are some of your favorite TV foes?
Discuss and share with the group,I'll wait.


Pop Culture Diva said...

I tend to like the nemesis from the soap operas because that have this flamboyant campy quality. My picks are:

Alexis Carrington-Dynasty
This bitch was nasty but looked fabulous in beaded Versace and Bob Mackie gowns. Never boring.

J.R. Ewing-Dallas
He's the baddest of the bad and set the standard for a nemesis. He was wickedly delightful. More fun than sappy Bobby or Gary.

Victor Newman-The Young and the Restless
He's gone soft with age but back in the say no one was more dastardly than Victor. His evil German accent helped.

Anonymous said...

I forgot all about Nellie Oleson! Aarrgg! What a snot!

How about Jeffrey from this year's Project Runway?

lady t said...

I was more of a daytime soap watcher but do remember those great outfits Alexis wore-she so rocked the shoulder pad look!

Robin,I think that Jeffrey certainly qualifies for nemesis(even tho he was the winner of PR),especially against poor Angela and her mom.