On Friday’s show, Paul and I began our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. We’ve each got our own lists, and last night we revealed our respective #s 100-91. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-down, but here are our picks with excerpts of what we said:
PAUL: The Companion Cube (Portal)
Your weighted Companion Cube is very faithful, never talks back, and will never stab you, but sadly, it doesn’t really get a happy ending. The Companion Cube’s story is, I’m afraid, a tragedy.
AJ: Charlie Pace (Lost)
Charlie started as a one-hit wonder rock star with a heroin addiction, but along with his good friend Hurley, he quickly became the heart of the show.
PAUL: Super Grover (Sesame Street)
His first appearance was in season six of Sesame Street, which in case you didn’t know, was 1974.
AJ: Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
As written on the page by Harper Lee and acted magnificently on the screen by Gregory Peck, Atticus Finch, I believe, is the sort of man any man should aspire to be.
PAUL: Lois Henrickson (Big Love)
She is the perfect kind of batshit crazy. Completely over-the-top, I mean, I just love her.
AJ: Kim Pine (Scott Pilgrim series)
Scott is the goofy center of the series, and Kim is just the chick who sits back, rolls her eyes, and goes, “Really?”
PAUL: HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
I think all you have to do is quote HAL, all you have to do is say, “Hello, Dave,” and people know who you’re talking about.
AJ: Frank Booth (Blue Velvet)
The late, great Dennis Hopper always played manic oddballs, but Frank Booth is the role that defines his career. He was absolutely unrestrained, all of the wild tics and indulgences he had used throughout his career let loose.
PAUL: Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
The animators fought to make that character beautiful. They originally wanted the typical witch kind of character to be hunched over and gnarled and ugly and nasty-looking, but the animators fought to have the three fairy godmothers be kind of dumpy.
AJ: Ash (Evil Dead series)
Watching Bruce Campbell react with total exasperation to all the monsters, demons, death, and gore piling up around him is hilarious.
PAUL: Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights)
He’s a tragic character in the sense that he tries to do right all the time, and it never works.
AJ: Jack Torrance (The Shining)
Jack Nicholson is effective in the movie, but this Jack Torrance is a real human being trying to move on from his alcoholism and his battle with his demons, and he’s failing, but he’s trying, and that to me has always been the biggest difference.
PAUL: Major Tom (“Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling)
Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)” is one of many borrowings of that David Bowie character throughout pop culture.
AJ: Randy “The Ram” Robinson (The Wrestler)
What’s most memorable about The Ram is that his career trajectory closes matches that of Mickey Rourke’s, and so the pain and passion is evident in every single second of his performance.
PAUL: Margene Heffman (Big Love)
She is described as, at least to Bill’s eyes, “She is less complicated than Nicki and more pliant than Barb,” and so she is his safe haven in that very complicated family dynamic. But if you watch the show, you know that is becoming less and less true.
AJ: Shaun (Shaun of the Dead)
Shaun’s character arc is the same as that of any Judd Apatow hero, but though his girlfriend grows wary of his childhood friends and immature habits, the zombie apocalypse serves as Shaun’s motivation to man up, save the day, and take back the woman he loves.
PAUL: Daffy Duck (Looney Tunes)
In my opinion, his best appearance was an episode called “Duck Amuck,” which is widely considered one of the finest works of modern animation.
AJ: Han Solo (Star Wars series)
Luke may get all the glory, and Darth Vader is the tragic villain who drives the saga, but let’s face it: Han Solo is why Star Wars works.
PAUL: GLaDOS / Genetic Life Form and Disk Operating System (Portal)
She has the best villain dialogue of all time.
AJ: Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal Lecter series)
Anthony Hopkins only appears on screen for something like 20 minutes, which should have qualified him for a Supporting Actor Oscar, but his presence is so immense and terrifying that he was nominated for, and won, Best Lead Actor.
Tune in next week for our picks for #90-81! If you disagree with our picks or if you have something you’d like to add, feel free to e-mail us!