Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture #30-21

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 30-21. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#30

PAUL: Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim series)

The series is about Scott growing up, about his evolution, and if you as a reader are patient and invested, it absolutely pays off by the end.

AJ: Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd.)

Norma is a bizarre, grotesque caricature, wanting to hold a funeral for her pet monkey at the film’s beginning and given to lots of other disturbingly narcissistic actions.

#29

PAUL: Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

In 1986, the world was introduced to a high school senior from Chicago, Illinois, that would elevate skipping school to an art form, and in the process completely redefine the word “slacker.”

AJ: Hob Gadling (The Sandman)

Hob Gadling is first seen at a tavern in 1389 arguing that if he refuses to die, he simply will live forever. He calls death “a mug’s game.”

#28

PAUL: Delirium (The Sandman)

Her demeanor is rather childlike and innocent, and more often than not, she speaks in completely random snippets of conversation, pondering new flavors of ice cream, like chicken or telephone–green mouse ice cream was the worst–or the merits of words like “Twinkie” and “veridian.”

AJ: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel)

Over the course of Angel‘s five seasons, Wesley turns from a goofy, bumbling joke to the most hardcore member of the Fang Gang.

#27

PAUL: Nightcrawler (Marvel Comics)

Here was a guy that looked like a demon but was actually a devout Catholic. He had a horrible, tragic childhood but was very well-adjusted, friendly, and compassionate.

AJ: Tara Maclay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

I liked her almost immediately, and for a very simple reason: she is one of the only pure characters in all of Joss Whedon’s works, a good person through-and-through who rarely, if ever, succumbs to any sort of moral defects.

#26

PAUL: Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters)

He was sarcastic, flippant, and prone to chasing women as much as apparitions.

AJ: Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Put simply: he is a laconic werewolf guitarist. How is that not made of awesome?

#25

PAUL: Bigby Wolf (Fables)

He’s been a fairy tale monster, a Columbo, a spymaster, he’s also been a general during wartime, he’s fought Nazi scientists, the Frankenstein monster (whose still-living head he keeps in a birdcage, and is actually quite fond of), armies of wooden soldiers, and as a new father, he fights the urge to eat his own young from time to time.

AJ: Desmond Hume (Lost)

Whether he liked it or not, Desmond had a very special ability: due to his experiences with electromagnetism, he had an extremely high tolerance for it, allowing his mind to shift back and forth between realities and timelines without killing him.

#24

PAUL: Grendel (Comico/Dark Horse Comics)

Matt Wagner took what began as a simple noir mobster-in-a-mask character and exploded it into a sweeping and mind-blowing study on the very nature of aggression itself.

AJ: River Tam (Firefly/Serenity)

Simon may have to assign himself as River’s caretaker because of the fragile mental state she’s in, but River loves him deeply, and without that love, Simon couldn’t go on. If only she could put herself together enough, she would protect him.

#23

PAUL: Batman (DC Comics)

We’ve been introduced to the notion that Batman is the real identity and Bruce Wayne, playboy millionaire is the mask. Batman is driven, focused, quite possibly insane.

AJ: Don Draper (Mad Men)

When Dick accidentally kills Draper, he assumes his identity to leave behind his life of poverty and to make something better of himself. Which he does, in so much as he becomes a well-to-do Madison Ave. advertising man. But his demons are still there, most evidenced in his relationship with women.

#22

PAUL: Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Angel)

Once upon a time, an argument could have been made that Willow Rosenberg was the sweetest, purest, most innocent, and adorable character in the Whedonverse. And then we met Fred.

AJ: Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

The core of Giles’ character is his love for Buffy. Buffy’s own father is largely absent, not even showing up for her mother’s funeral, and so she often turns to Giles. He is there to teach Buffy the hard lessons, the ones she can’t learn from anyone else.

#21

PAUL: Al Swearengen (Deadwood)

Al Swearengen from HBO’s gloriously profane Deadwood series was one of the vilest, most disturbing, most casually evil characters on television. And I fucking adored every single second he was on screen.

AJ: Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

Creator David Chase pushes the character to his limits, committing one unthinkable act after another, then grinning back at the audience as if asking, “How about now? Do you still like him?”

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