Is it just us, or does everyone seem grouchy these days? Curmudgeonly characters can offer comedic contrast and show us where society can be improved. Join us as we harness their powers for good, rather than getting stuck in a ranting rut!
Malayna’s Pre-Show Notes are below, but LISTEN to hear how our conversation found the GOOD!
- St. Vincent
- Archie Bunker
- Honeymooners Jackie Gleason
- Scrooge (Scrooged)
Brilliant so they get away with it
- Bones lady
- Backstrom – “created by creator of Bones, Backstrom stars The Office‘s Rainn Wilson as the title character, a boorish, irascible detective who, despite his self-destructive tendencies, is the best crime-solver in Portland.” …Inspired by prickly detective like Kojak and Columbo and the crime-solving family of shows such as NCIS or Bones.
- Lie to Me
- Oscar the grouch
- The Grinch
- Grumpy Cat
French Kiss – Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline
From the original great TV grumps, including Fred Sanford and Archie Bunker, to the new generation of grumpy TV characters such as Sue Sylvester, they’re all here.
Why is it that we love TV’s curmudgeons? They’re unhappy, they complain, they’re pessimistic, and they often try to make everyone around them miserable, too. The best TV grumps remain lovable, however, because they tap into our own grumpy sides….
House – Portrayed by English actor Hugh Laurie, he leads a team of diagnosticians as the Head of Diagnostic Medicine at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey based on Yale-New Haven Hospital. House’s character has been described as a misanthrope, cynic, narcissist, and curmudgeon, partly inspired by Sherlock Holmes.
Archie Bunker – “Archie” Bunker is a fictional New Yorker in the 1970s top-rated American television sitcom All in the Family and its spin-off Archie Bunker’s Place, played to acclaim by Carroll O’Connor. All in the Family got many of its laughs by playing on Archie’s bigotry, although the dynamic tension between Archie and liberal Mike provided an ongoing political and social sounding board for a variety of topics. Archie appears in all but seven episodes of the series (three were missed because of a contractual dispute between Carroll O’Connor and Norman Lear in Season 5).
In 1999 TV Guide ranked him number 5 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list. In 2005, Archie Bunker was listed as number 1 on Bravo’s 100 Greatest TV Characters, defeating runners-up such as Ralph Kramden, Lucy Ricardo, Arthur Fonzarelli, and Homer Simpson.
Red Foreman – That 70’s Show
Arthur Spooner / King of Queens = Frank Constanza / Seinfeld = Jerry Stiller
Fred Mertz – I Love Lucy
#9 Sophia from Golden Girls – Estelle Getty – only female in the Top 10 or 20!
#15 Ralph Kramden – The Honeymooners was one of the first U.S. television shows to portray working-class married couples in a gritty, non-idyllic manner (the show is set mostly in the Kramdens’ kitchen, in a neglected Brooklyn apartment complex) Well-hidden beneath the many layers of bluster, however, is a soft-hearted man who loves his wife and is devoted to his best pal, Ed Norton. Ralph Kramden is the inspiration for the animated character Fred Flintstone.
Other Women who qualify:
#23 Lois – Malcolm in the Middle – Jane Kaczmarek
#24 – Beverly Hillbillies – Granny Moses
#32 – April Ludgate – Parks and Recreation – Aubrey Plaza
#33 & 38 are from The Simpsons – Agnes Skinner, Patty & Selma DuBois (Marge’s sisters)
#49 Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched
#20 Oscar the Grouch – Oscar openly admits that he does not like anything or anybody that is nice, except young human children (the only people that he can actually act nice to without facing ridicule from his fellow Grouches) as well as older fans of the show. However, the only person he has ever liked on-camera was Maria, which he would never admit. He once inadvertently complimented a dance that his followers, The Grouchketeers, had performed for him. Oscar has shown rare acts of kindness such as trying to replace Ernie’s rubber duckie when Ernie had lost it. He also went out to find the missing Big Bird in “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Audiences may also sympathize more with the JWAHOG if he’s shown to frequently have a good reason to act angry or annoyed. Even the most patient of souls can only endure being the Only Sane Man when they’re Surrounded by Idiots for so long, after all.
- Gru of Despicable Me is a Diabolical Mastermind who revels in his status as a Card-Carrying Villain. He’s also a Benevolent Boss who treats his minions as individuals rather than Faceless Mooks (though they are used as guinea pigs for experiments) and eventually becomes a true father to the girls he adopts as part of his plan, even going Papa Wolf for them in the end.
- Kristoff in Frozen is socially awkward and brutally honest with people, and when he helps Anna on her adventure, he becomes exasperated with her antics. After a while, he genuinely starts to care for her and even falls in love with her.
- Baloo of Disney’s adaption of The Jungle Book is a slovenly and obnoxious “bum”, but cares for Mowgli more than anything.
- The Little Mermaid
- Sebastian, though he can be a bit crabby at times, he really cares for Ariel.
- King Triton, as long as you don’t talk about humans, can be a pretty nice fella.
- Though all the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy are this to a certain degree, Rocket takes the grand prize. He starts out mocking the Xandarians and basically telling everybody how much of a rip he doesn’t give about them, but when things get bleak he ultimately puts his life on the line to save all the people he said he didn’t care about. Also, there’s his friendship with Groot, which culminates in him sobbing over Groot’s apparent death.
- Indiana Jones is pretty quick to anger, unafraid to fight dirty, broke poor Marion Ravenwood’s heart in the past, and will always place Honor Before Reason and do the right thing.
- James Bond in his many incarnations, particularly Daniel Craig‘s.
- Sherlock Holmes: Holmes may be a jerk, but he does deeply care for Watson’s wellbeing.
- Captain James T. Kirk of the new Star Trek movie fits this trope perfectly. At first, it’s almost as if he wakes up in the morning and thinks of new ways to piss off any and every body he encounters. Wrecks his stepdad’s car and stands up to the cop who tried to pull him over. Participates in a bar fight that some cadets start (they punched him first) because he kept hitting on Uhura (who’s completely uninterested in him). Reprograms an unwinnable test, which is cheating, to prove that he can win it (by thinking outside the box). Shows no remorse when caught because he doesn’t feel he’s in the wrong. Indeed, Kirk demonstrates the same wheeling, dealing, and conniving traits of a Magnificent Bastard. The differences are — first, Kirk was never out to hurt anyone just for his own ends. Second, it is made clear he’s only acting up because he lacks a challenge worthy of his smarts. Most importantly, he uses his cunning to save the universe. This movie states overtly what the series were more subtle about: Kirk’s Jerk tendencies are also the qualities that make him The Captain we all know and love.
- Star Wars‘ own Han Solo. Compare these two lines:
- Community – Mostly Jeff Winger (Based on Bill Murray in Stripes) but the whole cast sometimes,
- Doc Martin: While the Doc has a habit of being extraordinarily rude to people, it’s clear that he does care about their well-being, but is frustrated by the fact that they never follow directions.
- Doctor Who: Most of the incarnations of The Doctor would touch on this trope at some point, but in many ways the Sixth Doctor matches it most of all;
Downton Abbey: Has the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley. She is extremely stuffy, and imperious and snobby, but has shown on several occasions that she is a good, caring person.
Entourage: Ari Gold, a foul-mouthed, ambitious Hollywood agent who loves to berate people’s social status, sexual orientation, appearance, age, and just about any weakness he perceives others to have. He actually cares deeply about everyone around him and would go great lengths to help them, proving his loyalty, compassion, and kindness under his Jerkass facade.
Firefly – Capt Mal and Jayne – · Mal also falls pretty squarely into this trope- he goes out of his way to be rude, offensive, or outright antagonistic to people, particularly Simon, Book, and especially Inara, but he will not allow any of them to get hurt.
Fringe – Peter Bishop
Glee: Santana, Rachel, Sue, Puck and Quinn.
FILM: (Movie fone)
- Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau perfected the cinematic archetype in their aptly titled ‘Grumpy Old Men.’
- ‘Morning Glory‘ looks poised to earn Harrison Ford a spot in the movie curmudgeon hall of fame.
- Robert DeNiro – Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers
- Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets
Best Grumpy Old Men Movies