I did a list of my favorite characters before, but many times a character can be loved who isn’t a human. They can be many other things. So today I wanted to discuss five favorite non-human TV characters. I decided to keep Star Trek off so I could discuss other favorites. Also because they would be the whole list. And no Salem from Sabrina, The Teenage Witch because I just covered him recently.
A horse is a horse, of course of course, and no one can talk to a horse of course unless that horse is the amazing Mr.Ed! Ok, I will be honest and say I did not watch this show religoulsy. It was obviously on way before my time. However, whenever I have come across it I have found it to be pretty funny. Mr.Ed was a talking horse who, of course, only talked to his owner named Wilbur played by Alan Young. It was a silly show with a silly premise, and yet it worked. I guess it could be worst, they could have done a show about a guy who finds out his mother is living in his car and it can talk….oh, yeah. Sorry Jerry Van Dyke. Anyway Mr.Ed was a funny character who of course caused trouble and misunderstandings. Isn’t that always the way? Unlike many animals from the old days of TV, Mr.Ed will always be remembered. Isn’t that right Arnold Ziffel?
#4.The Muppets (from Sesame Street)
I have talked about Kermit and co. a few times before, but today I want to discuss those other Henson creations. I loved Sesame Street as a kid, who didn’t?Â Big Bird was the best! He was a big tall yellow bird who was just so innocent and lovable. Then there was Oscar The Grouch, who was the opposite of Big Bird in that he was an angry grouch who hated everything and everyone. Well, on the surface anyway. I loved Bert and Ernie as a kid. These two got into silly situations and had a great chemistry together. Grover was also a funny character, with his very positive view of the world. He was just a nice mosnter! The Count was good for a laugh and of course there was Cookie Monster…who couldn’t love this guy? COOKIES!!! There was Snuffy, who was a secret when I watched. I even loved Barkley the dog! (is he still around?). Another favorite was Prairie Dawn, who I kid you not was one of the better characters on the show since she was allowed to be more realistic. She was mature, took charge and stressed out like a real person! Of course Kermit was here to, in fact when most were loving him on The Muppet Show it was on Sesame Street I got to know him. I could be here all day if I talked about every single character. I loved Sesame Street, even visiting Sesame Street Place once, and watched it till I was probably a bit to old to be watching it. The muppets on this show taught, entertained, and made us laugh. Is it any wonder the show is still on today? Not only is it on, but the characters have a permament place in pop culture. By the way, I liked the adults too. I could do a whole article just on this show, but for now this will do.
But wait…what about….
Elmo came along after I stopped watching (man, I am old!) so I never really became a fan of him. That doesn’t mean I dont think he is adorable and stuff, but when I watched Sesame Street he was no part of it. And I sure didn’t watch when Elmo’s World all but took over Sesame Street as it did over the years. While it’s true Elmo is a bit overused, he is also a great character and for kids one of the most relatable muppets on the entire show.
#3.Vicky (Small Wonder)
Ah, that corny 80’s show that everyone watched but no one will admit it! This show was silly, goofy, and many other things. Heck, it makes Full House look like a sophisticated comedy. I mean it’s hard just to get past the premise. A normal guy named Ted Lawson builds a sentient android. Ok. The robot has no emotions but is strong, fast, and can do anything. Right. Did I mention the robot was built to resemble a little girl? Actually kind of creepy when you think about it. And yet, this show survived for four years! Why? One of the big reasons has to be Vicky (as she was called). V.I.C.I. stood for Voice Input Child Identicant (which is one of the most forced acronyms I have ever heard) and when Ted brings her home she becomes part of the family. Most of the gags involved Vicky taking things to literally, or helping her “brother” out of some trouble he has gotten into. And of course she has to be kept hidden from everyone especially the stereotypical sitcom neighbors, the Brindles. What sold this whole thing was Tiffany Brissette as Vicky. Her dead pan delivery worked, and she was just a lot of fun to watch episode after episode. Vicki has an access panel in her back, an electric socket in her right armpit, and an RS-232 serial port under her left armpit! You might think this show stole the idea for the android from Data of TNG fame, except it premiered two years before TNG! Is it possible TNG ripped off Small Wonder? Nah.
About a decade before The Solomon’s from 3rd Rock arrived, Alf crashed into the Tanner’s garage after suriving the explosion of Melmac. However, Alf was not the same kind of show as 3rd Rock. 3rd Rock was a fish out of water show, as we saw the aliens try to figure out what it meant to be human. Alf was more like one of those sitcoms where a strange character shows the uptight family there is more to life. You know, like Mr.Belvedere or The Nanny. Alf was a smart alien, had a great sense of humor. His real name was Gordon Shumway, and The Tanner’s grew to really care for him like a member of the family. Of course, there was one little problem. Alf was a tad…accident prone. Through the course of the series he blew up the kitchen, flooded the basement, and that’s just to name two things! Oh sure he didn’t understand things like manners, consideration of others, or subtely but he always meant well, in fact in some was he was like Steve Urkel several years before Urkel existed. Alf loved to eat cats, and anything else really. Of course, he had to be kept a secret from everybody including the neighbors the Ochmoneks. At least this time it made some sense, why Vicky had to be kept secret never really did. Wouldn’t that have just made the Lawson’s rich and famous? So why did Alf manage to survive on NBC for four years? It was funny. It seems like every decade has to do an alien show. In the 60’s we have My Favorite Martian with Bill Bixby Ray Walston. In the 70’s we had Mork & Mindy with Robin Williams. The 90’s had 3rd Rock. This was the 80’s show. It’s always fun to look at our normal human lives from a the point of view of someone outside out world, and see just how werid we really are.
#1 K.I.T.T. (Knight Rider)
Hell yeah! I loved Knight Rider as a kid and that was mostly due to the Knight Industries Two Thousand. This car was freaking awesome! It could do almost anything! Well, ok maybe I am getting carried away. But this was the coolest car ever! He could make jumps with his turbo boost, could drive himself, had scanners, video monitors, and a very strong shell making it hard to damage him. Plus other really cool stuff! You may be wondering, does he count as a character? I mean the Batmobile and General Lee were cool cars but that was it. Well if you think KITT was just a car that talked, Shame! KITT was as much of a character as anyone else on Knight Rider. Let me cite one of my favorite episodes as an exmple. “Junk Yard”Â has KITT thrown into an acid pit. First, the scene where he is thrown in is one of the most emotional scenes I ever saw as a kid. Watching KITT sink begging Michael for help while Michael stood there helplessly. Then after he was rebuilt, we find KITT is nervous about getting hurt again. He is unwilling to take a real chance. In order to get KITT to feel better Michael shares his experience of having to deal withÂ the injuries that caused his initial injury (before he became Michael Knight)Â and how he overcvame them. KITT draws on Michael’s experience to get the confidence back to really be KITT again. He was deffinatelty more than just a talking car, he and Michael respected and cared for each other. and the fact that William Daniels did the voice sure helped. Yes, that William Daniels. To this day when I see Mr.Feeney on Boy Meets World it reminds me of KITT. So what about that revival they did a few years ago? They decided to take all the fun out of KITT which took all the fun out of the series as well. I watched the pilot but that was it. By the way, one of my favorite toys growing up was a talking KITT car that I just adored!
So there is my list. Honorable mentions include Mork from ork, The Solomons from 3rd Rock, The robot from Lost in Space, The Simpsons, Flipper, Dr.Who, and…wait,Â what about…..
Dinosaurs was a very clever show and I enjoyed it when it premiered in 1991. I could talk about it, but for like the third time I am following after The Rowdy Reviwer has already discuseed this show in length. So rather than go into details that he already covered, I direct you to his TV Trash episode.
Some other time I will talk about favorite non-human movie characters