**This is the first in a series of 10 entries on the best characters currently on TV. There will be a post each day counting down in descending order**
Animated comedies get to play by a different set of rules. Since they’re not limited by the laws of reality, they can use characters and plotlines that would otherwise seem ridiculous. Things people would find frustrating or annoying in live action are funny and endearing in animation. Hell, Kenny from South Park has died more than 100 times.
Because animated comedies can essentially do anything that pops in the writers’ heads, their characters are blank canvases on which anything can be drawn. The Simpsons and South Park both have used this concept to great effect, but no character has ever been so consistently hilarious as Stewie Griffin.
Stewie is one of the most creative characters ever conceived. He is an evil, malicious, possibly gay genius infant who is obsessed with musicals, apparently can only be understood by the family dog and whose main goal is to kill his mother and take over the world. You know, that old cliché.
Stewie generally acts like a cynical adult trapped in an infant body. He criticizes others for their idiocy and gets upset when people talk to him like the baby he is. And yet, from time to time he gets distracted by teddy bears and games of peek-a-boo. The juxtaposition of Stewie sometimes acting like he sounds, and other times acting like he looks is almost always hilarious.
At this point, it doesn’t even seem odd that Stewie is able to carry things twice his own weight or pull death rays apparently out of thin air. He has done it so much and with so many different things that almost nothing is a surprise anymore.
Family Guy has a ridiculous number of running gags, from Meg’s nature as an outcast to the evil monkey in Chris’ closet to Brian’s bouts with alcoholism. But none are as entertaining as the seemingly endless material that comes from Stewie.
Simply put, Stewie Griffin is the reason Family Guy has been so successful. Peter Griffin may technically be the protagonist of the show, but viewers keep coming back because they want to see what hijinks Stewie will get into next.
Programming Note: Family Guy can be seen 9/8c Sundays on FOX.
TV’s Top 10 Characters
10 – Stewie Griffin
9 – Sterling Archer
8 – Chuck Bartowski
7 – Manny Delgado
6 – Dexter Morgan
5 – Barney Stinson
4 – Don Draper
3 – Abed Nadir
2 – Phil Dunphy
1 – Ron Swanson
Honorable Mention – April 1