Memorable Characters

I was riding in the car with my husband the other day and asked him who he thought were memorable characters from TV shows or movies he’s seen. Hubs, being the logical kind of guy that he is said, “Memorable in what sense?” I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know, a character that sticks with you for a long time.”Hubs pondered the question and said, “Well, there were a lot of memorable characters from Twin Peaks, Agent Cooper for one.” I agreed enthusiastically and then rambled on about other memorable characters from that television show: The Log Lady, Ed, Lucy, Andy, etc. The show had a cast of unforgettable characters – all quirky and different with flaws and habits that seemed to fit them perfectly. They were real, or at least they felt real to me, like when you watch a really good movie or television show and you can almost smell that pie they’re eating because the show seems so real. Twin Peaks was masterful at creating characters. And the fascinating fact is the show was only on for two years way back in the 1990s but the characters are still alive to me. I miss this show. It was so…. weird, yet funny and serious too.

Let’s talk Gilmore Girls. One of my favorite shows on television, this was writing at its best. You want to talk memorable characters, this show had a cast of them. I still catch myself making references to episodes. Hubs, of course, gets the references because he was a fan of the show too. There weren’t any cookie cutter characters on this series – all of them were real with quirks and flaws. Some of them you loved, some you were annoyed by, but still they were like people you know in your daily life. I mean, everyone knows a Luke (the curmudgeon diner owner) or a Kirk (the crazy guy that shifts from job to job). The point is, this show has been off the air for seven years now and I still remember every character, whether minor or major, because they were so unique.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Seinfeld.  This show had a cast of characters, and recently I found myself making reference to “The Soup Nazi.” There’s a restaurant in town where you have to order the food in a hurry and sound like you know what you’re talking about or else the man at the counter will yell at you. No joke. It’s South Carolina’s version of “The Soup Nazi.” I won’t say what restaurant it is but I’m certain if anyone from the Upstate is reading this they’ll know exactly what restaurant owner I’m talking about. Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer, they weren’t flawless. They weren’t admirable people. They made mistakes, lots and lots of them. But they were real, like people you know or have met, and that is what makes them memorable.

What do you think makes a character memorable? Who comes to mind when I ask this question and why?