Top 10 Lovable Idiots on Sitcoms

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Top 10 Lovable Idiots on Sitcoms

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Lovable Idiots on Sitcoms. For this list, we'll be looking at characters from sitcoms who definitely should have paid more attention in school, but who nevertheless won us over with their charm. Also, we're only including live-action characters on this list, so no animated ones. Our countdown includes Troy Barnes from "Community" (2009-15), Phil Dunphy from "Modern Family" (2009-20), Rose Nylund from "The Golden Girls" (1985-92), Joey Tribbiani from "Friends" (1994-2004), and more!
Transcript
Script written by Johnny Reynolds

#10: Kelly Bundy

“Married… with Children” (1987-1997)

Christina Applegate won the hearts of pretty much everyone on Earth for her run as Kelly Bundy on “Married… with Children.” And while she’s undeniably beautiful, she could probably open a book every once in a while. The quintessential cool girl is always more concerned with popularity and her looks than learning, though the writers definitely make her dumber as the show goes on. Her family constantly criticizing her intelligence - or lack thereof - is a great running joke on the show. Still, we can’t help but find her endearing. And the rare instances of her showing her smarts make it clear there’s more to her.

#9: Charlie Kelly

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2005-)

Calling someone lovable from this insane cast may be a bit of stretch. But while each of them has done some pretty terrible things, Charlie comes off the cleanest. But boy, is he dumb. Charlie’s been shown to be illiterate and generally goes along with the gang’s schemes without initially understanding what’s going on. And the rest of the gang usually takes advantage of his idiocy. Charlie Day’s performance as the manic character always elicits howls of laughter. And there have been several instances, such as the episode “Charlie Work,” that show he’s clearly some kind of idiot savant.

#8: Troy Barnes

“Community” (2009-15)

“Community” has plenty of lovable characters, though Donald Glover as Troy Barnes is arguably one who gets the most frequent laughs. Beginning as an arrogant jock, Troy is a frequent source of mockery from some other study group members for his lack of intelligence. But for us, his childlike personality is one of the more endearing parts of the show. As is his relationship with his best friend Abed, whose calculating demeanor meshes surprisingly well with Troy’s off-the-wall energy. Despite being the uncontested dumbest member of the group, Troy is an incredibly loving and loyal friend. And it makes him one of the best characters on the show.

#7: Jason Mendoza

“The Good Place” (2016-20)

“The Good Place” is all about learning how to become a better person. And even the characters who struggle the most with this concept become incredibly likable. Jason’s history of impulse control issues and lack of intelligence make him the most chaotic character on the show, believing molotov cocktails can solve anything. However, through his connection with his friends, particularly his relationship with Janet, Jason learns to be a good person. And he shows he can be an important member of the group by dropping rare nuggets of wisdom. We probably still wouldn’t trust him with our taxes, though.

#6: Michael Scott

“The Office” (2005-13)

Initially, Michael Scott is the offensive jerk boss that many of us can relate to having in our lives. And it produces hilarious results throughout the first few seasons. But there was always something underneath that; an unquenchable need to be liked that makes us feel a bit sorry for him. His search for true love and happiness in later seasons makes our hearts ache, and Steve Carell’s performance is pitch-perfect. But we have to admit he definitely shouldn’t have been the one in charge. His antics make us laugh, especially when he comes off as vastly inferior intellectually to his employees.

#5: Woody Boyd

“Cheers” (1982-93)

Woody Harrelson’s southern charm has shined through in a lot of his roles. And combined with his character’s simple-minded nature on “Cheers,” it creates a delightful concoction that makes him one of the show’s best characters. While he doesn’t join “Cheers” until its fourth season, his introduction as the late Coach’s pen pal immediately and brilliantly sets the tone of what to expect from him. Pretty much everything goes over Woody’s head, from jokes to social conventions. But his constant misunderstandings and charm makes him seem like a big puppy dog, and who doesn’t love those?

#4: Rose Nylund

“The Golden Girls” (1985-92)

It’s basically impossible to dislike Betty White, and that’s partially because of her incredible work as Rose Nylund. Rose is the naive and gullible one of the show, a character trait of frequent ridicule by her roommates. Hearing her babble about her hometown - much to the chagrin of the others - never fails to make us laugh. However, Rose is by far the most good-natured character. Part of her naiveté stems from always wanting to see the good in people. Though she sometimes regrets this, it makes audiences love her. She’s just a sweet lady trying her best.

#3: Joey Tribbiani

“Friends” (1994-2004)

Joey is one of the most famous idiots in sitcom history, and the evidence speaks for itself. He’s irresponsible, lacks basic common sense, and indulges himself in whims. But he’s seriously impossible not to love. He deeply cares for every member of the group. And while he’s not above occasionally making fun of their misfortunes, he’s usually too slow on the uptake in the first place. If a beautiful woman is involved, however, then Joey’s a bonafide genius. Actor Matt LeBlanc was actually the one who suggested making Joey dumber after the first couple of seasons, and we’re grateful for that every time we watch.

#2: Phil Dunphy

“Modern Family” (2009-20)

Phil is a goofy dolt, a person who takes almost nothing seriously in the great pursuit of having fun. However, while criticizing his intelligence brings great joy to his father-in-law, he’s simply one of the best sitcom dads in history. He’s constantly looking for ways to connect with his kids and gives encouragement with utmost sincerity. He also clearly never forgot what it’s like to be a kid himself as he approaches every situation with childlike wonder and glee. Ty Burrell plays him with such earnestness, making us laugh while simultaneously wishing we could give him a hug.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Tracy Jordan, “30 Rock” (2006-13; 2020)

Dim-Witted With Erratic Behavior Makes for a Hilarious Character

Chrissy Snow, “Three’s Company” (1977-84)

The Classic Dumb Blonde Archetype

Bull Shannon, “Night Court” (1984-92)

His Intimidating Stature Contrasted Wonderfully With Low Intelligence

Penny, “The Big Bang Theory” (2007-19)

She’s Got Street Smarts, but No Book Smarts

Michael Kelso, “That ‘70s Show” (1998-2006)

It’s a Good Thing He’s So Pretty

#1: Andy Dwyer

“Parks and Recreation” (2009-15; 2020)

Much like Michael Scott, Andy started out as more of a jerk. But we’re extremely grateful he didn’t stay that way. Essentially a child in a man’s body, Andy’s shenanigans and imagination lead to some of the show’s best jokes, such as his recurring alter ego, FBI Agent Burt Macklin. While it’s always a delight watching him struggle to understand how to be an adult, it’s his relationship with April that secures him as the most lovable idiot in sitcom history. The two compliment each other extremely well and she helps him mature in surprising ways, even if he never really gets any smarter.
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