11 TV Sidekicks Who Deserved Their Own Shows
Internet, hear me roar: in TV history, there have been so many TV co-stars who deserve their own show. Seriously, when I watch shows like Love or My So-Called Life, it brings to mind that one Mindy Kaling-penned New Yorker piece on the types of characters in romantic comedies, namely, "the sassy best friend" whose role is to be insanely entertaining and totally devoted to the often-kind-of-tedious-protagonist.
In the immortal words of Kaling: "You know that really hilarious and horny best friend who is always asking about your relationship and has nothing really going on in her own life? She always wants to meet you in coffee shops or wants to go to Bloomingdale’s to sample perfumes? She runs a chic dildo store in the West Village? Nope? O.K., that’s this person."
Yes, Kaling, yes. But it isn't just rom-coms. Let's face it, TV gives you an everyman/woman character as a protagonist who's meant to be just basic enough for 99 percent of the TV-consuming public to identify with — all the best lines get saved for their sassy sidekick. So please, let's reboot these shows with a spin-off for the best characters. The best characters — these overlooked, unappreciated TV sidekicks.
1. Bertie From Love
In classic Judd Apatow-style, Love's leads aren't terribly nice people. Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) are damaged and lonely and often kind of mean. It's compelling at times, but it can get exhausting. I am, however, always so down for some more Bertie time. Played by genius Australian comedian Claudia O'Doherty, Bertie lights up the screen — she's sharp and funny and happy and gets a kick out of all the same stupid stuff I do, like rom-com The Holiday. Come on, show us Bertie's misadventures as an expat in LA!
2. Jack/Karen From Will And Grace
No, I can't choose, don't make me. Will and Grace were both fine, I guess, but who really tuned in for them? Nope, as the above clip testifies, this fantastic double act were the real stars of the show, combining physical comedy, inspiring levels of boozing and searing one-liners. The fact that there was never a Jack And Karen spin-off show remains one I've never come to terms with and never will.
3. Jane From Daria
Daria's fun — in small doses. Thankfully, the show's not just one long Daria monologue though, or we'd be changing channels. The monotone? The hating on ladies who are different to her, peppy, and like fashion? Sometimes a little trying. Jane Lane, however, provided the same acid-tongued wit that Daria possessed, paired with a slightly sunnier, more live-and-let-live vibe. A series focused on Jane Lane at art school? Yes please.
4. Mona From Pretty Little Liars
Why won't the Liars be real friends with the smartest woman in Rosewood? Yes, OK, there was (spoiler!) that little matter of her being the original A. But say what you like about Mona — maybe she's scheming, sneering and manipulative — but unlike some of the other liars, you could never accuse her of being boring.
5. Rayanne Graff From My So-Called Life
The Ur-on screen best friend, Rayanne Graff had it all: she was impossibly witty, had the best outfits (no, don't argue this, I'll win) and she was a bad influence. Next to her resplendent charisma, Claire Danes' character Angela Chase seemed, well, a little... blah. I would not just watch one season of a show centered solely on Rayanne Graff, I would watch all the seasons.
6. Miranda Sanchez From Lizzie McGuire
For a high schooler, Sanchez was a seriously cool customer. She didn't care what other kids thought of her and she was so tuned out to the standard narrative of how a teenage girl should behave that she didn't even recognize her own feelings the first time she had a crush. Sure, Lizzie was sweet and nice and everything, but she could be a little vanilla. Miranda Sanchez was totally herself, and that's why we needed a Miranda Sanchez spin-off.
7. Lane Kim From Gilmore Girls
Because as fun and witty as Gilmore Girls was, Lane's life as a rock-music obsessed, second generation teen daughter of a Seventh-Day adventist worshipping Korean lady seemed unique and fascinating in and of itself. So why did Gilmore Girls insist on keeping her as a supporting character rather than a main? Let's start the campaign now — I want a Lane Kim solo spin-off and I want it, like, yesterday.
8. Jenny From Sabrina The Teenage Witch
Because before there was Valerie, Sabrina had a different best friend. She mysteriously vanished from the show after its first season, but Jenny was the best of the two best friends. She was wonderfully dry about high school in a way that provided some tonal relief from that lovely but occasionally exhausting Melissa Joan Hart pep. Wouldn't it have been cool to have watched Sabrina The Teenage Witch from Jenny's perspective? Like all these problems get magically solved and she's never quite sure why? Yes, let's do that.
9. Sam From Clarissa Explains It All
Since this is the second Melissa Joan Hart-fronted series in a row where I'm suggesting replacing the protagonist, it feels important to reiterate this: Miss Hart, I will never not adore you. But! Sam was so cool. And my first ever on-screen crush. So yeah, I definitely wouldn't have said no to a spin-off series focused purely on the teen boy on screen who wore tie-dye with such supreme confidence.
10. Janice Litman From Friends
OK, you caught me. I may have argued this one before: Janice Litman is the best. Now watch the above video minus the prejudice that Friends prompted you to feel — isn't she actually kind of hilarious? A Janice Litman show focused on all of her outsized emotional reactions to the world would be brilliant.
11. Gerald Johanssen From Hey Arnold!
The titular Arnold's best friend is seriously good company: he's an endless source of urban legends and he's widely considered the coolest kid around. Arnold was sweet and smart and relatable — but Gerald was who everyone wanted to be, watching this show.
All the shows above were seriously good fun to watch — but you know what would be even better? My projected spin-offs. So if you're out there, TV execs, give me a call. I know a writer who'd be dead set on penning the first script of Hey Gerald!
Images: Disney Channel; Netflix; Giphy (2) Warner Bros. Television (2); Viacom Productions