100 Years, 50 Losers: #35 – #31
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 4, 2008
Played By: David Faustino
Born to Lose: To me, the story of Bud Bundy was something of a Great American Tragedy. He was, at least as John Hughes and his like would have me believe, your typical 80s teen male–that is to say, he had little social life or social skills to speak of, but would’ve pushed his grandmother in front of an oncoming train for a chance to get laid. Yet Bud’s dream girl, the girl for whom he probably would’ve committed a small genocide, just happened to be his sister. It’s a sexual tension I don’t believe is ever directly addressed on the show, but think about it–a near supernaturally horny dude like Bud lives a door or two down from a dumb, relatively easy, older girl like Kelly, played by possibly one of the five hottest women of the 1980s…and he can’t do a damn thing about it. If that’s not true loser tragedy, I certainly don’t care to know what would qualify.
Moment of Triumph: Apparently late in the series, Bud ends up getting with his cousin’s fiancee, played by Joey Lauren Adams. Not quite Christina Applegate, but a much more than respectable consolation prize.
Voiced By: H. Jon Benjamin
Born to Lose: Jason is one of the all-time great Weird Kid characters–slightly loveable, somewhat creepy, unfortunately relatable. There are no real winner characters to be found on Home Movies, with the possible exceptions of gloriously enigmatic bully Shannon and Cynthia, the girl that Brendon had a crush on in a couple episodes, but you can tell that there’s something a little bit deeper to Jason’s loserdom. Like the episode where he and Brendon become fat enablers for each other and Jason keeps tempting him back to the dark side. Or when he shows his disturbing sugarholic tendencies at Fenton’s birthday party. Or any time his temper is stoked and he lets forth one of the most ungodly wailing voices ever heard from a TV character. It seems pretty likely to me that Brendon grows up to be a relatively functional NYU film student, and maybe Melissa goes on to be a theater kid at Vassar or something, but my bet is that Jason discovers how much better things look when they’re on fire when he’s 14, and it’s all downhill from there.
Classic Loser Quote: “PEOPLE HATE ME!!!”
Played By: Richard Belzer
Born to Lose: Let’s talk about loser lifetime achievement, huh? John Munch is probably best known for his appearances on the two shows listed above, Homicide & SVU, but he has, as of December 2008, appeared on seven other shows as well, including both the original Law & Order and L&O: Trial By Jury, and episodes of The X-Files, The Wire, The Beat, Arrested Development, and even an episode of Sesame Street (“Special Letters Unit”)–thus making Munch the most prolific character in TV history, loser or otherwise. Still, despite this undeniable popularity, Munch is still a neurotic nerd at heart, tortured by bad marital decisions (at least four divorces to date) and the apparent eternal loneliness of being a Baltimore / New York police. And special points to Mr. Munch for repping the Jew loser lake no one since Woody Allen–especially because he doesn’t even seem to like being Jewish, which makes it all the more perfect.
Partner in Loserdom: Such is Munch’s kinship with the similarly romantically hard-lucked Detective Lennie Briscoe of the original Law & Order that they even shared a woman once, Briscoe revealing (on one of several Homicide / L&O crossovers) that he slept with Munch’s ex-wife Gwen after their divorce.
Played By: Louis Lombardi
Born to Lose: Say what you will about 24–when you get past the show’s primary legacies of break-neck action, mind-numbing repitition, right-leaning ethics and uh, bear traps, the most long-lasting effect of 24 might end up being the fact that the show put forth two of the weirdest, most awkward recurring characters in modern television–the unsinkable Chloe, and the sadly departed Edgar. Lisping, heavily overweight, and lacking in certain social graces, you get the feeling that Edgar wasn’t going out for drinks with Jack, Tony, Michelle and Milo after work too often. His brilliant work for CTU was often detracted by his superiors, as well, and when he successfully stabilized 98 out of 99 nuclear power plants on the verge of meltdown, Secretary Heller just gave him shit for not getting #99. And worse, he clearly had a thing for Chloe, who instead goes off and sleeps with arrogant and possibly treacherous co-worker Spencer, who humiliates Edgar by asking “Do I have to spell it out for you?” when hinting at their previous liason.
Ultimate Low Point: Edgar’s death scene, as he gets trapped in CTU during a nerve gas attack while the rest of the staff is secured in the situation room. He exchanges a final glance with Chloe, and stares at her as if to say “I’ve loved you all this time and it would be really great if you could somehow let me know that you felt similarly before I die three seconds from now.” Her return glance, however, is more along the lines of “Gee I wish you weren’t dying right now because I hate having to feel anything besides mild annoyance.” Fat, lisping techies just can’t catch a break.
Played By: Paul Lieberstein
Born to Lose: No character on TV right now is as good at not smiling as Toby. Not frowning, necessarily–just not…smiling…ever. Toby is like a less cartoonish version of our #39, Ted from Scrubs–also divorced, also joyless, also with a near-violent distaste for their boss. But Toby isn’t so melodramatic as to appear suicidal, rather, he just walks around like the living dead, a man who has completely surrendered to life. His only real sort of happiness in life appears to come thorugh his unrequited crush on Pam, and he doesn’t even have the biggest (or closest to reciprocated) unrequited crush on Pam in his own office. Meanwhile, he is insulted, humiliated, and just all-out negated by Michael at all costs, including with the immortal “Casino Night” quote, “Why are you the way that you are? I hate SO MUCH about the way…that you choose to be.”
Little Known Fact: Paul Lieberstein is the real-life brother-in-law of Office show creator Greg Daniels, and won Emmys as a writer not only for this show, but on Daniels’ previous show, King of the Hill.