Saul Goodman is… He’s the last line of defense for the little guy. Are you getting sold down the river? He’s a life raft. You getting stepped on, he’s a sharp stick. You got Goliath on your back, Saul’s the guy with the slingshot. He’s a righter of wrongs. He’s friend to the friendless. That’s Saul Goodman.
Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) in the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul (2015 – ), which tells of a con man’s transformation into a criminal law specialist.
Mrs. Cooper: Now listen here, Sheldon. I’ve been telling you since you were four years old, it’s okay to be smarter than everybody, but you can’t go around pointing it out! Sheldon Cooper: Why not? Mrs. Cooper: Because people don’t like it!
Laurie Metcalf and Jim Parsons in the long-running science-themed sitcom The Big Bang Theory (2007 – 2019). I’ve mentioned Sheldon a few times before, including in his own specific post.
Governor Martin Mendez: Either you fire this cop or I will order the attorney general to drill down on every questionnable police shooting in the past 10 years. Police Commissioner Frank Reagan: Which would be your right. Governor Martin Mendez: And hold public hearings out loud and lights up. Police Commissioner Frank Reagan: Everybody loves a circus. Governor Marin Mendez: Except the guy that’s gotta shovel up afterwards.
Everyone will have their favourite character from The Good Place (2016-), a show set in the afterlife and more shocks and twists than you could ever begin to imagine. Mine is the rather dim-witted Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), the failed DJ (or rather “pre-successful”) with an unflinching loyalty to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Shaun: [to muffin] Hello, you. [Shaun bites into the muffin while it’s still in Darren’s hand] Andy Millman: Why’s he eating like that? Darren Lamb: Yeah, why are you eating it like that? Shaun: Me hands, been cleaning out the toilets, got no gloves. Andy Millman: You… you shook my hand when you came in. Shaun: Well that’s politeness innit?
Shaun Richardson, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in the acclaimed Extras (2005 – 2007). Telling the story of a struggling actor, the British sitcom was the follow up show by Gervais and Merchant to the phenomenally influential The Office (2001 – 2003).
Sam Malone: Ya’ see, matching a Corvette with the right owner, Dennis, is kind of like finding a home for an animal… Dennis: OK, but I’m kind of pressed for time. I gotta’ get to my hair stylist. Sam Malone: Good.. good. (Checks him out) Oh, very good, very good… Just a few multiple choice questions… Number one, it’s high noon you’re driving in Harvard Square, parking is limited. Do you: A, park in a handicap zone, B, park in a regular spot under a tree, C drive around until a space opens up. Dennis: C. Sam Malone: (jumps up) What are you nuts??!! I can’t believe it man! It’s a trick question. You don’t drive this baby at high noon, man! Sun damage, bucko! What the hell is wrong with you?!! What do you want to do, oxidise the paint?!! Get outta’ here, you make me sick!
Proud but broke Corvette owner Sam Malone as played by Ted Danson (with Rob Moran) in the hugely popular and long-running Boston-themed sitcom Cheers (1982 – 1993). You can find other examples of Cheers here and here, more information about Sam’s famous on/off romance with Diane hereand about his bachelor status here.
“Listen to me, Morty. I know that new situations can be intimidating. You lookin’ around and it’s all scary and different, but y’know … meeting them head-on, charging into ‘em like a bull — that’s how we grow as people.”
Rick Sanchez (Justin Goiland) in the wildly imaginative, hugely colourful and wonderfully structured Rick and Morty (2013 – ). The animated series takes place between a domestic set up and different outlandish intergalactic worlds, with the bond between the cynical Rick and his nervous 14-year-old grandson Morty the heart of the show.
Bertram Cooper: Mr. Campbell, who cares? Pete Campbell: What? Bertram Cooper: Who cares? Pete Campbell: Mr. Cooper, he’s a fraud and a liar. A criminal even. Bertram Cooper: Even if this were true who cares? This country was built and run by men with worse stories than whatever you’re imagining here…. The Japanese have a saying. “A man is whatever room he is in,” and right now, Donald Draper is in this room. I assure you. There’s more profit in forgetting this. I’d put your energy into bringing in accounts. Pete leaves the room Bertram Cooper (to Don Draper) : Fire him if you want. But I’d keep an eye on him. One never knows how loyalty is born.
Robert Morse and Vincent Kartheiser in the superlative Mad Men (2007 – 2015), which is set in the 1960s and tells of a group of advertising executives working on Madison Avenue. The scene is one of the many fine examples of the betrayal, ambition and wisdom that was a feature of the 15-time Emmy winner,
Captain Raymond Holt: I don’t believe in loopholes. Jake Perolta: What? Loopholes are the best. Remember that time when Pancake Palace had that all-you-can-eat deal, but they didn’t set a time limit? I ate pancakes for a week for $3.99. All I had to do was sleep there and never shower. Norm Scully: What? Thanks for the invite, friend!
Andre Braugher, Andy Samberg and Joel McKinnon Miller in the precinct-set sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013 -). You can find another example of the show’s humour here.