Thursday, March 13, 2014

How Contentious Are These TV Rivalries?

Nothing drives a great TV show like an old-fashioned rivalry between two important characters. (Well, other than bare breasts on HBO and Showtime.) Let's look at my top 10.

Disclaimer: There seem to be a few good rivalries on this True Detective show some people have been talking about. However, I just started the series, so I'll have to omit it for now.

Top 10 TV Rivalries

10. Eric Cartman vs. Kyle Broflovski (South Park)
This rivalry is basically a smorgasbord of fat jokes and ignorant anti-Semitism. Their banter is hilarious, but it's not for the faint of heart.

9. Jack Bauer vs. Any Terrorist (24)
If you haven't caught up on 24 yet, it might seem like you're running out of time before the new season starts on May 5. However, I bet you could run through all eight seasons in just three weekends. Watching Jack outsmart and out-muscle terrorists is that addictive.

8. Phil Dunphy vs. Gil Thorpe (Modern Family)
Gil Thorpe is a role that Rob Riggle was born to play. He basically just turns his character from Step Brothers into a dad. And Phil is simply too innocent and nice to keep up. Gil constantly beats Phil in real estate battles and he even embarrasses him at the kids' Career Day. Phil Phans can at least take solace in the fact that Gil's potential spinoff could never be as funny as Modern Family.

7. Homer Simpson vs. Ned Flanders (The Simpsons)
This rivalry climaxes when Flanders takes Bart and Lisa into foster care after Homer and Marge are deemed unfit parents. The last straw comes when Homer sees this sign outside the Flanders house:

(Photo via inthemix.com.au)
Homer arrives at the Christening just in time to push Bart out of the way and allow the holy water to splash on his own head. But even Homer's baptism can't keep him from loathing Flanders.

The Homer-Flanders rivalry beat out "Bart Simpson vs. Sideshow Bob" for a spot on this list.

6. Carrie Mathison vs. Abu Nazir (Homeland)
Carrie pulls some pretty brazen stunts, and it seems like the only reason she still has a job in the CIA is because of her expertise on Nazir. (The fact that the show is fictional doesn't hurt, either.)

A lot has been made of Homeland's decline, but I still can't wait to see what happens between Carrie and Nazir next season.

5. Stone Cold vs. Vince McMahon (WWE)
Every WWE fan would have his or her own unique Top 100 list of wrestling rivalries, but Stone Cold-Vince would land near the top of anyone's favorites. Stone Cold acted the way any mistreated employee wishes he could -- by beating the piss out of his boss.



4. Walter White vs. Gustavo Fring (Breaking Bad)
These two madmen are on a collision course for most of the show's middle seasons, and Walt comes out victorious in one of the Breaking Bad's most creative scenes.



3. Jack Shephard vs. John Locke (Lost)


lostpedia.wikia.com
On paper, this rivalry appears boring. Reason vs. Faith. Yawn. We've heard this before.

But in the first couple seasons of Lost, the interplay between Jack and Locke is completely fascinating. Their competition for leadership drives a bunch of other plotlines, and it sets the tone for some of the most important events on the Island.

2. Jim Halpert vs. Dwight Schrute (The Office)
We all know about Jim's pranks, but that aspect of the show might still be underrated. Whenever it's quiet at Dunder Mifflin and the camera focuses on just these two characters, you know shit's about to go down.


I also love when Jim and Dwight are forced to team up for sales calls, something I'm pretty sure Homer and Flanders couldn't handle.

1. Jerry Seinfeld vs. Newman (Seinfeld)
There has been some chatter about Newman on this blog recently. Should he have been named one of TV's best villains? Maybe. Instead -- along with his nemesis Jerry -- he claims the top spot here.

Jerry's snarky "Hello, Newman" greeting and angry "Newman!" interjection have made their way into mainstream culture. You might hear either quote anywhere from an everyday conversation to a SportsCenter highlight.


The Jerry-Newman feud features more animosity and vitriol than all the others combined. If I forgot any deserving rivalries, there's only one thing to say: NEWMAN!

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