All of this focus on overweight reality shows -- Biggest Loser, Dance Your Ass Off, More to Love -- has drawn our attention away from the original plus-size primetime stars. You know, the fictional ones? Most of the great TV shows of the modern era have included at least one character from this increasingly sizable segment of society, and nine times out of ten they ended up being our favorite character on the series. Here are ten who float to the top of our favorites list.
Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Lost)
Whether you call him "Hugo, "Hurley," "Stay-Puft" or "Pillsbury," Jorge Garcia's unlucky, sideburned castaway is one of our favorite things about Lost, and we're glad to see that things seem to be turning around for him next season. Although we're sorry his screenplay for Empire Strikes Back didn't get picked up.
Sookie St. James (Gilmore Girls)
What can we say about Melissa McCarthy's Sookie? She was a good cook. She always changed her menus at the last minute. She had a lot of babies. She once set a table on fire at a bake sale. We miss her.
Andy Richter (Andy Richter Controls the Universe)
The Andy Richter we met in this half-hour comedy was a lot cheerier and optimistic than the one we came to love on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and we liked it. His frequent escapes into fantasy -- and his often even more bizarre real life -- made us love him all the more. ...At least until he starred in Quintuplets.
Roseanne and Dan Conner (Roseanne)
It's amazing to look back on this show and think about how, for a while, this couple played by Roseanne Barr and John Goodman represented the average American family. And how the series ended with Dan having a heart attack -- how could America not change its eating habits after something like that?
Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker (Saturday Night Live)
If turning into a ball of coffee table-breaking hilarity is normal for people who live in a van down by the river, then give us an Econoline and an estuary any day of the week. But then, Chris Farley was anything but normal.
Randy Hickey (My Name is Earl)
Ethan Suplee's Randy is so adorable in his kind-hearted idiocy that, when we see how Earl used to lead him astray, we want to punch Jason Lee right in the mustache.
Is there a more skilled character actor than Wayne Knight? The man makes us despise him in every role he plays, from Seinfeld's nemesis (and friend-of-a-friend) Newman to the technician in Jurassic Park. But Newman was the unsung fifth cast member of Seinfeld, and we have to admit we rooted for him a couple of times to give Jerry his comeuppance.
Mimi Bobeck (The Drew Carey Show)
It must have been our barely concealed loathing for the omnipresent Carey that made us love Kathy Kinney's utterly unconcealed loathing for the future game show host. Plus, every time we learned something new about this (literally) colorful woman's equally colorful history, it enhanced her mystique, if a woman like Mimi can really be said to possess such a quality.
Norm Peterson (Cheers)
Every episode, Norm (George Wendt) ambled into the bar and was greeted with a rousing cheer, and that cheer was echoed in our hearts. Given his nightmarish marriage to the faceless Vera, we wouldn't want to actually be him, but to have opportunity to sit next to him on a bar stool every day, we might actually consider being Cliff Clavin.
Who's your favorite oversized TV star? Weigh in below.
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