There are many elements that result in the success of a sitcom. It could be because of the plot of the show. It could be the skills of the director or it could be the presence of a talented cast. Some shows, in spite of becoming a sensation, fall at the first hurdle.
But there is a saving grace in every show, whether the show is a huge success or not. Actors who are not the protagonists but non-titular characters, still carry the whole show forward with their charismatic performances.
5 Most Non-Titular Characters in American Sitcom
Here are 5 most noteworthy non-titular characters in American sitcoms:
1. Shelly from Undateable
There is nothing special about this show. The characters are all somehow very familiar. There is Danny, who is an expert when it comes to women, Justin, an uptight, serious romantic, Brett, a recently declared gay bartender, Burski, a real pervert, and Leslie, a divorced woman in her late thirties.
This list makes it obvious that we are familiar with such characters. But there is an oddball among this lot, Shelly, a black man who is really a happy-go-lucky person. Everything about Shelly is so much loved. Undateable maybe not be the favorite show but Shelly is widely appreciated for the unique approach to his character. He is one of the most non-titular characters on American television.
His whimsy quotes are so funny and witty. There could be a show just about him and his dialogues and we will be hooked. The one distinctive act of Shelly is that he is not ashamed of being black and is also open to criticizing his own culture. The character is safe in the hands of writer/actor/comedian Ron Funches.
2. Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine
It is impossible to consider someone else in the role of Jake Peralta other than Andy Samberg. It would even be impossible to have a storyline without Rosa Diaz in it. She brings with her a whole lot of balance to the team in the 99 precincts. Her character is that of an aggressive and almost affectless creature.
She is said to have anger issues even though she disagrees, she is one of the most non-titular characters. Everyone at the precinct is scared of her. She is super secretive and no one knows much about her. All are scared to even ask her anything. She is unique in her own way. The character is very believable, in fact, the most real character in the show. Stephanie Beatriz portrays Rosa Diaz on the screen.
3. Elaine Benes from Seinfeld
Sure, this show is really old and yes, it is not running now. But there is no chance we don’t recall Jerry Seinfeld and his little group of friends. This show could be said the “Friends” of that time. Elaine is the only female in the group. She is shown as a woman who is wildly loud and neurotic in nature.
Her neurotic deeds provided huge support for the storyline. The uniqueness of the character lies in the fact that she could only be considered one of the men in the group. The show never gave any unnecessary boost to the character being a female. Seinfeld was initially planned with only three friends, consisting only of the men. But later, the producers felt the need to portray a female voice also. Boy, what a decision that was. Really! One of the most non-titular characters on American T.V.
4. Manny Delgado from The Modern Family
It’s true that there cannot be a protagonist in Modern Family. However, there is a character in the show that is unlikely to be seen elsewhere. Manny Delgado. He fitted the narrative so well that he is an important catalyst in every episode. He is the son of Gloria and the stepson of Jay Pritchett. The guy is far beyond his age and is one of the most non-titular characters on television.
He was supposed to be born well before the whole character as he is extremely intelligent and wise but totally ignorant about social activities. He hates sports and parties and enjoys poetry and business. He is the complete opposite of Luke Dunphy, his nephew plus classmate. He is more mature than all the elders in his family. Rico Rodriguez was absolutely spot on as Manny. Manny’s characteristics and behaviorism were excellently portrayed by Rico. Modern Family is not complete with this Manny.
5. Dr. Joan Watson from Elementary
A story dealing with Sherlock Holmes is never ever complete without Dr. Watson, one of the most non-titular characters. The show itself is pretty unique as it offers us an idea as to how this extremely genius detective solves crimes in the present times. Elementary shocked the viewers again by having a woman like Dr. Watson. Until now we saw Dr. Watson as a man who coolly and comfortably supported Holmes.
The producers changed our perceptions and what a choice for this character. Lucy Liu was absolutely living as Dr. Joan Watson. It always seemed that Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu were having a competition between themselves to provide the best. Holmes trusted Watson so much that he relied so much on her input and opinions. The producers have to be appreciated for bringing in a female to portray this significant character. This could be considered a ground-breaking effort on their part.