Monday, October 20, 2014

Film Review: David Fincher's Gone Girl

The basic idea behind David Fincher's Gone Girl, is not whether Ben Affleck's character really did kill his missing wife, or even why, if he did, but rather how such a person is perceived by the public in today's modern world of all-encompassing 24/7 (and then some) media. Now such an idea may have been rather novel a decade ago, or even relatively intriguing a mere five years ago, but today it just seems a bit tired - a bit obvious. Yes, we know that social media is everywhere. Yes, we know that people are found guilty in the media all the time. Yes yes yes. None of this is new news. None of this shocks us anymore, which brings us to the other problem this film has going for it - or against it, as it were. Nothing here shocks us at all - even the things that are meant to shock us. And these are the flaws that turn what should be a tense thriller, the kind of film we have come to expect, even in the unexpected, from a director like Fincher, into just another suspense drama - but one bereft of any real suspense.

Now perhaps that opening salvo was a bit too harsh a criticism on Fincher's film. I am sure under less capable hands, the film would have fallen hard into exploitative typical Hollywood melodrama. Under Fincher's thumb, the film does have the director's cold and calculating style in spades, and is told in the most precise yet seemingly effortless manner we have come to expect from the auteur, but even with such a feel (a feel added to by Oscar winners Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross' score) it is hard for one to get past the rather heavy handed philosophies set forth in the film. Cheap theatrics and silly, obvious cliches abound. Granted, Ben Affleck does a fine job, and Rosamund Pike is pretty much pitch perfect, even in a role that leans toward the over-dramatic. Hell, even Tyler Perry is good in the film. Now there's something you don't hear every day. Seriously though, this is probably Fincher's weakest film (we are conveniently leaving Alien 3 out of the equation), but even Fincher's weakest is better than most of what we are handed these days in mainstream filmmaking. But it is not so much a dislike for the film so much as a disappointment at it not being what I was hoping it would be.

As I stated earlier, there is no suspense here. None whatsoever. I don't want to give out any of those dreaded spoilers, but I do not believe this film has any spoilers, as every single twist and turn can be seen the proverbial mile away. And this is something David Fincher is always good at doing. Even in a film like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, in which we knew exactly what was going to happen (it was a remake, duh), the auteur manages to shock and even surprise. In the director's brilliantly batshitcrazy Se7en, there are scenes where I knew what was going to happen, but even when that exact thing happened, I leapt out of my seat, figuratively, but almost literally as well. In film after film, from Fight Club to The Social Network to Zodiac (my personal favourite), even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (the one other hole in the director's otherwise peerless oeuvre), Fincher has given us shock and awe in spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds, but here, in Gone Girl, it just all seems to be missing. Even though this film is better than most of the Hollywood schlock coming from the studios these days (they really don't make 'em like they used to!) Fincher can, and most certainly has done better. The film does have something going for it though, and this is something I never believed I would ever type into a film review: Tyler Perry is great in the film. Yeah, I said it. Now go home and watch Fight Club.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Heavenly Body of the Week: The Brick Moon

In 1869, a short story began to be published serially, in The Atlantic Monthly. The story was written by Edward Everett hale, and even though Jules Verne was writing about space travel at the time, this story is considered the first work of fiction to depict an actual space station. This space station was made entirely of bricks, hence the name, and is the true precursor of the science fiction genre. Huzzah!!

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Boss' Day: The 10 Most Heinous Fictional Bosses

Down with all bosses!! Viva la revolution!! Seriously though, there are some bad bosses out there. Some spectacularly bad bosses. And we are here today, on National Bosses Day, to um,, celebrate these bosses. These spectacularly bad bosses. These most heinous of bosses. I have had a few bad bosses in my day. Most recently it was my boss at a little arthouse cinema my wife and I used to run. A conniving little man who cared only about the bottom line, looking good in the press, and handing jobs to his friends and family. But I digress. This list is about those most heinous of bosses. My boss at the cinema was a jackass (so much so, that months after letting us go, to replace us with his friends, he was still trying to stop us from getting new jobs) but he is real, all too real, and this list is for the fictional. So again, I digress. Some bad bosses that just weren't heinous enough to make the list include Cosmo Spacely of Spacely Sprockets, Mr. Slate (whatever his first name may be) of the Slate Rock & Gravel Company, Hazzard County's very own Boss Hogg, Dr. Gregory House, Seinfeld's Mr. Pitt (and possibly Seinfeld's version of George Steinbrenner as well), Jeff Sheldrake from The Apartment, Franklin Hart, Jr. from 9 to 5, any and all the bosses from the movie Horrible Bosses (obviously), and my old boss at the cinema (had to throw him in again). Yup. So, without further ado, let's get on with it. Oh, and by the by, is it Boss' Day or Bosses Day? I know it is definitely not Boss's Day. But anyhoo, I digress.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

Special Mention: Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross

Technically, Blake (played by Alec Baldwin in the film version) isn't the boss of the sales team in Glengarry Glen Ross, but he is the guy who is sent by the bosses, in order to so-called motivate the salesmen. And by motivate, we of course, mean scare the fucking shit out of them. But alas, even though he is as big a prick as any old boss, he is not the boss, so Blake only gets a special mention here. The fucking fuck!

Special Mention: Tony Soprano & Michael Corleone

Ya know what? You are working for a mob boss. It should not come as any kind of surprise when they turn out to be bosses from freakin' Hell. They are mob bosses! Bosses in the mob! Yeah, they might be a little on the hellish side to work for. Granted, the benefits are great, but the retirement package...not so much. Aaaaaand, since these are obvious heinous bosses, they go on the special mention board instead of the list proper. This was also a not-so-clever way of getting more bad bosses on the list. Now let's move onto the list itself.

10. Michael Scott/David Brent/Bill Lumbergh

Basicaly these are all the same guy. True, two of them kind of are versions of each other (duh!), but all three are terrible bosses. Whether it be Steve Carrell from The Office or Ricky Gervais from the original UK version or even Gary Cole as the office manager in Office Space, you get nothing but a gaggle of middle management douchebags, all believing they have more power than they actually do. Someday they will find themselves in some sort of cubicle'd middle management Hell, just like they put there hapless employees through.

9. Mr. Dithers

Poor hapless Dagwood Bumstead. Poor mailman-knocking-over Dagwood Bumstead. He is always running late, and then has to put up with Mr. Dithers when he does finally rush and bumble into work.I mean, the guy has repeatedly physically abused Dagwood - with no repercussions. Really? Shouldn't Dagwood go to the police or the better business bureau, or some such place? But then again, Dithers can be a softee sometimes...sometimes! Overall, the man is an abusive lout, and a definite boss from Hell!!

8. Dr. Evil

Yeah, in the end he was a big ole softee, but as a boss, he was kind of a big old douche. Trap doors to send undesirable employees to their fiery deaths. Sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads! Yeah, not the best boss material. Hell, look what he did to his own son, when he was working for him. Yeah sure, in the end, Dr. Evil sides with Austin, and helps to save the world, but before that...sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads!

7. Ari Gold

A total fuckin' prick, this one. A racist, sexist, homophobic, loud-mouthed total fuckin' prick! Now this is a field I would not want to be part of, being one of the most cut throat businesses out there, and therefore, perhaps his employees know what they are getting into. But still, have I mentioned what a total fuckin' prick this guy is? I have? Good. Granted, Jeremy Piven plays his Entourage character to the very tip top of perfection, which is why we hate him so. But a love/hate thing, right? Hey, I don't have to work for the prick.

6. J. Jonah Jameson

Over at DC's Daily Planet, Clark and Lois have a tough, but quite fair, and often a big softee, of a boss, but his Marvel counterpart, J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle, is not so fair or even a softee. Bellowing out orders to everyone around him, as if he were a rabid dog, JJJ is truly the comic's biggest and baddest boss from H..E..double hockey sticks. Poor Pater Parker. He comes in with then best photogs, and gets nothing but aggression from his cigar chompin' boss. And really, what is with all the Spidey hate?

5. C. Montgomery Burns

Sure, Mr. Smithers quite enjoys the abuse spewed upon him by his boss, but he's a masochist, so what does he know. As for Mr. Burns' other Springfield employees, it's not such a pleasant place to work. Hell, it is a nuclear power plant to begin with, and then throw in one of the worst bosses in television history, and ya got one Hell of a bad time at work. Perhaps Homer would have been happier if he had gone the Smithers route, and became a love-starved masochist. Then maybe Mr. Burns would not have seemed so bad.

4. Miranda Priestly

I know, calling Miranda Priestly, as played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, a bitch, might be construed as sexist by some over sensitive mamby-pamby.types, but bitch is the word I'm sticking with? Not so thinly based on real life boss from Hell, Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Miranda Priestly is truly a bitch from Hell, as well as a boss from Hell. Hell, I hear that one needs to gird their loins, when she enters the office. I wonder if Ms. Wintour was ever actually this bad. Let's hope not.

3. Gordon Gekko

Sure, Miranda Priestly may be a wicked ass boss, but even at her worst, she was never the reason you went to prison, like Gordon Gekko's protege played by Charlie "I'm not winning here" Sheen. Yeah, that's the kind of boss that Gordon Gekko is. Michael Douglas' iconic 1980's movie character is easily one of the worst bosses anyone could ever dream of having. Then again, it was all about greed (which apparently, for lack of a better word, is good) and that can never lead to anything good. And he is a bitch from Hell too.

2. Ebenezer Scrooge

Yeah, yeah, I know. After Scrooge's Christmas Eve visitors got done with him, he was a new man, and a new boss, but it is his pre-Christmas antics that put him in the number two spot her. Yeah, you may have been a good guy in the end, but before that, you were a true boss from Hell. No bonuses, little pay to begin with, no charity, long working hours, greed and deception, and you even were going to let a little crippled boy die. Seriously dude, what the fuck was wrong with you. And don't give us any of that last minute Hail Mary crap. So ya went and bought Tiny Tim and his family a Christmas goose. If it hadn't been for those ghosts, you would have let him die, all because you had no respect for his father as an employee. you piece of shit you. But I digress.

1. Darth Vader

Granted, Vader could have easily gone the way of the aforementioned mob boss special mentions. I mean, come on, you take a job working for Darth Vader, you kind of have it coming. He is Darth Freakin' Vader after all. Sure, in the end, the very end, good ole Anakin pops out and Vader does the right thing, but before that, he is certainly one of those bosses from Hell, we have heard speak of. I guess in all reality, Darth Vader is merely middle management, and one could easily make a case for Vader's boss, Emperor Palpatine, as the ultimate boss from Hell. Palpatine never did the right thing in the end, but then, Vader was doing most of his dirty work, so Vader is still the worst, the most heinous of bosses. I've had some bad bosses in my day (see the introduction) but none of them have ever force choked me when I spoke out of turn. Yup.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The 11 Question Interview Presents Bill Griffith

Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of The 11 Question Interview, wherein I pose eleven esoteric questions to various equally esoteric personalities. Here we go...

I admit that I was a bit of a latecomer when it came to discovering the wonders that are Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead. Even though Griffith began writing and drawing his enigmatic pinhead back in 1971, I did not come across his creation until 1988, already old enough to drink even. I had just gotten a job at a local bookstore (back when the world had such things as local bookstores) and I was goofing off one day, as I am prone to do, and found myself browsing through the comic strip section. It was a goddamn revelation. A goddamn one, indeed. Quite esoteric (Griffith included himself in the strip, as the character of Griffy), and quite confusing to anyone who is on what one would call a normal mindset (damn Plebeians!), Zippy made his first appearance in Real Pulp Comix #1, back in 1971, before becoming a regular in The Berkeley Barb, a seminal underground rag of the so-called counter-culture era, before becoming what one might call a cultural phenomenon. Yeah, I said cultural phenomenon. Whatchya gonna do about it!? But yes, a phenom he was. So much so that Hollywood even wanted to make a movie version once upon a time. Of course that would have ruined the essence of Zippy, so Griffy gave an emphatic hell no - eventually.

Anyhoo, Mr. Bill Griffith, the creator of all the dementia that is Zippy and his fellow Dingburg denizens, is sort of a legend in the underground comix and cartoonist world, so it is with great pride, and great pleasure that I have him be part of the brand new regular feature, The 11 Question Interview. And to have him as the inaugural questionee at that! Mr. Griffith has had work published in a myriad of publications, from The New Yorker to High Times, from National Lampoon to The Village Voice. All things Zippy can be seen at this here website. He really is quite famous ya know. To be honest (full disclosure and all that) this is not actually my first personal experience with the great Bill Griffith. Not my first time at the Zippy rodeo, so to speak. Back during the Summer of 2013, I was trying my hand at being a cartoonist. I had created a strip called La-La & Lu-Lu. One of the biggest influences on said strip, was Bill Griffith and his Zippy the Pinhead. So, that being the case, I drew up a strip that is directly Zippy inspired. I dedicated it to Bill and Zippy, and sent it off for a possible endorsement from the legend himself. I figured nothing would come of it, but lo and behold, Griffy said he liked it. Imagine that? So, with all this in mind, I sent my 11 questions off to Mr. Bill Griffith, and here be his replies. Have at 'em! Are we having fun yet?


If you were told you had to have a spirit animal, even if you didn't want one, which animal would that be, and why?
  • As long as we're in the fantasy realm, I'd like to be a woolly mammoth. Because I would be at the top of the food chain.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • First a scientist, then an inventor, then a writer. I never wanted to be a cartoonist as a kid. I thought comics were created by printing presses, with no human input. (See "Nancy" by Ernie Bushmiller)

If you could choose one person from throughout history, real or fictional, to have a beer with, who would that one person be, and why?
  • Ernie Bushmiller, the creator of the "Nancy" comic strip. I recognize him as a comics genius today, but I'd like to know if he understood the depth and importance of his creation or if he was some kind of naive folk artist. I suspect I would be surprised at a third possibility I'd never imagined.

What is the most bizarre experience of your life?
  • In 1975, after drawing my Zippy character for 4 years, a friend showed me a book on circus history. My Zippy was partly inspired by the Barnum &  Bailey Sideshow pinhead, "Zip the What-is-it?", but I knew nothing of his past (he died in 1926). I opened the book to a section on sideshow freaks, and there was a short bio of Zip---I saw that his birth name was William Henry Jackson. My full name is William Henry Jackson Griffith. A small explosion went off inside my brain. I guess I was meant to do Zippy.

If you had to live the rest of your life inside a comic strip (other than the obvious one), which comic strip would it be?
  • "Nancy". We live in a messy, chaotic world. But life is reduced to its never-changing, basic essentials in Bushmiller Country. Three rocks. Plopped perfectly on a manicured lawn. A fence. A tree. A sidewalk. A curb. What more do we need?

If you were to choose one movie, song, or book title that best describes your life, what would that movie, song, or book title be?
  • "Being and Nothingness" by Jean-Paul Sartre

What is the best present you have ever received?
  • A Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist's dummy when I was seven.

You are a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be, and why?
  • Plaid. Because it clashes with everything.

If you were on that proverbial desert island, and could bring just three things, what would those three things be?
  • Joan Rivers, Donald Trump and a jar of Vaseline.

What would you expect to see written on your gravestone?
  • Am I dead yet?

I know that Zippy once ran for President, but if you had to vote for any other cartoon or comic book/strip character to be Commander-in-Chief (maybe as a follow-up to Zippy's 8 year run in the White House) for whom would you cast your vote, and why?
  • Woody Woodpecker, because he'd drive the Tea Party insane with his incessant yammering and then it would be revealed that Woody was just a puppet President, controlled by Judge Judy.

So there ya have it. I would like to thank Mr. Bill Griffith for taking part in this, the inaugural edition of The 11 Question Interview. It has been an honour to have him around. I will return soon with a brand new interview and a brand new interviewee. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Walking Dead: The Zombie at its Apocalyptic Apex

In Robert Kirkman's seminal zombie apocalypse comic book, published by the fine folks over at Image Comics, the character of Rick Grimes explains to us that it isn't the undead walkers who are the walking dead, but that it is them, the survivors, those trudging through this post-apocalyptic wasteland, wondering if life will ever be normal again, who are the actual walking dead. This metaphor is never explicitly discussed in AMC's hit adaptation of the comic, but the feeling is still the same. Yes, the walkers may be a seemingly unending, undefeatable horde of monsters from Hell, but those who have survived, and fight on to see another day, are indeed the true walking dead. Their lives destroyed, their loved ones dead and gone (or sometimes not quite gone), everything they knew in the world turned on its proverbial head, morality changing by the minute, these walking dead go on and on, in a most likely vain attempt at restoring balance to the universe - a universe that has seemingly gone crazy, gone to literal Hell on Earth. And it is in this vein, this desperate, nightmarish vein, that causes The Walking Dead to be the best damn show on television these days. At least that's my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

Granted, The Walking Dead TV show has had more than its share of haters, detractors, and nay-sayers (some overly-analytic Monday morning psychiatrists have even called the show racist, ridiculously claiming the dead are metaphors for the African-American) and has never gotten the kind of respect from Emmy voters that shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and even Game of Thrones have, but that hasn't stopped the show from gaining the most rabid of fan bases, as well as setting ratings records for cable television shows. Now I understand many being put off due to the genre (my wife can't watch the show because of the gore factor getting to her) and such a show just not being everyone's thing, but it really is a quality show. Not just a cult show, but a legitimately well-done show. I understand the Emmy snubs (at least in part) due to the show's genre, but then fantasy shows like Game of Thrones or other horror shows such as American Horror Story, have been rewarded in the past. I think any Emmy voter who did not include Melissa McBride on their Best Supporting Actress ballot this past season, needs to look at the flowers. Those who have not seen the show, will not get that last reference, but trust me, if you were a regular Walking Dead viewer, hat would be freaking hilarious. But hey, I didn't come here to lambaste Emmy voters or cry about how some people hate the show (though certain critics of the show do sound like totally clueless morons). No sir, I came here, on the eve of the show's season 5 opener, to talk about The Walking Dead. So let's get to that, shall we?

When the show debuted in October of 2010, its rather short six episode first season, quickly became a cultural phenomenon. With characters such as the born leader Rick (Andrew Lincoln), his rather annoying wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), their troublesome kid Carl (Chandler Riggs), the hotheaded Shane (Jon Berthnal), the voice of reason Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), the voice of anti-reason Andrea (Laurie Holden), and the ex-pizza delivery guy with a heart of gold Glenn (Steven Yeun), the show became a hit. This wasn't just another zombie story, full of gore and guts and lots of flesh-eating (though it did have these things in spades), but instead was a story of society and survival, loyalty and morality. Kirkman, along with series developer Frank Darabont (the latter of whom is no longer attached to the show), took a cue from George Romero's zombie series, especially Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, and gave the series a sense of dread and doom, but layered with a still breathing humanity. As the series moved along, and other characters were thrown in (Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon quickly went from bit player to the most popular survivor in the show's four year history), we saw the original humanity erode further and further away. As other living humans became just as dangerous as the walking dead, and as society tumbled further and further away from memory, the show has gotten darker and darker, and even though my favourite season so far, has been the second one, the one spent on the farm (I think that season had the perfect blend of humanism and moral questioning) I do believe the show has, in turn, become a thing of Grand Guignol resplendence.

The show has had some great moments (turn away now, before any spoilers come your way) such as Carl's evolution from bratty kid with an attitude to stone cold killer of the undead (and sometimes the still living when necessarily), the time Shane had to take down Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) in order to save himself, and in turn help save Carl (sorry Otis, but I would have done the exact same thing!), the emergence of The Governor (David Morrissey) as a major threat, the addition of the katana wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira), the rise of Carol (the aforementioned Emmy snubee, Melissa McBride) from battered wife to assassin, the return of the Captain Hook-esque Meryl Dixon (the great Michael Rooker!!) as my favourite character, and his going-out-a-hero ending, that scene back in season 2 when they opened the barn, and what all came out (the best damn fifteen minutes the show has ever known), poor little misunderstood Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and those damn flowers she loved so much, that porn movie moment between Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in the drug store, the tragic losses of T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Hershel (Scott Wilson), and  slew of others. Even the smaller moments (Carl eating all that pudding or Spaghetti Tuesdays) are fun. Sure, there have been some somewhat stupid moments as well, like when Andrea's life was at stake, and she kept taking time out from her attempted escape to talk to Milton. Seriously Andrea? It's called multi-tasking. Give it a try, you might still be alive if you had!! But I digress.

Now we enter the fifth season, and we find our intrepid heroes trapped inside the confines of a cannibalistic hideaway. Whatever will happen? Well, I'm sure it will be quite intense. In fact, from all I have read on the season 5 opener, they are going to be hard pressed to follow up this episode. The show differs from the comic enough that we never know what's coming next, which is part of what keeps the show, and its viewers, on all of our proverbial toes. The fact that any character (and to all you Daryl lovers out there, I do mean ANY character) can at any time, bite the dust, keeps it all rather intense as well. And even though, as I stated above, I personally consider season 2 to be the best, this show, right here and right now, is the Zombie at its apocalyptic apex. Not that the term zombie has ever been used in the show. Anyhoo, I plan on watching until the undead cows come home (already, several days before season 5 begins, AMC has renewed the show for a sixth season) even if it does seem like forever during the extra long wait time between seasons. But now, it's finally here. Almost time to watch. Yeah, baby!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Heavenly Body of the Week: Zombie Planet

In honour of The Walking Dead finally returning for its fifth season this Sunday (seriously, it has felt like forever since season 4 ended), we here at All Things Kevyn, as well as all those dedicated folks over at the Heavenly Body of the Week Space Database, give you (drumroll please) Zombie Planet!!

The Zombie Planet, called that for its seeming rise from the grave of academic observation (ie, astronomers thought it was no longer a planet, but just a big dust cloud in space, until they found it it truly is a planet after all), more than for eating the fleshy worlds of other planets, is actually named Fomalhaut b. This is not near as great a name as Zombie Planet. The planet, which orbits around its sun once every 2000 Earth years, is about three times the size of Jupiter, and it will eat your brai....oh, sorry. Anyway, I included a comic strip called Brewster Rockit, created by Tim Rickard, which I thought might fit in with the theme. 

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who Dat?: The 10 Best Unseen, or Mostly Unseen, TV Characters

Seriously, who is that? That disembodied voice over the phone or intercom system? Those quick glimpses of the back of someone's head? That bellowing from the other room? Or sometimes nothing at all, just someone being spoken of or to? Well these are those (mostly) unseen characters of TV legend and lore. Sometimes these characters are an annoying neighbor, like the fence peaking Wilson on Home Improvement. Sometimes they are that weird girl from school, like Angela Valentine on Leave it to Beaver. Sometimes they are an aloof husband like Phyllis's always absent , and sometimes philandering hubby, Lars Lindstrom, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sometimes it's a waitress upon whom to pine, such as Barney Fife's crush, Juanita, on The Andy Griffith Show. There's nothing half so sweet as Juanita, Juanita, Juanit. Sometimes it's a school bully like The Gooch on Diff'rent Strokes. Sometimes it's a shady go-to guy like Bob Sacamano on Seinfeld. Sometimes it's the wouldbe heartthrob of a high school band, like the never present, but always mentioned Tino, in My So-Called Life. Hell, sometimes it's the actual president of the United States, like the unnamed, unaffiliated, and quite unseen POTUS on Veep. But none of these (mostly) unseen characters made our actual list. Perhaps we should get on with that list.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

Special Mention: George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld

We probably see more of this character than any other on this list. Well, at least we spend a lot of time looking at the back of his head, while he yells at George or rambles on about whatever the hell it is he rambles on about. This character also holds something special that none of the others on this list do. He's actually a real person (which is why he's listed as a special mention, instead of being on the list proper). Well, it's not actually the real George Steinbrenner, the man who made the modern New York Yankees, but instead it is series co-creator Larry David, doing his rambling, often screaming voice. And we love him.

10. Mrs. Columbo

Never seen and never heard, this character was only ever mentioned by her husband, Lt. Columbo, aka Peter Falk, in the 1970's cop show, Columbo. At first, some assumed that there was no such person as Mrs. Columbo, and perhaps she was merely a figment of the detective's imagination. Eventually other characters spoke of knowing her though, so that theory went out the window. Eventually though, there was a spin-off called, appropriately enough, Mrs. Columbo. This show starred Kate Mulgrew as the titular character, and in this series, Mr. Columbo is never mentioned, only alluded to. Hmmm? Eventually, the writers distanced Mulgrew's character from the original series. Hmmm??

9. Ugly Naked Guy

Granted, we do get to see most of him (sans the obvious parts) in a later episode, when Ross attempts to woo him in order to get his apartment when he moves out, but mostly, Ugly Naked Guy is just talked about by the six friends of Friends. Sure, they poke him with a stick in an episode, fashioned from taped together chopsticks no less, and stretched across the street and into his window. Really? That sounds a bit implausible, but hey, if you question things like that, then you probably have to question why the best seats in the coffee shop are never taken by anyone other than our six not so intrepid friends. Oh well.

8. Diane

"Diane, I'm holding in my hand a small box of chocolate bunnies." This is one of many quotes spoken by Twin Peaks resident FBI Agent Dale Cooper, played by Kyle MacLachlan, into his portable tape recorder. Apparently, this sentence, as well as all the others spoken into said tape recorder, are meant to be played for the benefit of Agent Cooper's never seen assistant, Diane. The fun thing here is that Kyle MacLachlan was actually nominated for a Best Spoken Word Grammy for his recording of these aforementioned tape recordings.

7. Stan Walker

Rich, enormous, and never seen, Karen's behemoth meal ticket of a first husband on Will & Grace could surely give Ugly Naked Guy a run for his money at any buffet - not that Ugly Naked Guy would be allowed in. On Will & Grace though, all we got were Karen's snide and snarky comments about poor hapless Stan's gluttony, and the things she must do in order to keep her man happy, and the jewels and clothes coming. I think we have seen a chubby foot when they were in the bath together, but I'm not sure. Eventually the writers killed Stan off, only to have it be faked (oh, spoiler...sorry), but eventually Stan and Karen do get divorced, and she goes on to marry John Cleese, who we all get to see and hear.

6. Cousin Jeffrey

Seinfeld had several never seen characters (one of 'em is even spoken of in the intro) but none were quite as elusive, and quite as annoying to Jerry, than his cousin Jeffrey. Hello! Uncle Leo is always bringing up the wondrous exploits of his do-gooder (read: can do no wrong) son, making sure to passive-aggressively taunt Jerry with these impossible to outdo (at least in Uncle Leo's world) Jeffrey antics. Stupid Cousin Jeffrey.

5. Mrs. Debbie Wolowitz

Actually, bellowing from the other room, Howard's over-bearing, demonstrative mother on The Big Bang Theory, may be the one to give Stan Walker a run for his money at that aforementioned buffet. We've caught glimpses of Howard's mom on occasion, but mainly she's a voice only character, played by Carol Ann Susi, an actress who has been a slew of shows over the past two decades. The closest we've come to "seeing" Debbie Wolowitz, is when Howard's wife, Bernadette, does the pitch perfect, and quite scary, impression. We do get an aerial shot of the mother of the groom at Howard and Bernadette's rooftop wedding (see above). 

4. Vera Peterson
The classic, or at least semi-classic, unseen TV wife. The oft-maligned wife of Cheers stalwart, Norm Peterson, is much talked about throughout the show's eleven season run, and even glimpsed once (face obscured by a food fight pie to the kisser), during a Thanksgiving episode. Norm may have belly-ached about poor Vera, and may have stayed at the bar for way too long, but we all know that Norm loved Vera, and even fought a guy for her in one episode. Ain't love grand?

3. Carlton, the Doorman

Voiced by Lorenzo Music, the co-creator of The Bob Newhart Show and writer on Rhoda, the very show upon which his husky, drunken-seeming voice was heard for five seasons, Carlton Your Doorman was the snarky, obnoxious, and a bit on the nosy side, doorman in the NYC building which Valerie Harper's Rhoda Morgenstern lived. Carlton Your Doorman, which is how Music always opened his intercom conversations, actually received his own animated spin-off in 1980. Granted, this series lasted exactly one episode (a failed pilot), but we do get to see the character finally, even if he is a cartoon at this point.

2. Maris Crane

We've had a couple comically overweight characters on the list so far, so to be fair, here is a comically underweight one. Maris Crane, the first wife of Niles Crane on Frasier, is known for being a rich, spoiled, body-obsessed, wisp of a woman. Sure, Niles may have married her for her money, but after years of emotional heartache, the fussy psychiatrist finally ends things with his meal ticket. Eventually he will find his way to his long pined for Daphne (after a few situational hiccups), but the comically waif-like Maris will never be forgotten.

1. Charlie Townsend

How could we not end this list with such a character as this? The disembodied voice of John Forsythe, Blake Freakin' Carrington himself (though in his pre-Dynasty days) emanating from that speaker phone, telling his bevy of dangerous beauties, what they needed to do each week. And his Angels listened. Anything for Charlie. This never seen character held sway over the likes of Farrah Fawcett (Fawcett-Majors at the time), Kate Jackson, Jacklyn Smith, Ceryl Ladd, Shelly Hack, and Tanya Roberts. It's good work if you can get it.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.