We all have had that one weird neighbor. Maybe they have lots of broken furniture in their yard. Maybe they play the bagpipes. Maybe they harvest organs of drifters in their basement. Television has had a love affair with the neighbor, but usually the neighbors don’t commit felonies. No, their wackiness is usually harmless shenanigans that simply exemplifies how offbeat they are. So here are our pick for TV’s best, wackiest neighbors.
Dan’s Pick – Wilson, Home Improvement
When it comes to wacky neighbors only one name should come to mind: Ned Flanders. But since somebody already called dibs on him I am going to go with Wilson from televisions Home Improvement. Now he wasn’t wacky in the sense of doing crazy things or saying crazy things. That was Tim Allen’s shtick. No, Wilson’s wackiness was that you never got to see his entire face, always being shrouded in mystery giving fatherly advice to his neighbor. For all we know, that could have been some big famous celebrity like Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt! It wasn’t though. It was Earl Hindman.
Mark’s Pick – Kramer and Newman, Seinfeld
This was the hardest choice I’ve had to make during this “competition”. When I first think of wacky TV neighbors, the Ropers from Three’s Company are the first ones that come to mind. But the question isn’t what is the first one you think of it’s what your number one is, and with that cleared up, my choice was obvious; it had to be Kramer and Newman from Seinfeld. Cosmo (we’re on a first name basis) is so well done that everyone from your 80 year-old grandmother to your cool pre-teen nephew knows how to “Kramer” into a room, and I dare you to find a person born after 1970 that hasn’t said, “Hello, Newman,” at least once in their life.
While Newman wasn’t in as many episodes as Kramer, his impact was still felt enough to be included. Also, they are the only two recurring character that live in Jerry’s building so they’re technically his only neighbors. And while we’re at it, we are still waiting for Kramer’s coffee table book of coffee tables that also becomes a coffee table. Come on, Penguin. Get this done!
Anthony’s Pick – Ned Flanders, The Simpsons
Most wacky TV neighbors are characterized as space cadets, with little-to-no self-awareness. You see it in Kramer, Rhoda, and Ed Norton of The Honeymooners, but with Ned Flanders, you’ve got a straight-laced, Bible-thumping, Good Samaritan… And in Springfield, that’s about as odd as they come.
Ned Flanders doesn’t belong in Springfield; he’s just too good. Imagine if one of the Bradys went to live down the hall from Jerry Seinfeld and his clan of miscreants. This is basically what you get with Ned. A man that has spent decades living next to Homer Simpson with very few instances of lashing out at the buffoon, Ned has been cursed with entirely too much patience. He’s so good that even when a character things he’s got some dirt on him, a la the episode “Bart of Darkness”, it just turns out to be one big misunderstanding and, in fact, Ned is squeaky clean. And THAT’s the scariest thing of all.