Have you ever watched a show and seen yourself mirrored in one of the characters? It could be a saying or mannerism, or it could be everything about them, but suddenly you’re left wondering if the writers have secretly set up surveillance in your living room. The other night, while watching reruns, I discovered that I am exactly like…
Niles Crane from Frasier.
He’s nerdy and fussy and orders his half-caf nonfat lattes with “a whisper of cinnamon” and “just enough foam to be aesthetically pleasing but not so much that it leaves a mustache.” He’s equal parts ridiculous and hilarious, but his heart is in the right place.
While there is plenty we don’t share (for starters, I am not a psychiatrist, nor do I dwell in a palatial mansion surrounded by priceless antiques) I have started to notice that some of my particularities, like my more-than-mild irritation over things like lint on black pants, are pure Niles. I suppose that is the mark of a great television character — specific enough to be memorable, but broad enough to be relatable.
The other night, while watching The Crown, I asked my boyfriend which TV character he is. “Walter White,” he said, referencing the drug kingpin from Breaking Bad. Nothing could be further from the truth. (He clearly did not take this exercise seriously.) But it did spark a lively discussion about Walter, and life choices, and what matters in the end.
Even in the most extreme cases, the best characters still have a way of giving us plenty to relate to. And these days, when television feels more than ever like a window to the outside world, that is very welcome.
What TV character are you? Please share! (And is anyone else like Niles, or am I alone?)
(Top photo from The Mindy Project.)