Television offers a countless amount of characters that viewers can enjoy, empathize with, and relate to. For guys, there’s many times where we watch a show and think, why can’t I be as cool as that TV character? We wish to be more suave or tough or heroic like the fictional men we idolize. However, just because we initially want to be like a certain TV character, doesn’t exactly like mean we should be. Don Draper, for all his luck with the ladies, is actually a depressed and broken shell of a man in Mad Men – there are numerous TV characters that guys should want to be. Here are my picks for the 10 TV characters that every guy should want to be.
Raylan Givens (Justified)
Justified is one of the coolest and manliest shows on television and that’s in large part due to its main characters, Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens. Portrayed with a slick ease by Timothy Olyphant, Raylan is the envy of most of the dudes who watch his show (including myself) for his witty back-and-forth comments with the criminals he encounters and also for the quick finger he has on the trigger when it’s necessary to put one of these criminals down. Ultimately, though, aside from the tough exterior and cool charm that comes from Raylan Givens, what makes him such an appealing TV character is his determination to protect, avenge, and, quite simply, kill for anyone he loves. Even if they’re not always as justified as the show’s title, Raylan’s fierce sense of compassion and loyalty are quite the admirable qualities.
Seth Cohen (The O.C.)
I know not a ton of guys watched The O.C. when it was on TV, but if you were able to look past the soapy surface of this teen drama, you would have found one of the best TV characters to hit airwaves in over the past decade. Seth Cohen is a dorky, geeky, nerd, who loves comic books, band like Death Cab For Cutie and Bright Eyes, and his plastic horse companion, Captain Oats. But it’s not his quirks that make Seth so great (although they definitely add to his awesomeness). It comes down to Seth’s quick wit, ever-growing sense of confidence, and his unflinching love of his best friend, Ryan Atwood. Plus, he gets to live in sunny California with the best parents in the world, Sandy and Kirsten, and date the gorgeous Summer Roberts. Not a bad life, if you ask me.
Dean Winchester (Supernatural)
Bravery. Strength. Family. Those are the words that immediately pop into my head when I think of Dean Winchester. Dean’s toughness and willingness to stare danger (even the type that comes from the depths of Hell) right in the face are enough to make him a pretty fantastic TV character. However, it’s Dean’s love for his brother, Sam, and his commitment to family that make him more than your average action hero. Plus, I don’t think any other character on this list makes me laugh as hard as he does, so bonus points for your comedic skills, Dean.
Vincent Chase (Entourage)
Let’s get one thing straight: Vincent Chase is one of the most boring characters to have ever existed on TV. Even in Entourage‘s best seasons, the good drama came from E and Ari and the great laughs came from Johnny and Ari. Vince was mainly just there to drive the plot forward with a new movie or a cool party that the guys could attend. However, just because he’s a boring character doesn’t mean that Vince isn’t a character that guys should want to be. The obvious perks of being Vince are endless: huge house, tons of cash, and an constant parade of women. But what makes someone we should want to be like, aside from the pure escapism of it all (which is also an okay reason), is how well he treats his friends. No matter how much wealth and luxury he possesses, Vince never forgets that his roots are in Queens and that his best friends are his brothers.
Chuck Bartowski (Chuck)
Chuck Bartowski has his entire world rocked when the Intersect (what is essentially all the computer files of both the NSA and CIA) get downloaded into his brain. Chuck is essentially forced to become a spy, working with hard-nosed NSA agent John Casey and gorgeous CIA agent Sarah Walker. Even though Chuck’s involvement in the espionage world is initially quite tumultuous, the Nerd Herd employee ultimately finds confidence and self-worth through both the work he’s doing and the relationship he forms with Sarah. Chuck’s such a great TV character because he never loses his morality overall good guy-ness, even in the face of so much danger and death. He’s the nicest, most honest, and best guy on this list, and that’s why you should want to be him. Plus, just look at Sarah – she’s enough to get any dude to join the CIA. (For the record, this is one of my favorite Chuck scenes of all time. That’s why I chose it.)
Sterling Archer (Archer)
Alright, so maybe Archer isn’t really a guy you should want to be, but nevertheless, he’s definitely one of the best TV characters out there today. And with an ability to continuously drink alcohol nonstop, smooth moves with the ladies, and quite the obsession with a certain Kenny Loggins song, it’s hard not to say you wouldn’t want to be Archer. Plus, I’ll be honest, every guy should want to be him purely because he’s the best one-liner machine on TV right now. Seriously, there’s not a funnier character out there (live action or animated). Anytime Archer speaks, it’s pure gold.
Clark Kent (Smallville)
What I love most about Smallville‘s Clark Kent that I don’t believe is fully realized in any of the Superman films to date is that he feels like an actual, real human being. Clark struggles with school, friends, and girls, and we see him grow up and mature in front our eyes, under the wonderful guidance of his parents, Jonathan and Martha. Every guy should want to be like Clark because even though he’s not perfect and has a million different issues that he must deal with on a weekly basis (from puberty to relationship troubles to, you know, saving the world), he keeps his character in tact. Clark remains good, kind, and just, even in the most dire of situations. That’s something refreshing and inspiring in today’s world world of moral ambiguity.
Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)
We all want to become the most manliest man that we can possibly be. If there was ever a course at college called “Manliest 101: How to Be a Proper Man,” Ron Swanson would teach it. The guy’s an expert at working with power tools, facial hair grooming, eating countless amounts of meat, and saying “screw you” to the government. Plus, the guy’s also a husband a father to his newborn son, and a stepfather to two young girls he loves very much. While none of us could ever hope to replicate that incredible mustache, we should all desire to embrace our inner man when we can, to try to be a little more “Swanson.”
Coach Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better man on TV than Eric Taylor. Coach Taylor is a hard-working, devoted, and dedicated family man. He loves his wife and his two daughters with all his heart and is a pretty great husband and father. But that’s the thing. Coach knows that he’s not just a father to his two girls back home, Julie and Gracie Bell – he’s a father to every young man he puts out on that field. What makes Coach Taylor a character that guys should aspire to be is his willingness to not just accept but embrace this role. He understands what he means to these young men, and he always does his very best to help them in whatever way he can.
Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)
Television’s answer to “Where’s our Han Solo?” That’s what Mal Reynolds is. Courageous, loyal, and tough, Mal brings that epic sense of heroism and grouchy charm to Firefly. Frankly, I could throw out his one quote (“I am to misbehave.”) as reason enough as to why Mal should be on this list, but as with every other character on this list, it’s not just Mal’s hard-nosed, “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality that makes him someone guys should want to be. No, it’s also his compassion for outcasts and unique individuals like Kaylee (who I still have the biggest crush on) and, even more importantly, his commitment and love for his ship and his crew. Mal’s crew is his family, and just like how Han didn’t leave Luke behind at the end of A New Hope, Mal would never leave Zoe, Wash, Inara, and the rest of them on their own.