Cliff Clavin: Cheers
For many, Cliff Clavin is the ultimate portrait of a fictional mailman on TV. He was the know-it-all coward who fear spread even to women. And yet he was insistent on respect for his position. Cliff Clavin saw delivering the mail as being on the same level as fighting for your country. If you truly love a man in a uniform, why not love Cliff Clavin? Well, lots of reasons, but if your mailman was like Cliff, at least you know you’d get your mail more often than not.
Unlike if your mailman was anything remotely like Newman. Jerry Seinfeld’s nemesis is the mail you fear to depend upon for any mail at all, much less important mail. Newman is the poster boy for everything that the postal service wants to avoid. Newman took the job of delivering the mail just as unseriously as Cliff Clavin took it seriously. Lazy and none-too-eager to make any extra effort, the only thing saving Newman from being your worst nightmare in a mailman was that he was relatively gruntled. Or, at least, not disgruntled enough to turn violent.
Reba: Pee Wee’s Playhouse
Mailman. We still stay it despite there being a long history of female mailmen. Or postal carriers. One of the first regular appearances on a TV show by a femailman–sorry, but I couldn’t resist–was Reba, who delivered the mail to Pee Wee Herman. Not just a female mail deliverer but an African-American postal carrier. Who knew that “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” was such a fecund site for revolutionary progressive politics in the entertainment medium of television?
Harvey: Hey Arnold!
Harvey is also African-American. And he’s a very hip and happy mailman. His urban route takes him in and out of the lives of Arnold and his friends. Occasionally, Harvey the mailman plays a significant role in episodes of “Hey Arnold!” such as when he gives a life lesson Gerald about the changes in your voice during puberty. You see, Gerald wants to sing the solo in the glee club thanks to his high voice. But his voice keeps dipping down a register or two. The guy voicing Harvey knows a thing or about deep singing voices. His name is Lou Rawls.
The Postman: Olive the Other Reindeer
The mailman in “Olive the Other Reindeer” leans toward the Newman side of things. Only he is even more disgruntled. Or at least not as lazy. Hating the Christmas season because it means more work for him, the postman chases Olive as she fights to make it the North Pole, become the other reindeer and save Christmas. He also gets to sing the best song ever sung by a mailman on a TV show: “Christmas…Bah, Bug and Hum.”