Television’s Biggest Fictional Losers: The Sad Sack Hall of Fame

There is nothing more dependable on TV shows than the loser, unless it is the wacky next door neighbor. The loser used to be known as the sad sack; he is that guy (or girl in very rare cases) who can’t seem to win at anything. Some people have written articles about TV’s biggest fictional losers and have inexplicably awarded the one of the top spots to people like Steven Q. Urkel or Gomer Pyle. In fact, both Urkel and Pyle are very much winners and not even close to being a sad sack. Heck, Urkel even winds up with the girl of his dreams. And Gomer Pyle got Lou Ann Poovie! Even though a sad sack can occasionally get the girl, they will usually have lost them by the end of the episode. Herewith, one man’s opinion of the greatest losers in TV history.

Dr. Elliot Axelrod-St. Elsewhere.
Played brilliantly by Stephen Furst, you can figure out this guy’s story by his infamous nickname: Axelfat. Horrible. The fact is that some might say Dr. Ehrlich was the biggest loser at St. Eligius, but not only did Axelfat literally kill Santa Claus (at least, the guy who played Santa for the sick kids at the hospital), but he was also responsible for the unique method by which the infamous Mrs. Hufnagel died and he was even one of the few, and I actually think the only, regular doctor to die on camera.

Cliff Claven-Cheers.
What an incredible combination of loserdom. A guy who thinks he knows everything, but doesn’t and a guy who brags about his female conquests while he really is a 40 year old virgin. Cliff Claven never met a woman he couldn’t turn into a babbling idiot. His tenure at Cheers was marked by a series of embarrassing trysts and liaisons with the opposite sex that were almost painful to watch.

Moe Syszlak-The Simpsons.
In many cases a television sad sack is lovable, even endearing. There is something about a sad sack’s continual ability to lose at everything that makes you want to draw him in and give him comfort. That is not the case with Moe Syszlak. Owner of Homer Simpson’s favorite bar, Moe has attempted suicide several times and has struck out with almost as many women as Cliff Claven. The one time he managed to actually find a girl screwed up enough to find him attractive, he blew it by asking her to find some fresh corpse they could use to run away and start a new life as Moe was readying his bar for burning. Moe is distinctly unlikable. Good thing he’s so damn funny.

Antonio Scarpacci-Wings.
Now you take Antonio from Wings. He is quite lovable. He is such a loser that you cannot help but feel sorry for him. He’s the kind of guy who gets a big fat IRS refund check and then immediately breaks a tooth that requires a huge chunk. He is most famous for dating a woman known for her gigantic head. Every time it appears that he’s about to break out of his rut, something horrendous happens. My son was amazed to learn that the guy who plays Monk is also the guy who played Antonio. Great acting, indeed.

Robert Barone-Everybody Loves Raymond

In some parallel universe this show is called Everybody Ignores Robert. Still the exact same show, nothing has changed, it is just that the title is different. That is how much of a sad loser Uncle Robbie is. Sure, he is declared the handsomest of the Barone men…but, let’s face it, that is a not competition likely to air even on ESPN 2. This guy…this guy. Getting gored in the butt by a bull isn’t even the top five list of worst things he has to complain about. Think about that for a second when considering where you are in your life at the moment.

Bill Dauterive-King of the Hill.
Perhaps if this show didn’t have both Cotton Hill and Peggy Hill, Bill Dauterive would be the Moe. He isn’t terribly likable, but compared to Peggy and Cotton he is almost as endearing as Antonio. He’s fat, he’s bald and he selfish. He spits when he talks and he farts when he spits. Despite his failings you can’t help but root for him to succeed. On those occasions when he has, there is a definitely sweet feeling that you can’t help but feel toward the man. Bill Dauterive would be the king of TV’s sad sacks if weren’t for…

George Constanza-Seinfeld.

Yep, this guy is absolutely the king. He’s thoroughly unlikable, but you never wish he wasn’t part of the show. George Constanza is a major league loser; a failure as a man, a failure as a son, a failure as a lover, a failure as a friend, and, well, just a total failure. If there was a poster boy for what any right-thinking man wouldn’t want to become it would be George Constanza. I’m trying hard to come up with some positive personality trait of George’s and I simply can’t. There is absolutely nothing about George that would convince me to be his friend. He is without question the biggest loser ever. And he will probably keep that title for some time. He sure did sleep with an awful lot of beautiful women for being such a loser, though. Not that there’s anything unexpected about that.