Protagonists get all the glory, accolades, and victory cookies. But for every protagonist that wins the Big Final Battle or makes a Crucial Decision, there are at least nine background characters that made it all possible. Those well-placed quips! That timely advice! It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it, mostly so people like Harry Potter, Frodo, and Buffy don’t have to. They are the forgotten heroes, and these are just a handful of them:
Leonard from Community—He doesn’t slay any dragons or make any life-or-death decisions. He never even wins the annual Greendale paintball tournament. But he’s approximately a thousand years old and always seems to be doing something weirdly hilarious, like skinny-dipping or pranking or reviewing food on his YouTube channel.
Glen Coco from Mean Girls—True, no one in the history of the world has ever had to ask, "Who the hell is Glen Coco?" But lest we forget, Glen Coco is a human person who probably had a really interesting storyline that was eclipsed by the Plastics running around being douche canoes. I mean, who sent him all those candy canes? Are four different women vying for his attention? Does he have a harem? Sorry, Glen Coco. If it helps, your legacy will probably outlast Lindsay Lohan’s.
Madge Undersee from The Hunger Games—Madge quietly defies the oppressive regime of the Capitol even though she occupies a comfortable position as the daughter of the District 12 mayor. She even gives Katniss the mockingjay pin that goes on to symbolize the revolution, but apparently none of this was important enough to secure her a role in the movie.
Augusta Longbottom from Harry Potter—In true Longbottom fashion, Neville’s gran is kind of a BAMF. She may not start off as the pinnacle of good parenting, but by the end she’s a butt-kicking defender of justice who destroys the Death Eater sent to kill her and runs off to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts. Plus, without her hat with the stuffed vulture, we never would’ve had Grandma Boggart Snape.
Falstaff’s pageboy from Henry IV, Part II—You see that? The kid doesn’t even get a name. That’s a minor character if there ever was one. Even though he only does, like, two things, one of them is carrying Falstaff’s sword and shield around, so that's something. Plus, he gets to say things like, “Away, you scullion! you rampallian! you fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe,” which is what I’m going to start saying to people that take the last peanut butter cookie in the cafeteria when clearly I was already reaching for it.
That one guy from The Dark Knight who tosses the bomb detonator out the window—What’s his story? How did he get here? The dude has more integrity in his forehead wrinkles than everyone else on the boat put together, and he only gets, like, one or two lines. But he does get the chance to tower ominously and be Gotham City’s moral compass for a quick second, and that’s every minor character’s dream.
Buzz McNab from Psych—Sure, the premise of the show is that there’s a hyperaware man-child pretending to be a psychic detective with his best friend the pharmaceutical rep. Comedic gold! But what about a hilariously naïve police officer with the cutest smile ever moonlighting as a male stripper? Buzz deserves his own spin-off. End of story.
Who's your favorite forgotten/under-appreciated fictional character?