I’m starting to suspect that my fellow playmates are kind of…slutty. Miss Penn and Miss Understood have made lists of their TV boyfriends and civil partnerships respectively, and Miss Day has a load of potential lesbian flings and toon totty she’d put a ring on.
I must be the odd one out, because when I watch a television show I don’t want to snag the male or female leads to date them. I rate them on how cool they’d be to hang out with, and if they’d earn an A+ for fun then I reckon they’d be a pretty decent wingperson.
The definitions of ‘wingman’ tend to be horribly heteronormative and homosocial, it’s a sad world that we live in. Suffice to say, it’s your wingperson’s job to get you laid- irrespective of the gender, sexuality and taste in movies of both of you.
So in no particular order, here are my top 10 TV wingmen. And because I’m a horrible misogynist, they are all of the male persuasion:
Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), How I Met Your Mother
Barney is the quintessential wingman, as he constantly informs his friends. He has tons of crazy schemes, complicated theories, fake names and legen-wait for it-dary catch phrases to help him play the part to perfection. He also has experience of playing wingman to a woman, Robin (Cobie Smulders), with whom he bonded over a shared love of whiskey and dressing well, back before the How I Met Your Mother writers ruined a large part of what was entertaining about both characters with the crappy writing of their relationship. Not that I’m bitter, I’ve pretty much forgotten that due to my rage blackout, induced by Ted (Josh Radnor)’s new love interest Zoey (Jennifer Morrison). Ted’s awful taste just proves that Barney needs saving from him- and why he should come hang out with me instead.
Hank Moody (David Duchovny), Californication
Hank and Barney probably have some characteristics in common- both being somewhat brash, loud and over-confident. They’ve both also got plenty of experience of hitting on women. However, unlike Barney’s suited-up persona, Hank’s a somewhat erratic novelist (to some extent at least based on Charles Bukowski’s alter-ego Henry Chinaski) which has to almost guarantee good conversation and the inevitability of wandering into situations that’ll become the amusing anecdotes of the future. The only problem is that Hank attempting to be a woman’s wingman would make me mildly suspicious that it was all an elaborate come on- but since he has especially nice teeth I’d probably let it slide.
Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), The West Wing
Way before Rob Lowe guest starred in Californication he was a near-constant presence on my screen as Samuel Seaborn, Deputy White House Communications Director. He’s adorable and idealistic, and he’s the one who who said “good writers borrow from other writers, great writers steal from them outright”. With witty one liners he’d be able to chase off the freaks but also be good at drawing the good kind of freaky people into conversation. Right from the pilot episode we learn that he’s smooth enough to understand the rules of bar room flirtation (unlike the journo he’s sitting with), and when he discovers that the girl he picked up, Laurie (Lisa Edelstein) is a call girl (although not until after he’s slept with her) he learns a thing or two about being a good friend to a woman.
Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz), My So-Called Life
I think that Rickie Vasquez may very well be the fictional character I would most like to be friends with. He’s incredibly sweet and kind- covering for Rayanne (A.J. Langer) and always taking the time to listen to and help his friends, even though his problems are more severe than theirs (he has to deal with homophobia, domestic abuse and homelessness along with the run of the mill alienation and confusion of adolescence). He’s a fantastic friend to Rayanne, Angela (Claire Danes) and Bryan (Devon Gummersall), and I think he’d be a near-perfect wingman given that he has an eye for good-looking guys and a seemingly never-ending supply of eyeliner. The only worry is I’m not sure that I could easily be torn away from chatting with him.
Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), The Big Bang Theory
Possibly a controversial choice, but ever since I started watching The Big Bang Theory I’ve wanted a friend like Sheldon. Whilst to some he might seem anally retentive and incredibly annoying, I just find him hilarious. I think we’d have so much fun hanging out and snarking at people, plus he likes lending people huge amounts of money so I think he could bankroll my drinking. Sheldon appears to be completely asexual but he displays a caringness in his relationships with women which suggests that his super-religious mother (Laurie Metcalf) and grandmother (his “Memaw”) raised him right. They might not have been intending him to be the perfect wingman- but accidental success should be celebrated nonetheless. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) has developed an unlikely friendship with him- clearly feeling comfortable confiding in him- and she’s managed to school him in sarcasm, teach him all about shoes (for an iPhone app) and scored a hug and an excessive quantity of gift baskets from him. Who doesn’t want a wingman with handy knowledge about footwear and a penchant for giving away cosmetics? His friendship with Amy (Mayim Bialik) further demonstrates that Sheldon seems to respond better to women. When his male friends try to reason with him he shuts off and refuses to admit that he could be in the wrong, but both Penny and Amy are able to persuade him to try different tacks.
Plus if he was being especially crazy I imagine some knight in shining armour would jump in to save me from dull doom. But I just don’t know if I could honestly ever answer “yes” if anyone asked if he was bothering me…
Nathan Young (Robert Sheehan), Misfits
Nathan, on the other hand, would probably bother me. Entertaining, and pretty, as he is he can also be hella obnoxious. Still socialising with him would be bound to be a good time, and he’s proved to be a good friend to Simon (Iwan Rheon) in the second season of Misfits, and performed as a decent wingman for his brother Jamie (Sam Keeley). He’d probably make me look calm and sedate in comparison to his flailing about, there is a first time for everything, and after all making me look cool would be an important part of my wingman’s role. He’s also immortal- quite a handy power- so I wouldn’t feel too bad about getting him into a bar fight if his pratting about went too far, but given that future Simon’s so different to the Simon in the present timeline, it’s always possible that Nathan will turn into a suave, collected young man. It just doesn’t seem all that likely.
Eli Loker (Brendan Hines), Lie to me
Not only is Loker of the pretty persuasion, so are many of the people he knows. Asides from his boss, Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) his colleagues tend to be ridiculously good looking, and a wingman who could hook you up with the likes of Ben Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer) or Ria Torres (Monica Raymund) is obviously doing their job properly. The other major point in his favour is his expertise at reading people through their facial expressions and body language. This would certainly make him an asset, as he could pick the good ‘uns, ignore the psychopaths (unless they bear an uncanny resemblance to Jason Dohring, in which case all is forgiven) and work out how best to act in any given situation.
Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Glee
Kurt is fricking fabulous. He’d obviously be oodles of fun to hang out with, to be styled by, as a dancing partner and to natter about boys to. He’s got a fully functioning gaydar (and hairdar) and despite his incomprehensible crush on Finn (Cory Monteith), his taste seems to be improving if his dalliance with Blaine (Darren Criss) is anything to go by. I seriously want to draw sparkly hearts around Kurt, Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Rachel (Lea Michele) being BFFs, and his relationship with them demonstrates how willing he is to play wingman (attempting to set Mercedes up on dates, for example) but also how he wants them to honestly feel good about themselves, and to not be reliant on anyone else for their happiness.
Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), Sherlock
Like Eli Loker, Sherlock would be great at picking up subtle cues and assessing potential suitors given that he’s super rational and attentive (which makes him an excellent detective). He could supply interesting conversation, free meals (through his contacts) and expert knowledge of the quickest routes around London. Like Sheldon he appears to be completely asexual which would remove a lot of the potential for awkwardness, and hopefully he’d be happy to introduce me to his friend Dr Watson (Martin Freeman) which could only be a good thing. With his rampant nicotine addiction he’d sympathise with my grumbling about not being able to smoke indoors, and hopefully I could coax him into giving up the patches and smoking in doorways with me instead- which is clearly the classiest way to meet people.
Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), The Good Guys
With his old school Texan cop charm, hanging out with Dan Stark would be a lot of boozey fun. He seems pretty obsessed with everyone else’s sex lives, especially with that of his friend and partner Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks), and this urge to set everyone up must be invaluable in a wingman. He manages to coast on his slight celebrity (a TV movie was made about him saving the Governor’s son), endears himself to lots of menfolk and, best of all, not only does he have a healthy appreciation for alcohol he’s friends with a bartender. Julius (RonReaco Lee), in addition to supplying drinks, is also Dan’s snitch and this complicated fiscal relationship sounds like it could result in free beer for me, which is a very important thing for the perfect wingman to be able to supply.
Have you got a better idea for the perfect TV wingman? Tell us about it in the comments!