clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Best TV Character of the Century Bracket: Round 2

Cartman scores a big upset, a Baby Yoda–Arya Stark matchup is set, and the Bosses quarter stares down a bloody Day 2

Ringer illustration

The first round of results for The Ringer’s Best TV Character of the Century bracket is in, and along with it has come some gutting early eliminations. Many of these upsets seem to stem from three kinds of bias: recency, Game of Thrones, and a special category I like to call “Little Brother.” (I’ll explain that one shortly.) Dr. Cristina goddamn Yang is no longer with us. Starbuck—well, anger keeps you alive. I can only assume that every one of you who voted for Leslie Knope over Boyd Crowder has never seen Justified, and one day will know how wrong you were. All three Thrones alums—Arya, Tyrion, and Cersei—emerged victorious, perhaps a sign that we can all come together as a society and pretend the last couple of seasons never happened.

The response to the first round was baffling in its scope: A total of 2.44 million votes were cast for all matchups. But now, a new round of voting awaits. Get to it below—to each her own definition of “best character,” but just know that anyone else’s metrics are objectively wrong.

Millennials Region

Fleabag lost, you monsters

I do not think it is unfair to say that if you are a regular Ringer reader, you are probably aware of the staff’s collective affection for/obsession with Fleabag and its creator-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It thus seems reasonable to conclude that every vote in favor of Cartman was a direct attack on The Ringer’s staff. And there were a lot of votes: South Park’s Eric Cartman mopped the floor with Fleabag, the unnamed antiheroine at the show’s heart. I don’t yet have a plan for revenge, but maybe I’ll just grab my monkey’s paw and wish for the basketball season to be suspended! See how you like that!

Anyway, the nation’s little brothers have spoken, and Cartman had something of a moment online on Monday as democracy protested his lowly 15 seed. He is, after all, South Park’s finest, crudest creation: a squat, angry, unlikable cannon of lazy profanity and aggression, the friend no one really likes but who was there in the primordial friend-group goo and so will remain forevermore. Also: authoritah. If you were ever once a 13-year-old boy, that was probably enough to outstrip Our Lady of the Plunging Jumpsuit. I hope someday you find peace, or at least that a 13-year-old boy and his corresponding obsession with toilets comes to live in your home.

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    (7) Tim Riggins, ‘Friday Night Lights’
    (38902 votes)
  • 60%
    (15) Cartman, ‘South Park’
    (58927 votes)
97829 votes total Vote Now


The Arya Stark–versus–Baby Yoda collision cometh

With Arya Stark’s victory over Seth Cohen from The O.C. and Baby Yoda’s win against Broad City’s Ilana Wexler, Round 2 sets up a matchup with the potential to rip the newly reunited galaxy asunder: Arya versus Yodes.

In the red corner we have the youngest Stark girl, a faceless, feminist icon; master swordswoman; and devoted serial killer. In the blue corner, there’s the infant (OK, 50-year-old) Yoda (OK, whatever the species is called—we may never know), who warmed hearts across the cosmos on this winter’s The Mandalorian with his enormous caramel eyes. On the one hand: slaying the Night King and saving humanity. On the other: dispatching a mudhorn to save the babysitter. I hear you, I do—all of humanity versus one friggin’ guy? But also: Wee Yodes fanned some tiny, weak flame in Mando’s heart, single-handedly turning our lead from robotic, hollow bounty hunter to robotic, occasionally emotional(ish?) bounty hunter—a Grinch story for the ages. (Come to think of it, Arya could probably benefit from her own Baby Yoda.)

This Needle-versus-Force battle may come down to whether voters prefer the Thrones-verse or Star Wars. But I would counter that this matchup asks something else. As she comes into her powers, Arya devotes herself to hunting down and vanquishing evil wherever it exists. Baby Yoda is the other side of the same coin—finding good and, insofar as his sleepy little baby paws allow, protecting it. They share the same goal, but differ in method: destroy evil, foster goodness. Which will Ringer readers prefer? I guess we’ll see. Regardless, the world could use a little of both at the moment, probably.

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    (5) Arya Stark, ‘Game of Thrones’
    (27226 votes)
  • 28%
    (4) Baby Yoda, ‘The Mandalorian’
    (10738 votes)
37964 votes total Vote Now


The region’s remaining matchups:

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    (1) Villanelle, ‘Killing Eve’
    (15454 votes)
  • 51%
    (9) Nathan Fielder, ‘Nathan for You’
    (16108 votes)
31562 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    (11) BoJack Horseman, ‘BoJack Horseman’
    (9298 votes)
  • 82%
    (3) Jesse Pinkman, ‘Breaking Bad’
    (44738 votes)
54036 votes total Vote Now


Bosses Region

Round 2 is going to be a bloodbath

Farewell to the fallen: Rick Sanchez, Jack Bauer, Dexter Morgan, Boyd Crowder, Paper Boi, Queen Elizabeth, Vic Mackey, and Olivia Pope. May you all get really drunk and really, really violent someplace nice. Maybe the royal yacht?

With our rapper, mad scientist, monarch, et al. dispatched, Round 2 is positively stacked: Tony Soprano versus Liz Lemon, Don Draper versus Leslie Knope, Coach Eric Taylor versus Selina Meyer, and Elizabeth Jennings versus Walter White. KGB agent versus drug kingpin! Mob boss versus writer! He who does not think about you at all versus she who thinks about everybody, always! Disgraced president versus character so convincingly leaderly that I would probably vote for actual, real-life Kyle Chandler given the chance!

I suspect the rays of sunshine don’t have much of a chance. (No, Lemon is not a conventional optimist but, you know, when you’re in the same quarter as someone whose kid stopped using their name to go by “Flynn” instead—yeah, she’s a glass-half-full type.) Walter White seems like a favorite to rampage his way past all his fellow Bosses and into the Final Four, but if anyone could cut through his bullshit and take him out while he’s still mid–dramatic speech, it’s Liz Jens.

The region’s matchups:

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    (1) Tony Soprano, ‘The Sopranos’
    (24285 votes)
  • 35%
    (9) Liz Lemon, ‘30 Rock’
    (13407 votes)
37692 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    (5) Don Draper, ‘Mad Men’
    (19404 votes)
  • 49%
    (4) Leslie Knope, ‘Parks and Recreation’
    (19329 votes)
38733 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    (6) Coach Eric Taylor, ‘Friday Night Lights’
    (50180 votes)
  • 31%
    (3) Selina Meyer, ‘Veep’
    (22785 votes)
72965 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    (7) Elizabeth Jennings, ‘The Americans’
    (5012 votes)
  • 86%
    (2) Walter White, ‘Breaking Bad’
    (32378 votes)
37390 votes total Vote Now


Scene-Stealers Region

NoHo Hank topples Al Swearengen

Now, look. I love NoHo Hank—I do. But I have no choice but to assume that each and every vote against Al Swearengen was cast by someone who did not watch Deadwood. Which, you know, OK—it’s been off the air for 14 long years, and it’s unclear whether TVs even existed back then. (Watch more Timothy Olyphant, people!) Because if you had seen Al at work, well:

But congrats to NoHo Hank, who is truly delightful, if not quite the all-time whiskey-swilling Cheshire Cat that he took down. Our guy needed a W, probably, after everything that went down with the Buddhists.

The region’s matchups:

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    (1) Tyrion Lannister, ‘Game of Thrones’
    (28251 votes)
  • 24%
    (9) Leon Black, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
    (9142 votes)
37393 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    (5) Dwight Schrute, ‘The Office’
    (31344 votes)
  • 17%
    (13) NoHo Hank, ‘Barry’
    (6488 votes)
37832 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    (6) Gob Bluth, ‘Arrested Development’
    (210176 votes)
  • 11%
    (3) Ron Swanson, ‘Parks and Recreation’
    (27194 votes)
237370 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    (7) Cersei Lannister, ‘Game of Thrones’
    (19671 votes)
  • 46%
    (2) Peggy Olson, ‘Mad Men’
    (16915 votes)
36586 votes total Vote Now


Wild-Card Region

The idiots might be unstoppable

Consider some of those who fell here in Round 1: Cristina Yang, Nora Durst. Conniving schemers, all. And consider some of those who’ve made it to the next round: Michael Scott, Charlie Kelly, Kenny Powers, Pete Campbell. The idiots, my friends, are winning.

Not by a little bit, either—Michael Scott carried 91 percent of the vote, Charlie Kelly 81 percent, Kenny Powers 77 percent. Pete Campbell came in at a less-authoritative 59 percent, perhaps because he—someone who certainly thinks he’s in the conniving schemer camp—was up against Kirsten Dunst’s all-time Fargo dunce, Peggy Blumquist. Unfortunately for Pete, he will now face The Wire’s Omar Little, so we’ll see just how far his smarts can take him.

The region’s matchups:

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    (1) Michael Scott, ‘The Office’
    (27194 votes)
  • 28%
    (8) Charlie Kelly, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
    (10930 votes)
38124 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    (5) Saul Goodman, ’Breaking Bad’/‘Better Call Saul’
    (42332 votes)
  • 21%
    (4) Rust Cohle, ‘True Detective’
    (11578 votes)
53910 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    (6) Kenny Powers, ‘Eastbound & Down’
    (11127 votes)
  • 68%
    (3) Larry David, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
    (24433 votes)
35560 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    (10) Pete Campbell, ‘Mad Men’
    (5564 votes)
  • 84%
    (2) Omar Little, ‘The Wire’
    (29762 votes)
35326 votes total Vote Now

For each round, you can vote here on the website, on Twitter, and on Instagram every day till 6 p.m. ET.

Bachelor Party

A Very Mild Storm Comes to Paradise, With Amelia Wedemeyer

Video

‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Recap: Who Is Headed Toward Engagement?

Higher Learning

Gentrifying Inglewood and the Crisis at the Border

View all stories in TV