Female Characters The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History  

Ranker TV
Originally by
8.2k votes 832 voters 17.7k views 46 items

List Rules Single female TV characters who never settle down or date lots of men throughout the series

List of the best female characters who are perpetually single in television history, as ranked by television critics and fans. Often female characters can be defined by the guy whose arm she’s on. Not so with the women on this list. These women are not defined by the men they date, but rather their strong personalities and ambitious career tracks. Many of the characters on this list are much more serious about their careers than their dating life, such as Law and Order SVU’s Detective Olivia Benson and Mad Men’s Peggy Olson. Other female characters are simply unlucky when it comes to the people they date, like Mindy Lahiri and Elaine Benes. Some of the women simply aren’t interested in long-term relationships, like Friends’s Phoebe Buffay.

This list answers the question, “Who are the best single female characters in TV history?” The characters range from past feminist icons like Mary Richards to contemporary women who have broken stereotypes about how women should date, such as Sex in The City’s Samantha Jones.

The female characters on this list may have had a history of dating a lot but they are often seen as heroes for single women, making them among the best female characters of all time.

list ordered by

1
298 177
Liz Lemon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
30 Rock

2
246 135
Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

3
168 124
Mary Richards is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
The Mary Tyler Moore Show

4
266 141
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Friends

5
217 82
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

6
215 134
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Seinfeld

7
82 113
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History

8
123 75
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
The Golden Girls

9
127 144
Murphy Brown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Murphy Brown

10
171 143
Samantha Jones is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History

11
62 102
Elaine O'Connor-Nardo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History

12
177 137
Rachel Green is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Friends

13
45 86
Edina Monsoon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
CB Ladnier added Absolutely Fabulous

14
136 94
Blanche Devereaux is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

15
78 121
Ally McBeal is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Ally, Ally McBeal

16
33 72
Victoria Barkley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
CB Ladnier added The Big Valley

17
122 119
Kelly Bundy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Married... with Children

18
96 59
Monica Geller is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Alaina Hillman added Friends - Before her and Chandler started dating. 

19
90 121
Carrie Bradshaw is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries

20
89 92
Debra Morgan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Dexter

21
15 21
Ann Romano is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
One Day at a Time

22
164 81
Grace Adler is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Will & Grace

23
56 35
Alice Nelson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
RobLein added The Brady Bunch, The Brady Bunch Hour

24
67 80
Peggy Olson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Mad Men

25
160 95
Robin Scherbatsky is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
How I Met Your Mother

26
40 52
Sabrina Duncan is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
CB Ladnier added Charlie's Angels

27
34 63
Patsy Stone is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
CB Ladnier added

28
30 42
Christine Cagney is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
CB Ladnier added Cagney & Lacey

29
49 77
Betty Suarez is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Ugly Betty

30
63 71
Britta Perry is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Community

31
115 74
Temperance

32
58 78
Laverne De Fazio is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Laverne & Shirley

33
29 30
Sally Rogers is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
RobLein added The Dick Van Dyke Show

34
56 80
Shirley Feeney is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Laverne & Shirley

35
61 88
Serena van der Woodsen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History

36
44 62
Ann Romano is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Ann Romano One Day at a Time

37
25 40
Ms. Cartman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Tom Islava added South Park

38
83 75
Hilary Violet Banks is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

39
40 37
Emma Peel is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
fezziwig added The Avengers

40
64 69
Sarah Braverman is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Parenthood

41
65 73
Dee Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Dee Reynolds

42
69 81
Mindy Lahiri is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
The Mindy Project

43
37 66
Caroline Duffy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Caroline in the City

44
41 76
Julia Baker is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Julia

45
14 68
Veronica Chase is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Veronica's Closet

46
13 69
Susan Keane is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History
Suddenly Susan