They’re cute, they’re cuddly, they spew catch phrases: They’re the greatest youngest children in TV history. Whether through fear of getting “clobbered” (Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver, Leave It to Beaver) or fear of misunderstanding what exactly Willis is talking about (Arnold Jackson, Diff’rent Strokes), these famous babies of the family are the characters through which we’ve learned valuable life lessons.
The greatest youngest children in TV history have become iconic for their antics, some as latter-day cautionary tales, often through the lens of “very special” episodes. TV’s youngest children might suffer the indignities of being treated like a baby, as Cindy Brady (The Brady Bunch) likes to complain; yet just as frequently they will outsmart their elders in unexpected and surprising ways. (We’re looking at you, Michelle Tanner (Full House).)
A few of the greatest youngest children in TV history have become signposts of a show’s decline, as if the showrunners of yesteryear decided that a chubby-cheeked addition was a talisman against cancellation. However, at least a handful of those late-series arrivals are some of the most beloved babies of the family (Chrissy Seaver, Growing Pains).
And let’s not limit our list of best babies to the three-dimensional kind. A good percentage of the greatest youngest children are of the animated variety. Stewie Griffin (Family Guy) and Maggie Simpson (The Simpsons) have both left an indelible impression in TV land, and on cartoon merchandising.Whether rich or poor, boy or girl, live-action or animated, the greatest youngest children in TV history hold a special place in our hearts. Their innocence, adorableness, and ability to manipulate are virtues will be admired across generations and networks for decades to come.