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The Most Beloved Grumps in TV History

Updated March 15, 2020 23.2k votes 2.4k voters 66.8k views102 items

List RulesBest grumpy or curmudgeonly TV characters, both female and male

List of the best TV grumps. Male or female, these are the greatest grumpy TV characters -- television curmudgeons whose pessimistic rants and antics usually make viewers laugh. From the original great TV grumps, including Fred Sanford and Archie Bunker, to the new generation of grumpy TV characters such as Red Forman and Sue Sylvester, they’re all here.

 Why is it that we love TV’s curmudgeons? They’re unhappy, they complain, they’re pessimistic, and they often try to make everyone around them miserable, too. The best TV grumps remain lovable, however, because they tap into our own grumpy sides; besides, their rantings and predictions of doom and gloom often have no effect on anyone else. The other characters in a TV show know that they’re dealing with a grouch, and carry on accordingly. In some cases, of course, the greatest grumps on TV really do make others’ lives miserable, but the curmudgeonly, grumpy character usually gets what’s coming to him or her in the end, which makes it okay.

 The best grumps on television are usually funny, as well. Frank Costanza generally looks like he’s about to pop a blood vessel, but his ravings are hilarious. And underneath it all, many TV curmudgeons have a softer, warmer side. Who can blame a gentle-hearted person for putting up a mean front to protect their tender emotions? Viewers understand this about the best TV curmudgeons: They might seem mean, but they’re often concealing a caring personality -- and if they inspire a few laughs in the process, that’s all the better.

 This list contains the grumps on TV that viewers have both loved and hated, laughed at or felt sorry for. Both female and male TV curmudgeons are included; after all, women can be just as crabby as men. The list also makes no age distinction -- the best TV grouches are both young and old.

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