15 Sitcom Alter Egos We Wish We Could See More Of
One of the great joys of viewing sitcoms, especially those that run for many years, is falling in love with the characters. Whether they're good people in real life or horrid individuals we'd never want to meet, sitcom characters win us over with their particular quirks and idiosyncrasies. After many seasons, we know characters as well as our own friends.
However, an additional treat is when our favorite characters are kind enough to provide us with additional identities. Whether mere aliases for an already-wacky character to cause trouble, or an entirely separate identity opposite in nature to the character's usual self, these alter egos are always amusing when they crop up. Though they're usually sporadic treats or running gags, these alternate personas leave us begging for more. Here are some of the most memorable alter-egos of sitcom characters that left us craving additional appearances.
Who He Is: In contrast to rugged Ron Swanson, Duke Silver is an artist and a lover. He's also Ron's secret alias for playing saxophone in Eagleton, the next town over. Duke plays with a jazz trio and has put out several studio albums, all while Ron keeps this aspect of his life top-secret from his coworkers.
Why We Love Him: It's charming that Ron feels the need to protect this passion from his coworkers, and even nicer to learn that some, like April, respected his desire to keep it a secret whilst knowing all along. Plus, Nick Offerman gets to show off his real-life saxophone skills (though he admits they're not as great as Duke's). Duke Silver is such an object of lust for Eagleton moms that Ron's eventual wife, Diane, receives envy and threats when sitting in the audience at Duke's shows. No one would say no to a spin-off or jazz album released with more of Duke Silver's smooth tunes.
- Photo: FX
Who He Is: To avoid a duel with an old acquaintance come to collect a debt, Laszlo flees Staten Island for Pennsylvania, “because it sounds like Transylvania.” He takes over a bar whose last owner “mysteriously disappeared,” and adopts the definitely-not-vampiric alias of Jackie Daytona.
Why We Love Him: Jackie Daytona is, in Laszlo's words, “your average American Yankee Doodle Dandy.” More specifically, he's Laszlo's impression of that. It's hilarious to watch Laszlo try to blend in with regular humans with his archaic speech and vampiric powers. As weird as Jackie Daytona comes across, he still becomes a popular fellow in town, hosting events at his bar and attending local volleyball matches. It's a treat to hear Matt Berry pronounce words with a whole new style of superfluous syllables as he puts an American spin on Laszlo's indescribable accent. It's a shame that Jackie Daytona's antics are limited to this one episode. Perhaps he can re-appear the next time Laszlo needs to hide from an old foe.
- Photo: Seinfeld / NBC
Who He Is: Art Vandelay is a person invented by George Costanza to sustain any number of convenient improvised lies. Depending on the circumstances, Art could be an author George claims to read, a man he is planning to meet as an alibi, a boyfriend of Elaine's he was offering her advice with, or even an alias for George himself (in which case he's usually an architect).
Why We Love Him: The sheer flexibility of "Art Vandelay" as an alias makes it an impeccable running joke, one of many that made Seinfeld so popular. The mere repetition of Art Vandelay's name, even in minor contexts, brings a laugh every time for returning fans of the show. George also seems to derive satisfaction from re-using this alias, and his attachment to the pseudonym gets an extra payoff in the series finale: the judge who presides on the trial of George, Elaine, Jerry, and Kramer, is named Arthur Vandelay! Though the judge may officially bear the name, Art Vandelay is an abstract concept that only George Costanza can fully master, and we can only wish for more references to fully understand him.
Who He Is: Burt Tyrannosaurus Macklin, FBI, is a highly experienced agent – and a completely made-up persona of musician/shoe-shiner Andy Dwyer. Andy whips out the persona whenever a situation arises that calls for questioning a suspect or otherwise mimicking legal authority. He allegedly has a twin brother of his own named Kip Hackman (though why the brothers don't share a last name is never explained), though Kip may be merely an alias for Macklin himself. It's impossible to say with an agent of such a high reputation.
Why We Love Him: Burt Macklin captures all of what's so wonderful about Andy: his imagination, his excitement, and his commitment to the task at hand. His utter seriousness at assessing silly situations, like when someone attempts to throw a pie at Leslie during a political campaign, brings more laughs than actual solutions. Still, the Burt Macklin persona makes it easy to see why April loves Andy (and sometimes plays along with his bits as her own alter-ego, Janet Snakehole, an heiress with a dark past).
Who He Is: When Norm starts a painting business, he finds that his employees won't listen to him due to his friendly personality. When Frasier suggests he create a mean-boss alter ego to order his employees around, Norm creates a fake business partner, Anton Kreitzer (borrowing his wife's maiden name) and aggressively orders the employees around via phone so they actually get work done.
Why We Love Him: Norm's commitment to the act goes so far as renting an office and hiring a secretary for “Mr. Kreitzer.” However, it becomes too convincing and the employees decide they want to confront Anton for being mean to all of them (including Norm). When they can't find him, they conclude that Norm was the fake persona of mean-boss Anton. Even in the bar, where Norm is known for being greeted by his name, his friends don't help him out, instead pretending he really is Anton. Norm's a nice guy, but it's still funny to watch this scheme, where he tries to avoid the hard parts of being a boss, backfire on him.
- Photo: ABC
Who He Is: When Phil and Claire get a rare night out in their long marriage, they decide to roleplay alternate personas to spice things up. While Claire names herself Julianna, Phil invents a detailed backstory for himself as Clive Bixby: he designs “high-end electro-acoustic transducers,” and he's in town for a trade show. Clive is supposed to be suave, exciting, and rebellious – though this is dampened by Phil's natural rule-abiding tendencies.
Why We Love Him: Clive Bixby is an attempt at a James Bond or Don Draper-esque masculine cliche, but made hilarious by Phil's true personality filtering through this lens. His very specific career title that ends up sounding obviously made-up, or his attempt to look cool by smoking a cigarette only to immediately put it out when informed that smoking is prohibited, highlight the natural contrast between that macho-man stereotype and Phil, who's lovable in his own right for his kindness and straightforwardness. Phil embodies Clive Bixby several times throughout the show, most often for date nights or anniversaries with Claire, who enjoys poking fun at Phil's act by asking questions about Clive's “wife.” Still, this roleplay never gets old, capturing what's so great about Phil and his love for Claire.