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Which TV Characters Best Represent Modern Masculinity?

Updated June 29, 2018 1.2k votes 109 voters25 items

List RulesVote up the character that most closely aligns with your personal definition of modern masculinity.

Men have certainly received more than their fair share of diverse and complicated characters in the realm of television. Thankfully, now we're seeing more and more strong and complex women in mainstream entertainment as well. Elizabeth Moss, Viola Davis, Sandra Oh, Rachel Bloom, Kerry Washington, Robin Wright, and many others have been delivering powerhouse performances in recent years and stunning audiences with their immense talent. That being said, the industry still skews toward the preference for a "leading man," and there are countless examples of men that represent every facet of masculinity. 

So, what does it mean to be a man in America today? Is modern masculinity viewed as more reserved than in previous generations, or does it simply imply a level of openness and a different sense of responsibility? Or has masculinity stayed consistent over the years, and remained a constant as the world evolved around it? Vote up the tv characters that you feel most closely portray modern masculinity; vote down those that miss the mark.

  • Jim Halpert - The Office1

    easygoing, family man, sarcastic, fun-loving, unassuming, romantic

  • Eric Taylor - Friday Night Lights2

    sincere, wise, cheesy, quiet, bemused, fatherly, trusty, has an unchanging moral compass, puts his values over materialistic concerns

  • Ben Wyatt - Parks And Recreation3

    detail-oriented, sincere, geeky, stable, awkward, in touch with his emotions, willing to be vulnerable, booksmart, civic-minded

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  • Jim Hopper - Stranger Things4

    voice of reason, father figure, wounded, alcoholic

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  • Walter White - Breaking Bad5

    intelligent, repressed, calculating, dangerous

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  • Randall Pearson - This Is Us6

    kindhearted, loyal, trustworthy, dad-joke master, protector

  • Ron Swanson - Parks And Recreation7

    libertarian, secretive, self-reliant, ‘the strenuous life’-man

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  • Sheldon Cooper - The Big Bang Theory8

    intellectual, cold, reliable, pompous, steady

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  • Uncle Phil - The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air9

    provider, mentor, hot-tempered, overworked but for the sake of his family, loving but stern, provides tough love

  • Roy Anderson - The Office10

    emotionally unavailable, burly, blue collar

  • Don Draper - Mad Men11

    emotionally unavailable, secretive, Machiavellian, misogynist, disaffected, self-centered, alcoholic

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  • Ross Geller - Friends12

    caring, neurotic, academic, goofy

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  • Phil Dunphy - Modern Family13

    a human fanny pack, oblivious, well-meaning, clumsy

  • Dwight Schrute - The Office14

    loyal, traditional, motivated

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  • Dre Johnson - Blackish15

    tough, stubborn, driven, loud

  • Tyrion Lannister - Game Of Thrones16

    smart, resourceful, deadpan, alcoholic, booksmart, strategic, master of his domain

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  • Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead17

    honest, brutal, aloof, greasy, mysterious

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  • Barney Stinson - How I Met Your Mother18

    dramatic, womanizing, materialistic, alpha, emotionally unavailable

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  • Tom Haverford - Parks And Recreation19

    fashionable, foodie, entrepreneurial, enjoys the finer things, not afraid of his feminine side

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  • Ian Gallagher - Shameless20

    tough, streetwise, emotional, impulse, troubled

  • Men - Jersey Shore21
    12
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    Men - Jersey Shore

    aggressive, confrontational, alpha, tan, brash, physically fit, alcoholics

  • Earnest "Earn" Marks - Atlanta22
    17
    34

    Earnest "Earn" Marks - Atlanta

    ambitious, reckless, intelligent, cynical

  • Richard Hendrix - Silicon Valley23
    14
    38

    Richard Hendrix - Silicon Valley

    nerdy, thoughtful, self-aware, awkward, shy, sensitive, insecure, complex, booksmart, enigmatic

  • Omar Little - The Wire24

    relentless, violent, honest, uncompromising

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  • Lucious Lyon - Empire25
    7
    36

    Lucious Lyon - Empire

    mogul, unfaithful, manipulative, cunning, self-aggrandizing