While working in the television business, one can find some odd conversations.  One morning some years ago, during a full-on news broadcast, two of my colleagues and I began having a discussion about ‘Sesame Street’ of all things, during which the director revealed his utter hatred for Elmo.  His rant was a fascinating thing, illuminating why he believed “that little red bastard” wasn’t really a part of the Street at all, but instead a usurper and that “Sesame Street doesn’t need his crap.”  (This discussion was being had by three people aged 35 to almost 60, none of whom were regular viewers of the program any longer.)  The addition of new characters to liven up a long-running series is nothing new in fiction (see also: Sir Lancelot, reputedly added to Arthurian mythos when a French author decided the tales of King Arthur required his country’s literary tradition of the cuckolded lover) but the reaction to them can be something of a crapshoot.  Some, like ‘Brady Bunch’s Cousin Oliver, become synonymous with decline and failure, while others, like Steve Urkel and Elmo himself, can become more popular than the existing cast members and forever change the dynamics of our favorite pop culture.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you of the lesson of 7 of 9, who proved that a corset and a catsuit can make at least a small silk purse out of the dullest of metaphorical sow’s ears, asking: What “late addition” characters do you find yourself liking as much or more as the original cast members?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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16 Comments

  1. October 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm — Reply

    I always thought that nice Harmonia Li lady was rather snazzy..
    She was a real breath of fresh air in a cast or tired.. stodgy… umm…

    Ok, I can’t keep that up any longer. Harmonia was the cousin Oliver of the Legion :)

    • October 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm — Reply

      I completely agree to the first statement, as to the second, the brady bunch was way before my time and I haven’t the faintest clue who cousin Oliver was but I get the impression people don’t like him.

  2. October 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm — Reply

    Does Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer count?
    Also, Toph, from Avatar – The Last Airbender. Heck, she was my all time favourite character in the series.

    • October 12, 2013 at 9:10 am — Reply

      Should work considering that Urkle wasn’t a main character at first.

  3. neckbeard
    October 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    Although not a comic, the addition of Adam Scott as Ben and Rob Lowe as Chris to Parks and Recreation made an already funny show that much funnier.

  4. SmarkingOut Adam
    October 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm — Reply

    X-Men, without a doubt. I’ll take Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Rogue and Bishop any day over the original five, though I do like them just fine.

    • October 12, 2013 at 9:11 am — Reply

      X-Men wise, I’ll take Maggot (R.I.P.)

  5. B.V.K
    October 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    In the Star Wars extended universe I began to like the adventures of Jacen and Anakin Solo just as much as the original characters once they hit their teens.
    Also, Colosuss was always my fav X Man

  6. Daniel Langsdale
    October 11, 2013 at 11:18 pm — Reply

    On “Monk,” I’ll take Natalie over Sharona every time (although that’s more of a “replacement” than an “addition.”) The latter always seemed to treat Monk so meanly.

    I’m probably the only person you’ll find who liked Scrappy Doo. He had all the pep and confidence that his slacker cousin & cousin’s stoner friend lacked.

    Honorable mention goes to Mary Jane Watson, (because she was already added by the time I encountered Spider-Man.) All I’ll say is “my” Spidey was married, and not to Aunt May.

    And “Back in the Day” I had a friend who was all about Green Ranger Tommy showing up Red Ranger Jason and bringing that “bad boy” edge to MMPR.

  7. Oldcomican
    October 12, 2013 at 8:24 am — Reply

    Ezri Dax and Seven of Nine when it comes to TV shows. You can’t really say any comic book characters are “late additions to the cast” because the whole point of comics are the fluid cast and story lines. I can only think of one case where a secondary character hijacked the main story and pretty much forced out the original cast. I speak of “Thimble Theater” – which featured the adventures of a cast of layabouts from the Oyl family – Castor Oyl, Nana Oyl and Olive. In one strip, Castor decides to hire a sailor to go on a treasure hunt, he goes to the wharf and approaches a one-eyed, hardscrabble sailor. “We must be cautious” Castor said, “You there! Are you a sailor?” “Ja think I’m a cowboy?” the sailor growls back. “You’re hired.” Castor replied.
    The sailor’s name was Popeye. By the end of that story arc, “Thimble Theater” was all about Popeye and you rarely saw any of the Oyl family except Olive…

  8. October 12, 2013 at 9:33 am — Reply

    For my personal pick, I am reaching back to Three’s Company.
    When Crissy “Left” the show, he cousin Cindy played by Jenilee Harrison was the better foil to Jack.
    Likewise, Don Knotts as that swinging Ladies Man Ralph Furley was way funnier than the Ropers who were pretty good.

    • October 12, 2013 at 10:59 am — Reply

      Agreed on Furley, not so much with Cindy to me. Although, I did like the nurse who ended up there after her…

  9. October 12, 2013 at 11:58 am — Reply

    Spike on both “Buffy” and “Angel”. I would include Faith, but to this day I’m not sure if I actually like the character that much or if I just have a huge crush on her.

    Tommy Oliver on “Power Rangers” and Gai Ikari of “Gokaiger”.

    Methos on “Highlander: The Series” (and the movies related to the series).

    G’nort in “Green Lantern”.

  10. Hannah Jones
    October 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm — Reply

    B.J. Honeycutt and Charles Emmerson Winchester III from M*A*S*H

    They not only proved amazing replacements for Frank and Trapper but outshone them both in complexity and actual character development.

    Col. Henry Potter was cool too, mainly because he knew what he was doing, but I still missed Henry Blake after he died;.

  11. Kirby
    October 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm — Reply

    Obligatory Doctor Who answer: the 7th Doctor & Ace, I find way more interesting the Hartnell’s original group.

    While not the artiest answer: Jefferson Darcy, really kind of sells later Married… With Children episodes for me.

  12. October 14, 2013 at 12:13 am — Reply

    Yvonne Craig as Batgirl got me watching that stupid show again

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