Follow-up: How the 25 Greatest Fictional NY’ers List Came Into Being

The great things about making a list about the 25 best something-or-other’s is there is always going to be disagreement and dissention, which are two of my favorite things.

But how does one select just 25 of the hundreds of thousands of characters from fantastic novels, plays, films and television show that have been set in our city? Well, first we laid down some ground rules:

– A fair mix of film, television, novels, comic books and plays, trying not to create too heavy of a skew to one medium or another
– No characters based on real people
– A healthy mix of modern vs. classic characters
– Famous duos canceled each other out (we might do a separate list for them later on down the line)
– For more modern, ensemble based shows (like Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, etc) we decided to focus less on the main characters and more on a repeat secondary character
– Characters whose names we know, not just that they were the guy/girl from that thing
– Representation for some bad guys (not all great characters are heros)
– No two characters can be from the same show/movie/book, etc. With some many to choose from we didn’t want any duplicates.

From there we created a list of about 60 characters and whittled it down from there. The characters selected had a lot to do with which author wanted to write about whom and the order had a lot of do with schedules of the authors and such. The closest we got to a scientific method was mailing around suggestions and taking the ones that came up the most and putting them towards the top of the list. For instance, almost every person named Holden, so it was clear that he should be #1.

For those who missed it, here’s a quick recap of our final list, counting down

25 – Tommy Gavin (Rescue Me)
24 – Mame Dennis Burnside (Auntie Mame)
23 – Gordon Gecko (Wallstreet)
22 – Gunther (Friends)
21 – Karen Walker (Will and Grace)
20 – Tony Manero (Saturday Night Fever)
19 – Ralph Kramden (The Honeymooners)
18 – Nino Brown (New Jack City)
17 – Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver)
16 – John Shaft (Shaft)
15 – Ishmael (Moby Dick)
14 – Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show)
13 – Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
12 – Newman (Seinfeld)
11 – Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)
10 – Eloise (Eloise)
09 – Mr. Big (Sex and the City)
08 – Tess McGill (Working Girl)
07 – Archie Bunker (All in the Family)
06 – Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
05 – Dorothy Michaels (Tootsie)
04 – Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (Ghostbusters)
03 – Michael Corleone (The Godfather)
02 – Peter Parker (Spiderman)
01 – Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye)

That being said, here is a list of some of the incredibly close runners up, characters who might have been on this list but didn’t make it for one reason or another.

– Big Bird (Sesame Street)
– Mario (Nintendo)
– Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy)
– Paul Sheldon (Misery)
– Lennie Briscoe (Law and Order)
– Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard (Rhoda)
– Sherman McCoy (Bonfire of the Vanities)
– Felix Ungar (The Odd Couple)
– Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy (The Last Seduction)
– Master Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
– Johnny Sacrimoni (The Sopranos)
– Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks (Little Orphan Annie)
– Arnold Jackson (Diff’rent Stroke)
– Andy Sipiwicz (NYPD Blue)
– Snake Plissken (Escape from New York)
– George Jefferson (The Jeffersons)
– King Kong (King Kong)
– Alvy Singer (Annie Hall)
– Gabe Kotter (Welcome Back Kotter)
– Mars Blackmon (She’s Gotta Have It)
– Margo Channing (All About Eve)
– Elliot Garfield (The Goodbye Girl)
– Joe Buck (Midnight Cowboy)
– L.B. Jeffries (Rear Window)
– Maria (West Side Story)
– Rosemary Woodhouse (Rosemary’s Baby)

Did we miss your favorite? Do you have any better suggestions? If we do a list of the “Greatest NYC Duo’s” who would you want to see on it? Do tell…

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