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15 TV Show Characters We Connect to on a Humanistic Emotional Level – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

15 TV Show Characters We Connect to on a Humanistic Emotional Level



Television shows often serve as a means of escape for viewers. The characters within these shows can either draw us in or push us away, and those that we can connect with on an emotional level often end up winning our hearts. But in order to achieve this connection, these characters must be realistic and possess qualities that make them appealing to audiences. While creating such characters is no easy feat, some TV shows have succeeded in doing just that. The following characters have resonated with viewers and have become some of the most beloved in TV history.

15. Lizzie McGuire – Disney Channel
Hilary Duff’s portrayal of Lizzie McGuire, the titular character of this early 2000s Disney show, was both cheerful and lively. Lizzie’s animated version further endeared her to audiences, as she spoke her inner thoughts in a soliloquy style that was both sassy and engaging. Lizzie’s close bonds with family and friends, as well as her relatable struggles, made her especially appealing to younger viewers.

14. Arya Stark – Game of Thrones – HBO
Despite Kit Harington’s Jon Snow being the supposed protagonist of Game of Thrones, it was Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark who won over audiences. Arya’s rule-defying nature and her passion for fighting made her a compelling character from the start. Her character development, particularly her experiences with family tragedy and her own survival, garnered immense sympathy from viewers. Williams’ performance was crucial in ensuring Arya connected with audiences, and her intelligence and perseverance acted as a form of motivation and inspiration.

13. June Osborne – The Handmaid’s Tale – Hulu
In Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, Elisabeth Moss plays June Osborne, the protagonist of The Handmaid’s Tale. Like Arya, June goes through some of the most brutal and vicious events imaginable, including being forced to bear children under a new government called Gilead. Despite these horrors, June’s constant attempts to fight against the system and save others make her a very realistic character. Her understandable mistakes and her desire for revenge against those who have wronged her further endear her to viewers.

12. Jake Peralta – Brooklyn Nine-Nine – NBC
Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta is a smart detective in the New York City Police Department, but his childish behavior often obscures his intelligence. Peralta’s character development and the obstacles he faces make him relatable to viewers, as he transitions from a childish detective to a responsible father.

11. Miranda Bailey – Grey’s Anatomy – ABC
Chandra Wilson’s Bailey is an extremely work-oriented person who can also be quite nosy. Her character’s transition from a strict rule-follower to a more empathetic and understanding person mirrors the changes that many people go through in their own lives.

10. Squidward – SpongeBob SquarePants – Nickelodeon
While SpongeBob SquarePants may be the titular character, it is Squidward who is more relatable to adult viewers. Squidward’s grumpiness and desire for a simple, disturbance-free life make him an understandable character that viewers can sympathize with.

9. Arabella – I May Destroy You – BBC One & HBO
Michaela Coel’s Arabella is a realistic character that viewers can connect with on a deep level. Her experiences with sexual assault and the aftermath of trauma make her both sympathetic and inspiring.

8. Ted Mosby – How I Met Your Mother – CBS
Josh Radnor’s Ted Mosby goes through a rollercoaster of struggles, particularly in his love life. His acceptance of the fact that he may not end up with the woman he loves inspires viewers to examine their own lives and relationships.

7. Jerry Seinfeld – Seinfeld – NBC
Jerry Seinfeld’s character is filled with flaws, but his everyday struggles and relatable experiences made him an attractive character to audiences. His voice of reason and reflection of our own selves made Seinfeld’s sitcom a hit.

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Creating compelling and relatable characters is no easy feat, but these characters have succeeded in resonating with viewers and winning their hearts. By tapping into emotional levels and providing realistic experiences, these characters have become some of the most beloved in TV history.

More often than not, TV shows tend to be our mode of escape. It is the characters in these shows that make us either like the show or don’t like it and quite frequently, the characters to whom we are able to connect, relate, or sympathize end up winning our hearts. However, for that to happen, these characters have to be more realistic, and they also have to have certain qualities that make them appealing to the viewers. So, yes, it is not easy to construct such characters, but some TV shows have succeeded in doing just that.


These characters tap into our emotional levels and make us root for them. Interestingly, they might end up being your “best friend” in a virtual sort of way. Here’s a list of some characters that many viewers have been able to connect to. They definitely have won the shows.

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15 Lizzie – Lizzie McGuire

Lizzie with her animated version
Disney Channel

The titular character of this early 2000 Disney show is cheery and quite vibrant. Played by Hilary Duff, what follows is Lizzie’s attempts at trying to navigate a teenage world. The main reason why she enters this list is her animated version. The animated version of Lizzie speaks out her inner thoughts in a soliloquy style. She is sassy and lively and is able to easily win over the viewers.

Lizzie’s close bonds with her family and friends and the way in which she goes through certain challenges make her quite appealing to the younger audience.

14 Arya Stark – Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
HBO

Even though Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was the supposed protagonist of the show, it was Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) that won over everybody. Arya enters the show as a young, rule-defying girl who is quite passionate about learning to fight. Things take a turn when Arya is separated from her family and is forced to survive on her own. Arya’s character development and the way in which she witnesses her family’s brutal murders have garnered much sympathy.

She ends up being one of the strongest heroines of the show and the one that does not let anyone or anything control her. Williams’s performance is a key element in ensuring Arya connects with the audience. The character’s intelligence and perseverance act as a form of motivation and inspiration to the viewers.

13 June Osborne – The Handmaid’s Tale

Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
Hulu

Played by Elisabeth Moss, June Osborne is the protagonist in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel. Like Arya, June goes through some of the most brutal and vicious events. She is not only taken away from her family, but she is also forced to “breed” children in the most absurd and heinous social system created by a new government called Gilead.

June’s constant attempts at going against the system by saving children, helping fellow handmaids, and trying to get to her daughter make her a very realistic character. However, the show also shows how humane she is by focusing on the mistakes she makes and her urge to get revenge on those who wronged her. Since her acts are very understandable and reasonable, viewers are able to connect to her easily.

12 Jake Peralta – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jake shows off some passes he got for a
NBC

Here’s a more “chill” and “fun” character that brought good laughter to the viewers. Played by Andy Samberg, Jake Peralta is a smart detective in the 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department. However, his intelligence is covered or rather goes unnoticed at first due to his childish behavior. Peralta is definitely a stubborn child who is always eager to play pranks and to just have a good time.

Unlike other members of the team, Peralta finds his work to be a sort of game and thus, he enjoys challenging tasks. So, how do people connect to such a character? It is Peralta’s character development and the obstacles he faces that make him very relatable. He is introduced as a childish detective, but he exists in the show as a very responsible father. As the character grows, the viewers are able to identify their selves with the character’s development.

11 Miranda Bailey – Grey’s Anatomy

Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey
ABC

She might not be the protagonist of the show, but she is definitely one character that everyone roots for. Bailey, played by Chandra Wilson, is an extremely work-oriented person who can also be quite nosy. What makes Bailey so relatable, according to Wilson herself, is that she is “going through that same transition that most folks in the world are going through right now, where your priorities change as a result of everything that we’ve been through”.

10 Squidward – SpongeBob SquarePants

A grumpy Squidward
Nickelodeon

If you were a SpongeBob SquarePants fan growing up, you might have loved the protagonist, SpongeBob, and hated his neighbor, the grumpy Squidward, as a child. However, now, as adults, there’s a high probability that you understand where Squidward’s grumpiness stems from and thus, sympathizes with him. Squidward, and not SpongeBob, enters this list simply because Squidward is the one character who is relatable.

All he wants is a simple and disturbance-free life, but SpongeBob and others are not letting him do that. In a way, SpongeBob represents the energy-filled children while Squidward represents the drained adults, that is why, the older audience is able to connect to the latter and feel sorry for him.

9 Arabella – I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel as Arabella Essiedu
BBC One & HBO

If you are yet to watch this underrated Black comedy, this is a reminder to binge it. I May Destroy You follows Arabella (Michaela Coel), whose life starts collapsing after a very dark and twisted turn. The story of how Arabella is drugged and sexually assaulted following a night out acts as a reminder of the many vicious sexual assault stories.

Michaela Coel writes this show by taking inspiration from her own story of how she “regained consciousness and realized she had been sexually assaulted while finishing an assignment as a writer on her series Chewing Gum“. This fact in itself shows how realistic the character is and why the viewers are able to connect to her. You will feel sorry for Arabella, but she will also inspire you.

8 Ted Mosby – How I Met Your Mother

Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby
CBS

How I Met Your Mother might focus on a group of very different friends, each facing their own struggles, but it is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor, who comes off as the most connectable character. Ted’s life is a whole rollercoaster. He goes through so many issues as he tried to figure out what he wants and who he is. Perhaps, the biggest struggle is Ted’s love life. Over the course of the series, Ted dates so many different women, even though he is definitely and clearly attracted to Robin (Cobie Smulders). However, at the end, Ted finds one woman with whom he is able to start a solid and happy life.

The show acts as a reminder of how we will all go through different struggles and meet different people in the process of becoming a better person. Ted’s acceptance of the fact that he might not have a happy ending with Robin and letting her go is the biggest turning point in his life, and it also inspires the viewers to tap into their own lives and see what/who they have to let go.

7 Jerry Seinfeld – Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld
NBC

Seinfeld‘s “serene belief that characters did not have to be likable as long as they were interesting foreshadowed a change in TV drama”, says Vulture’s Matt Seitz. This is exactly why people were attracted to this sitcom. Seinfeld‘s Jerry Seinfeld, played by Seinfeld himself, is a character filled with flaws and one that acts as a voice of reason. Yes, he can be annoying, but he is also a reflection of our own selves.

The show’s focus on everyday life rather than something big and spectacular is what made him so attractive to everyone. Here, we are given a story with characters who are not better than ourselves, in turn, making us feel good and seen.

6 Rachel Green – Friends

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green
NBC

Even if all the characters in Friends are relatable, it is Rachel Greene that comes off as the most relatable and connectable one. Played by Jennifer Aniston, Rachel enters the show, literally, as a runaway bride and a spoiled brat. She attempts to romanticize the “independent” life of her friends, specifically Monica Gellar (Courteney Cox) only to realize that it is not as easy as it seems.

She might have started off as a waitress, but she ends up being a successful fashion designer. Moreover, her character growth stems from her relationship with her friends and the different people she dates. Her struggles are what makes her come off as relatable. So, even if the viewers start being annoyed by her at first, they eventually begin to like her and sympathize with her.

5 Ginger – As Told by Ginger

Ginger Foutley writes on her journal.
MTV Networks

Yet another underrated show, As Told by Ginger is an early-2000 cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon. The protagonist, Ginger, is one of the most relatable characters in cartoon history simply because the struggles she goes through resonate with the struggles we all go through. Ginger might be a junior, but she is portrayed as someone who is quite mature for her age. Her identity crisis and her journey of trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to be can be quite emotional.

What makes viewers be so sympathetic towards Ginger is that she is a character who doesn’t have everything. Her single mother is often seeing trying so hard to build the perfect space for her children and thus, the show brings forth a protagonist that melts your heart.

Related: As Told By Ginger: Why Is It Relatable Today?

4 BoJack – BoJack Horseman

BoJack looks at his reflection
Netflix Streaming Services

There is one simple reason why BoJack Horseman is so popular among adults, even though the show’s protagonist is a horse-man; the show is a representation of our own bitter adult self and our flaws. Yes, BoJack is toxic and yes, he is abusive towards himself, but he is also one very relatable character that makes you understand your own struggles.

BoJack’s bitter state, his loneliness, his broken bonds, and basically, his not-even-close-to-perfect image makes the viewers feel seen and understood. That is why, regardless of his negative traits, you will find yourself so connected to him.

3 Danny Cho – Beef

Steven Yeun as Danny Cho
Netflix

Beef might be a rivalry between two very different people; Amy Lau played by Ali Wong and Danny Cho played by Steven Yeun, but it is hard to ignore the fact that the audience tends to sympathize with and, thus, connect to Danny. Amy’s seemingly perfect life and her affluent status make her come off as some rich woman who is picking on this man simply because she has nothing else to do.

Even if the truth is that Amy has her own struggles, it is Danny’s obvious struggles that make him relatable. His financial crisis, his collapsing company, and his deteriorating mental health will make you feel terrible for him. Also, all these issues are very real and understandable and things that many middle-class people go through.

2 Rue – Euphoria

euphoria rue special episode
HBO

Yet another character that makes you feel bad for them, Euphoria‘s Rue (Zendaya) is a struggling teenager who is going through drug addiction and other issues. No matter how bad you feel for Rue, you will also get annoyed by her acts. However, this is yet another reason why we are able to connect to her. Rue’s arrogance and stubbornness and her ability to get into trouble show how humane she is.

Her struggle with her own self, her mother, her friends, and her past allows her to be an imperfect character with whom the viewers are able to relate.

Related:Could The Idol and Euphoria Be Set in the Same Universe?

1 Fleabag – Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag
BBC Three & BBC One

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag is a Black comedy based on her one-woman play of the same name. It focuses on the protagonist’s struggling life as she tries to navigate it amidst her own mental health issues, problems with her family, and other bonds. Fleabag might be selfish and sometimes quite toxic, but it only makes her seem more humane.

The constant breaking of the fourth wall and her responses to the viewers allows them to be a part of her life, in turn, making them feel more seen and connected. That is why Fleabag is one character that will instantly grab your attention. She will show how real-life’s struggles are, and you will end up feeling heard and seen.

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