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9 Popular TV Characters That Looked Exactly The Same Years Later

When you think back on the last five or ten years of your life, can you say that you look nearly identical to how you looked back then? In the world of television, there is sometimes a good amount of fluctuation involved in how our favorite characters are presented, from haircuts to glasses to personality-driven shifts in wardrobe, but there are always those characters that manage to look almost exactly the same from one season to the next.

Here are 9 characters from TV’s modern era that retained their core look throughout entire runs of a series. Some of these shows are still on the air, so they could technically introduce some major changes next season, but they probably won’t.


Phoebe (Friends)

From singing Smelly Cat to marrying Crap Bag, Phoebe Buffet managed to retain her basic look throughout 10 years of Friends. Lisa Kudrow never had her weight go up and down as one or two of her co-stars did, and even though she would sometimes switch up her hairstyles for certain episodes, it basically stayed the same throughout. And though it’s been over a decade since the show ended, Kudrow could still nail that role without any noticeable differences.


Carla (Cheers)

Throughout all 11 seasons of Cheers, Rhea Perlman’s Carla Tortelli was a firecracker of a woman, with a snappy personality that perfectly matched her look of frazzledly curly hair and bemused tight-lipped sneers. It’s impossible to think about what Carla could have done to switch up her appearance without looking completely bizarre, though I’m pretty sure she’d rock a mean mohawk. I like to think that’s what she’s got going now, 22 years after the show’s finale.

big bang theory

Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory)

Like almost everything about Big Bang Theory, from its geeked-out jokes to its massive ratings, the look of Sheldon Cooper has barely been altered in the show’s eight years. Which is probably fine to the T-shirt-donning Sheldon, since he might not adapt so well to change, or to people’s reactions to any changes. The same can’t be said for Kaley Cuoco’s Penny, though, whose dramatic haircut last year set TV audiences on fire.

sesame street

Maria (Sesame Street)

If you’re going to pop into people’s houses on a daily basis to teach their children about basic skills like reading and counting, it’d certainly help to remain as familiar as possible, especially if it’s a gig that lasts well over 40 years. Such was the case with Sonia Manzano’s Maria on Sesame Street, whose main changes were that she got even warmer and classier in the years after debuting on the show in the early 1970s. We still can’t believe she’s not there anymore.


Jerry (Seinfeld)

What is the deal with looking exactly the same for all 9 years of Seinfeld? Jerry stayed single, thin and neat, with rarely a single hair changed on his head. (That’s different now, though.) I guess since part of his mission was to get into as many dismantleable relationships as possible, his signature look didn’t need to be altered. Still, that doesn’t stop me from wondering what Jerry would have looked like with a beard. That’d be worth an Elaine dance or two.

law and order

Anita (Law & Order)

Law & Order is one of the longest-running dramas in TV history, and S. Epatha Merkerson’s Lieutenant Anita Van Buren was on more episodes than any other character. And in those first 16 years, what was the main difference in her appearance? Her hair used to be a shade poofier in the past. Now, Season 20 was admittedly different, as she got cancer and lost her hair through chemotherapy. But it’s not like she started wearing a giant blue wig after that.

wet hot

Andy (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp)

Okay, so this character is something of an outlier on this list, as Paul Rudd’s Andy Fleckner first appeared in the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer, and there were only 8 episodes of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. But 14 years passed in between those projects, and somehow Rudd managed to look even younger the second time he played the character. Which almost makes sense, since it’s a prequel series, but doesn’t make sense, because aging!

murder she wrote

Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote)

For 12 seasons and four made-for-TV movies, Angela Lansbury’s Jessica Fletcher was a mystery writer getting caught up in real-life cases and doing better detective work than the actual detectives. And in all that time, she kept her winning smile just as intact as the short mop of hair on her head. Some people might have let massive fame get to them, with makeovers and other beautifying transformations, but Jessica kept it simple, unlike the murders she solved.

the simpsons

Marge (The Simpsons)

This might be a cheat, since Marge Simpson is an animated character, but she’s still been around for 26 years, and somehow Homer’s moronic actions haven’t continually forced her to pull her glorious blue locks out. The show does switch things up by giving us a younger Marge with long, flowing hair to counter her beehive, but she’s remained loyal to her motherly look – pearl necklace and all – throughout adulthood, which has kept her at roughly the same age in over 570 episodes of The Simpsons. So obviously Marge wins this list!

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.