Lead characters might get the television commercials and the headlines, but it’s often the supporting characters who are the difference between a TV program being a lot of fun and stinking to high heaven. From annoying best friends to sassy love interests to school bullies, these lesser used players become fan favorites over the long haul, and they interject much needed emotions that add levity and depth. So, let’s take a look back and celebrate some of those great 90s supporting characters.
Below, you will find 10 TV sidekicks from the 1990s. I’ve gone ahead and included the name of the show, the years it was on the air, the actor or actress and some memorable traits. Examine the pictures and try to come up with a name.
Are you ready? Then let’s roll…
TV Show: Full House
Years On The Air: 1987-1995
Played By: Andrea Barber
Best Known For: Being impulsive, annoying everyone all the time, lacking common sense, shopping without money, having offensive foot odor and hanging out with DJ Tanner.
She’s pretty much loathed by everyone in the Tanner Household that isn’t DJ.
TV Show: The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
Years On The Air: 1990-1996
Played By: Alfonso Ribeiro
Best Known For: Leaning hard to the right, dancing like it’s the first time ever moving his body, obsessing over Princeton, lacking social awareness and being involved in a familiar rivalry with Will Smith.
He started out as basically a punchline and counterpoint to Will Smith, but eventually, he became a pretty interesting, more developed character.
TV Show: Seinfeld
Years On The Air: 1989-1998
Played By: Danny Woodburn
Best Known For: Having an army of ex-wives, fighting at the drop of a hat, impersonating little children, working as an elf, lacking height and doing everything with Kramer.
He doesn’t appear in a ton of episodes, but when he does, he steals scene after scene.
TV Show: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Years On The Air: 1997-2003
Played By: Alyson Hannigan
Best Known For: her shyness, tech-savviness, her crush on Xander. Later known for her skills with magic, her dark (and veiny) side, and her romance with Tara. Always known for being Buffy's best friend and trusted ally... except for that time she went evil.
She’s the second most important character on the show, and she really the perfect balance.
TV Show: Saved By The Bell
Years On The Air: 1989-1993
Played By: Dustin Diamond
Best Known For: his high-pitched voice, extreme intelligence, creepy obsession with Lisa Turtle and complete idiocy. Also, in early seasons, his one of a kind robot and in later seasons, his girlfriend Violet Ann Bickerstaff. At all points, he’s Zack Morris’ best friend.
Because of the later incarnations he appeared on, as well, this character is probably more closely identified with Saved By The Bell than any other.
TV Show: Home Improvement
Years On The Air: 1991-1999
Played By: Richard Karn
Best Known For: Being good with his hands, lacking confidence with women, growing a thick beard, having an overbearing mother and being Tim Taylor’s best friend and almost constant adversary.
Look at that beard. It’s a thing of beauty.
TV Show: The Wonder Years
Years On The Air: 1988-1993
Played By: Josh Saviano
Best Known For: Rocking terrible glasses, being a genius, attending a high class private school (briefly), sneezing like it’s his job, stabbing Kevin in the back by dating Winnie Cooper (briefly) and being Kevin’s best friend.
Like any friendship, this character and Kevin drift together and apart quite a bit, but in the end, they’ll always be joined at the hip in the minds of viewers.
TV Show: Doug
Years On The Air: 1991-1994, 1996-1999
Played By: Fred Newman
Best Known For: Having blue skin, making honking sounds, slicking his hair straight up, dropping damn near everything he’s asked to carry and hanging out with Doug Funnie almost constantly.
Let’s just be honest. Doug himself had a woefully underdeveloped personality. Luckily, his buddy here didn’t.
TV Show: Beverly Hills, 90210
Years On The Air: 1990-2000
Played By: Ian Ziering
Best Known For: Having access to his dad’s money, partying on a regular basis, driving a Corvette, sometimes having an F- haircut, sometimes having a C+ haircut, being kind of a dumbass, eventually trying his hand at the newspaper business and generally being the random wingman on 90210 that Brandon needs.
If the average Beverly Hills, 90210 fan was asked to make a list of the show’s most important characters, this dude would not make anyone’s top five. That being said, he did bring a certain light-heartedness to the show.
TV Show: The Drew Carey Show
Years On The Air: 1995-2004
Played By: Ryan Stiles
Best Known For: Creeping everyone out, saying bizarre things, having a genius level IQ, underachieving at life, being joined at the hip with Oswald and hanging out with Drew Carey on the regular.
The Drew Carey Show never really gave this character as much backstory as he deserved. There was clearly something weird going on there, but alas, now all we can do is speculate.
This poll is no longer available.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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