Most TV shows rely more on archetypes than intricately developed characters. Whereas movies can be subtle, slow-building, and realistic, cartoons and sitcoms need to be overt and easy to understand.
One recurring character type is the dumb friend. Rarely the protagonist, these intellect-impaired characters end up being sidekicks who help cause all kinds of crazy situations that normal people don't get into.
But they rarely have malicious intent, so we can never be too mad at them—especially if they manage to make us laugh all the time.
Here are my picks for the most stupid characters on TV that we still find lovable and enjoy watching on our screens!
10. Patrick Star in SpongeBob SquarePants (1999)
Although it's a kids show, SpongeBob SquarePants is still enjoyed by adults who find the underwater adventures funny and comforting. When reaching for light cartoon entertainment, the Nickelodeon animation never fails to make us chuckle.
And while SpongeBob himself is fairly simple-minded and naively optimistic, he's nothing compared to his best friend Patrick Star.
The overweight starfish is ignorant and lazy. He's a self-proclaimed champion of the "art of doing nothing," who says things like: "Is mayonnaise an instrument?" and "Maybe it is stupid, but it's also dumb," and "Roses are blue, violets are red... I have to go to the bathroom."
9. Kevin Malone in The Office (2005)
In 2005, when NBC remade The Office for American audiences, Steve Carell replaced Ricky Gervais as the manager of a paper company comprised of incompetent and/or oddball employees.
Most of them, including the manager himself, aren't particularly smart—hence them being stuck in a boring office job. But even among them, one stands out as particularly dumb: Kevin Malone (played brilliantly by Brian Baumgartner).
As the US version of the original Keith Bishop, Kevin has absolutely no communication skills, and at one point it gets so bad that someone assumes he has learning disabilities. (Hint: He doesn't.)
8. Drake Parker in Drake & Josh (2004)
Drake & Josh is a Nickelodeon teen sitcom that anyone can enjoy, and some of you may even remember watching this as a kid.
Played by Drake Bell (who lives more off-screen nowadays than his co-star Josh Peck), Drake Parker is a ladies man without a brain. He thinks a sibling is a baby pig and he pronounces "South America" as South "Armarica" (and he has no idea where it is).
What Drake lacks in grades, he makes up for with charm, guitar skills, and popularity. Of course, that doesn't stop him from dragging his genius step-brother into stupid situations, often caused by jealousy or their devious little sister Megan (Miranda Cosgrove).
7. Michael Kelso in That '70s Show (1998)
Michael Kelso from That '70s Show is a dumb-witted pretty boy who gets by in life purely on his looks.
Being the local idiot, Michael ends up as the oldest in the friendship gang because he repeated first grade. Later, when he tries to become a cop, the police drop him for being too incompetent—so he becomes a security guard for a Playboy Club instead.
James Franco originally auditioned for the role, but Ashton Kutcher clinched it. Quotes like "I have the three things that women want: I'm hot and I'm smart!" are a great example of Michael's stupidity.
6. Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation (2009)
Sir Andrew Maxwell Dwyer KBE, or just Andy Dwyer, is the biggest man-child on TV. He's an unemployed slacker whose immaturity drives most girlfriends away—or, at least, that's how he starts out in Parks and Recreation.
Eventually, Andy gets a job as a shoe shiner, as an assistant, and as a musician in a band that's had over 30 different names.
Andy Dwyer wasn't meant to be a regular character in Parks and Recreation, but viewers loved him so much he had to stay.
Chris Pratt appears as Andy throughout most of the show, but was absent for season six while filming Guardians of the Galaxy, shocking viewers with his transformation from teddy bear to chiseled superhero.
5. Jason Mendoza in The Good Place (2016)
When we first meet Jason Mendoza, everyone assumes he's a wise Taiwanese monk who's taken on a vow of silence. As it turns out, he's actually a criminal who has no idea what's going on, strolling through the afterlife with a bewildered look plastered on his face.
Played by Manny Jacinto, Jason has no sense of object permanence, trips into malapropisms, and apparently has a brain "smooth as an egg."
After accidentally being sent to the Good Place (Heaven) as a monk, it's revealed that Jason should really be in the Bad Place—because Jason was a drug-abusing thief, scammer, and DJ with no self-discipline.
However, most of this is due to a low IQ, and he's actually a super nice dude whose guilelessness keeps in the Good Place.
4. Jeremy Usborne in Peep Show (2003)
I could list a hundred funny quotes from Peep Show, a series packed with Jeremy and Mark reeling off their inner monologues.
Jeremy "Jez" Usborne (played by Robert Webb) is the selfish, freeloading, and utterly stupid flatmate of the uptight, socially inept nerd Mark Corrigan (played by David Mitchell).
The polar opposite best friends get into every kind of awkward situation you could think of!
Some of my favorite Jez lines include:
"I love the homeless, one of my own would be amazing. I could look after him. Not like a Tamagotchi... better."
"You realize that tinned food is just for crackheads and wars?"
"Justice is done. Not actual justice, but what I wanted to happen, which is basically the same thing."
3. Homer Simpson in The Simpsons (1989)
A list like this would be incomplete without Homer Simpson, the moronic and accident-prone safety inspector of a nuclear power plant, whose passions include daytime TV, sleeping, and beer.
As the father of the yellow Simpsons family, Homer somehow manages to escape death every episode (much to the dismay of Frank Grimes) and spends most of his time binge-eating and/or drunk.
Although Homer is impulsive, selfish, and greedy, he does genuinely love his family. He'll do anything for his wife Marge, and when he isn't causing havoc, he's trying to make up for it (at least in the earlier seasons).
Dan Castellaneta is the voice behind Matt Groening's iconic, donut-loving cartoon everyman, who gave us the infamous catchphrase: "D'oh!"
2. Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls (1985)
The Golden Girls was a popular sitcom in the 1980s, starring Betty White as the innocently naïve Rose Nylund.
Brought up in The St. Olaf's Orphanage and a dairy farm, Rose was smart enough to keep 56 boyfriends hidden from her adopted parents. But from there on, she just seemed to get dumber with age.
Yet, despite her sarcasm and simple mind, Rose is a saintly loyal friend to her housemates in Miami.
Co-star Rue McClanahan was originally billed to play Rose, but White proved a better fit on set—probably due to playing the similarly perky Sue Nivens in The Mary Tyler Moore Show—so they switched roles.
1. Joey Tribbiani in Friends (1994)
Joey Tribbiani gets by in life solely on his looks. The only thing he's fit to do is charm women into bed with a single line ("How you doin'?"), and later remember his lines as a (surprisingly successful) actor.
Played by Matt LeBlanc, Joey is the dumbest one of the Friends gang. He's of Italian-American descent, he has seven sisters, and he loves meatball subs. He doesn't move much at all, yet still manages to be a model. Most of all, he's dim-witted and feeble-minded.
But Joey Tribbiani is fiercely loyal, super sweet, and downright hilarious. He's silly, honest, and lovable, especially when he gets on with Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), who's similarly flirty and ditzy.