January 13, 2011

My Top 5 Favorite Sitcom HBICs

For those of you not so savvy on the trickle-down slang terminology from Vh1's very own Tiffany "New York" Pollard, HBIC stands for "head bitch in charge." These women take control in the home and the workplace and don't take crap from anybody. Here's a countdown of my favorite HBICs in the world of sitcoms:

5. Elaine Benes
Seinfeld (1989-1998)
portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Elaine is truly one of the boys and often dominates her group of friends. With the dunces that are George and Kramer, Elaine is the only one of the friends that can match Jerry's wit. She isn't afraid to speak her mind. Elaine tells off her boss, throws George's toupee from a window, and dramatically tells her boyfriend (Puddy) that she will see him in Hell.

Elaine also tends to have a bizarrely strong impact on those around her. Many of her business ideas are picked up by others and result in their downfall. For instance, she suggests the entire city being required to wear name tags. Lloyd Braun incorporates the idea into his mayoral campaign and loses as a result. Perhaps most importantly, however, Seinfeld manages to portray Elaine as a serial dater without making her out to be an idiotic slut. Kudos.

4. Liz Lemon
30 Rock (2006-present)
portrayed by Tina Fey

Liz Lemon is a woman for the modern age. She's hardworking, smart, and usually single. In her longest-standing relationship, with Dennis Duffy, she was the primary bread maker. She single-handedly wrangles the dueling egos of The Girlie Show's two stars: Jenna and Tracy. As the show has progressed, she has honed her confidence and is able to go toe-to-toe with her boss, Jack Donaghy.

As the show's head writer, Liz works late nights and harnesses all the good ideas from her generally-idiotic slacker writing staff. Though she often does struggle from insecurities and the wish to be liked by her subordinates, she always gives in to instinct and lays down the law. And if it's Teamster Sub Day, you do NOT want to touch Liz Lemon's sandwich.

3. Danny Tanner
Full House (1987-1995)
portrayed by Bob Saget

Danny Tanner can't get no respect. Playing both mother and father to his three daughters, (or one third of the parental unit if you count those two clowns that live in the house) Danny works tirelessly to keep the Tanner household organized, clean, and functional. He teaches his daughters valuable moral lessons and sings them three part harmonies. Not to mention wrangling the wild antics of Jesse and Joey, who are just bums, bad roommates and even worse role models.

Danny is also the only one in the home with a steady job, as your favorite morning talk show host on "Wake Up, San Francisco!" Even after all of that, Wikipedia has the audacity to call Jesse Katsopolis the protagonist of Full House. How rude. Here's to you, Danny Tanner, a true modern lady and a hell of a HBIC.

2. Lucille Bluth
Arrested Development (2003-2006)
portrayed by Jessica Walter

Lucille Bluth is a megabitch. As the matriarch of the most dysfunctional family to ever grace the small screen, Lucille is manipulative and callous. She controls both the Bluth Company and the Bluth family. Lucille constantly misappropriates company funds, steals control of the corporation from her son, Michael, and is eventually revealed to be the mastermind behind all of the Bluth Company's illegal actions (the very same ones that put her husband in prison.)

Back at the homestead, Lucille plays puppet master by turning her progeny against one another; including indulging her granddaughter, Maeby, to infuriate daughter Lindsay. She also keeps her youngest son, Buster, on such a short leash that he's become socially inept and prone to panic attacks. Congrats to Lucille for being the most despicable HBIC on this list.

1. Claire Huxtable
The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
portrayed by Phylicia Rashad

Cliff & Clair Huxtable are the most creative and effective parents in the history of television. From punishing Vanessa's drunken binge with a (fake) family drinking game to freak her out to teaching Theo what life would be like if he struck out on his own by turning the home into a fake shoddy apartment complex, they never run out of ideas.

But when it comes down to it, Clair always triumphs over Cliff in a competition; be it their ongoing game of "Gotcha!" to the time she outbids him (over the phone) on his favorite jazz record. She is also the true disciplinarian of the household, giving Vanessa the verbal lashing of a lifetime for sneaking out to a concert. On top of it all, she is a successful attorney and partner at her firm. Clair Huxtable is the biggest sitcom HBIC of all time.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing work, Sophie. A very well formatted and put together article with lots of specifics. Way to spoil the ending of Arrested Development though :P

    Is it possible to "spoil" a TV event that's almost a decade old?