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    I Ranked 13 Sitcom Dudes By How Mediocre They Secretly Are

    From Ted Lasso to Jim Halpert, we are breaking down exactly how mediocre these sitcom protagonists really are.

    Mediocre men are as American as apple pie, and nowhere else does the slightly below-average male have a richer history than on TV, specifically on sitcoms. From the earliest days of television, dudes have been thriving despite putting in little to no effort while laugh tracks help mask their shortcomings. 

    Warner Bros. Television / Via giphy.com

    But who truly reigns supreme as the one true Mediocre Sitcom Man? As a proud mediocre dude myself, I feel uniquely qualified to judge these fictional characters based on their middle-of-the-roadness. First, a couple of ground rules:

    1. Obviously, the term mediocre is broad and its exact definition can change from person to person. So in the case of this list, I'm judging a character's mediocrity by how unremarkable they are. It's not that they're necessarily villainous, it's more that they have a potent blend of average ability and unearned entitlement that make them annoying or downright harmful to everyone around them. Some of these guys will be mediocre at work, while others will be mediocre in their love lives or as parents. And the truly mediocre will prove to lack any real prowess in all areas of life.

    2. Sitcom characters only. While there are no shortage of mediocre men in TV, sitcoms are the place where they most often aren't actually supposed to be seen that way. So apologies to anyone who was hoping to see Will Schuester, Pete Campbell, and all of Rory Gilmore's boyfriends except Jess.

    Warner Bros. Television / Via giphy.com

    3. They can't be mediocre on purpose. George Costanza is defined by his mediocrity as a man, but that's literally the point of the character, so including him wouldn't be any fun. Same goes for the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang.

    4. Low score means less mediocre. These guys earn points for their mediocrity, so the lower the final score, the less bland they are.

    That's really it. So without further ado, here is my official ranking, which I'm sure nobody will disagree with at all. May the worst man win.

    13. Danny Tanner (Full House)

    Jodie Sweetin sitting on Bob Saget's lap while Candace Cameron smiles.
    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) may be absurdly wholesome almost to the point of parody, but he's definitely not mediocre. After the death of his wife, he's willing to be vulnerable and admit to his best friend Joey (Dave Coulier) and brother-in-law Jesse (John Stamos) that he needs help raising his three daughters. While being a nurturing and caring father, he also manages to become the co-anchor of Wake Up, San Francisco. And while his family may make fun of him for his obsession with cleaning, who hates a clean house? The only real knock against Danny is that, like pretty much everyone else in the Tanner family, he is so inexplicably cruel to DJ's best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber).

    Verdict: Good father with an accomplished career and an affinity for cleanliness (3/10).

    Rent Full House on Amazon Prime.

    12. Ted Lasso (Ted Lasso)

    Jason Sudeikis with a big grin on his face.
    Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

    There's been no shortage of criticism leveled against Ted (Jason Sudeikis), with naysayers complaining that the titular mustachioed manager's "just be happy" solution to all of life's problems is actually an example of the shallow nature of toxic positivity. But I would argue that the second season of the Emmy-winning show has explored the limits of Ted's optimistic approach to life through his own feelings of inadequacy in regards to his late father and failed marriage. He sincerely wants to help the people around him be the best versions of themselves, and that's a commendable quality. 

    Where Ted does earn some mediocre points is as an actual manager, as he seems to have less of an understanding of the rules of soccer than your kid's youth soccer coach. If you're going to be a professional soccer manager, you should definitely know what offsides is.

    Verdict: Ted has a heart of gold and more than enough Midwestern niceness, but seriously, buddy, read a rulebook or something (4/10).

    Watch Ted Lasso on Apple TV+.

    11. Jake Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

    Terry Crews explaining something to Andy Samberg.
    Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    At the start of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) would have been much higher on this list. He's a smug, immature rascal who thinks he's above the rules and every aspect of his life other than his work is a disaster. But thanks in large part to his relationships with Amy (Melissa Fumero), Captain Holt (Andre Braugher), and the rest of the Nine-Nine, Jake grows into a responsible, empathetic man who is able to express his feelings and be a good friend, husband, and father to the people in his life he cares about most. Unfortunately, he does lose points for the fact that he remains so terrible with money, continuing to throw cash into dumb pyramid schemes and fake cryptocurrencies.

    Verdict: Grows from incredibly mediocre to only slightly mediocre by the end of the series (4.5/10). 

    Watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu.

    10. Nick Miller (New Girl)

    Jake Johnson giving a big shrug.
    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    On paper, Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) seems to have racked up a plethora of mediocre points. He works as a bartender at a mostly empty dive, struggles to process his emotions outside of grumpy outbursts, and literally keeps all evidence of his poor life choices in a box that he refuses to acknowledge. But life isn't lived on paper, and in reality, Nick is a swell guy who is an extremely loyal friend and is simply disinterested in all of the nonsense that comes with pretending to be a grown-up (as evidenced by him choosing to bail on law school despite passing the bar exam). And while he is too immature to date Jess (Zooey Deschanel) the first time around, by the end of the show, Nick has grown into the young adult novelist of her dreams. 

    Verdict: Nick may seem mediocre to the untrained eye, but in reality, he is simply disinterested in all of the nonsense that comes with adulthood. Although the crippling debt is troubling (5/10).

    Watch New Girl on Netflix.

    9. Sam Malone (Cheers)

    Kirstie Alley talking while Ted Danson sits.
    NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Similar to Nick, Sam Malone (Ted Danson) shows signs of mediocrity on the surface. The washed-up former baseball player now runs a bar mostly occupied by semi-functioning alcoholics, and he simply cannot resist diving headfirst into will they/won't theys rather than commit to a real relationship. But while Sam is certainly an incorrigible scoundrel, he mostly avoids being outright mediocre. First of all, running a bar as a recovering alcoholic is no small feat. He's also a great boss, treating Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) and Carla (Rhea Perlman) more like family than employees. And while he'll never be the richest man in Boston, the community that Sam has built at Cheers is pretty remarkable, especially since it's all that guys like Norm (George Wendt) and Cliff (John Ratzenberger) have.

    Verdict: Sam loses mediocre points for cultivating the bar where everybody knows your name, but he still has plenty of man-childish qualities (6/10).

    Watch Cheers on Peacock.

    8. Patrick Brewer (Schitt's Creek)

    Noah Reid smiling while playing guitar.
    POP / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The love story between Patrick (Noah Reid) and David (Dan Levy) is extremely heartwarming, but the tough reality is that as an individual, Patrick is a pretty boring dude. Supportive boyfriend? Absolutely. Nice guy? No question. But for the most part, he kind of just exists to look mildly amused by all of the kooky things David and the rest of the Rose family do and say. Let's put it this way: If Patrick was dating one of your friends, you'd think he was a perfectly nice guy who treats your friend well, but you wouldn't really care one way or another if he tags along when you and your friend hang out.

    Verdict: Mostly average, but he loses a few mediocre points for being a loving and caring boyfriend to David (6.5/10).

    Watch Schitt's Creek on Netflix.

    7. JD (Scrubs)

    Zach Braff wearing a fedora on the beach.
    ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The good news is that John Dorian (Zach Braff) is a fantastic doctor, so much so that he even earns the unbridled praise of his reluctant mentor, Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). And his borderline romantic best friendship with Turk (Donald Faison) shows that he doesn't struggle with repressing his emotions, the surest sign of a mediocre dude. The bad news is in most other aspects of his life, JD's a bit of a hot mess. He's notoriously terrible at relationships, as evidenced by his nearly decade-long saga with Elliot (Sarah Chalke), and while the voiceover narration is a clever storytelling device, it reveals just how much of a maladjusted, up-his-own-ass whiner he is most of the time.

    Verdict: JD is a great doctor, but my diagnosis is that he's got a bad case of the mediocres (7/10).

    Watch Scrubs on Amazon Prime.

    6. Dave Rose (Happy Endings)

    Zachary Knighton shrugging in a pink bathrobe while sitting on the couch.
    ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Dave (Zachary Knighton) is an interesting case because he actually has the opposite trajectory of most sitcom characters. He starts off as a pretty normal — if somewhat boring — everyman, but over the course of three seasons, he slowly descends into a lovable walking punchline who simply cannot keep from screwing up his life in almost every conceivable way. His dating shenanigans include breaking up with a girl at her dad's funeral and getting back together with the woman who left him at the altar. He runs a food truck that is regularly struggling to stay afloat and to top it all off, he becomes exactly as insufferable as you'd expect a mediocre white man to be when he discovers he's one-sixteenth Navajo. 

    Verdict: Dave's mediocrity may be mostly charming, but it's mediocrity nonetheless (7.5/10).

    Watch Happy Endings on Netflix.

    5. Ray Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)

    Jodie Sweeten sitting as Ray Romano looks confused.
    CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Sure, everybody loves Raymond. But should we? While his successful career as a sports columnist is commendable, the knock against Ray (Ray Romano) primarily comes from his ineptitude at being a good partner to his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton). She seems to bear approximately 98% of all parenting responsibilities, while Ray occasionally checks in on his kids without actually doing anything. But the worst part is Ray's complete spinelessness when it comes to defending his wife from the incessant, thinly veiled, passive-aggressive attacks from his mother, who lives across the street. Instead of setting boundaries with his overbearing parents and supporting Debra, he just kind of shrugs his shoulders and leaves her to suffer alone. Not a great look.

    Verdict: Debra deserved better (8/10).

    Watch Everybody Loves Raymond on Peacock.

    4. Ross Geller (Friends)

    Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc sitting on the couch at the Central Perk.
    Warner Brothers / Courtesy: Everett Collection

    It was impossibly tough to pick which of the three Friends guys to place here, but while Joey (Matt LeBlanc) is a mostly unemployed failed actor who has apparently never paid rent and refuses to share food and Chandler (Matthew Perry) has obvious emotional intelligence issues, it's Ross (David Schwimmer) whose overwhelming mediocrity is hiding in plain sight. Whiny, neurotic, and self-obsessed to the point where you wonder if he would be in the group if he wasn't Monica's brother. Technically, he doesn't cheat (they were on a break), but he has an unhealthy on again-off again relationship with Rachel (The Morning Show's Jennifer Aniston) that lasts for years. He dates a student, gets mad that Rachel wants to hire a male nanny for no reason other than the fact that he's a guy, and he's such a terrible father that you probably forgot he was a dad until this sentence.

    Verdict: Ross is about as mediocre as it gets (8.5/10).

    Watch Friends on HBO Max.

    3. Jim Halpert (The Office)

    John Krasinski looking up with slight concern.
    NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Jim (John Krasinski) may seem like the lone competent person in an office full of weirdos and dummies, but is this merry prankster all he's cracked up to be? The show makes it clear time and time again that Jim is a talented guy who is too busy mugging at the camera and planning shenanigans to apply himself. But is that true? There's more than enough evidence that Jim's talent is mostly getting people to like him by being charming and when he is actually given responsibility as co-manager, he kind of sucks at it. Jim does lose mediocre points for being a devoted husband to Pam (Jenna Fischer), though he did kind of leave her on her own to take care of the kids while he was chasing his dream of opening a sports marketing company or something. But to his credit, once he realized what he was doing, Jim was willing to give it all up to keep his marriage afloat. 

    Verdict: Mostly mediocre but sliiiiightly redeems himself by being a good husband and father (9/10).

    Watch The Office on Peacock.

    2. Eric Forman (That '70s Show)

    Laura Prepon listening while Topher Grace talks.
    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    One of the funniest recurring gags in That '70s Show is Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith) calling Eric (Topher Grace) a dumbass. And upon rewatch, you may find yourself wholeheartedly agreeing with Red's assessment of his son. Because while Eric is framed as a lovable everyman, he's actually a, well, dumbass a lot of the time. For most of the first two seasons, Eric spends his time making his girlfriend, Donna (Laura Prepon), feel shitty about the fact that she wants to wait to have sex for the first time. From there, the couple has their fair share of ups and downs that are mostly caused by Eric getting mad at her for being better than him at stuff because of his fragile ego or him playing the victim after he dumps Donna for not wanting to wear a promise ring. Eventually, Eric ditches Donna entirely to head off to Africa to vaguely help people, and then when he finally comes back after a year, he just acts like he never left. 

    Verdict: Mediocre dumbass extraordinaire (9.5/10).

    Rent That '70s Show on Amazon Prime.

    1. Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)

    Josh Radnor talking in a booth.
    CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

    No sitcom lead has ever embodied mediocrity better than Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor). Despite being the hero of his own story who frames himself as a down-on-his-luck romantic just looking for love, Ted can't help but tell on himself time and time again as a "good guy" who is at best tolerable and at worst completely lackluster. Over the course of nine seasons, it really crystalizes that Ted is a pretentious, narcissistic, immature tool to the point that by the time he meets The Mother (Cristin Milioti), it's hard not to wonder what this charming individual really sees in the future father of her children. And it doesn't help that his best buddy is Marshall (Jason Segel), a kindhearted lawyer and devoted husband who makes Ted look even more unremarkable in every way. It's no wonder Stella (Sarah Chalke) left him at the altar. Ted sucks.

    Verdict: The dictionary definition of "mediocre" is a photo of Ted whining about how he'll never find love (10/10).

    Watch How I Met Your Mother on Amazon Prime.