Several TV shows like to bring in off-screen characters that are occasionally heard or partially seen and mentioned frequently. Despite the audience never being introduced to certain characters, they still manage to add a lot of humour to these shows and often impact storylines and on-screen characters. Here are 10 of the most noteworthy characters we never get to see.
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10 Mrs Wolowitz – The Big Bang Theory
Frequently heard but never seen, Mrs Wolowitz had an overbearing presence despite having no screen time on The Big Bang Theory. Her involvement in the show wasn’t just limited to her overbearing relationship with Howard, but also her significant relationships with Bernadette, Raj and Stuart.
After Carol Ann Susi- the voice behind Mrs Wolowitz- lost her battle with cancer, the show had her character also pass away. In ‘The Leftover Thermalization’ we see all of the main characters share their stories about Mrs Wolowitz. Despite having zero screen time, it just shows how much of an impact she had on the entire group.
9 Father Bigley – Father Ted
The first of many offscreen characters connected to a stream of bizarre anecdotes and backstories. The audience only learn about Father Bigley second-hand from other characters. He’s described as having ‘puffy fish lips bigger than the rest of his face’ and was once mistaken as dead when in actuality he just looked dead.
We only ever get small snippets about Father Bigley, never enough to form a fully rounded character. We hear a variety of bizarre, out-of-nowhere stories, including that he ‘befriended a priest who was sending arms to Iraq’, ‘he gave mass at OJ Simpson’s wedding’ and he ultimately ‘ended up in a home because he was going around starting fires.’
8 Scranton Strangler – The Office
The Scranton Strangler was a recurring figure throughout seasons 6-9 on The Office. The unidentified serial killer is referenced repeatedly at Dundler Mifflin, with Toby even being a juror at the trial of George Howard Scrub who was convicted of the crimes.
Despite the conviction, Toby claims he has doubts about whether Scrub was the right man, and many fans have come up with their own theories about who the Strangler really is. Mose and Creed are both popular suspects amongst fans, with references within the show that they have both killed before. The most popular theory is that Toby himself is the real Scranton Strangler, with even The Office’s official YouTube channel publishing a video titled ‘Making a Strangler’ dedicated to the theory.
7 Bob Sacamano – Seinfeld
Bob Sacamano is built entirely on the accounts from Cosmo Kramer. Another wacky character, we’re given snippets intermittently throughout the series about who he is. Unlike Father Bigley, Bob Sacamano has more of an impact on the lives of other characters, including giving Kramer (and consequently George) defective condoms, leaving George worried that he’s gotten a woman pregnant.
On top of that, we hear all sorts of stories about Bob from Kramer. According to Kramer, he was ‘once in a mental institution […] electroshock had no effect on him because his synapses were so large.’ He also ‘once contracted rabies’, ‘made a fortune from the toy paddles with the ball and rubber band’ and had a hernia operation and ‘due to malpractice, [he] now sits in a chair by a window repeating “my name is Bob.”’
6 Ms Sara Bellum – The Powerpuff Girls
It’s a common trope in cartoons to not show the adults’ faces, including Mammy Two Shoes from Tom & Jerry and The Proud Family’s Wizard Kelly. Ms Sara Bellum from The Powerpuff Girls is instantly recognisable regardless of her face never being visible. Her big hair, red outfit and curvy figure meant that we didn’t need to see her face to know exactly who Ms Bellum was. Although described by other characters as being very pretty, her main quality is her intelligence and described by the mayor himself as the ‘brains behind the man.’
In the 10th anniversary episode, ‘The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!’ Ms Bellum’s face is finally revealed, kind of. For a brief moment, when her face is shown, her hair is covering one eye and the other is closed never revealing her eye colour or full face. The majority of her face is never seen, revealing very little and still leaving her full appearance a mystery.
5 Vera Peterson – Cheers
Vera Peterson is frequently on the receiving end of husband Norm’s phone while at the bar. Usually either making jokes about her, or avoiding her completely, pretty much everything we know about Vera is from Norm himself.
Who can forget the famous ‘Thanksgiving Orphans’ episode where we nearly saw Vera’s face, only for it to get covered in chocolate crème pie. Fun fact: Vera is voiced by Bernadette Birkett, the real-life wife of George Wendt who plays Norm!
4 Ugly Naked Guy – Friends
There’s very little that we really know about Ugly Naked Guy, but he’s a recurring topic of conversation amongst the 6 friends until he moves out from across the street in season 5. Instead of seeing the view from Monica and Rachel’s apartment, the audience only sees th1e group spying on Ugly Naked Guy and their reactions (often one of shock). On two occasion we see glimpses of the nudist; once when the gang are poking him from across the street to make sure he’s alive (‘The One With The Giant Poking Device’) and once when he answers the door to Ross (‘The One Where Everyone Finds Out’).
We don’t learn much about the identity of Ugly Naked Guy, probably because the main gang know next to nothing about him. We do know that sometime after 1993 he began to gain weight, as in ‘The One With The Flashback’ Phoebe states that ‘Cute Naked Guy’s really starting to put one weight.’ The most we learn about Ugly Naked Guy is his variety of hobbies and activities, including playing the cello, getting gravity boots, buying a ThighMaster, owning a cat and his Thanksgiving date that concluded in ‘Ugly Naked Dancing.’
3 Stan Walker – Will & Grace
Unlike other unseen characters on this list, we get a much more developed picture of Stan Walker thanks to wife Karen. His silhouette is seen once and on another occasion his arms are seen trying to touch Karen with Will in the room (‘New Will City’). He’s often described as being massively overweight and is said to wear a toupee that he never washes.
Stan is involved in several strange and elaborate storylines, most significantly being arrested for tax evasion, his divorce from Karen, his “death” and funeral, and finally the discovery that he was actually alive and had faked his death to protect himself from the mob. Pretty detailed for a man we never see!
2 Charles “Charlie” Townsend – Charlie’s Angels
For every other character on this list, although the audience don’t get to see them, the other characters of the show either do interact with them or have done so in the past. In Charlie’s Angels no one, including the Angels themselves, get to know the real face of Charlie.
No one knows much about Charlie and even though they interact with him all the time, even the Angels only know him by his voice. The ultimate mysterious figure, due to having so many enemies Charlie doesn’t let anyone other than Bosley know his face. Within the show, the Angels only hear his voice through a speaker box when receiving cases. As an audience, we see the back of his head, the occasional body part, but never his face.
1 Maris – Frasier
Maris Crane is possibly the most established, off-screen character we never meet. We get vivid descriptions of Niles’ first wife from all of the Crane family. She is significantly underweight- with Roz originally mistaking her for a hat rack- and a number of obscure medical problems, including being unable to produce saliva and a slight webbing of her hands.
Maris is disliked by both Frasier and Martin, even Lilith has a distaste for her. She has a big impact on Niles’ storyline, particularly when they get divorced. Despite being physically weak, her actions are often malicious and selfish, escalating from her affair whilst still with Niles to shockingly being jailed on suspicion of murder of a man she’s romantically involved with. Maris’ surprisingly wild plotlines ends with her escaping to her family’s private island that she cannot be extradited from.
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