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6 Weirdly Specific Characters That Are in Every Sitcom Ever

So you want to do whatever the opposite of cultural enrichment is and make your own sitcom. It's not that hard -- look how many shows premiere every fall. Your four major networks will probably pump out at least six sitcoms each, and within a month and a half they'll be gone and your only knowledge of them will be a mild headache when you try to remember what happened last Monday at 9 on CBS. That headache is a little, rotten piece of brain matter that will never fully repair itself. It died so that you might not remember that they tried to make a sitcom out of those cavemen characters from Geico commercials.

Sitcoms are pretty easy to slap together because they're all basically the same, in the way every game of Monopoly will be the same -- same pieces, same layout, same sense of impending dread the longer it goes on. To save you some time, I'm going to lay out all the important sitcom characters you'll ever need. Some shows only use a couple; you'll want to take all of them if you want to ensure that your show really lasts. Or fails really fast, it can go either way.

#6. The Horny Character

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The horny character is a perennial favorite of sitcoms since the 1970s, when sex was discovered. They exist to make awkward sexual jokes and innuendoes and seem to romp about solely in a world of base, debauched desires.

As Seen In: Blanche DuBois, Sam Malone, Kelly Bundy, Mona Robinson, Sandra Clark, Larry Dallas, Joey Tribbiani, Barney Stinson, G.O.B. Bluth

Why This Character: Sex is funny to people -- just look at all the sex articles on Cracked. More importantly, sex should be funny. If sex is too serious, you may be an asshole. Any human who doesn't crack a smile in the face of a queef is a soulless abomination. The horny character is able to express all those perverse inner desires and say those filthy things audience members want to hear but can't express for themselves. Now sure, maybe you're OK with striking up a conversation with a bus driver about fisting, but think of the average shmuck out there who probably gets red in the face when someone says "titmouse." It's for those people that perv characters exist, so they can live vicariously through their TV friend who never gets STDs but has porked the entire greater Los Angeles area thrice this season.

#5. The Crabby Old Fart

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Old people are hilariously out of touch and have short tempers. Anger is funny when it comes from someone ineffectual and unimportant, like a grandparent or someone no longer valuable to society. These characters are often irrational and confusing, which is great.

As Seen In: Martin Crane, Sophia Petrillo, Frank Barone, every character Jerry Stiller plays, Mr. Roper, Walter Powell, Pearl Shay, Archie Bunker, Fred Sanford, Uncle Phil

Why This Character: Old people are a necessity because they keep us rooted in our own mortality. Who hasn't watched Sanford and Son and thought, "I'm gonna be that asshole and then I'll die." And when you thought it, you thought "gonna," not "going to." Because as an old asshole, you don't care much for grammar anymore.

Old people are hilariously faultless in sitcoms. Because they're from a different time, like back when manners, understanding, empathy, thoughtfulness, and not being shitty didn't exist, they can say and do things the average person would be vilified for. Archie Bunker was a terrible racist and is one of the most beloved sitcom characters ever. How did they ameliorate this? He met a famous black guy in one episode. Somehow that worked.

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Old Black Man/Old White Man was the top rated show on CBS in 1981

The reason we like cranky old shit characters is because they get their comeuppance somewhere along the line, usually at the hands of a more likeable younger character. If the old person tried to run the show alone, it would suck, and probably alienate everyone. However, pay lip service to the other side of the coin in a young and therefore correct character, and everyone is happy, because we know the younger star must be right, he's younger. If the old person was right, he wouldn't be so damn old.

Special notice should be paid to The Golden Girls, where somehow the younger character was Bea Arthur, who was as old as the sand dunes borne from her aged womb.

#4. The Servant

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For reasons never adequately explained, a small but vocal percentage of sitcom producers are fairly certain audiences love rich people. They love them and want to see them abuse and be abused by their hired help, thus the fascination with butlers and housekeepers was born. It doesn't make sense in any way, but maybe in the '70s and '80s every Hollywood writer living out of a shitty basement apartment had dreams of one day verbally abusing Tony Danza.

As Seen In: Mr. Belvedere, Geoffrey the Butler, Benson DuBois, Alice from The Brady Bunch, Bertram from Jessie, Fran Fine and Niles, Florida Evans, Rosario Salazar, Tony Micelli, Lurch

Why This Character: Servants are a gateway between two worlds that potentially opens up a lot of storylines. A story about rich people is one thing, a story about the working class another, but a servant bridges the gap and lets us see both interact. And, because you're probably working class (the rich have different stations with better shows. Breaking Bad has been on rich TV since 1995), you can relate to the butler or housekeeper who, against all odds, is allowed to have a smart mouth and sass her employer, when in real life if a nanny tried to smart off like Fran Drescher, INS would be at the door before she got to the trite punchline. She's not even a foreigner, but don't you doubt they'd have her cleaning toilets in a Brazilian hostel by week's end.

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Smells like beef and ransom.

We like servants because they're us and, even in the face of opulence, they don't take no guff. Again with the poor grammar. Just because they work for a richer person doesn't make them less human and, more importantly, rich people are dumb dickfaces at least 70 percent of the time and need a servant to keep them in line because if they didn't have one, they'd be wallowing in their own twattery at every turn. Servants keep them real, yo.

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Felix Clay

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