15 Side Characters That Hogged The Spotlight In Your Favorite TV Shows

You know that things didn’t go according to plan when people can’t remember the name of a TV show, or the main character, but they can remember the name of a side character. That was definitely the case for shows like Family Matters (thanks Urkel) but this is a lot more common than you might have thought. In fact, some shows have totally rearranged the focus of the program but because a side character ends up becoming a lot more popular than they imagined.

From side-kicks to reoccurring characters who almost became the star, here are 15 TV characters that did some serious spotlight hogging.

Stiles From Teen Wolf

Tyler Posey plays the adorable but complicated werewolf Scott in Teen Wolf. He's the star, the show is about him. HE IS THE TEEN WOLF. But it's his comic relief bestie, Stiles, who seems to get the lions share of attention in the media and the fandom. Some Teen Wolf fans are pretty disappointed that this is the case, especially since Tyler Posey is Latino and there aren't many shows out there with young Latino leads.

Sam From ICarly

Carly who? Sorry, but did anyone else find Carly a little too cookie cutter most of the time? It's no wonder that Sam easily overrode Carly and became a fan favorite. I mean, she got her own spinoff show. That's how popular she was. I guess we like super boisterous characters with no shame.

Urkel From Family matters

Hey, did you know that Urkel was only meant to be a reoccurring character who just stopped by the Winslow household every now and then to be an annoying little you know what? Well, that quickly changed when members of the studio audience began chanting Urkel's name at the end of his first episode appearance. The show runners realized how popular Urkel was and the show about the Winslow family quickly turned into the Urkel show. This change in direction led to the actress playing Harriet Winslow--the mom--to eventually leave the show.

Seth Cohen From The OC

Forget about Ryan or Marissa's drama of the week. This show was all about Seth being every Millenial's nerdy indie music snob fantasy. This show wasn't about him, but he quickly became everyone's fave. He was irresistible, okay?

Castiel From Supernatural

I feel as if I watch this show because the fandom is absolutely everywhere. So that's why I know that his Castiel angel dude is getting a whole lot of attention in the fandom and onscreen ever since his debut. But it almost seems like they just got this guy when they felt the show was getting a little stale. New characters used to liven up a show's canvass can be hit or miss (usually, it's a miss), but this seemed to work.

Cat From Victorious

Tori kind of suffered the same problem as Carly: She was likable and had her moments, but could be pretty bland compared to the other characters in Victorious. While I would have loved to see a spinoff featuring Jade, Cat seemed to be more of a fan and network favorite (despite being unbearably annoying most of the time). So that's why the short lived spinoff Sam and Cat was born.

Stewie From Family Guy

I'm sure most Family Guy fans aren't complaining about this, because Stewie is a funny character and all, but it's hard to ignore the sheer number of episodes that are dedicated to him now. Like, Peter's stories are basically just subplots at this point. Compare that to the early seasons of this show. Nobody cares about Meg or Chris, but Stewie definitely is probably the most famous character from the entire show. Hey, every other character on the Family Guy universe seems to have a show, so why not thim? Oh yeah, because then nobody would actually watch Family Guy.

Helga From Hey Arnold

Honestly, Arnold is cool and all, but despite all the mystery surrounding his family, he's not a very interesting character. Helga on the other hand totally is, which is why there were so many episodes dedicated to her and only her.

Barney From How I Met Your Mother

As someone who never watched HIMYM regularly, I have gleaned two things about it: One, the show isn't about Barney. Two, the show is basically about Barney. I mean, sure, Barney plays a role Ted's life, but it almost seems like The Barney Show more than anything else. Find the lie.

Gir from Invader Zim

You couldn't walk into a Hot Topic in the '00s without running into Gir merchandise. I guess a tiny alien robot dressed in a puppy suit is cuter than the star, a misanthropic alien who yelled a lot.

Fonz From Happy Days

Probably the prototypical definition of a spotlight hog, Fonz pretty much went from side character to star of Happy Days pretty instantaneously. I mean, he had a catch phrase ("Heyyyyy"). That's all it takes, really. Im going to give Henry Winkler--the actor behind the Fonz--some credit, though. He was pretty turned off by the fact that the show became all about him and he actually turned down an opportunity to have a spinoff show made about his character.

Michelle From Full House

The same argument can probably be made for Uncle Jessie, but Michelle might just edge him out. Cute little kids trump hot uncles in family sitcom universe, and Michelle definitely did that. Who even cares about the other family members?

Kelso From That 70s Show

Hey, remember Eric? You know, the super cute star of this show who eventually left? Yeah, uh, you might remember him and I might remember him, but it became clear that the show was sometimes more invested in Kelso, the definition of comic relief, than Eric or his family. This show should have been put to rest after Eric left if you ask me but...I'm trying not to be petty.

Tyrion Game Of Thrones

Okay, I like Tyrion's storyline, but I imagine that the later seasons of Game of Thrones probably blow if you don't. Considering he is getting more screen time than he has page time, I can imagine fans of the books adding this to their list of grievances about the show.

Tim Riggins From Friday Night Lights

Whenever FNL is brought up, I hear a bunch of girls groaning, "TIME RIGGINS." Yeah, the bad boy with long hair who gives me teen Sirius Black vibes (so hot, so dysfunctional). Like...there were several other characters on the show with their own interesting story lines, but even when Tim was MIA people were obsessed with him.


What other shows had a side character that seemed to get more love and more screen time than the star?  Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!


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