The 15 Greatest Sitcom Rivalries
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The Office is ending after nine seasons this year and though we’ll miss the antics of each and every weird character on that sitcom, there is one particularly wonderful aspect of the show we feel deserves a proper send-off: the rivalry between Dwight and Jim.
And so, in honor of the many cold-opens and full episodes devoted to their pranks, insults and general contempt for each other, we’ve put together a list of 15 great sitcom rivalries. Read on to relive some of the best fights, insults and pranks from your favorite sitcoms.
15. Will & Grace – Karen and Beverly Leslie
Though often relegated to the B and C plots of a number of Will & Grace episodes, the rivalry scenes with Karen and her “friend” Beverly Leslie often steal the show. They trade insults about his height and her alcoholism. They duel over who gets Rosario as a maid. They even engage in epic fist-fights, in which their respective hair pieces get ripped off. Their rivalry is a beautiful mix of absurd, physical and insult comedy.
14. South Park – Kyle and Cartman
Cartman is the psychopathic opposite of Kyle. And Kyle, while not always kind and considerate, is still the voice of reason to Cartman’s insanity. Cartman hates Kyle mainly because of his fat jokes and his fairly consistent and successful efforts to thwart Cartman’s schemes. Kyle hates Cartman simply because he is Cartman: a terrible, selfish and mean-spirited child. It’s the classic good vs. evil trope, except they’re the only ones who can bring out either quality from each other. Plus, their slap-fights are pretty hilarious.
13. Married With Children – Al Bundy and Marcy D’arcy
While many of the barbs traded by the two warring neighbors often focus on the, ahem, diminutive sizes of their respective primary and secondary sexual characteristics, Al and Marcy also manage to thoroughly insult each others marriages, kids (or lack thereof) and jobs. Another notable point: Though Marcy prides herself on being a politically correct advocate for the disenfranchised (and therefore “better” than Al), Marcy and Al are actually equally sexist; they just happen to be prejudiced against different genders.
12. Living Single – Kyle and Maxine
Kyle and Maxine’s relationship starts out extremely antagonistic as the two characters could always be counted on to trade insults, but then it turns weirdly sexual and competitive and as a viewer you’re kind of hoping that their sick frenemies with benefits relationship would just end. One of the best moments of this latter stage is a hilarious and delightful musical performance by the actor who plays Kyle, T.C. Carson. You can watch that scene in the video above.
11. The Nanny – CC and Niles
CC and Niles are very similar to Kyle and Maxine of Living Single in that for most of their series they hate each other and then the relationship unexpectedly turns sexual and suddenly they’re in the healthiest relationship either of them has been in a long time. While the transition is weird and abrupt, their jokes about each other are always delightfully mean and there’s the nice sentiment that you get the sense that Niles kind of insults CC so much as a way to protect his friend Fran.
10. Martin – Martin and Pam
As Gina’s boyfriend and best friend respectively, Martin and Pam hate each other about as much as they love Gina. Martin loves to compare her to various animals, and insult her breath and general appearance. Pam often uses her barbs to go after Martin’s height and ears.
9. The Big Bang Theory – Sheldon Cooper and Wil Wheaton
Yes, revenge is a dish best served cold. And apparently deep-seated resentment is most desirable after its been aged for 14 years. That’s approximately how long Sheldon Cooper has been mad at Star Trek star Wil Wheaton. It’s surprising that a celebrity like Wheaton would even care to entertain, much less fully indulge in such petty battles with Sheldon, but at least it’s funny. Their rivalry has featured odd battles such as Twitter wars, ruined movie premieres and an epic card game showdown depicted in the video below.
8. Parks and Recreation – Pawnee and Eagleton
It’s easy to think that, as passionate about her hometown as Leslie Knope is about Pawnee, that it’s possible the rivalry between Pawnee and the neighboring town of Eagleton is just all in her head. But then you watch a scene with an Eagletonian in it and you realize that they are just as hateful and condescending as Leslie makes them out to be.