Great Butlers In Popular Culture

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In honor of tiny, mighty Butler University, whose basketball team's improbable march to the national championship finally ended at the buzzer last night, we submit a dozen other butlers known for serving up good times.

12. AskJeeves.com: When we thought of this peculiar search engine, we had to re-visit the site just to be sure it still exists. It does! So we asked it "Who is the best butler?" The first hit: a blog post entitled "Gerard Butler Says Jennifer Aniston Has The Best Legs In Hollywood." Useful as always.

11. Barkley from Modern Family: Barkley the dog butler ("He's a dog and a butler. I mean, who couldn't love him?") is a kitschy souvenir from Jay's trip to Vegas — and Jay's wife, Gloria, couldn't be more put out ("This is not art. This is an unholy mix between man and beast."). While Jay's obsession with the dog butler grows (he's especially a fan of the canine's monocle), Gloria begins to resent all the attention Barkley's getting. Hilarity ensues.

10. Win Butler: The Arcade Fire frontman deserves a nod on this list, but if he were an actual butler we would probably fire his ass for taking his sweet time with the new AF record. Any day now, man!

9. Fonzworth Bentley: Style maven, one-time butler and—at least in this video—tuxedo-clad artist, the man known as "the penguin" parlayed his role as Diddy's manservant into work as an umbrella designer.

8. Geoffrey Butler from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Such a nice touch, isn't it, that the character's last name was also his occupation? Of course, the rich family he served was known as the Banks family. Why did we never notice this before?

7. Judith Butler: She is counted among the reigning royalty of third-wave / post-structuralist feminists, and for good reason. Her iconic 1990 tome "Gender Troubles" bootstrapped half-a-century's worth of modern philosophy into a comprehensive dissection of how and why we perform gender through stylized repetition. Just don't plan on reading at a faster pace than a page every five minutes if you want to understand her dense-as-dark-matter prose.

6. Lurch: Faithful butler to the Addams Family, Lurch elongated his vowels with a vengeance whenever he asked “Yoooouuuuuu raaaaannnnng?” Though his piece-meal face was more Frankenstein than Jeeves, his manners were the very image of domestic polish. Here, he takes the music industry by storm with his throaty scatting.

5. Kevin Butler: This weekend, we want you to go find a local football field with goalposts. I want you to try to kick the ball 20 yards through the uprights. It'll give you an appreciation for what field goal kickers do. And then drop back 40 more yards and get a since of what University of Georgia kicker Kevin Butler accomplished to beat Clemson in the waning moments of that famous 1984 game. Only Larry Munson's call ("We'll try to kick one 100,000 miles") could possibly do it justice. After college, Butler went on to play for a team called the Chicago Bears. His son Drew punts for Georgia now.

4. Alfred Pennyworth: The denizens of Gotham City owe their lives to a man in black, but it's not the one they think: Bruce Wayne has the brains, the brawn and the Batmobile, but he'd be nothing without the tireless love and support of his unflappable domestic assistant.

3. William Butler Yeats: Statesman, playwright and nihilist-poet, the inimitable Irish writer William Butler Yeats was the embodiment of The Smiths' aesthetic long before that plaintive namecheck left Morrissey's lips. Yeats' infamous preoccupation with façades (emotional and otherwise) became the soapbox upon which modern purveyors of affectation and pretense ply their trade—tread softly, because you tread on their dreams!

Best verses:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world;
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
—from "The Second Coming" (1920)

2. Benson: The Tates and the Campbells could drive anyone crazy, but Benson's sarcasm was his armor against the insanity on Soap in the late '70s and on Robert Guillaume's own show into the '80s.

1. Mr. Belvedere: The stout, mustachioed Englishman set the standard by which all other television butlers will forever be judged. Rest in peace, actor Christopher Hewett. You served us all well.

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