Call it a plot device or the fault of a casting department that’s super lazy, but some of the best television shows in history have had characters that we know and love and even seem to know well, but yet never see. Here are some of my favorite unseen characters.
Charlie – Charlie’s Angels
As the main employee of the Charles Townsend Detective Agency, all we ever see of Charlie is a white speaker phone on the desk of Bosley, his minion that does his bidding without question. I’m convinced that Bosley has one of the greatest jobs ever. He gets to hang out with world’s hottest private investigators, Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and an in-her-prime Jaclyn Smith and do all this with a boss that is never around, but shows up via conference call at the end of another successful case.
Maris Crane – Frasier
As the first wife of Niles Crane, Maris is never seen, but often described during the course of the show. In the beginning of the series, Niles and Maris are married, but they divorce as the show progresses and their relationship quickly deteriorates. She was only seen on the show in one instance, wrapped in bandages after completing a complicated cosmetic procedure. The writers planned initially to hire an actress to play Maris, but after awhile they realized that no woman could ever match up with the description physically and kept her under wraps the entire series.
Vera Peterson – Cheers
As the wife of Cheers patron, Norm, we never see Vera, but we often hear about her in a snappy one-liner as Norm (George Wendt) walks over to his customary stool at the corner of the bar. She does appear briefly in a Thanksgiving episode, but her face is conveniently covered by a pumpkin pie that was hurled in her direction. Ironically enough, his real-life wife played her.
Louise Burns – M*A*S*H
As the wife of the philandering Major Frank Burns, we don’t ever see Louise, but she is the topic of many conversations between Frank and his mistress “Hot Lips” Houlihan. Stuck back home in Indiana, while Burns is serving in the Korean War, we get the impression that Frank really does care for his unseen wife, but Margaret Houlihan is just too much for him.
Diane – Twin Peaks
Diane is never seen or heard from, but Agent Cooper makes recordings addressed to her throughout his investigation of the murder of Laura Palmer. Is she a real person? Is she part of the agency that Agent Cooper comes from? Is she just the name he has given his trusty tape recorder? We never really know, but the great thing about Twin Peaks is that it lets us think whatever we want.
George Steinbrenner – Seinfeld
Obviously it would be a little tough to actually show this character as he really existed and ran the Yankees. Steinbrenner was always good for some quality advice, dispensing nuggets such as the correct place to sit in a hot tub and the virtues of the calzone.
Stan Walker – Will and Grace
Karen Walker’s husband Stan can most likely never be shown on the series as they make him out to be much more of a mythical creature than an actual man. Extremely wealthy, corpulent and hard to live with, Karen starts working for Grace so that she’ll have an excuse to leave her house every day and get a small break from Stan.