Dumb people on sitcoms - percent you think are truly handicapped?

Okay, John Ritter’s death made me think of “Three’s Company,” which I watched sometimes as a kid, and blonde-haired Chrissy. That put me on to the police in "The Dukes of Hazzard,’ and other characters. And, i wanted to ask the teeming millions for an opinion, as to how much of dumb characters’ dumbness is related to just general absent-mindedness & weirdness, and how much coudl be atributed to true mental problems. Do you think V ever, at least unwittingly, gave us a character with an IQ of about 60 or so?

Never. A person who was genuinely mentally handicapped would be utterly worthless as a sitcom actor. Remember, these people have to work fairly long hours, get along with a big staff, remember a lot of lines, etc. It’s not a job that someone with an IQ if 60 could do; it is just inconceivable that such a person could pull off a job like that without almost non-stop maintenance. If you do a Google search for all those weird characters, you will doubtlessly find that the actors behind them are all just ordinary professional actors.

One possible exception is Chris Burke, who has Down’s Syndrome and of course was the star of “Life Goes On” and has been on a whole slew of other shows, but Burke is only mildly handicapped; I don’t know his IQ but it’s a hell of a lot higher than 60.

To use your example, the cops on the “Dukes of Hazzard” were all long time professional actors; the guy who played Boss Hogg, Sorrell Booke, was a genius who spoke four of five languages and studied at Harvard. The guy who played Roscoe Coltraine, James Best, was an acting teacher and by all accounts a bright man. The woman who plays Phoebe on “Friends” is a respected professional and has a reputation for great business acumen; the guys who played Lenny and Squiggy on “Laverne and Shirley” are both bright men.

TV actors who are difficult to work with either start losing jobs and change their ways, or they get drummed out of the business. Chrissy from “Three’s Company” is a perfect example. Suzanne Somers is an intelligent lady, but she was a bitch on “Three’s Company,” was convinced the show revolved around her, and they finally couldn’t work with her and got rid of her. Guess what? She was an absolute leper in Hollywood for ten years, couldn’t get decent work anywhere. Nobody would touch her.

Of course, REALITY shows could be different. Ozzy Osbourne is obviously brain damaged from drug an alcohol abuse. Jessica Simpson is very, very slow, possibly to the point of being mentally challenged. But reality shows don’t require you be an actor.

Having re-read my answer, I think I kind of answered the wrong question. Eh, forget I said all that. Except now my examples of Osborne and Simpson are more relevant.

Dumb characters or dumb actors?

I thought the OP meant dumb characters. There have been quite a few that I felt would qualify as mentally handicapped that were played for laughs.

I thought the OP meant dumb characters. There have been quite a few that I felt would qualify as mentally handicapped that were played for laughs.

How about Stupid Dave from “The Naked Truth?” He was fairly… stupid.

Four of five? That’s impressive. Is there anyone who knows all five? :smiley:

I think there were a few incidents wherein Bill Fagerbakke’s characater on Coach was assumed to be mentally handicapped, though he was not.

Mark, on Roseanne, was considerably dumbed down in the last few seasons. He started out dark and brooding, but bright enough to be described by Dan as “a darn good mechanic.” After he and the Sarah Chalke Becky returned to Lanford, though, he devolved rapidly.

The high (or low) point was an episode where he, Becky (Lecy Goranson’s second go-round), David and Darlene were playing Scrabble. The others predicted that his last word would be “if” or “is”. Instead, he put down “oxygen”! Woohoo! And because of the placement of the tiles, and the fact that he used all his letters, he’s the top scorer! “I’m the boss of you…I’m the boss of you…[To Becky] and I’ve always been the boss of you!”

After a beat, Becky responds, “Except ‘oxygen’'s not a word.”

“Yeah, it is! I’ve seen oxygen tanks—they’re labeled!”

David pipes up, “No, that’s an abbreviation, 'cause the whole word’s too long.”

Darlene backs the others up, so, slump-shouldered, Mark pulls his tiles off the board, then replaces the ‘n’ to spell ‘in’. :wally

Now, I realize they were all caricatures, but I wonder what a doctor would make of Gilligan?

Does Dan Quayle count? I don’t mean for the category, just, can the man count? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc…

The Simpsons’ Ralph Wiggum definately counts. And Milhouse VanHouten seems to be following close behind. And they’re getting worse.

I predict that in five years, neither character will be capable of looking after their own personal needs.

ralph is what, six, seven? he’s only as dumb as that one kid who ate paste in elementary school.

Ralph is that one kid who ate paste in elementary school.

I’d think Woody and Coach from Cheers would be contenders.

Hell, most of the characters on The Simpsons.
As the cat burglar played by Sam Neill said, “This could be the stupidest town in America.”

Ah, he’s not really stupid, but he’s really absentminded and tends to say silly things without even realizing it. Oddball, not dumb.

There are no dumb characters, just dumb parts. Frankly, for $5M an episode, I would play dumb too, like that blond on Friends :slight_smile: