The 20 Most Important Mustaches in Sitcom History

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by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in Television, The 80s

What makes a mustache important?

 

That’s like asking what makes a man manly.

A mustache, for one, makes a man manly. Other things that can up your manly factor in the absence of a mustache: beer, comic books, fantasy sports, fine cheeses, all-purpose shorts, and never using a faucet to get rid of dorito-coated fingertips.

That said, our focus today is on the allmighty ‘stache. Nature’s pushbroom. We’ve deemed these mustaches ‘important’ not because of their individual impact on sitcom or pop culture history, but based on how important they are to the face they grace.

If your facial hair pilgrimage has brought you to this list to worship at the altar of such greats as Magnum P.I. and Ron Burgundy, you won’t find them here. Not because their lady ticklers aren’t top shelf, nay – this list is strictly for sitcom staches.

The following 20 mustaches truly complete the face they inhabit. Without them, the empty upper lip would just be a glaring reminder of the greatness that once was. Without further unnecessary explanation, I give you the 20 most important mustaches in television sitcom history.

 

20. Mac Robinson (Night Court)

A face that said “I don’t take shit from anyone”, but a mustache that said “Let’s hang out.”

 

19. Mike Stivic (All in the Family)

Like fine draperies dressing a window to the soul.

 

18. Steven Keaton (Family Ties)

Image self explanatory. One of the most necessary mustaches in sitcom history.

 

17. Phil Packer (The Brady Bunch)

Without a mustache, Peter Brady was a mild-mannered, unassuming teen. WITH a stache, Pete became Phil Packer – the ultra-smooth ladies man (or at least that was the plan).

 

16. Isaac Washington (The Love Boat)

Can I get you a drink, or are you just gonna stare at my stache? Sir? Sir!

 

15. George Papadopolis (Webster)

If the mustache had been home that day, the house wouldn’t have burned down. You know what I’m talkin’ about.

 

14. Lynn Belvedere (Mr. Belvedere)

Grace. Sophistication. Elegance. And Mr. Belvedere was a good guy, too.

 

13. Earl Hickey (My Name is Earl)

Like Bo Jackson, this stache burst onto the sitcom scene and seemed like it was destined to take over the all time top spot. Sadly, as My Name is Earl’s flame dwindled quickly, so did the prestige of it’s star stache. Still a solid face piece.

 

12. Johnny Fever (WKRP in Cincinnati)

Look at her. She loves it. Power of the stache, man.

 

11. Hank Kingsley (The Larry Sanders Show)

You lookin’ at the stache or the spider? Can’t tell? Neither can we. What?

 

10. Gomez Addams (The Addams Family)

To take one’s focus away from his expressive eyes, this stache had to be on top of its game.

 

9. Ned Flanders (The Simpsons)

Stuntin’.

 

8. Schneider (One Day at a Time)

Easily one of the most finely crafted pieces on this list. Exquisite.

 

7. Papa Smurf (The Smurfs)

Yes, it was a beard and not just a mustache, and yes this was a cartoon and not a sitcom- but this stache is perhaps the most important of all. Without it, Papa Smurf would be indistinguishable from the other male Smurfs, thus rendering him much less important a character. Just wearing red wouldn’t be enough, any Smurf could do that.

 

6. Cliff Clavin (Cheers)

True story: the Jeopardy judges had actually ruled in favor of Clavin, deeming his Final Jeopardy answer “not wrong”, thus crowning him the new returning champion. In an unprecedented move, Alex Trebek exercised his previously-unheard of “veto power”, overturning the judges ruling and preventing Cliff from returning as champion. Historians have speculated that for the first time in its life, Trebek’s stache felt inferior to another.

 

5. Mr. Kotter (Welcome Back Kotter)

Teach us, oh wise one.

 

4. George Jefferson (The Jeffersons)

Picture him without it. You can’t.

 

3. Lt. Jim Dangle (Reno 911!)

You know why Thomas Lennon is not typecast as a bumbling cop? Because WITH the mustache he IS Lt. J. Dangle. This is a case of the stache making the character (with a little help from the shorts).

 

2. Tobias Fünke (Arrested Development)

This t-shirt does all the talking. Only a few shapes and shades are used to create an unmistakable face. Notice the most prominent feature.

 

1. Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)

This mustache is single-handedly raising money for charity. Uproxx puts it on the Mt. Rushmore of TV mustaches alongside Magnum P.I. and Rescue Rangers’ Monterrey Jack. In one of  humanity’s most egregious transgressions, somehow RonSwansonMustache.com is still available. Surely someone will soon rectify this and create the proper shrine everyone is waiting for.

 

 

Howie Decker is the co-creator and editor of UnderScoopFIRE.com. He once grew a mustache that was moderately pleasing. Follow him on Twitter @HowardtheDeck.

 

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Morin August 31, 2012 at 12:28 am

Great stuff! I wish the ‘stache would make a comeback into the mainstream. There just aren’t enough good ones these days.

Reply

Dex (@Dex1138) August 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

Isaac and Earl would be higher on my list for sure. Good call on Schneider, even if his is a little “hey want some candy” creepy.

Reply

Will August 31, 2012 at 10:05 am

EXCELLENT post! For #15, the mustache WAS home – Webster shouldn’t have been fucking with that chemistry set after everyone went to sleep!

See, I kinda thought the mustache upped Mr Belvedere’s sketch factor. I never felt comfortable with the Owens family leaving Wesley alone with him so much. And that finale where Mr. Belvedere got married? TO A WOMAN? Who you kiddin’?!

No Lamont Sanford? No Steve Harvey? No Carl Winslow – THE mustache of 80s justice (and occasional limo driving)?!

Reply

Howie Decker August 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Damn! I was thinking Ma’am & George were out when Webster torched the joint. Good catch. Great other mentions, too- I could’ve gone to 25 easy!

Reply

Devon Nealy August 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm

This made my day. Mustaches are so creepy, but after looking at this, I realize they’re totally necessary. Well done, although next time I would like to see an emphasis on the fu manchu.

Reply

ShezCrafti November 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

See also: Marcy from Married with Children.

Reply

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