Top Ten TV Villain Duos
In only four episodes of the latest Amazing Race, Rob and Amber have come to dominate the cross-country obstacle challenges, with nary a cultural epiphany in sight. Not since, well, Survivor: All-Stars, has a twosome been so devious, so bitchy, and yet so delightful to watch.
But it’s not just needlessly stolen cabs and sneakily dodging gross eating challenge roadblocks that make an STD like Rob and Amber so agreeably evil. It’s also the blossoming, almost gag-antuan, romance between the two hopeless lovebirds that makes their wickedness so juicy. Screwing over other people is the foundation of their love, making their treachery kind of endearing, in an aww, backstabbers-can-be-cute-too sort of way.
To celebrate the ratings magnetism of these reality all-stars, I present to you a top ten list of the greatest TV Villain Duos of All Time. Once again, as you noticed in last week’s shockers list, I’m not refined enough to watch old TV, so anything produced before 1985 is appropriately discounted from this otherwise all-encompassing list. TV is one realm of many where our elders are not to be respected. The pre-nineties was a time when jokes were mostly lame and the laugh tracks rubbed it in. When it comes to villainous duets, where mischief and mayhem are paramount, comedy is key, particularly that of the envelope-pushing variety.
It’s also a shame that this list must be published just as TV’s campiest new show Desperate Housewives is just taking off. Edie Britt is just ONE foxy bitch of several who’s cleavage-thrust-in-your-face will surely grace the ranks of lists like this one for many seasons to come. Sunday night’s break-and-enter antics with Susan (into the suicide home of Mary-Alice) were exceptionally classic, especially when Edie took hold of Paul for a distracting fury of a make-out, held long enough for Susan to crawl to escape.
Now before this column turns into a shameless plug for TV’s best show (you can catch it on ABC, 9, 8 central!), here are my unbiased choices for the TOP TEN TV VILLAIN DUOS, in perennial reverse order, of course:
10. Joker and Harley Quinn (Mark Hamill & Arleen Sorkin) in Batman: the Animated Series!
The first animated entry belongs to the king of the pranksters and his feminist underling. Joker and Harley Quinn are perhaps the best Batman villain partnership since Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (“Adam and Evil”!). The idea of a sidekick sex-kitten getting sick of her position as number two was an inspired one and only got better when her mutiny led to a vibrant career turn going solo. Now once WB is done the whole save-the-Batman-franchise thing by returning to the glory days of Burton’s Caped Crusader with Batman Begins, it’s high time for a campy flashback to this schlocky pair.
9. Jack and Karen (Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally) in Will & Grace!
Repetitive sitcom antics don’t get much funnier than the misadventures of a vodka-swigging gold-digger and a flaming homo superstar-wannabe. What began as NBC’s Friends lead-out and became an expose for quality gay jokes is made all the more watchable by Karen & Jack’s lovable immorality. They cheat and steal, teach adolescents to drink, violate any public place they can get their private parts into, and make insensitive jokes at funerals. They’re pretty much jobless, without a doubt useless, and disregard, ridicule and abuse anyone that’s poor, annoying or unfortunate-looking. More than anything, they prove that in entertainment, good people are just plain boring.
8. Callisto and Ares (Hudson Leick and Kevin Smith) in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: the Legendary Journeys!
Callisto, the shrill she-bitch arch-rival to bull-dyke Xena has had many partnerships in evil (including ambrosia-born Amazon goddess Velasca and Gabrielle’s nasal copycat slash daughter of pure evil, Hope) it was her team-ups with hunkosaurus god of war Ares that were her most notorious. Sure she would double-cross him in a second, but their common hatred for the warrior princess (and for the goodness of humankind in general) spawned some classic villainy, like in the summoning of Hope episodes, or when pestering Xena and Gab as lesson-teaching demons in the musical Bitter Suite, and once even in Hercules (episode 4.13: Armageddon Now!) where they rescued an evil Herc from a parallel universe to wreak obligatory havoc! Special consolation prize goes to the sado-maso love affair of Barias and Xena from the WP’s Evil Past, containing the best of barbaric orgasms and decapitated-heads-on-pikes.
7. Rob C. and Matt in Survivor: Amazon!
Sure the brainpower behind this dynamic duo was all Rob C. but without the social retard always backing up the mastermind’s votes could Cesternino have made it as far? Their relationship was Survivor politicking at its most golden, and came complete with life lessons in treachery from Rob to Matt along the way. Together the nerd and geek combo survived boot camp with an all-male tribe of hot jocks and narrow-minded old men, the nemeses of boys like these two. Though the sudden impact of Heidi’s voluptuous breasts upon merging took Rob C. off guard, with the asexuality of Matt’s one-track-mind, Cesternino regained his senses, leading to a string of vote-offs all orchestrated by the unlikely twosome. Best of all was placing the betrayal of deafie Christy on the naked-for-PB girls Jenna and Heidi, who would go down as “wicked stepsisters” in the post-tribal vote-off speech to rule them all.
6. Tabitha and Timmy (Juliet Mills and Josh Evans) in Passions!
The sole soap opera entry rightfully belongs to the devilish Tabitha and late Timmy, a 300-year-old witch and her talking doll that stirred up much supernatural shit in the cozy harbor town of Harmony on NBC’s dumbest program, Passions. From the countless damnations of unsuspecting neighbor Grace Bennett (among others) to causing apparent chaos aboard Titanic, the corniness of this pair was only matched by the visual effects bringing Tabitha’s sorcery to life. Together they even once used the power of witchcraft to delete computer files with a classic spell (Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, tremble and shake and delete this stuff) that would make Harry Potter wince. Tabitha may have been the source to all this mayhem, but their lame insults between loving camaraderie and the rumblings of a conscience-conscious mutiny by Timmy always kept the Evil bond dynamic and fresh.
5. Jesse and James (Rachael Lillis and Eric Stuart) in Pokemon!
The not-so-brilliant pairing of Team Rocket’s Jesse and James in six seasons (and counting?) of bumbling attempts to steal Ash’s Pokemon(s) and “denounce the evils of truth and love” somehow made lazy Japanimation fun to watch. Their motto was brilliant and the dominatrix authority of Jesse over James, despite the fact that he was much brighter than she, was always priceless. Considering I was 16 or 17, okay maybe 18 or 19, and actually watching a cartoon designed as product placement for retarded six-year-olds because and only because of the awesome self-reflexive villains (Thundershock, Thunderbolt… I’ve been destroyed by Pikachu’s attacks so many times I know them all by heart. ) has got to be saying something. I mean more than “Mike Sage is a giant loser.”
4. Smithers and Mr. Burns (both Harry Shearer) in The Simpsons!
The pseudo-gay pairing of the megalomaniac tyrant Montgomery Burns and his loyal assistant and bootlick Waylon Smithers was always a frightening enigma in Springfield and taught us more about voracious greed than Dante’s Inferno and the Bible combined. However, it was the ambiguity of the relationship (homoerotic sponge baths AND devoting Smithers attempting Burns’ murder?) that puts this one in the history books, even if their despicable deeds (releasing toxic waste into the Springfield drinking water; releasing the hounds on young children; and constantly forgetting Homer Simpson’s name and existence) beg to differ.
3. Drucilla and Spike (Juliet Landau and James Marsters) in Buffy: the Vampire Slayer!
The best of many classic villain teamups (Spike again with the bimbo evil-vamp-in-training Harmony and the pathetic certainly-virgins known as the Nerds and bent on world domination) in the very wicked Sunnydale is a triumph even apart from this cheesy, self-indulgent list. Every Season Two episode containing the twosome was guaranteed seedy flashbacks to the sexy period gear of their past complete with the bloodletting of innocents and drunken terrorizing of the countryside. The serial storyline headlined by Dru and Spike was also one Buffy’s best. Dru’s starving return to pure-evil and Spike’s kick-ass cool insult-work added imposing spice to a show with a never-ending quota of pitiable, ‘comedy’ villains.
2. Shreeky and Beastly (Terri Hawkes and John Stocker) in the Carebears!
Reason alone to journey back to the second greatest decade of all time (in fact, if anybody has access to Carebears DVDs, email me RIGHT NOW), Shreeky and Beastly are the blueprint for all things good about uselessly annoying villains. Whether as dinosaurs or space-invaders, as Ancient Romans sabotaging chariot races or in their classic purple-dress and naked furr-ball uniforms sabotaging the gift baskets of handicapped children, the niece and underling of wicked-evil No-Heart were always a hoot. No matter how hard they tried, no number of Beastly’s ideas reworked into Shreeky ideas (“I’ve got a better idea…”) could quite poach the pair a care-bear hide. We could always feel their frustration and determination and I don’t know about you, but I always cheered them on.
And of course, as aforementioned,
1. Rob and Amber in Survivor: All-Stars and The Amazing Race!
If the explanation above wasn’t enough, remember what they did to Lex and Kathy to stay alive on All-Stars.