Friday Five: Sitcom Alteregos


After reflecting on the return of Burt Macklin on Parks and Recreation, my mind turned to other characters who invent alternate identities for whatever reason (usually silly reasons).

Here's the top 5, in no particular order:


Andy Dwyer as Burt Macklin, FBI

What's brilliant about Andy's alter-ego is that it's all-purpose. Whenever he has a position of any importance, out comes Burt Macklin. This is in spite of Burt's death in his last appearance.

"You thought I was dead? So did the President...'s enemies..."


Michael Scott as Prison Mike

"The Convict" as not one of the best episodes of The Office. The only episode written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the tone and overt race-baiting in the episode did not fit into the tone of the American show. Gervais and Merchant wrote Michael Scott far more cynically than the American team did, and let's face it, David Brent does not fit into this show.

But taken on its own, the creation of "Prison Mike" was pretty genius. Pam makes a throwaway comment that prison sounds better than working at Dunder-Mifflin, and Michael attempts a "Scared Straight," featuring himself as "Prison Mike."


Phil Dunphy as Clive Bixby, Electronics Salesman

Oh Clive. The world's lamest would-be playboy. The Dunphys attempt to spice up their sex life by adding a little bit of roleplay to the mix. As you can imagine, things go pear shaped very quickly, leading to discomfort that sends the most hard-hearted viewer cowering into the sofa cushions.


Tobias Funke as Mrs. Featherbottom

"Mrs. Featherbottom" was a peculiar cross between Mary Poppins and Mrs. Doubtfire, with a magical dash of Tobias.


Like the films it draws from, Tobias feels alienated from his family and adopts a disguise to insinuate himself with his daughter. However, this being Arrested Development, the family recognizes him at once and has no qualms about continuing to exploit his service.


Moss as a "Real Man"

While the IT Crowd frequently sends Roy and Moss into roles of traditional masculinity for the sake of humor, the best occasion remains the first. Nerd's nerd Maurice Moss develops an algorithm to talk to working-class football fans. Roy, impressed with Moss's newfound manliness, suggests they test out their new tricks down at the pub. Things spiral out of control, and we run through poker games and football games and bank robberies until Roy literally ends up crying.

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