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The 7 Funniest Female Sitcom Characters of All Time

From Lucy to Phoebe, these female sitcom characters made us laugh until we cried.

From wisecracking quipsters and drunken flirts to sassy and spirited ladies, one of the best sitcoms feature female characters who leave us bowled over in hysterics. Whether through their comedic timing, penchant for the preposterous, physical comedy chops, or elastic facial expressions, the funny ladies below have delivered among the hardest acts to follow within the sitcom sphere. 

Lucy Ricardo | ‘I Love Lucy’ 

Lucille Ball stays a comedic legend for a reason – she is the actress to emulate in relation to the wacky and zany. Who could forget the “Vitameatavegimen” skit, as Lucy movies a business and gets drunk off a liquid complement that, upon first tablespoon, leads her mouth to contort and her eyes to bulge as she tries to reorient her body and gain composure? It’s tasty, or so the ad demands, but every fiber of her being indicates otherwise. Her disgusted lips, appalled eyes, and breathlessness scream “sickening flavor.”

However, the more she drinks, the drunker she gets. And then, it doesn’t taste so bad. There’s just one problem: now she’s affected by alcohol-induced spoonerisms, switching letters around in her script, and asking audiences in the event that they “come out at parties” and are ‘unpoopular.” As she gets slowly intoxicated, her shoulders fall, and she or he winks on the camera with a sloppy, exaggerated forcefulness. Her body grows unsteady, as we wonder if she’s going to fall. The ease at which she contorts every muscle in her face while slowly transitioning from composed to chaotic is awe-inspiring. It’s the proper combination of physical comedy and impeccable timing. Her face and body work in perfect harmony to go from wannabe business star to drunken line-destroyer.

Dorothy Zbornak | ‘The Golden Girls’ 

Oh, the Queen of Sarcasm. Bea Arthur’s deadpan delivery in The Golden Girls ought to be in textbooks. Dorothy’s dry wit is deviously delicious. Her insults – pointed and biting — made her an admirable verbal sparrer. 

She contrasted the naive Rose and the dramatique and sexually explorative Blanche, providing The Golden Girls with a much-needed balance between over-the-top vivacity and vacuous cynicism. 

Whether slut-shaming Blanche with a level of superiority and dismissiveness or insulting Rose’s intelligence via sarcastic quips (that always flew right over her head), Dorothy was relentless in her scrutinizing ways. And, Bea Arthur’s delivery – offering nuanced shifts in expression like raised eyebrows, a downward slanting chin, or a scornful side-eye — made each line all of the more hysterical.

Fran Fine |  ‘The Nanny’ 

“She was working in a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens…” You know the remainder. Fran Fine was the nasally-voiced fashion icon with a unusual yet effective approach to childcare, whose energetic and sassy flair stays unparalleled. Often in comparison with Lucille Ball, Fran Drescher possessed that very same innate ability to contort her face with such a tailored degree of precision — the lips, the eyes, the neck, the top all functioning as if by handheld remote control. 

Who could forget the primary time she ate wasabi? She put an enormous heaping on a bit of Sushi and proceeded to suffer. As she chewed, her eyes suddenly bulged. Her cheeks were full as a chipmunk’s — her face contorted with a mixture of confusion and agony. Her hands raised, reaching out for help, but she was unable to talk. Ultimately, she fell to the bottom, her face flushed from the warmth overtaking her tastebuds. The physical comedy is splendidly overwrought, which was customary of I Love Lucy scenes as well. 

Fran Fine also had a knack for delivering snappy remarks with a side smirk, which perfectly offset her clueless charm surrounding high-society norms. (Lest we forget how she struggled to articulate “how now brown cow” with a snobbish air of condescension akin to the coastal elite?) 

Karen Walker | ‘Will & Grace’ 

Oh Karen, how we love you. You’re our favourite alcoholic pill popper with a sexually adventurous lifestyle and an entire detachment from reality that’s in some way endearing in your care. 

Karen Walker’s uninhibited nature and quick wit made every line that got here out of her mouth utterly unpredictable. But, that high-pitched, dramatic, nasally, and in some way melodic intonation made her remarks playful and absurd versus hurtful or destabilizing. With lines like “I can’t consider I’m at a public pool; why doesn’t any individual just pee directly on me?,” she’s so rude and judgy, but oh-so innocently honest. Karen Walker is hypercritical and relentless, but Megan Mullaly’s delivery retains the character’s compassionate core — a high quality she tries so hard to drown in martinis, for nobody can discover that she may very well be…NICE. Even higher is when she notes that she’s going to live eternally before yelling at the bottom, “That is the deal, isn’t it red?” She’s ridiculous. She’s quick-witted and exaggerated in her bodily movements…especially when she’s hungover, drunk, or slurring her speech. In three somewhat cliché (but very suitable) words, she is larger than life. 

Roseanne Conner | ‘Roseanne’ 

Though Roseanne Barr has grown questionable to say the least (concerning her sociopolitical viewpoints), her performance in Roseanne from 1988 to 1997 stays noteworthy. Roseanne found humor and levity within the struggles of a lower-middle-class family, and Roseanne’s no-nonsense lifestyle – featuring a heavy heaping of unapologetic sarcasm and blunt analyses — ensured that the show never wavered into the melancholy. Rather, the emotional moments were met with humor, which perfectly translated human nature to the screen —  for, in the event you can’t find the comedy in crisis, you’ll collapse. And if there’s one thing Roseanne Conner knew do, it was laugh at herself and the numerous dilemmas she faced as a mother, sister, and wife.

Roseanne was a norm-breaking maternal figure who many deemed more accessible than the likes of June Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver or Carol Brady in The Brady Brunch. She didn’t bake cookies and sing her kids lullabies, she picked on them and taught them lessons via good ole embarrassment. She parented via unconventional means (that were perhaps more conventional than we realized on the time), but she never shied away from the honest truth. 

Not to say, she was the boss and the middle of the family dynamic, which had often been reserved for fathers in similar shows preceding Roseanne. Roseanne Barr’s down-to-earth and realistic performance — paired with strong comedic timing and heartfelt sensibility — made her considered one of the funniest and most relatable characters on the screen. 

Phoebe Buffay | ‘Friends’ 

Phoebe Buffay, or as her most beloved fans wish to call her — Princess Consuela Banana Hammock, was the eccentric and quirky Smelly-Cat-singing friend with a heart of gold on this classic ‘90s sitcom. She possessed this glorious ability to show the show’s mundane moments into riotous and memorable scenes.

Phoebe’s offbeat sensibility adds a level of unpredictability to her character, leaving her with among the funniest lines within the series. “Oh, I wish I could, but I don’t wish to,” “See, he’s her lobster,” “What if I don’t wish to be a shoe?” and “I don’t also have a pla” remain up there in our favorites. 

Not to say, her childlike enthusiasm and wonder make her an admirable adult. She never lost her imagination or belief within the not possible; nonetheless, such qualities did make her any less insightful, just three-dimensional. 

Gloria Delgado-Pritchett | ‘Modern Family’ 

With a definite accent, exaggerated facial expressions, and five-inch stilettos, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett sashayed her way into our hearts. From her must make an entrance to her skills with a BB gun, she was equal parts beauty and badass. Nothing beats an indignant Gloria. It’s the purse-swinging, insult-slinging, high-volume yelling that only Sofia Vergara could deliver with equal parts heightened humor and authenticity. 

The over-the-top emotionality perfectly complemented her over-the-top wardrobe and general disposition. Oh, and when she sang — so poorly that the road cats covered their ears – we couldn’t help but die laughing. Rolling those rs and battling a piercing vibrato as she belted the National Anthem was comedy gold. She was also a protective mother — and a jealous one at that — whose relationship together with her son can have been a bit off-kilter but made for quite the laugh. 

She needed to be the primary woman in his life, and though slightly troubling, it was endearing. She had a side-eye that may terrify you and a knack for confusing English idioms (which never got old). She was passionate and energetic but sensitive and warm.

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