10 Best Southern TV Characters

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It’s no secret that our favorite television shows are the ones set in the South and these are by far the best Southern TV characters:

10. Flo

If you watched TV in the late ’70s/early ’80s, chances are that you yelled the phrase, “Kiss my grits!” at least once or twice. (And maybe you still do, if you’re me.) Polly Holliday originated her sassy, take-no-bull Texas waitress character on the TV hit “Alice,” and stole so many scenes, they gave her a spin-off called, you guessed it– “Flo.”

9. Jethro Bodine

Also known as “The Hunky Clampett,” Max Baer Jr. not only played the dimwitted cousin Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” but also his twin sister, Jethrine (who looked like she was beat with the proverbial ugly stick). His big galoot legacy still lives on, at least in my house, where we call any serving dish larger than a cereal bowl a “Jethro Bowl” after the giant ones he used in the show.

8. Matlock

Andy Griffith played the deceptively wise Atlanta attorney Ben Matlock in this series that ran for 10 years. He’s known for his sharp skills in the courtroom, his light-colored suits that just say “Southern Lawyer,” and also for his love of hotdogs. You may not have seen this show, but chances are your grandparents have seen every single episode at least twice.

7. Bo and Luke Duke

Yes, both of the Good Ol’ Boys are included because how can you choose between the hotties who took early ’80s TV by storm? John Schneider and Tom Wopat played these Hazzard County, Georgia brothers who outran Boss Hogg every week in their Dodge Charger, The General Lee. Moonshine, anyone? (And Daisy Duke is not on this list, but she might be on yours if you were a teen boy in 1982.)

6. Daryl Dixon

When your co-stars are flesh-eating zombies, it’s pretty easy to look good by comparison. But Norman Reedus takes this Georgia rough-trade character to a whole new level with his enigmatic personality, awesome tracking and cross-bow skills, and biceps that make regular appearances. Please don’t eat his biceps, Zombies.

5. J.R. Ewing

Perhaps one of the best-known television characters in the history of TV, Larry Hagman played the oil-rich Texan with the delicious twinkle of nastiness in his eye for over 10 seasons. And when he was famously shot, the entire world wondered “Who shot JR?” until the answer was finally revealed to an incredible 83 million viewers.

4. Tami Taylor

Connie Britton elevated what could have been just a boring football coach’s wife into the heart and soul of the beloved “Friday Night Lights” series. With her no-nonsense words, intelligence, and love for her family, plus that gorgeous head of hair, she made people who’d never even set foot in the Lone Star State clutch their footballs and whisper, “Texas forever!”

3. Andy Griffith

Yes, this is his second appearance on this list, but this time it’s for the Mt. Airy, North Carolina native’s eponymous show “The Andy Griffith Show.” Playing the sheriff of small town Mayberry, Andy used his wit, homespun wisdom and big heart to deal with the trials and tribulations of various characters, including the wonderfully weird Barney Fife. Plus we all know that this show has probably the greatest theme song ever.

2. Walker, Texas Ranger

Chuck Norris may have gone a little off the deep end lately, but this is the character that really put him on the map and started his cult, camp following. As a member of the Texas Ranger Division, Chuck was able to show his tough-guy skills and no-nonsense approach to law enforcement. And while he didn’t really show his acting skills, or lack thereof, he’s one of the best action guys out there.

1. Julia Sugarbaker

Is there a better representation of the strong, Southern woman than this one, played by Dixie Carter on “Designing Women”? Known for her ’80s shoulder pads, big, puffy hair and her grand speeches—dear Lord, did she make speeches—Julia didn’t take crap from anyone, no matter who they were. Then once she put them in their place, she’d smile that sweet Georgia peach smile and offer them some sweet tea.

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