7 Memorable TV Bosses

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Happy National Boss Day! The holiday was first celebrated in 1958 by Patricia Bays Haroski. She felt bad about forgetting her boss’s birthday, so she registered the date as a holiday. (Her boss was also her dad.) Since it’s Saturday and lots of folks won’t be hanging out at the office, we thought we’d round up a few of the most memorable television bosses, and let you guys fill in others we missed.

1. Michael Scott, The Office
“People say that I am the best boss,”  says Michael Scott, the man in charge at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton on the first episode of the American version of The Office. Though the blundering-but-always well-intentioned character played by Steve Carell is based on Ricky Gervais’s character on the original British Office, Michael Scott has become the modern equivalent of a bad boss.

2. Mr. Burns, The Simpsons
Since the very first season of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson has been reporting for duty at Springfield’s nuclear power plant, owned and operated by C. Montgomery Burns, who spends most of his time monitoring his workers via closed-circuit television. Ultimately a cold-hearted, money-hungry man, Mr. Burns is often painted as Springfield’s villan. The character was originally voiced by Christopher Collins, but shortly after Mr. Burns’ first appearance, the role was given to Harry Shearer.

3. DA Jack McCoy, Law and Order

In 2008, Sam Waterson’s character replaced Fred Thompson as the District Attorney after years of serving as the Executive Assistant District Attorney. Though his promotion was primarily on the original Law and Order, his first appearance in the position actually occurred during an episode of Law and Order: SVU.  The next year, when running for re-election, McCoy is often accused of employing extreme legal tactics to bolster his campaign. McCoy is the second-longest tenured character on the show, after Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson).

4. Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
News producer Lou Grant was played by Ed Asner. Though originally he comes off as a hard-drinking, hard-nosed newsman, Mary Tyler Moore eventually befriends him. Asner’s character was so beloved by audiences, that in 1977, CBS gave him his own spin-off. Unlike the comedic Mary Tyler Moore Show, however, Lou Grant was a drama.

5. Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty
Super diva Wilhelmina Slater is a former supermodel and the one-time editor-in-chief of Mode magazine, the fictional publication on Ugly Betty. During the first two seasons of the show she served as Creative Director of the magazine, after a long tenure as a personal assistant. Her diabolical schemes — which include everything from black mail to having family members committed — were generally aimed toward Daniel Meade, who held the position of editor-in-chief before her.

6. Dr. Miranda Bailey, Grey’s Anatomy
Known as “the Nazi,” Dr. Miranda Bailey (played by Chandra Wilson) is in charge of surgical interns at the start of Grey’s Anatomy. Her no-nonsense demeanor scares the interns, but eventually she becomes a trusted mentor.

7. Cosmo G. Spacely, The Jetsons
When George Jetson reported for daily duty at Spacely Space Sprockets, the man in charge was Cosmo G. Spacely, whose big personality often resulted in him firing (and ultimately re-hiring) Jetson. Spacely, who was voiced by Mel Blanc (who did the voices of many other memorable characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Woody Woodpecker, and Barney Rubble) much like many of the other bosses on this list, often found a way to become involved in his employees’ lives.

Who was your favorite TV boss? Tell us in the comments.

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October 16, 2010 - 5:24am
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