12 thoughts on “Who Is Your All-Time Favorite Ditzy TV Character?

  1. As soon as I saw the title of this one—before I read the article—Gracie Allen leapt to my mind. You described what made her so remarkable, sir. She wasn’t a ditz in the manner of most stupid television characters. It was just that Gracie’s logic was off-centre. For example, in one scene of an episode, Gracie returns home with her arms full of flowers. George asks her, “I thought you went to visit your friend Betty in the hospital.”

    “I did,” replies Gracie.

    “Then, what’s with all the bouquets?”

    “I was only doing what you suggested, George. You said when I visited Betty in the hospital, I should take her flowers.”

    Gracie’s peculiarities served as the basis for one of the longest running jokes I’ve ever seen in a series. For the first couple of seasons, in many episodes, after a particularly zany action from Gracie, a character would ask Burns, “George, why do you put up with Gracie’s screwy behaviour?”

    “Because I love her,” George would reply.

    A few seasons after that, a character would say, “George, why do you—”

    “Because I love her.”

    And near the end of the show’s run, a character would start, ” George—”

    “Because I love her.”

    Not too long ago, the Good Mrs. Benson and I went out to lunch. So as to not be encumbered by her purse, she locked it in the trunk. Unfortunately, she had done the driving and her car keys were in her purse—which was now locked in the trunk. The car doors were locked, too.

    We have AAA, so we put in a call for a locksmith. While we waited, the GMB bemoaned to me, “That was a stupid thing for me to do. Sometimes, I wonder how you can—”

    “Because I love you.”

  2. Total agreement with you and the Commander, Brian. Gracie was brilliant at being a nitwit.
    My own favorite running gag was that every so often some official would show up at the house to get Gracie to do something. After a few minutes jousting with her byzantine logic, he’d get up, walk out in a daze and leave his hat behind. Then Gracie puts it in a closet full of other hats, showing how often this happens (even the first time they did the gag on the show, there are lots of hats already there).

  3. Don Adams built a career out of this, from Byron Glick on “THE BILL DANA SHOW” to Maxwell Smart in “GET SMART” to the titular Inspector Gadget. Few male actors were as skilled act seeming to be so confident while also being so dimwitted. I’d say Maxwell Smart gets a bonus since he’s a ditz who is also the star of the show.
    I also want to mention one of the biggest sitcom ditzes of my younger years, Christina Applegate as Kelly Bundy on “MARRIED WITH CHILDREN.” Her character didn’t start out that way when the show debuted in 1987, but midway thru the second season in 1988 she began to be portrayed as a dullard who her brother, Bud, could trick into thinking TV shows were classic books for book reports. And then from season three onward, Kelly Bundy just got dumber and dumber, with her own internal logic regarding it (i.e. her brain could get “full”). It’s tough to find a bigger “dumb blonde” stereotype in sitcoms of the era than her.

  4. torn between 2 very different characters from sitcoms from my side of “the Pond”

    Mrs Johnson (AKA “Mum”) in Citizen Smith (A mother whose daughter’s Marxist would-be urban guerrilla boyfriend had moved in) was clearly rather dim but goodt-natured and played with charm by Hilda Braid so was endearing.

    Father Dougal McGuire (played by Ardal O’Hanlon) in Father Ted was clever in some ways but incapable of seeing basic obvious things (and was convinced nobody expected priests to believe what is written in the Bible)

  5. I’ll add two more:
    Gina Bellman on the Britcom “Coupling” is a marvelous ditz, so self-absorbed she doesn’t quite seem to grasp other people are real.
    Jodi Thalen on the regrettably obscure 1980s sitcom “Duet,” as the ditzy sister of the female lead who addresses her in one episode: “Jane, while I’m gone you are not to buy anything. You are not to sell anything. You are not to cook anything. You are not to start a fire in the fireplace or anywhere else. And under no circumstances are you to rent a chainsaw!”

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