The 10 Best One-Episode Characters

Some of TV's most memorable characters have only lasted a single episode.

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It’s infuriating when you fall in love with a character, only to find out that their appearance is a one-time deal. Some of TV’s most memorable characters have only lasted a single episode, while others have been in too many. Here are ten that were in your home for one night only.

10. Hank Scorpio – ‘The Simpsons’


The man with the theme-tune-friendly name is the coolest boss in the world, who just happens to be a flamethrower-happy super-villain. Voiced by guest-star favourite Albert Brooks, Scorpio beats stiff Simpsons competition from The Happiest Man in Springfield, Mr. McGreg (with a leg for an arm), and Joey-Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo.

9. (Uncle) Jack Dorso – ‘Arrested Development’

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There are so many guest characters in the quirky Fox sitcom return, so it’s a special shame that Martin Short’s elderly paralysed radio star didn’t make the cut. With more than a touch of Burgess Meredith, who played The Penguin in the 1960’s ‘Batman’ series, Jack is a riot from start to finish.

8. Frank Costanzas Lawyer – ‘Seinfeld’


An ominous figure who walks the streets in a cape (and occasionally saves women from jumping off bridges), all we know is that he is counsel to George’s father and that he’s played by creator and star of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Larry David. Ahead of the TV superhero curve.

7. The Dream Lord – ‘Doctor Who’

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There’s no telling when The Doctor’s nemeses will return, but given that The Dream Lord was a synthesis of The Doctor’s self-loathing, he probably won’t… at least not in that form. Portrayed by brilliant actor Toby Jones, he was funny, bizarre and not nearly as hammy as John Simm’s Master.

6. Robert Baccalieri, Sr. – ‘The Sopranos’


The father of the nicest gangster in the world, Bobby Bacala was not as shy and retiring as his son, his numerous kills earning him the name “The Terminator.” Played by Burt Young, he died in spectacular fashion when he crashed his car into a billboard after taking out his godson.

5. Bam Bam – ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’


Catherine O’Hara’s turn as Marty Funkhouser’s developmentally-challenged sister (that Larry’s sleazy agent sleeps with and then tries to have committed) is one of the most memorable cameos in a show that thrives on them. It’s no wonder the star of ‘For Your Consideration’ excelled in the improvised sitcom.

4. Guy On The Plane – ‘Friends’

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Played by the inimitable Hugh Laurie, the character was there merely to take Rachel down a peg or two as she sped across the Atlantic to stop Ross from marrying Emily. But, frankly, we could have done with him around every time a ‘Friends’ storyline got too sappy.

3. Mitch Lemon – ’30 Rock’


Played by Andy Richter (who played his own evil twin brother in ‘Arrested Development’), Liz’s 40-year old brother had a skiing accident which left him with a brain disease that made him believe he’s still 17. The entire family has to play along. We love how believable Richter is as a man-child.

2. Garth Blundin – ‘Parks & Recreation’

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Played by professional TV guest star Patton Oswalt, Garth is a local man who thwarts Leslie’s attempts to overturn some outdated Pawnee laws. Our suspicion that more could have been done with the character was confirmed with the release online of an eight-minute ‘Stars Wars’-based outtake of the filibuster scene.

Dr. Simon Finch-Royce – ‘Cheers’


Ex-‘Monty Python’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’ star John Cleese won an Emmy for his performance as a therapist who unsuccessfully attempts to give Sam and Diane relationship counselling. With the calibre of star involved, we knew it was a one-time deal. But, like Frasier, he would have been a hilariously mismatched barfly.