As Lester Bangs in Almost Famous, Phillip Seymour Hoffman utters the famous line: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” This seems to apply to TV characters, too. Very often, characters that don’t fit in tend to really stand out. Here are a few of the coolest uncool ladies in TV history:
1. Lindsay Weir, Freaks and Geeks
Few characters have captured the gamut of teenage emotions better than Linda Cardellini’s Lindsay Weir. We totally relate to her desire to be cool—which is palpable—like when she skips class with her troublemaking pals and uses her birthday money to buy fake ID’s. But we love her utter refusal to be anyone other than herself, like when she defends her little bro from bullies, or when she asks a mentally challenged boy to dance at the school dance, or when she asks the Vice President a question she was warned not to. Lindsay was always skirting into and around different circles, trying to attain coolness, but in the end, we learn from watching her that coolness comes from individuality and the strength required to display it.
2. Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
It’s hard to top the arcs Alyson Hannigan had as Willow. She started out as a cliché: nerdy bookworm smitten with her equally nerdy best friend, Xander. But her character expanded as the series progressed, and before we knew it, the uncool and oft stuttering Willow blossomed before our eyes. We watched her find herself, find love with fellow witch Tara, turn into a crazy-powerful vengeance driven force after Tara was killed, and finally master her powers, playing a key role in Buffy’s fight to save the universe. Very cool, indeed.
3. Angela Chase, My So-Called Life
Along with hard-partying bff Rayanne, closeted theater geek Ricky, and nerdy neighbor Brian Krakow, Claire Danes’ Angela was never a member of the cool kids club. She dyed her hair to give herself more of an edge, she pined after dreamy Jordan Catalano, and in the episode titled “The Zit,” we winced when Angela looked in the mirror, examined a bulbous pimple, and wondered why she felt so unattractive compared to others. But, like Lindsay Weir, Angela’s coolness came from her individuality. She distributed copies of a banned text in a free speech demonstration that landed her in hot water, and she was a rock for Ricky when he was booted from his house. Even when she was messing up, she always tried to do the right thing, which is pretty cool.
4. Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
She gets straight A’s. She plays a mean sax. She says things like this at football games: “Before I sing the National Anthem, I’d like to say that college football diverts funds badly needed for education and the arts!” Springfield’s resident valedictorian’s coolness comes from her rampant environmentalism, her constant go-getterness, and the fact that she has been TV’s smartest lady for over 20 years!
5. Alex Mack The Secret World of Alex Mack
Only best bud Ray and big sister Annie knew her secret: an accidental encounter with the chemical GC-161 left Alex with telekinetic abilities, as well as the ability to turn into something that resembles a pool of liquid nitrogen. As a result, Alex was an X-Men-ian type outcast, unable to control her awesome yet unpredictable powers. But, with the help of Annie and Ray, Alex hid from the makers of GC-161, and ultimately defeated the evil Danielle Atron and her corporate cronies. We never learn whether Alex chooses to keep her powers, but we think she’s pretty cool regardless.
6. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
Some might consider Veronica Mars, the sharp-as-Jon Snow’s-sword teen moonlighting as a private investigator, cool by default. She dated several popular and attractive guys, and, like her portrayer Kristin Bell, she’s a far cry from unattractive. But no one can dispute Veronica’s status as outcast. She survived several harrowing ordeals, including an awful rape, which made her school’s clique of Mean Girls tease her more (yuk). But Veronica was too-cool-for-school regardless, always full of wit and sass. Her coolest moment? Making her nemesis, police chief Lamb, read a note outloud that said: “Veronica Mars is smarter than me,” after solving yet another mystery for him.
7. Daria Morgendorffer, Daria
Sarcastic. Sardonic. Hilarious. Daria, the bespectacled, monotoned, keen observationist, who astutely commented on the world she never quite fit into, was the epitome of uncool. But by contrasting her with her boy crazy sister Quinn and workaholic and clueless parents, we saw how ridiculous everyone else was, and how dead-on Daria was. Her wit had us wishing there was a non-animated Daria in all of our lives!
Who's your favorite uncool-cool girl character?