13. 'I'm Alan Partridge'
Comedian Steve Coogan's hapless, egomaniac broadcaster began life as a sportscaster on Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris' surrealist news spoof The Day Today, trafficking in ungainly metaphors like "The goalie has football pie all over his shirt." But the character really found himself as a host, first of the disastrous TV talk show Knowing Me, Knowing You, where he was most likely to offend or insult his guests when not indulging his twin fetishes for ABBA and Roger Moore. After that fictional endeavor cratered, Partridge had sunk about as low as he can go, working the 4 to 7 a.m. graveyard shift for radio Norwich and shilling for local business to make ends meet while living in a generic hotel. None of which stops Alan from acting like he's God's gift to the profession; it just stops anyone from agreeing with him. More than any successful cringe-driven comedy, I'm Alan Partridge walks the line between discomfort and repulsion; only Alan's failure to wield the power he thinks he has makes him tolerable.—SAM ADAMS