The role of the brother is to be there to comfort you and stand by your side through thick and thin. Okay, maybe there can sometimes be exceptions to this, like if you’re Bob Weinstein. But on the whole, brothers are supposed to look out for you. Brothers in real life can often let you down or be a jerk, but in TV shows, they can make for the perfect companion character to a leading protagonist, whether they’re male or female (although the relationship will be vastly different depending on that one factor). Here are 10 brother characters from TV shows that give us #FamilyGoals.
10. Michael Scofield
Michael Scofield is a heck of a brother to Lincoln Burrows. If Michael Scofield is your brother and you get sent to prison, then he’ll get himself sent to prison just to break you out. Not many brothers would do that. He dedicated his whole life to saving his brother from his death sentence and it led him to some of the most dangerous places in the world, from the American prison Fox River State Penitentiary to the Panamanian prison Penitenciaría Federal de Sona. He has been described as a guy who is “always scanning the surroundings” and “has the silky voice of a sociopath [and] the resigned stance of a long distance runner.” Actor Wentworth Miller said of the character, “First season, I think part of my challenge was to create, hopefully, a compelling character. But at the same time, there were so many things I could never show, because standing next to Abruzzi or T-Bag or Bellick, I could not afford to be vulnerable. I could not afford to crack a smile.” Michael Scofield is a great character on his own, too. He’s very complex and interesting. Michael suffers from a psychological condition called low latent inhibition, which basically means that he sees the world as being made up of pieces, rather than full of physical things. Fun fact: Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring took Michael Scofield’s character name from a short story written by Roald Dahl.
9. Gob Bluth
Gob Bluth isn’t the perfect big brother. The Bluths aren’t the perfect family – far from it! But they couldn’t live without each other, and that’s what makes them a great family. Sure, Gob might roofie you if you find out something that he doesn’t want you to know and he might try to sleep with any woman you’re interested in. There was also that time that Gob and Michael were seeing the same woman without realizing it, instead trying to find a man named Hermano who she was sleeping with, somehow not knowing that “hermano” means “brother” in Spanish. Gob sums this up perfectly at one point: “You’re a good guy, mon frere. That means ‘brother’ in French. I don’t know why I know that. I took four years of Spanish!” But at the end of the day, Gob is just a sad guy who wants to be loved. And he will return that love if you’re his brother. No matter how much he and Michael fight, they will always hug and make up at the end. Gob is a great big brother to Buster, too. He teaches Buster to do things by threatening him. “Now, when you do this without getting punched in the chest, you’ll have more fun.” That’s tough love for you.
8. Drake and Josh
Drake and Josh might not be biological brothers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love each other like biological brothers do. Drake’s mom married Josh’s dad, and at first, it didn’t seem like they would be able to get along. Drake was a cool kid who played the guitar and hung out with the popular kids. Josh was a nerd who tried hard at school and liked doing magic tricks. By all logic and reason, these two guys should hate each other. They’re from completely different circles. And yet, by forcing them to share a bedroom and spend a lot of time with each other, they realized that they actually had a lot in common and ended up becoming best friends. These two are the sweetest pair on television. Both Drake and Josh are the best brother that you could ever dream of, so they both deserve a place alongside each other on this list. And what’s great is that they couldn’t live without each other. Once they’ve become brothers, there’s no separating them. They’re the best of friends. Without Drake, there is no Josh, and without Josh, there is no Drake. They need each other. That’s what brothers are for.
7. Morty Smith
Morty is always looking out for his sister. He protected her from a jerk boyfriend who only cared about her looks and hurt her feelings. He also told Summer about futility of life when she was feeling glum about her alternate reality where her parents didn’t really want to have her and would’ve been much better off if she hadn’t been born. Jerry would’ve been a big movie star who did cocaine with Johnny Depp on his yacht and Beth would’ve been a real surgeon who operates on humans. It made her miserable and Morty decided to cheer her up by showing her where he and Rick from another reality were buried in the backyard. He tells her, “On one of our adventures, Rick and I basically destroyed the whole world, so we bailed on that reality and we came to this one, because in this one, the world wasn’t destroyed, and in this one, we were dead. So, we came here, and we buried ourselves and we took their place. And every morning, Summer, I eat breakfast twenty yards away from my own rotting corpse.” She asks, “So, you’re not my brother?” and he tells her, “I’m better than your brother. I’m a version of your brother you can trust when he says, ‘Don’t run.’ Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.”
6. Niles Crane
Niles Crane, who is also a pretentious snob and a psychiatrist and a lover of wine and fine foods, is so excessively all of those things that he makes his brother Frasier look normal. That was the plan, actually, when the writers were first coming up with characters to surround him with in his own spin-off. They wanted to make Frasier more relatable, since he would now be the main character, so they gave him a brother who was ever worse. David Hyde Pierce, the actor who played him, has described the character as “what Frasier would be if he had never gone to Boston and never been exposed to the people at Cheers.” Frasier and Niles do everything together. They play squash together, they throw parties together, they go to wine tastings together – but it doesn’t always work out. The two brothers have tried sharing an office space together and they’ve tried opening a restaurant together, and both times, it has ended in miserable failure, but that’s because they’re so alike. They’re so much like each other that they sometimes can’t stand each other! That’s what brothers are. Niles’ final line in the last episode of the show is spoken to his brother as he is set to leave Seattle. He tells him, “I’ll miss the coffees.” And so will we.
5. Mitchell Pritchett
The central clan in Modern Family are an eclectic bunch of people. There is the traditional family of a married man and woman and their three children who all live in the suburbs, but the other two sub-families that make up the larger family are more non-traditional. There’s the old divorced guy who has married his second wife, who is much younger than him, and taken on her son as his stepchild and had a new baby with her. And there is the gay couple who have adopted a daughter from Vietnam. That’s what makes the family of Modern Family so ‘modern’ – these institutions are not the traditional ones. Until a few years ago, gay people couldn’t even get married. But they are slowly becoming the new norms. Less people are being frowned upon and whatever your lifestyle is, a large chunk of society will accept it now. As a gay character, the portrayal of Mitchell Pritchett as a ‘normal’ person has been hugely important in the depiction of LGBTQ people in the media in recent years. No longer were gay characters on TV these camp, effeminate, two dimensional stereotypes. Mitchell is a great father and a loving son – and a fantastic brother. Whenever his sister Claire wants to air some grievances or talk something out, he’s there for her.
4. Ross Geller
Any brother who will choregraph an entire dance routine with you and then perform it in front of TV cameras for a New Year’s Eve special (even if it does just end up in the blooper reel) is some great brother. Ross was chosen in a worldwide poll conducted by Comedy Central to be the greatest character on the show, partly because he’s a great brother to Monica. Ross learned to eat fast when he was growing up with a young, overweight Monica. He once said, “I grew up with Monica. If you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat!” But for all the jokes that he makes about her or at her expense, Ross does love his sister and would do anything to protect her. Remember when he had that talk with Chandler before he married her? “You guys are getting married tomorrow and I couldn’t be more thrilled for both of you, but as Monica’s older brother, I have to tell you this. If you ever hurt my little sister, if you ever cause her any unhappiness of any kind, I will hunt you down, and kick your ass!” Chandler just laughs in his face, but the important thing is that his heart was in the right place.
3. Daryl Dixon
In Robert Kirkman’s original comic book series that AMC’s zombie horror drama series The Walking Dead is based on, the Merle Dixon character did not have a brother. In fact, Norman Reedus had initially gone in to audition to play Merle when the producers decided to create a whole brother character just to cast him in. See, Reedus had been playing Merle as too sympathetic and likable, whereas he needed to be a deplorable redneck racist, because that was the character. Before the death of Merle, Daryl would follow him anywhere. He didn’t agree with any of his views and he didn’t like the fact that his brother didn’t get along with his friends, but at the end of the day, his brother was his brother, and if his brother went off into the woods to survive on his own, then Daryl would go with him. The look of sadness in his eyes when he goes out to where he’s expecting to meet Merle, only to find that he’s been bitten and turned into a walker, is enough to tell us that this is a guy who truly loves his brother. Those two brothers didn’t have a perfect relationship, but they did love each other.
2. Fox Mulder
We don’t get to see much of Fox Mulder’s sister of the course of The X Files, but we do know that when he was twelve years old and his little sister Samantha was eight, he witnessed her getting abducted by aliens, which set off a lifelong obsession with finding the truth about extra-terrestrial life and getting her back. From that day on, everything from his Oxford University education to his FBI training was all done with the intention of eventually using it all to find his sister and bring her home. But that in itself should be enough to prove that Fox Mulder is one of the best brothers on the box. He’ll get a job at the FBI and dedicate his life to finding you if you get abducted by aliens, no matter how small the office they stick him in is or how much of a joke they think his work is. He’s a great brother. He did all of that for his sister, and he even managed to get to the bottom of it in the end. If you have Fox Mulder as a brother, you don’t even have to worry about being kidnapped by supernatural forces, because he’ll protect you even from that!
1. Bart Simpson
Okay, Bart and Lisa fight a lot and they can get very competitive, but he can also be very sweet when he wants to be. There was the time that Lisa’s whole diorama got blown out the window and Bart looked for her when she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She asks him, “Is it okay?” and by way of softening the blow for her and giving it to her as gently as he can, Bart says, “Well, the important thing is that we survived.” It’s moments like this one that make him a really good brother – and when he helped her to prepare for the beauty pageant that she was taking part in. He showed her how to properly walk down a catwalk in a pair of heels. And also, when she started to doubt herself, he said the sweetest thing he has ever said to her: “Lis, as your brother, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say…you’re not ugly.” And remember that flashback episode when Lisa was first born and Bart was jealous of all the attention she was getting as the baby, but as soon as she says “Bart” as her first word, he loves her more than anything.