Okay, maybe we love nineties TV way too much. But we can’t help it! There was so much good TV back then! And it gave us many of our role models and heroes! Such as . . .
She loves science, she has a unique wardrobe, she tells lots of jokes, she is probably magical, she hangs out with a lizard all day—truly, Ms. Frizzle has it all. Oh, and her catchphrase is “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” Good advice, Friz.
Will Smith may have commanded all our attention during the nineties, but it’s hard to watch Fresh Prince and not see Uncle Phil as a real hero. He’s a smart, hard-working guy—and he has to come home to deal with whatever wacky thing is going on at his house at the moment. Uncle Phil, we feel your grumpiness. We really do.
Sure, Agent Mulder gets to do all the sci-fi mumbo-jumbo. And yeah, Scully is usually the one to roll her eyes at Mulder’s love of aliens and other weirdness. But that’s what we like about her. She’s a skeptical, hard-working, smart FBI agent who shows everyone how to keep a level head, whether you’re dealing with alien abductions, government conspiracies, or workplace drama.
Thanks to Red Green, we always keep our stick on the ice and attempt to fix everything with duct tape. “If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” Words to live by, Red Green.
Cynical? Yes. Sarcastic? Of course. But Daria is committed to speaking truth to power, no matter the cost to herself or her social standing. And unlike many other characters on TV, Daria grows over the course of her show. By the end, she’s a better sister to Quinn and has come to understand why her parents are the way they are.
There’s one Simpson always trying to make the world a better place, always believing the best of her family even when they let her down, and always getting back up when she’s knocked down, and that’s Lisa Simpson. Other characters may get more airtime, but Lisa is always showing everyone, even Homer, how to be a better person.
If you’re looking for ethically minded heroes who value hard work, respecting other cultures, and holding themselves to the highest standards, the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation could make this list. But it’s captain of the Enterprise-D, Jean-Luc Picard, who shows us that diplomacy is better than violence, respect for your fellow sentient beings is the most important thing, and there’s always a more humane option to any problem.