It’s a sitcom staple that goes back as far as the form itself: the wacky next door neighbor. Initially popularized by Norton on The Honeymooners and Fred and Ethel on I Love Lucy, the peculiar-but-endearing neighbor has remained a fixture, reaching an apex point in the ’90s thanks to Cosmo Kramer, Steve Urkel, and others. But some of these kindly cohorts were over the top in terms of how annoying they were. Who was the most annoying? We took a look back and ranked some of the best remembered ’90s sitcom neighbors from most annoying to most helpful to find out and here’s what we came up with.
Steve Urkel — Family Matters
What started as a one-off character — an extremely nerdy next-door neighbor with a crush on police officer Carl Winslow’s daughter Laura — Urkel’s popularity with the audience was so profound that before long the Winslow house soon became overshadowed by their high-voiced and high-waisted neighbor. It’s been well documented how that was received.
Kimmie Gibler — Full House
Tanner family neighbor Kimmy Gibbler was D.J. Taner’s best friend, although no one else seemed to be able to stand her, particularly D.J.’s sister, Stephanie. The character will be returning to grate on some Tanner nerves in the continuation series, Fuller House, which is set to debut on Netflix next year.
Marcy D’Arcy — Married With Children
In the beginning, she was the tightly-wound, uppity neighbor to the Bundy household, but years of living next door would slowly bring out the worst in her, at times making her a worthy opponent for Al. Her friendship with Peg also resulted in rather revealing moments about Marcy’s surprisingly dark and sordid history.
Kramer — Seinfeld
One of the most well-known sitcom neighbors, Kramer was the bizarre eccentric who lived across the hall from Jerry and would frequently burst into his apartment unannounced. His zany inventions and get-rich-quick schemes usually ended badly for everyone involved, but it was clear the other lead characters found him fascinating.
Jessie Spano — Saved By the Bell
While the overachieving class president was a core member of the group, she was also Zack’s neighbor and best friend since childhood. Heck, Zack was even known to visit her by climbing a tree to her bedroom window. She was driven but insecure, and her desire to be the best even set the stage for her own “very special episode,” which she famously recreated on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Vinnie — Doogie Howser, M.D.
Another childhood best friend who used the window when visiting, Vinnie was the crass, confused sex-obsessed teenager that Doogie could relate to, in part because he never got to be one himself.
Mr. Feeny — Boy Meets World
A longtime neighbor to the Matthews family, Mr. Feeny served as everything from Corey’s kindergarten teacher, high school principal, college professor, and lifelong mentor. He often stated that the line between student and teacher should never be crossed, though it was clear he cared immensely for Corey and his friends, particularly by the time the closing moments of the show’s final episode rolled around.
Wilson – Home Improvement
After Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor would spend the better part of a half-hour screwing things up, Wilson would be there, drawing from his worldly experience, to offer him sage-like advice on how to right his wrongs. His face was always obscured by the tall wooden fence that separated their two yards but his gentle, thoughtful nature was fully revealed.