TV House Staff Recognition Day
The Downton Abbey series and films give ample screen time to the Crawley family’s house staff—here are some other TV servants who stole their shows.
The hugely popular Downton Abbey series and films follow posh aristocratic characters—the Crawley family—and their servants, who can be even more interesting than their employers. With Downton Abbey: A New Era in theaters this weekend, we’re calling out memorable house staff from other TV series.
Lurch, The Addams Family
The Addams Family’s towering, deadpan, reticent, mostly mute butler who deeply intoned ”YOU RANG?” when he answered the door wasn’t a one-trick, catch phrase-parroting pony.
Lurch also jams on the family organ and, in order to impress a lady, let Wednesday Addams teach him to dance The Drew—and, eventually, he inspired his own dance, “The Lurch.”
You can stream The Addams Family on Pluto.
Consuela De La Morrela, Family Guy
She’s unhelpful, passively insubordinate, entitled, and just plain bad at her housekeeping job. But there’s something about the innocence Consuela feigns when says, “No, no . . . “ to get out of doing, you know, anything.
And let’s not forget her intoxicating lemon Pledge perfume and how it gusts out of the house when she shuts the door in your face.
Family Guy is streaming now on Hulu.
Benson DuBois, Soap and Benson
Wisecracking Benson DuBois started as a butler on Soap (1977–1979). Then, in a spinoff series (1979–1986), Benson became head of household affairs in the New York Governor’s mansion.
By Benson’s series finale, DuBois rose to the office of Lieutenant Governor due to his intelligence, work ethic, and heart. But we also respect Benson’s quick wit and insult game, which he frequently aimed at the Governor’s chief of staff, Clayton Endicott III.
Benson is streaming on the Roku Channel.
Lupe and Mrs. Featherbottom, Arrested Development
To work for the Bluth family, one must have the patience of a saint, as well as a strong work ethic. Housekeeper Lupe has both, even when faced with the Bluth’s abuse and antics. And Lupe even took Buster Bluth into her home, and gave him comfort in her bed when he felt bad about losing his hand.
Honorable mention to Mrs. Featherbottom—Bluth in-law Tobias Fünke in disguise—for being hilarious “in the most delicious way.”
Watch Arrested Development on Netflix.
Florence Johnston, The Jeffersons
Two years before Benson, Florence Johnston (Martha Gibbs) was trading withering criticisms with her cantankerous employer, George Jefferson. But Florence wasn’t as much of a go-getter as Benson DuBois was—she was lazy and insubordinate.
But she was a good friend, and essentially a family member, to the Jeffersons. And she looked out for her friends, once even trying to unionize all of the housekeepers in the deeeee-luxe Manhattan apartment building where they all worked.
The Jeffersons streams on Amazon Prime Video.
Waylon Smithers, The Simpsons
With a burning passion to serve the hoary old miser Montgomery Burns in all kinds of ways, Mr. Waylon Smithers is arguably the most dedicated personal assistant in TV history. It doesn’t matter what indignities he must endure—or crimes he must commit—Smithers lives to give the old gargoyle literally anything.
And although such fawning subservience, especially to someone as evil as Mr. Burns, should be off-putting, we can’t help but respect his devotion.
You can find The Simpsons streaming on Disney+.