Last night’s episode of You’re the Worst opens with a montage depicting Jimmy’s (Chris Geere) mad rush to finish his second novel: The dishes piles up in the sink as he paces back and forth, drinks, smokes, carries his laptop from one room to the next, and generally plays the part of the Tortured Artist. When he finally puts the finishing touches on his Carrie Matheson-like vision board, he steps back and triumphantly pumps his fist. Then he unzips his pants and jerks off to the awe-inspiring sight of his own work.
Jimmy’s masturbatory writing process is part of a long tradition. Writers can be notoriously self-centered, so it’s no surprise that TV writers have created their share of characters who make a living off the written word. Below, we’ve compiled 20 of TV’s best (and worst) fictional authors, poets, and playwrights, ranked in descending order.
Diane Nguyen, BoJack Horseman
Oh, Diane. Has any other TV character inspired so much head-nodding sympathy from fellow writers? A ghostwriter initially hired to pen former TV star BoJack’s memoirs in Season 1, Diane (voiced by Alison Brie) is ambitious and intelligent, and appears to fill the role of the voice of reason. But, like BoJack — and like many writers — Diane suffers from depression. That, coupled with her rocky relationship with her husband, Mr. Peanutbutter, often saps her drive to work, despite her talent and ability. We feel you, girl!