A new interest of mine: Neighbors.
Consider Wilson Wilson Jr. from Home Improvement, Ned Flanders from the Simpsons, Steve Urkel from Family Matters, Kimmy Gibbler from Full House, Six from Blossom, and Mary Jane Watson from Spiderman (don’t ask me which continuity because that’ll force me to open a major can of whoop-ass on you).
My current, unresearched, untested theory is that in fiction, the neighbor represents both the known and the unknown. In other words, the neighbor is someone whose routine you see daily, but who is still a mystery. This is usually expressed via the neighbor being a polar opposite of the main character (or a main character, as in the case of Full House and Family Matters).
A case can be made that the Girl Next Door stereotype is that she is unassuming, wholesome, and pretty, while being the main character’s ideal mate. In this case, we’re using the ideal of ‘opposite’ or ‘complimentary.’
I might have gotten off on this tangent from the fact that my mom is now avidly demanding that we lock our front gate (our neighbors have been having regular all-night parties and late-night visitors for several weeks now). More likely, however, it’s from watching old Home Improvement reruns on late night television.
If anybody has any other famous (or ridiculously cool) characters that you’d like me to add to the list, please feel free to comment. Also if you disagree with my conclusion. I’m sure this topic has been broached before somewhere, but it interests me so ppphhhhbbbllltt!
Sorry, but me going off on rants like this is archetypical of this blog.