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Hoosier Hall of Fame: Fictional Indiana Characters, Q-Rated

This article is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s 2016 Indiana Bicentennial coverage, which includes our list of the 200 Hoosier Hall of Fame picks, designated throughout in bold or highlighted. For more on this celebration of the state’s first two centuries, click here.

LESLIE KNOPE
Parks and Recreation
, 2009–15

Quintessential: The dedicated Hoosier public servant anyone would hire—enthusiastic, idealistic, indefatigable, and gets stuff done.
Quirky: Optimistic (sometimes to the point of delusion) and ambitious but stuck in the sleepy Indiana town she loves.

 

JIM GAFFIGANfictional Indiana characters - Jim Gaffigan
The Jim Gaffigan Show, 2015–present

Quintessential: Following the semiautobiographical path blazed by Louie, Gaffigan plays a down-to-earth, self-deprecating Hoosier comedian making it in show business.
Quirky: Why does that plot sound so familiar?

 

fictional Indiana characters - Woody BoydWOODY BOYD
Cheers, 1985–93

Quintessential: Polite, big-hearted, and wide-eyed: the empathetic epitome of country mouse in the big city—played, no less, by Woody Harrelson, a real-life alum of Indiana’s Hanover College.
Quirky: So dumb.

 

DAVE STOLLERfictional Indiana characters - Dave Stoller
Breaking Away, 1979

Quintessential: A likable kid from humble beginnings—son of a stonecutter-turned-car-salesman—not afraid to dream big.
Quirky: Come to think of it, an unemployed townie sneaking away to hit on college girls in a fake Italian accent is kinda creepy.

 

fictional Indiana characters - Ralphie ParkerRALPHIE PARKER
A Christmas Story, 1983

Quintessential: Growing up in fictional Hohman, Indiana (read: Hammond, author Jean Shepherd’s hometown), he’s the picture of American middle-class childhood circa 1940.
Quirky: He’s a gun nut.

 

GARFIELDfictional Indiana characters - Garfield
1978–present

Quintessential: Ostensibly residing in Muncie, Indiana, where creator Jim Davis attended Ball State, the lazy cat’s sardonic humor is a refreshing counterpoint to industrious Hoosiers.
Quirky: Famous struggles with weight hit close to home—Indiana ranks seventh in the nation for obesity.

 

fictional Indiana characters - Ron SwansonRON SWANSON
Parks and Recreation, 2009–15

Quintessential: Strong, silent, and unimpressed—everything you want in the director of a strapped city agency—he is a rugged man’s man with flashes of sensitivity.
Quirky: Collared shirt barely hides the redneck.

 

RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDfictional Indiana characters - Raggedy Andy
1918–present

Quintessential: Indy author Johnny Gruelle went from rags to riches with this iconic pair whose names were inspired by two James Whitcomb Riley poems.
Quirky: You’d think by now they could afford some decent clothes.

 

fictional Indiana characters - Jimmy ChitwoodJIMMY CHITWOOD
Hoosiers, 1986

Quintessential: The farm boy who learns to shoot on a dirt court—inspired by Milan’s Bobby Plump and created by Bloomington product Angelo Pizzo.
Quirky: An idiot savant: the basketball equivalent of the banjo player in Deliverance.

 

DANIEL “RUDY” RUETTIGERfictional Indiana characters - Rudy
Rudy, 1993

Quintessential: Another of Pizzo’s iconic “inspired by” underdogs, he perseveres despite being undersized and unnoticed—much like Indiana itself.
Quirky: Too bad he sucks at football.

 

fictional Indiana characters - Kimmy SchmidtKIMMY SCHMIDT
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 2015

Quintessential: Tina Fey created this Hoosier heroine as trusting and trustworthy, spirited and relentlessly upbeat—only in a dark, cult-survivor milieu.
Quirky: Elevates hayseed naivete to a new level.

 

 

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.
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