Join 3,522 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Spoken of but never seen
May 26, 2011 10:30 AM   Subscribe

On the TV show Fraiser Niles' wife Maris is referred to often but never seen. What other show have a character(s) that the never seen? On M*A*S*H the characters refer to family members back home. So they would not count as they are not local to the shows primary location.
posted by tman99 to Society & Culture (78 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does Wilson from Home Improvement count ? (ie you 'see' him, but not his face .. )
posted by k5.user at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Karen Walker's husband Stanley on Will & Grace.
posted by macadamiaranch at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


The Charlie Brown shows never showed the grown ups. Tool Time (ugh) never gave a good shot at the neighbor behind Tim Allen's fence.

Magnum PI never showed Robin Masters, nor did Charlie's Angels show Charlie. I think the same thing for mission control in Mission: Impossible.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2011


Howard's (unnamed) mother on Big Bang Theory. Also, Peg Bundy's (also unnamed) mother on Married With Children.
posted by deadmessenger at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The "mother" on How I Met Your Mother

Rachel's dads on Glee

Everything in He Who Must Not Be Seen on TVTropes
posted by brainmouse at 10:34 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's a list of 12, although we see some part of some of them.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:34 AM on May 26, 2011


Diane on Twin Peaks.
posted by something something at 10:35 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Norm's wife on "Cheers".
posted by Melismata at 10:35 AM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


Mr. Bloodhound from The Bloodhound Gang on 3-2-1 Contact.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:36 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld, to a certain extent.

See also: The Faceless/The Voiceless (Warning: TV Tropes links)
posted by phunniemee at 10:36 AM on May 26, 2011


On the long-running UK soap-opera Eastenders, the laundromat owner Mr Papadopoulos has been mentioned probably hundreds of times in the show's history, but has never actually appeared on the show.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:40 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Columbo's wife.
posted by luckynerd at 10:43 AM on May 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wikipedia has a rather anaemic unseen characters category.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Carlton the Doorman on Rhoda...who sounds a lot like Garfield if you're of a certain age.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:46 AM on May 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Norm's wife on Cheers, Vera. And then in the Frasier spinoff this was carried through as Nile's wife/ex-wife Maris.
posted by sbutler at 10:48 AM on May 26, 2011


George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld, to a certain extent.

Also from Seinfeld: Kramer's friend Bob Sacamano.
posted by Trurl at 10:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Suzanne's maid Consuela Valverde on Designing Women.
Kramer's friend Bob Sacamano on Seinfeld.
Enid Kelso on Scrubs.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:50 AM on May 26, 2011


Here's a bunch. I found while finding the name of the naked neighbor in friends 'ugly naked guy'.
posted by jourman2 at 10:54 AM on May 26, 2011


I don't think you ever actually see The Gooch on Different Strokes.
posted by usonian at 10:54 AM on May 26, 2011


Carlton the Doorman on Rhoda...who sounds a lot like Garfield if you're of a certain age.

That's because he also voiced Garfield! His name is Lorenzo Music.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:59 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tino from My So Called Life!
posted by hegemone at 11:02 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Charlie on Charlie's Angels.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 11:06 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


From UK TV shows:

Gene Hunt's wife in 'Life on Mars', and Arthur Daley's wife in 'Minder' - both are lurking "'Er Indoors" presences that the characters want to avoid.

In 'Keeping Up Appearances' there's Hyacinth Bucket's absent, scrounging student son Sheridan, only present as the unheard half of telephone conversations with his mother.
posted by BinaryApe at 11:07 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Doctor Claw in Inspector Gadget.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:10 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Gossip Girl on Gossip Girl (maybe)
posted by acidic at 11:13 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure Alf's girlfriend "Rhonda" ever shows up on Alf. She is spoken of often and one episode is called "Help Me Rhonda."
posted by Jagz-Mario at 11:13 AM on May 26, 2011


Also from Seinfeld: Kramer's friend Bob Sacamano.

And Jerry's cousin Jeffrey.

Seems to me Jerry once confronted Kramer with "How come I never see these friends of yours?"

Kramer's reply: "They ask the same thing about you."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:22 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beryl Marston in "That Beryl Marston...!"

- Georgie (Julia McKenzie) and Gerry Bodley (the late Gareth Hunt ) (...) still live together, but the marriage has been blighted by Gerry's torrid affair with Beryl Marston, the local bike. Beryl is never actually seen, just glimpsed from time to time and her silhouette is in the opening credits. (...) The opening theme song (sung by McKenzie) had caustic lyrics ("See her everywhere you go, all her merchandise on show, who's a dirty so and so? That Beryl Marston!)"

Also: Mrs Slocombe in "Are You Being Served?" never showed her "Pussy".
posted by iviken at 11:22 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also Home Improvement: Al's mother is talked about a lot - usually in reference to her weight - but we never saw her.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:22 AM on May 26, 2011


"Columbo's wife."

Not exactly true. She eventually got her own series....
posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:24 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another relatively obscure British one: Mrs Mainwaring in Dad's Army.
posted by fight or flight at 11:32 AM on May 26, 2011


Jacob in Lost.

Because in my universe, the sixth season never happened.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 11:40 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Related, the long-running BBC radio serial The Archers has many characters who are talked about but never actually heard.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:41 AM on May 26, 2011


Danny on the X-files.
posted by Violet Hour at 11:45 AM on May 26, 2011


Also, on M*A*S*H, Radar always spoke to "Sparky" on the phone but I don't think he was ever seen. He was a pretty major character though, in a sense.
posted by bondcliff at 11:47 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: Diane on Twin Peaks...

When I was younger I heard an interesting theory that Diane was not the name of a person, but was actually the name of Agent Cooper's tape recorder.

We never met Tino on My So-Called Life. But when he gets his drumheads replaced, we're totally getting the band back together.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:53 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, on M*A*S*H, Radar always spoke to "Sparky" on the phone but I don't think he was ever seen.

"Staff Sgt. "Sparky" Pryor, a friend of Radar and Klinger, was the telephone operator usually called by the 4077th MASH. He was seen only once, played by Dennis Fimple, in Tuttle (Season 1, Episode 15), but was sometimes faintly heard on the phone when he yelled."
posted by iviken at 11:59 AM on May 26, 2011


Also Home Improvement: Al's mother is talked about a lot - usually in reference to her weight - but we never saw her.

I'm pretty sure there's an episode where she comes to town, having lost a lot of weight. There's a scene where she thanks Tim for all the jokes, as they encouraged her to keep to her diet.
posted by nomisxid at 12:04 PM on May 26, 2011


Jayne Cobb's mother in Firefly. Source of The Hat.
posted by BinaryApe at 12:09 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of M*A*S*H, the PA announcer guy is heard but never seen. Not sure if that counts.
posted by mefireader at 12:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


We quite often hear Burt Reynolds as the voice of Evie's father on "Out of this World" where the kid can stop time by touching her fingers together, but we never see him. He's an alien.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 12:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, at the end of Mork and Mindy, Mork would have a chat with Orson, who was heard but (I'm pretty sure) was never seen.
posted by bondcliff at 12:29 PM on May 26, 2011


Alan Brady (Rob Petrie's boss from The Dick Van Dyke Show), played by series co-creator Carl Reiner, was originally supposed to be heard but not seen, though eventually he came to play a larger (and on-screen) role. This was the opposite of Buddy's (Morey Amsterdam) wife, Pickles, who, while seen one or two times on screen early on, was eventually "cast" as the off-screen butt of jokes.
posted by dhens at 12:38 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sarah, the telephone operator on The Andy Griffith Show.
posted by neuron at 12:40 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: Mrs Slocombe in "Are You Being Served?" never showed her "Pussy" .

We never saw her friend Mrs. Axelby either.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:10 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sarah, the telephone operator on The Andy Griffith Show.
Sarah Hotchkiss Trendell was also an unseen but oft-mentioned (and spoken to) telephone operator on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. But I don't think it was the same Sarah....even though the precise location of Hooterville was never pinpointed, I don't think it was in North Carolina.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:17 PM on May 26, 2011


As usual, TV Tropes has already cataloged this for everyone:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeWhoMustNotBeSeen
posted by miguelcervantes at 1:39 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Magnum PI never showed Robin Masters

I guess you never saw the last episode. (God help me for knowing this)
posted by dforemsky at 2:17 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Epstein's mother on Welcome Back, Kotter.
posted by mazola at 2:19 PM on May 26, 2011


I guess you never saw the last episode. (God help me for knowing this)

I knew I should have checked Wikipedia first. I thought for sure that Higgins was actually Robin Masters.
posted by dforemsky at 2:22 PM on May 26, 2011


I thought for sure that Higgins was actually Robin Masters.

One always wondered about Higgins, but who knows?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:26 PM on May 26, 2011


This might not strictly fit your criteria, but on Angel, the character Cordelia had a roommate who was an invisible, voiceless ghost named Dennis. The character was always around, but since he was invisible and voiceless there was no actual actor playing him, just "stuff moving on its own" CGI. (Ok, I guess you actually see him once in a flashback to when he was human, but still.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:31 PM on May 26, 2011


Enid Kelso on Scrubs

Also from Scrubs: Bob Kelso's wayward son, Harrison.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:39 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


December Bride, a sitcom in the 50s, co-starred Harry Morgan as Pete the next-door neighbor who was always complaining about his wife, Gladys, who was never seen. But there was a spin-off show, Pete & Gladys, on which she was a continuing character.

Also, for trivia value, maybe -- Carlton the doorman was the lead character in an animated one-shot pilot that didn't get picked up as a series. I think Lorenzo Music did the voice for that, too.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:41 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nanny from Muppet Babies - we only ever saw her stockinged legs.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:44 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kramer also had an often-referred to friend named Lomez, who I thought we never see, though the Internet tells me that's wrong, apparently. In the episode The Van Buren Boys, one of Kramer's friends is credited as Lomez, though I don't think he is referred to as such in that episode, and is never "seen" again. Still, pretty close given that he's referred to a lot in the series.
posted by malapropist at 2:53 PM on May 26, 2011


Technically, Vera from Cheers was seen once - it was supposed to be the big reveal of her character, in a scene where the guys went to Norm's house. Vera walked around the corner to come into the shot and someone threw a cream pie that hit her in the face at that exact moment - so we saw her, but never her face. Fantastic gag.

I miss that show.
posted by AthenaPolias at 2:53 PM on May 26, 2011


Reggie Perrin's mother in law in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin... whenever she is mentioned Reggie goes into a kind of trance and there's a cut-away shot to footage of a hippo.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:00 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think you ever actually see The Gooch on Different Strokes.

True. That's why Biggie rapped about "invisible bullies."
posted by Slap Factory at 3:19 PM on May 26, 2011


Ron's first ex-wife Tammy on Parks and Rec.... though the cliffhanger implies we may see her next season, there is speculation we will not. We have seen his second ex-wife Tammy, however.
posted by jenlovesponies at 3:24 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lars, Phyllis's husband, on Rhoda and then Phyllis
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 3:25 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Peg Bundy's (also unnamed) mother on Married With Children.

Trivia: An episode was planned in 1988 in which Peggy's long-unseen mother was going to finally be revealed. The character was to be played by Divine who sadly died the night before filming.
posted by amyms at 3:51 PM on May 26, 2011


On The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin, I think it was mention of Elizabeth's mother (Reggie's mother-in-law) that brought out the hippo.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:54 PM on May 26, 2011


(Oops, I mis-read your comment. You did have mother-in-law.)
posted by benito.strauss at 3:54 PM on May 26, 2011


The Prime Minister in "Yes, Minister" is both unseen and unnamed.

In "The Prisoner", "Number One" was seen only in the final episode, but "the last third of the episode was designed to be very obscure and be open to interpretation. The reception forced McGoohan, who wrote and directed the episode, to go into hiding for a period of time because he was hounded at his own home by baffled viewers demanding explanations."

If reality TV counts: the voice of "Big Brother": "The Housemates can be addressed by Big Brother through a PA system located within the house, and when the Housemates are addressed by Big Brother, it always refers to itself in the third person. Big Brother has several voices and is sexless, although its voices can be either male or female, depending on which member of the production crew is taking on the role at that time."
posted by iviken at 4:26 PM on May 26, 2011


Doc's neighbor Ned Shimmelfinny from Fraggle Rock.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:30 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heather Sinclair on Degrassi: The Next Generation.
posted by cosmic osmo at 4:41 PM on May 26, 2011


The Charlie Brown shows never showed the grown ups.

The Little Red Haired Girl was the object of Charlie Brown's affections and was never shown in the strip, although she did appear in several of the later animated specials.

Schulz did not consider these animated appearances to be canonical (although he wrote the screenplay himself). Officially, she remains unseen and unnamed.
posted by marsha56 at 5:09 PM on May 26, 2011


Oh, and two title characters, Rebecca (1940) and Harvey (1950).
posted by marsha56 at 5:20 PM on May 26, 2011


Also from Seinfeld: Elaine's sister Gail.
posted by SisterHavana at 5:24 PM on May 26, 2011


from SeaChange, an australian nineties/noughties soap, the character Bucket is often talked about but not ever seen- I think you see a really faint guy on a boat once.

Ditto Elizabeth Mainwaring - though you do see the sagging bunk bed when they're in the air raid shelter.

Mrs Slocombe's cat was shown in the reboot of the series (Grace and Favour)
posted by titanium_geek at 6:05 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Serge, Edina's son is never seen (but often just missed in a running joke) on ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS.
There are also a fair number of references to Mr. Patel at the corner shop on PEEP SHOW, but we've never seen him.
posted by moxiedoll at 7:57 PM on May 26, 2011


More Britcoms:
Mr. Rumboldt's wife is mentioned a few times but never seen in Are You Being Served?, while Mrs. Slocombe's husband is never seen in AYBS, but is seen in Grace and Favour.

Then there is Hyacinth's son, Sheridan, in Keeping up Appearances.

The Bishop in Vicar of Dibley that she talks to on the phone in a couple of episodes is also never seen.
posted by Polgara at 9:37 PM on May 26, 2011


While technically seen, the Polkaroo was never seen by one of the show's stars, largely because he was the one inside the costume. "The Polkaroo was here?! And I missed him AGAIN."
posted by Sully at 10:39 PM on May 26, 2011


On the radio, I'm sorry I haven't a clue’s scorers, Samantha and Sven.
posted by monkey closet at 12:54 AM on May 27, 2011


The Banker on Deal Or No Deal
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:19 AM on May 27, 2011


I believe the interviewer on People Like Us counts - we hear him all the time, and we occasionally see parts of his elbow or foot, but we don't see him directly.
posted by kristi at 11:26 AM on May 28, 2011


The Snuffleupagus wasn't seen by anyone except Big Bird for quite some time...

I know, that's a reach.

And in PEANUTS, at least one grown-up is partially shown, in one strip from the 50s... Charlie Brown goes into a store to buy something and we see the clerk's hands on the counter.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:45 PM on May 28, 2011


« Older Recommended fresh/healthy/orga...   |  Are there any PC exercise game... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.