Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend, folks! What are your plans for the holiday? Will you join in on the Guinness-fueled debauchery, or will you channel Liz Lemon and hibernate until the streets are no longer seas of green? To get ourselves in the St. Patty’s Day spirit, we’ve decided to take film and TV leprechauns and rank ’em from worst to best — because, well, what’s more Irish and debaucherous than a good ol’ fashioned leprechaun? Since it’s tough to fairly rate the effectiveness of a folkloric creature that’s prone to varying descriptions, we’re evaluating these tiny gold-hoarders with their most popular classification in mind — small, mischievous cobblers who store their gold in pots at the end of rainbows. Cool? Cool. Kick back, pour yourself a big bowl of Lucky Charms, and enjoy as we rank us some leprechauns.
#10. The Worst Leprechaun — The Beatles (TV Series) “Do You Want to Know a Secret”
First things first, how great is Ringo in that dance number? As enjoyable as this “Do You Want to Know a Secret” cartoon counterpart may be, its resident leprechaun is 100% sexy fairy and 0% leprechaun. And what’s this about leaving your face-jug on a mantel for a leprechaun to fill with gold? We love you, cartoon Beatles, but you’re mistakenly lusting after Tinkerbell’s minxish cousin, not a leprechaun.
#9. Still Pretty Bad — The Luck of the Irish (2001)
This Disney movie is about a teenage basketball star named Kyle who loses his lucky coin and, unsurprisingly, loses his luck. But wait, that’s not all! With the loss of his gold coin, our dear Kyle also loses his disguise as a human. That’s right — this teen had been unaware that he’s actually a leprechaun. Sure, you’re a leprechaun, Kyle, but this ain’t Harry Potter, Disney.
#8. Are You Even a Leprechaun? — Finian’s Rainbow (1968)
The leprechaun in Francis Ford Coppola’s musical film Finian’s Rainbow defies a few leprechaun laws. First of all, that guy is human-sized. Secondly, he apparently has to get his stolen gold back within a certain amount of time, or else he will turn into a mortal. Since he already looks like a regular dude, how do we know this quirky guy isn’t making the whole ‘leprechaun’ thing up just to get in this chick’s knickers? We’re skeptical.
#7. Highly Unusual — South Park (2007)
The leprechaun from South Park’s Emmy-winning “Imaginationland” trilogy has a brief but important role — to warn his fellow Imaginationland residents that terrorists are planning an attack. Like Kyle, we’re a little skeptical as to why he would be the one to warn of the plan, so we’re pegging this one as an unusual leprechaun.
#6. No Thanks — Leprechaun (1993)
Isn’t this one a beaut? The Leprechaun namesake is unrealistically mischievous, what with all those murders and terrible sequels and whatnot. Although the film insists that the creatures can be weakened and killed by four-leaf clovers and only four-leaf clovers, leprechauns are typically known to like the tiny green weeds. Busted.
#5. Neutral — The Simpsons (1998)
No one knows much about O’Reilly the Leprechaun — just that he’s feisty and tells Ralph to burn things. Alas, he’s a reoccurring Simpsons character and deserves a spot on our list, so we’ll just shrug and stick him at neutral #5.
#4. Getting Better — Looney Tunes “The Wearing of the Grin” (1951)
The leprechauns in this Porky Pig cartoon are decent, but y’know the whole part about the green shoes that won’t stop dancing? That’s a reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Red Shoes,” which definitely isn’t about leprechauns.
#3. B+ Leprechauns — The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold (1981)
Here we have the St. Patrick’s Day equivalent of The Nightmare Before Christmas — it has “Christmas” in the title, but it’s also a St. Patrick’s Day flick. We’ll admit, we’re a little negatively biased because the blood-crying banshee totally freaked us out as kids, but these claymation leprechauns were some pretty good ones.
#2. Great Job! — The Twilight Zone (1986)
When three young boys catch a leprechaun vacationing in the Twilight Zone, each kid is granted one wish. The three wishes backfire on the selfish hooligans, teaching them all important life lessons. This leprechaun is dressed appropriately and acts appropriately, and the three wishes detail is deep-rooted in Irish folklore, so consider us pleased.
#1. The Best Leprechaun — Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)
Let’s see here — this film has decently mischievous little leprechauns, the classic rule that a human who catches one is granted three wishes, pots of gold, and a hunky young Sean Connery? You know the way to our hearts, Darby O’Gill and the Little People.