We’ve done a fair amount of coverage on the burgeoning field of TV pop art in recent years, but we haven’t yet looked at the art directly from these fictional universes. From Jesse Pinkman’s Kanga-man and James Franco’s inexplicable self-portraits as “Franco” to Lily Aldrin’s nudes of both Marshall and Barney, we’ve rounded up the TV character art that has shocked, delighted, confused, and left us downright heartbroken. Have some professional criticism? Were Jesse Pinkman’s “lines” as great as Jane said they were? Is there a piece we didn’t include (and that you may or may not have facsimiled for your own wall)? Please share in the comments!
Breaking Bad: Jesse Pinkman’s superheroes
In a memorable Jesse/Jane moment in Season 2, Jesse showed Jane some of his “kid” drawings, including “Kanga-man”(half-man/half kangaroo) and “Rewindo” (formerly known as “Backwardo”) because he walks backwards. Jane sweetly noted the striking resemblance between Jesse and his creations, and also the fact that his Kanga-man is actually a “she” because males kangaroos don’t have pouches. Sigh, we miss her too.
Parks and Recreation: Jerry’s painting
People give Jerry a hard time, but Leslie Knope as a centaur was brilliant. If you have some time to kill and want to see more of Jerry’s paintings, we recommend Jerry’s Paintings Puzzle. Yep, this is an actual, scored, game on the NBC website.
Image credit: Propworx
Battlestar Galactica: Kara Thrace’s Star Buck
“Features white paint drips and spatters from ‘Maelstrom‘ when Captain Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace paints over her mandala wall mural. Later shown in background sitting on a painter’s easel during Kara’s flashback sequence from ‘Daybreak‘ when she first meets Lee Adama.”
In case you’re curious, the painting was auctioned for $3,240 when the series ended. Starbuck’s flight suit went for $19,800.
Cheers: The saddest painting in sitcom history
When the prestigious painter Phillip Semenko (played by a young and spry Christopher Lloyd) arrived to paint Diane at the end of Season 2, it all but clinched the end of her increasingly tumultuous relationship with Sam. Diane’s reaction to her portrait was textbook perfect: “It’s one of the most powerful visual statements of melancholy I’ve ever seen. And Sam will appreciate that it’s atrabilious yet not a bit lugubrious.”
Sam did appreciate the painting, but as these on-again, off-agains go, it was too little, too late. In the last moments of the season finale, after the couple’s (first) epic breakup and only seconds after Diane walked out the door, he finally looked at Semenko’s masterpiece and could only say one word: “Wow.”
Image credit: Fanpop
How I Met Your Mother: Lily’s nudes
In case you can’t remember when and how these happened, check out the episode summary of Season 2’s “Columns.” The short of it is, Lily painted Marshall in the nude their freshman year of college. Years later she also painted Barney (to pay for her honeymoon in Scotland). And no, your eyes don’t deceive you — something was intentionally left out of the painting, and no, Barney was not happy.
Image credit: NBC
The Office: Superhero Jim vs. ASCII Dwight
Although Pam’s computer-generated Dwight is probably her most subversive work to date, turning her husband into a comic book hero was, IOHO, one of the sweetest (not to mention most laborious), homemade Christmas presents we’ve seen presented on TV.
General Hospital: Franco’s self-portraits
As we eventually learned, James Franco’s stint on General Hospital as the evil artist “Franco” was all one big piece of performance art, otherwise known as Francophrenia . The layers of meta in this whole experiment were perhaps deepest (and creepiest) in the scene above, where we saw the maniacal Franco revel in his latest foray: self-portraits.
Malcolm in the Middle: Hal’s “Giant Wall of Paint”
In a fit of existential crisis midway through Season 2, Hal left his job to paint, and nearly went mad in the process. In his quest for perfection he spent days throwing gallons of paint at his canvas, until eventually the piece collapsed under the weight of its own genius (quite literally — there was simply too much paint for it to hold up).
Dawson’s Creek: Joey’s nude sketch of Jack
Of course Joey sketched a nude of Jack for her high school art class. And of course the meanest girl in school (Abby Morgan) got a hold of it and for use in her latest scheme to wreak havoc on Capeside. We’re still in awe of this plot line, and also Jack’s striking resemblance to a merman from this angle.
Friends: Phoebe’s 3D masterpieces
Every once in a while the group inducted a worthy honorary member (Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, Tom Selleck). Gladyss and Glynnis should probably be included in that pool as well.
Image credit: HBO
Six Feet Under: The ever-evolving oeuvre of Claire Fisher
As part of their impressive repertoire of bonus features, HBO created an entire gallery of Claire’s work, of which we’ve displayed a few of our favorites above: the Medusa painting that hung in her room, the photograph of the plumbing explosion of blood, and the collage she gave Nate and Brenda and for their wedding.
The O.C.: Seth Cohen’s The Atomic County
When Summer stumbled upon Seth’s not-very-well-hidden sketches of her in the form of Little Miss Vixen, she gave him the go-ahead to keep drawing, as long as she had “boob approval” (which was a pretty awesome statement on behalf of young women, since she was actually requesting he deflate her over embellished chest). The sketches turned into Seth’s comic book Atomic County, which went on to include the inspiring Ryan Atwood origin story.
Felicity: Noel and Felicity’s awkward portraits of each other
In the Felicity episode appropriately titled “Portraits,” sexual tension oozed at every corner as Felicity and Noel worked on a class project that took way too many hours considering they were in the midst of finals. In between staring into one another’s faces, sketch-break embraces, and almost kissing, Felicity agonized over her renewed feelings for Noel, until her professor’s critique of their portraits finally gave her the perspective she needed: “These two drawings were obviously drawn by two people who couldn’t really see each other.”
Community: The 20th diorama — or a diorama of the group making their 19th diorama
Despite Jeff’s complaints about the dimensions of his forehead, we have to say this is pretty good. Clearly these guys weren’t the types whose parents did their elementary school art projects for them.
Arrested Development: George Michael as Adam in Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam
In a daring piece of performance art, George Michael indadvertently took a stand for never-nudes everywhere at the annual “Living Classics” pageant. Needless to say, Tobias was proud.