The Greatest HBO Character of All Time: And the Winner is…

Wrapping up Giddy Up America’s Greatest HBO Character of All Time Tournament

It’s Omar.

It was always Omar.

Before I even realized it was Omar, it was Omar.

When I started this tournament I thought Tony Soprano was the front runner. I didn’t think he could be beat. He meant so much from a cultural stand point and was essentially the trail blazer for so many other great HBO characters. His show The Sopranos was the one that kicked the doors open for a show like The Wire, Omar’s show. Tony would win, I th0ught. I thought he’d face a good challenge in Nucky Thompson and eventually Jimmy McNulty, but was a shoo-in for the finals. I didn’t see Larry David coming.

Tyrion Lannister would be a tough out. Even though his body of work was small, he’s been so super impressive in the first two seasons of Game of Thrones that I figured that would carry him to at least the Final Four. McNulty and Stringer Bell were contenders for the crown as well. Stringer more so than McNulty. I had an eye on Omar, but wasn’t convinced. He was probably the strongest two seed in the tournament.

For a hot minute I even thought that the Mother of Dragons could make a run.

But it’s Omar.

It was always Omar.

Props to Larry David, though. He made it much farther than I thought he would and when he made it to the Final Four, I assumed that was the end of the road for him. It wasn’t though. Beating Soprano was a well-deserved win, but he stood no chance against Omar. Not at all. Some people will say Larry David was jobbed. To those people I have a simple message: thanks for reading, tell your friends.

I don’t even know how I came to the conclusion that Omar was the winner. I just know I did. I think it was something I wrote when choosing between Omar and Stringer Bell in the Final Four- there has never been a character like Omar and there will never be a character like Omar. I genuinely believe most of the things I think and 80% of what I say. That statement about Omar is something I believe to be true.

It’s Omar.

Larry David did get some consideration, but it was fleeting; borderline pity. I wanted to figure out how could I make it a fight. I thought of comparisons, things like the fact that Omar and Larry David are two characters in a world full of people giving a shit who flat out don’t give a shit. They are role players in that respect. They allow us to envision a world where we could say or do anything we please. We can’t, though. That’s why we hold Larry and Omar so close and on such pedestals. We can’t settle our disputes with a shotgun and we don’t have the chutzpah to casually use the phrase “pussy rash.” We don’t identify with these characters- we aspire to be them. They are super heroes whose super power is bravado.

Yet you can’t make the call based on who gives less of a shit. It’d be a draw.

Omar is just so much more transcendent than Larry is. He’s bigger than Larry. Omar is bigger than the entire Curb Your Enthusiasm world. While I would agree with you if you said that Larry was bigger because his role on the show is bigger, I would agree. But that’s not what everything on this tournament is based on. It’s one of the things, but not the only thing.

Remember, these were the things taken into account when picking a winner:

  1. Personal favoritism
  2. The character’s role on their show
  3. Their length of time on their show
  4. Cultural significance
  5. Memorable quotes and/or scenes

Larry David is the main character on his show. Omar is one of many leads on The Wire. Is he even a lead? Is he supporting? Shit if he is just a supporting character that makes him all that more impressive. But I don’t think he is. Bunk or Lester or even Wee Bay were supporting characters on The Wire. Omar, along with Stringer and McNulty, were the show’s main characters from start to finish- even though Stringer didn’t make it past season three. So we put that to bed- both Omar and Larry David meant a lot. That too would be a draw.

But come on, it’s Omar.

It was always Omar.

I did not plan any of this. Decisions in this tournament were made on the fly. I had irrational arguments with myself. I enlisted friends and co-workers. I talked myself in and out of things sometimes in the span of just one paragraph. Sometimes even within the span of one sentence or one thought. This tournament was the furthest thing from science since Fox News came in to existence. There were no givens. No certainties.

But in the end, there was one certainty.


A gay, shotgun-wielding stick up artist cruising the fringes on one of the best television shows ever. A quotable son of a gun and merciless scene stealer. Taken out by a youngin, but still, people on the street weren’t convinced he was dead. Governed by a code and the mantra- it’s all in the game. The Sunday truce, keeping civilians out of it, pulling some Spiderman shit and jumping off of a four (or five) floor balcony and walking away with just a bum leg. Money ain’t got no owners, only spenders.

Valiant effort by Larry David and if we do this again sometime down the road, best of luck to anyone who has to go up against any of the big dogs in Game of Thrones.

But this tournament?

This one belongs to Omar.

It always did.

Photos: HBO

  1. Season 3 takes place in 1923. Capone took over when Turrio retired in 1925. We still have a ways to go in this story line, inciudlng the trouble Dean O’Banion (Florist Shop Owner) causes for Capone and Turrio. Unless the show jumps ahead during the season. But I hope they don’t jump ahead during the season. A lot of great stories happen around Chicago during 1923 and 1924. I aways enjoy your reviews. Thanks.


  2. Thanks for the comment and I agree about Boardwalk. Knowing all that goes down in the years ahead, it makes the show more exciting. My only issue with the Chicago story lines is that sometimes they feel too disconnected from the AC story lines, which is essentially what the show is about. As long as there is a loose connection, I’m a happy camper.


  3. I’ve read the books and personally I would cut out a lot of characters introduced in the 3th, 4th and 5th book. They seemed to be doing this as they cut characters from the 2nd book in the 2nd season, only to introduce them in the upcomming season…It seems they want to tell the story as it is. This is of course the nicest way to do it but honestly, I think that the majority that watch the show only do so with half attention. It is just entertainment to most people. Once it gets too complex they’ll get confused and eventually bored.So I think HBO is prepared to pay what it needed to get the required special effects. Afterall they could skip some of the major battles (they did so in both season 1 and 2). It is important that the upclose special effects (like the dragons and others/white walkers) is done properly. So I think costs will stay around 80-90 million per season. If they’re smart then they will cut some characters and put the 4th and 5th book into season 5 and 6 (if they would put it all in it would take 3 seasons atleast). I can’t comment about the 6th and 7th book but I think 9 seasons in total should do it. As long as it remains interesting to the general public then they’ll make their money back.


  4. “i admit that it looks good, but if the series is no where near to being fiihnsed ?”The current plans seems to be that it will take 6 or 7 seasons to cover all the books up to the end of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Due to that, the situation will either be that GRRM gets a move on and finishes the books; HBO finish the story themselves using the outlines he has already given them; or the TV series and books divert quite significantly and go off and do their own things.”btw, hbo didn’t finish “carnivale” beyond a second season (out of 6 projected), so do you trust them to finish this one ?”That was the creator’s choice. After Ronald D. Moore left to helm the new BSG after Season 1, the creator of the show as left in charge of CARNIVALE in Season 2. Budgets ballooned out of control, he couldn’t reign it back in and when he started making angry demands that HBO commission all 4 remaining seasons at once (despite concerns over the ratings) HBO decided to cancel the project.THRONES, notably, is not dependent on one particular producer being involved (that’s also what killed DEADWOOD), nor is its budget outrageously massive (which killed ROME). Assuming it doesn’t totally bomb in the ratings, it should be able to go on for at least a few seasons.


  5. […] there was an underlying inevitably to it. As if the winner was always going to be the winner. When it came down between Larry David and Omar, I kicked around the various ways LD could beat out Omar for a while before coming to the […]


  6. […] Redemption is the Omar Little of re-watchable movies, the King. And to be clear, a re-watchable movie, most likely on cable, is one that sucks you in for at least […]


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