What happens when you have watched all the blockbuster movies based on the number-crunching glory that is accounting? Binge-watch TV shows with accountants of course!
Last time, we took a look at the Top 10 Memorable Accountants on the big screen, now let’s show some love to the calculator-yielding superheroes on the small screen. Although there are no TV shows out there right now which are solely dedicated to the spreadsheet-loving portion of the population, accountants still hold some of the most pivotal positions on TV and in our hearts. CPAs are the backbone of the Emmy awards after all!
Here are the top 10 accountants on TV who have balanced our entertainment ledgers.
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Norman (Norm) Peterson – George Wendt
Norm Peterson might just be the most popular accountant in history. Everyone who has ever watched Cheers will always remember the warm greeting that Norm Peterson receives from everyone in the bar each time he walks into Cheers. Breaking all existing stereotypes of accountants out there, Norm is the best and worst bar patron rolled into one. On one hand, he is the unlikely candidate for the life of the party, but on the other, he also holds the largest bar tab which he never seems to pay back.
Norm gives us an inside look into the life of an accountant after hours. Surprisingly, he has a lot of time to spend at bars despite his job. He is the number one customer at Cheers with a drink now pay later attitude.
Sometimes you just need to crack open a cold beer – or five - you know?
9. The Good Wife
Clarke Hayden – Nathan Lane
Lawyers always seem to snag the addictive shows – Suits, Scandal - how many shows do they really need? Luckily, accountants also get the spotlight in the courtroom drama “The Good Wife”, where Clarke Hayden is a lawyer who also doubles as a pro-bono accountant.
Hayden is brought in to help a law firm avoid bankruptcy by identifying the areas where they can save money. As a result, he develops a contentious relationship with his client who worries that he will make too many cuts, leaving the company worse off. In the end, Hayden manages to save his client’s firm and win their trust, showing us that you should always have faith in your accountant.
8. Orange Is The New Black (OITNB)
Linda Ferguson – Beth Dover
Linda Ferguson is the accountant for the Management and Corrections Corporation (MCC). Her goal is to climb the corporate ladder at all costs by saving the prison as much money as she can, without much regard for the well-being of the inmates. Linda is characterized by her stone-cold personality, which has been a constant throughout her whole life.
In a comic twist of events, she gets trapped in prison with the inmates for 48hrs after a riot breaks out at Litchfield Penitentiary while she is in the bathroom. Luckily for her, she is found by Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex (Laura Prepon) who help her to blend in with the inmates rather than throwing her to the wolves.
Maybe this experience will give Linda a change of heart - sometimes efficiency should not be the ultimate end-game.
7. Parks and Recreation
Ben Wyatt – Adam Scott
Ben Wyatt is no ordinary fellow. At the age of 18, he succeeds in becoming Mayor of the town of Partridge, Minnesota. However, due to is youth and lack of experience, he manages to bankrupt the city, leading him to be unofficially banned from Partridge. Not a great start to his accounting career. However, he decides to make it his life goal to learn from his mistakes, taking up accounting at Carleton College and leading him to become a state auditor helping cities to escape bankruptcy.
Ben remains level-headed throughout the show, consistently offering the audience with a sense of normalcy in the bizarre world of Parks and Recreation.
When life seems to be crazy, you can always rely on your accountant to keep you grounded.
Marty Byrde – Jason Bateman
Ozark, scripted by Jason Dubuque - the same man who created “The Accountant” - stars Marty Byrde who is a financial advisor turned money launderer. Forced to flee Chicago after his business partner steals money from a Mexican drug cartel, Byrde drags his family to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where he is tasked with laundering $500 million in five years.
Ozark offers a different perspective of money, with the beginning of the show opening with a voiceover monologue that presses the audience to really contemplate the true meaning of money. Although the show is filled with all sorts of financial advice that you probably shouldn’t take, it does serve as a reminder of what happens when you steer from the straight and narrow as an accountant.
You know the saying – with great power comes great responsibility.
Hermes Conrad – Phil LaMarr
Jamaican Rastafarian, Hermes Conrad, prides himself for being a level 34 bureaucrat and accountant for the delivery company Planet Express. Bureaucrats in the 31st Century are members of the Central Bureaucracy who are tasked with handling financial, legal and various other business matters in futuristic New York. As a result, Hermes constantly lives in fear of making a mistake so as not to lose his rank, as lower numbers outrank higher ones.
Hermes holds a realistic outlook on life, often poking holes into the other characters’ dreams and ignorance. You can always count on your accountant to pull you back to reality!
4. The Office (U.S.)
Accounting Department (Kevin Malone, Oscar Martinez, Angela Martin) – Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Angela Kinsey)
The dysfunctional accounting team of Dundler Mifflin Paper Company, comprised of Kevin, Oscar and Angela, offers a pretty close representation of what your average accounting department looks like. Oscar and Angela are both lead accountants at Dundler Muffin, often disagreeing on what is appropriate office behavior. However, they are both good at what they do, meticulously processing the company’s financial activities.
Kevin, on the other hand, is financially inept, which explains why he often has a hard time understanding even the most basic of concepts. One key lesson that we learn from Kevin is the importance of accuracy in financial reporting. In one clip, Kevin reveals that he regularly inserts a “keleven” in his worksheets whenever he does not have the actual figures, proudly stating “A mistake plus keleven gets you home at seven”.
Don’t try this at home kids.
Guillermo Pallomari – Javier Camara
Narcos has been one of the most addictive series released in the past few years, earning a 4.5-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes. With all the action and suspense, it’s no wonder people can’t get enough of it!
Season 3 of the show focuses on the Medellin Cartel’s ultimate rival, the Cali Cartel. Unlike the former, the Cali Cartel is much more low-key and prefer to keep to themselves, which makes them more dangerous than the flashy mobsters of the Medellin Cartel as their moves are strategic and highly calculated. However, the powerful and seemingly invincible cartel Is undone by Guillermo Pallomari – the cartel’s accountant.
Although Pallomari did not handle guns himself, his mind was as fast as the bullets the mobsters shot as he wrote all the cartel’s financial ledgers in complex code so that nobody else could decipher them.
Accountants are truly the ultimate powerhouse.
2. Breaking Bad
Skyler White – Anna Gun
Skylar White is the character many love to hate. Her character is one of the most complex and well-developed characters in Emmy-Award Winning Breaking Bad. Often misunderstood, White is the wife of the show’s antihero – Walter White. When her husband discovers that he has lung cancer and starts to deal methamphetamines in order to make money to cover his family’s expenses after his death, Skylar is kept in the dark. Although the audience can sympathize with why Walter does this, once Skylar finds out, she is angry and asks Walter for divorce – and understandably so. However, she decides to remain in the marriage for the sake of her children, eventually becoming Walter’s accountant and effectively laundering their money.
Skylar gives some sense of morality to the show, even as her husband descends deeper and deeper into his lust for power. Although she loses her balance from time to time, she still serves as our moral compass, reminding viewers that, as charismatic as her husband may be, what he is doing is still wrong by all accounts.
1. Game of Thrones (GoT)
Master of Coin (Petyr Baelish “Littlefinger” Tyrion Lannister, Mace Tyrell, Vacant) – Aiden Gillen, Peter Dinklage, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, You?)
At number one we have the most sought-after accounting position that people cannot seem to handle for more than a few years. The Master of Coin is a royal official in the government of the Seven Kingdoms, who also holds a seat in the Small Council – the realm’s inner cabinet. The Master of Coin is responsible for the Kingdom’s finances, and with all of the wars that have been taking waged within the Seven Kingdom, it is an understatement to say that this job is challenging.
At the beginning of the show, this prestigious and demanding position is held by Lord Peytr Baelish – better known as Littlefinger. Little finger is arguably one of the slimiest characters on the show and is never up to anything good. However, during his post as the Master of Coin, he is regarded as a financial magician as he always succeeded in conjuring up funds to meet the demands of the Crown. However, when Littlefinger leaves his post, his successor, Tyrion Lannister, discovers that his predecessor’s sorcery comprised of borrowing large amounts of money from the Iron Bank, leaving the Crown in enormous debt.
Fast forward to when Tyrion is arrested for the murder of King Joffrey – who, by the way, rivals Littlefinger in the sliminess department. Tyrion’s father – Tywin Lannister, fills the position of Master of Coin, but is later killed by Tyrion leaving the post vacant again. Talk about DRAMA! To avoid spoiling the rest of the show, just know that the position is vacant again.
Any accountants out there looking for a job?
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