Jeremy Eaton
Every year, the people at Time magazine use their cover to trumpet somebody who has influenced world events. They call this Time's "Person of the Year" issue. Unfortunately, they always end up choosing some dumbass "world leader" like President Bush or Saddam Hussein. Sure, these jerks may be good at bullying their constituents, but are they truly "influential"? HELL, NO. While no one wants to admit it, nothing--AND I MEAN NOTHING--influences like television. But do the people at Time ever feature a TV character as their "Person of the Year"? No, they do NOT. Why? Because their brains are swimming in liquid doo-doo.

Thankfully, MY brain doesn't swim in liquid doo-doo, which means I can make a thoughtful choice as to who should ultimately be named the "TV Character of the Year." And the rules are as follows: [1] All nominees must have appeared on TV during 2003. (Which, by the way, includes ME because I was featured as a "television expert" on the Nell Carter E! True Hollywood Story.) [2] Nominees must be an actor playing a TV character. (I am still eligible, since I was "playing" a "television expert.") And finally [3], nominees cannot be Wm.™ Steven Humphrey, or any employee of I Love Television™ Incorporated. (GODDAMMIT!!!) Anyway, here are the runners-up for the 2003 "TV Character of the Year."

TOM WELLING in Smallville: As an actor, Tom plays the part of the teenage Superman with as much believability as a can of creamed corn. BUT! All is forgiven when this hunk of sexy meatloaf takes off his shirt. Holy Owchi-Wa-Wa! What a dreamboat! Tom is definitely one of our most "influential" characters, because he just influenced me to stop writing this column and masturbate. Thanks, Tom!

CARSON KRESSLEY in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: I know, I know! "Real" people aren't supposed to be nominated! But give me a freaking break; if Carson isn't a queer cartoon cutout, I don't know what is. And besides, he's hee-larious!

RACHEL BILSON in The O.C. : This show is the guiltiest pleasure of the year--and one of the guiltiest parties is Rachel as the narcissistic Summer Roberts. Like a brunette Paris Hilton, Summer takes bitchy beach babes to a new level, and thankfully, spends three quarters of each episode prancing around in her bra. Me-YOW!

BUT! The winner of "TV Character of the Year" isÉ

CARLOS BERNARD in 24: Who the fawk is Carlos Bernard? As the dreamy Tony Almeida, leader of the Counter Terrorist Unit on the hit show 24, he's only the coolest TV character EVER! While Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer may be the "star," Tony is the badass boss who gets things DONE. He constantly ignores orders from upper management, he's got a hot wife, and dig this: In a recent episode he got shot in the freakin' NECK, and two hours later? He's out of bed, and running the show! Did Saddam Hussein or President Bush get shot in the freakin' neck? NO, THEY DID NOT!

(By the way, while I haven't been shot in the freakin' neck, I recently developed a pimple there--which I believe qualifies me for second place.)