8
Oct
2011
Random Pop Culture Top 10 List
Top 10 Pop Culture Gingers
Jordan & Rachel
Random Pop Culture Top 10 List is a (fairly self-explanatory) biweekly list in which the Review to be named gang take stock of the realm of pop culture, and come up with their Top Ten in a specific category.

Top 10 Pop Culture Gingers

We're very serious people here at Review to Be Named. Which is why it is about time we got to perhaps the most important list we will ever do: our Top 10 Favorite Pop Culture Gingers. Yes, gingers. Gingers like Queen Elizabeth I, perhaps the most iconic monarch of all time. Or Vincent Van Gogh, artist extraordinaire. Or Carrot Top. Enjoy.

10. Florence Welch



As the eponymous chanteuse of Florence + the Machine, Florence Welch has basically been asserting her awesome-ness since the opening harp plucks of "Dog Days Are Over," the lead single off her debut album Lungs. Unless you've been living under a pretty large, soundproof rock, you've heard Florence's larger than life vocals, which are surprisingly soulful for a ginger girl from South London. Lungs was packed with hard hitting percussion that gave the entire album a heartbeat, with Florence's primal vocals helping to get that pulse pumping. Add to this her incredible style (Gucci designed her wardrobe for her summer tour, and she just performed at the Chanel runway show during Paris Fashion Week. For those of you who don't know...that is a big fucking deal), her amazing energy when performing live, and her general adorableness, and you've got the recipe for one of the year's most anticipated albums and one of the pop culture world's most notable red heads.


9. Emma Stone



Our first of a few fake red heads, Emma Stone is a natural blonde who has come to be synonymous with her dyed hair color. Over the last few years, Stone has risen from relative obscurity to become one of the most prominent actresses in her age group. Winning kudos for everything from her raunchy turn in Superbad to her gruff con artist in Zombieland, and even getting nominated for a Golden Globe for her stellar, movie-saving performance in Easy A, Stone is relatively unstoppable. This year saw her taking on the main role in The Help, and co-starring with fellow red head Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love. While next year will see her emerging as a blonde to play Gwen Stacey in The Amazing Spider Man, her true hair color, at least in our minds, will always be red.


8.Van Morrison



We'll try to be more objective with this write-up than the overtly gushy Wikipedia page for Van Morrison. The legendary singer/songwriter was born in Belfast, which explains the hair. From his roots in classic pop through his musical evolution over his 50+ year career, into soul and R&B, Morrison has produced some of the most iconic songs ever (is there a person on this planet who would be incapable of singing along to "Brown Eyed Girl"?). Particularly deft at turning his earlier pop classics into remastered jazz pieces, Morrison's ability to mask his general Irish pastiness behind big black glasses and a long black trench coat has been pretty impressive. But we still know he has a head of red hair under that porkpie hat.

Check out more thoughts on Van Morrison way back in Week Ten of Jordan's My Year In Lists


7. Jessica Rabbit



When you're based off of Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, and Veronica Lake, you're bound to turn some heads, even if you are an animated character. Roger Rabbit's femme fatale of a wife (voiced by Kathleen Turner) is a nightclub chanteuse right up there with the best of them, and one of the many suspects in the framing of her husband. From her stage in The Ink and Paint Club, she entertains humans and toons alike, and raises the suspicions of Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins). In spite of what her style, and yes, her hair color might lead you to believe, Jessica Rabbit isn't bad; she's just drawn that way.


6. Beaker



Perhaps the greatest symbol of long suffering red-heads, Beaker has served as assistant and punching bag to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew since the second season of The Muppet Show. Always taking the brunt of Honeydew's failed experiments, and often being injured in ways that are only slightly more hilarious than they are deeply unfortunate, Beaker soldiers on nevertheless, occasionally getting one up on his boss, and even doing his own musical number occasionally since The Muppets have taken to Youtube. The character is so popular that the British Association for the Advancement of Science voted Bunsen and Beaker as their favorite cinematic scientists (beating out Mr. Spock, a mean feat when all the voting was done by science nerds), and his signature vocal expression, "Meep", has been taken up at schools around the country as a way of rebelling against authority. No matter how hard you try, you just can't keep Beaker down.


5. Christina Hendricks

Hendricks

We're tempted to include just this video of Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway in Mad Men as explanation enough for our love for her. But seeing as the list is clearly highly scientific and serious, we can try to be a bit more professional. Basically, we like her because...well, she's hot. Like, really hot. But there's a bit more than that. The curvy, bodacious Hendricks really hit the stratosphere as Joan, the HBIC secretary at Sterling Cooper (turned Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce), the woman actually in charge of that man's world. Hendricks plays the role with equal parts sensitivity, power, grace, and rebellion, making Joan one of the most compelling characters on the show (which is really saying something, when it comes to Mad Men). Plus, her constant composure in interviews, even when apparently the only thing reporters want to talk about are her boobs, her curves, and her status as a role model for "real women," make her endearing, despite her recent spat of supporting roles in shitty rom-coms. When added to her memorable appearances in Firefly and on the cover of basically any magazine ever, she firmly establishes her spot on our list of iconic redheads...even if she is a natural blond.


4. Robert Redford



Leaving Robert Redford off a list of iconic red heads would be like leaving chocolate chips out of the cookies. The man played Jay Gatsby, for goodness sake (yea, the adaptation may have been only a bit more than mediocre, but the fact that Redford took on the role and emerged as one of the better parts of it, and continued to work afterwards, definitely says something). If you can watch the above clip, from the final scene of The Way We Were, without your heart breaking at Redford's pitch-perfect emotional nuance, then you probably don't have a soul. This actor turned director/producer/environmentalist/film-fest creator has been a major Hollywood presence for more than forty years, exhibiting a staying power that few have been capable of. And he never fails to stay classy, on-screen and off. He is a sterling example of celebrity philanthropy, investing in causes that clearly matter to him in a way that isn't ostentatious or flashy, but that actually does something real. And even at 75 he still has that perfect head of red hair.


3. Conan O'Brien



Perhaps no one has made better use of anti-ginger stigma than Conan O'Brien, mad-cap comedic genius and master of self-deprecation who has graced us with his nightly presence for almost twenty years now. Conan has been in the business of making people laugh for much, much longer than that however, serving as president of The Harvard Lampoon, writing for Saturday Night Live for four seasons, and writing for The Simpsons during its heyday (turning in two of its all time great episodes, "Marge vs. The Monorail" and "Homer Goes to College" and creating several of its most memorably absurd jokes). Following that, O'Brien hosted Late Night with Conan O'Brien for 16 years, before taking on The Tonight Show and briefly making the pop culture world take notice of the relic for the first time since Carson left (especially in his final few weeks as host). He currently continues to make us laugh on Conan, where his paleness and ginger-osity is still used as a strength, not a weakness.


2. The Weasleys



Why pick one ginger when you can get eight top-notch red heads for the price of one!? The Weasleys, in addition to being one of the most amazing fictional families to ever grace the pop culture world, are direct evidence that gingers can be way more awesome than they're typically given credit for. Let's start with parents Arthur and Molly Weasley, a delightfully in love couple who are a fantastic refuge from modern pop-culture's sea of split couples and broken homes. But the Weasleys are also realistic: they fight and they disagree, but they always come back to each other. While we don't get to spend a lot of time with Bill and Charlie over the course of the Harry Potter series, they're fun when they're around, raising dragons and taking on werewolves. We'll excuse Percy (every family has one of those annoying standouts, and he comes back in the end, right?). But the Weasley twins, Fred and George, are without a doubt the best evidence of ginger power in Harry Potter. They're funny, principled, entrepreneurial, caring troublemakers, and Fred's sacrifice at the end of the final book (SPOILER. Woops.), while completely expected (I mean, did we really think every Weasley to make it out of the conflict unscathed?) is still totally devastating. And obviously Ron and Ginny's virtues go without saying. Perhaps the Weasleys are so compelling because they're a gaggle of gingers crafted by a ginger (JK Rowling gets a ghost spot with her characters on this list), but the whole crew helps break down the anti-ginger stigma pretty effectively.


1. Lucille Ball



If you're looking to dispel any anti-red head agenda, you may need to look no further than someone who wasn't even actually a ginger. Sure, Lucille Ball's hair was dyed red, but no more iconic red head exists in the history of pop culture nevertheless. Throughout her almost 60 year career she starred in productions in every medium in existence, starting out on the radio, beginning to make films, and then finally finding her way to the place that would make her one of the most enduring celebrities of the 20th Century: the television. I Love Lucy was one of the first television shows to ever go into production (and remains among the best the medium has produced). The show pioneered the idea of filming in front of a live studio audience, and invented the three-camera format that is still the standard for sitcoms today (the rise of single-camera comedy notwithstanding). She was also the first woman to run a television studio, weathered an investigation by HUAC (which lead her then-husband Desi Arnaz to quip "The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that's not legitimate"), and was nominated for 13 Emmys, winning four. After the end of her most famous show, she continued to star in a variety of programs for almost two straight decades with The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, and Here's Lucy, in addition to making such cinematic landmarks as The Long, Long Trailer, Mame, and Yours, Mine, and Ours. There's a lot of negativity surrounding red heads in our culture of late, but one thing is for certain, and always will be: "We Love Lucy".



Rachel's Honorable Mentions

Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights



She gives Molly Weasley a run for her money as best fictional mom ever. Maybe gingers have a super-special maternal instinct or something.


Ariel, The Little Mermaid



Yes, she's an awful bimbo who is willing to give up who she is for a guy she hardly knows. But I didn't realize that when I was little. All I knew was that she had awesome red hair that had amazing volume, even undewater!

Chuckie Finster, Rugrats



I blame Chuckie Finsiter's constant chorus of "We're doomed! Doomed, I tell ya!" for my anxiety issues, as a child and as an adult. But the kid was damn adorable.


Jordan's Honorable Mentions

Heat Miser

His head IS FIRE. And he sings this:



Need I say more?


Danny Concannon, The West Wing



Danny is adorable enough to make even the most vehemently anti-ginger activist change their tune. If he can seduce Allison Janney, he can do anything.


Alyson Hannigan



She was Willow on Buffy. She is Lily on How I Met Your Mother. And there are some band camp jokes I should probably make too...



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