A Look at the Best “Girl Next Door” Characters in TV History

She’s the ideal dream girl, cute, sweet, wholesome and just a bit out of your league but she doesn’t know it. She still lives with her parents and often siblings, but she’s the one who stands out, not because she’s bold but because she’s alluring.

She is admired from a distance, seems unapproachable, and interactions at times can be awkward. She is off limits yet desirable, and oblivious to how captivating her beauty and innocence shines. We will look at TV’s classic girl next door and what made America fall in love with these sweethearts.

Winnie Cooper

Winnie is Kevin Arnold’s main love interest and neighbor on the Wonder Years. Winnie is wholesome and good-hearted. She is the typical schoolboy crush. She knows Kevin has always had feelings for her, but she’d never want to ruin their friendship.

She’s strong wild yet approachable enough to befriend. Although she seems unattainable to Kevin, her kindness still gave him hope. There is something pure about her spirit that draws everyone to her.

Topanga Lawrence

Topanga is the main love interest on Boy Meets World. She started out as a weird hippie girl in the same class as Cory, Shawn, and Minkus. She soon grew out of her awkwardness and became Cory’s crush. She is the most successful student out of her group of friends and loves the attention success brings.

Considered a bit of a competitive know-it-all, Topanga is portrayed as protective and loyal to her friends. She alternates between comforting the boys and putting them in their place. She loved Cory since they were very young, and despite their ups and downs, they ended up together in the end.

Marcia Brady

Marica is the eldest of the three Brady girls on the Brady Bunch. She is pretty much the perfect teenager. A bit of an overachiever, she’s friendly, generally cheery, and occasionally anxious. Marcia’s perceived as the girl who can do no wrong, and in general, that perception isn’t too far off the mark.

She is very popular with everyone at her school because she’s pretty, smart, and everything she does is interesting. Marcia is what every girl dreams of being: confident, beautiful and noble.

Chrissy Snow

Chrissy from Three’s Company draws a lot of attention from men, along with some of her other notable assets. She has bleach-blonde hair in bouncy ponytails. She’s oblivious — spacey, pretty, and fun-loving. Overall, Chrissy is a ditz. Fortunately, she has been blessed with good looks.

As the daughter of a preacher, Chrissy grew up sheltered from some aspects of life until she moved to Los Angeles. The character is so good-natured, though, that it’s hard for anybody to stay mad at her for very long.

Samantha Micelli

Samantha grew up without a mother and was raised by her widowed father, Tony. She grew into womanhood on Who’s the Boss and had to do normal coming of age (embarrassing) things with her father.

Her innocence and effortless beauty are what made us love this girl next door. We watched as Sam went from a tomboy, often seen carrying around a baseball, to a young adult who had quite a few boys knocking down her door. We think she turned out just fine.

Erica Goldberg

Erica from The Goldbergs is the oldest child of the Goldberg family. As a former geek, she used to wear glasses, braces and had dorky hair and clothes. She became very popular in high school and her look completely changed.

Although she lacks confidence, Erica is smarter and more musically talented than her brother, Barry. She’s intelligent, social and caring. Outwardly, Erica only seems to care about boys, talking on the phone, and clothes. But she cares about her family and is there for her brothers when they need a little help.

Alex Dunphy

Alex from Modern Family is the middle child of the family but arguably the most intelligent. She’s a highly motivated, self-starting student who perfectly fits the definition of an overachiever.

Being an overachiever, she tends to address people with sarcasm and condescension, although most of the time, nobody gets her dry sense of humor. Alex is super-smart, driven, and wittily sarcastic. She likes boys but can be pretty awkward around them. Part of this awkwardness comes from being torn between attraction and repulsion.

Andrea Zuckerman

Andrea from Beverly Hills 90210 is not as rich or as stylish as the other students at her school. She’s brainy clever, studious, caring, and a little awkward. While the other girls wear the most expensive designer labels, she wears menswear outfits and big glasses.

Zuckerman has strong morals and can come across a bit, preachy at times. Overall, Andrea is wise and mature. She is smart enough to realize how superficial those things are in Beverly Hills, which can make her feel lonely sometimes. Luckily, she has her good friend, Brandon, who is also her secret crush.

Angela Chase

Angela from My So-Called Life has always been a good girl, motivated by her parents’ strong moral standards but begins rebelling in her teenage years. She becomes unsure of herself, coloring her hair red and begins hanging with a new group of friends. Despite what her friends may do or say about her personal beliefs, Angela chooses to remain a virgin and does not drink, smoke, or do drugs.

She’s madly in love with Jordan, a stereotypical bad boy and he is completely aware of this. With a massive crush on him, they maintain a close friendship. All while her neighbor Brian, who feels intensly jealous of Jordan, has been in love with her for as long as he can remember.

Clarissa Darling

Clarissa from Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All is a smart, sarcastic and realistic teenage girl. Despite her rationalism, she often tends to exaggerate any problem she’s facing.

Clarissa is pretty and popular and generally well-liked by her classmates. Though she is usually mild-mannered, she can be just as selfish and calculating towards her brother Ferguson. Clarissa is best known for her unique fashion sense, often colorful and mismatched style.

Laura Winslow

Laura was the object of Steve Urkel’s affections and had a crush on her ever since they were in kindergarten. She agreed to date Steve on several occasions, but those early dates were out of pity and wound up being disasters. She eventually learned to love Steve in the end.

Laura Winslow is the middle child on ABC’s Family Matters. In junior high and high school, she was a straight-A student; her goal was to enroll in Harvard Law School. In addition to being an outstanding student,
Laura was the stereotypical ideal girl; beautiful, popular involved in cheerleading.

DJ Tanner

DJ is the oldest sister of the Tanner family on Full House. She is a good girl and overall stays out of trouble. She knows how to handle tough situations with general ease. Although she gets upset at times over her father prying into her affairs or otherwise embarrassing her, she is always quick to apologize when she has acted with disrespect.

Nonetheless, she does eventually learn her lesson – usually the hard way. D.J. has a motherly nature. She is a great role model for sisters Stephanie and Michelle.

Donna Pinciotti

Donna is an intelligent, witty, red-haired teenager with feminist ideals on That 70’s Show. She is confident, strong, and stubborn, sometimes to the point of coming across as arrogant or self-righteous, though usually laid back and easy going. Donna is easily the most intimidating of all of her friends, whether guys or girls.

She has some difficulty expressing her feminine side, for fear that displaying traditional feminine traits will betray her idea of feminism. Donna has been lifelong friends with neighbor Eric, while she’s always had a crush on him. They are in a serious, stable relationship, and they often act as the “parents” of the group, being mature and responsible when their friends are not so.

Blossom Russo

Blossom, the youngest, and only girl in her family lives with her two brothers and her dad from the teen sitcom Blossom. She is a sweet girl who is very close to her family and stays out of trouble. Blossom is seen dealing with the daily trials and tribulations of teenage life intelligently and while having as much fun as possible.

Blossom learns many hard lessons about abuse, alcohol, drugs, divorce, and many more from other’s experiences, including her own family and her best friend, Six. Blossom is very imaginative and has an opinion about almost everything.

Lisa the Tool Time Girl

Lisa was the first “Tool Time Girl” starring on Home Improvement with Tim and Al. She was also the model for the Binford Tools Calendar. She left the “Tool Time” to pursue a career as a paramedic.

Several years later, Lisa had become a fully qualified paramedic and returned for guest appearances on the show. Lisa is sweet, intelligent and very attractive but off limits for everyone.

Becky Conner

Becky is the eldest child on Roseanne. Becky was definitely the opposite of her younger sister; her primary interests are centered around makeup, fashion, and boys. While she can be self-centered and act spoiled at times, she is actually the least problematic of the Conner chidren.

She maintains very good grades and other than an occasional argument, rarely causes issues for her parents. As Becky grows older, she begins to break away from her good girl reputation.

Kelly Bundy

Kelly is the oldest child of the Bundy family on Married with Children. She may live next door, but her reputation is anything but the stereotypical girl next door. She is known for her extreme stupidity, ditziness, and promiscuity.

Her grades are way below average and she is known to be gullible and say air-headed comments. She always wears sexy, revealing clothing and has no problem showing off her assets. She is a serial dater and her father does not approve of the bad boys she brings home.

Ashley Banks

Ashley from Fresh Prince of Bel Air is the baby girl in the Banks family and her mother’s favorite. She was a happy child and could do no wrong, always obeying her parent’s strict rules. Her father is always trying to take control of Ashley’s life so she does not become anything like normal teenage girls.

Ashley looks up to cousin Will as a big brother and spent much time following him in her younger days. Ashley acts rebellious as she becomes a teenager possibly because of Will’s influence. She soon drops out of her private school secretly enrolls in public high school and was planning to hide this from her parents as long as possible.

Lyla Garrity

Lyla is a former Panthers Cheerleader and attendee of Vanderbilt University on Friday Night Lights. Lyla is a bubbly, smart, popular cheerleader and is entirely in love with the star quarterback and captain, Jason Street. She has a reputation for being a spoiled good girl.

Although she is perceived as prissy, she is also loyal, dedicated, and supportive. At first, she comes off as something of a princess, a little-miss-perfect. While she can be preachy, she can also be patient, particularly with those she cares about. She perseveres in the face of tragedy and hardship.

Mary Richards

Mary is kind, approachable and hard working, independent single woman who moves to Minneapolis at the age of 30. She is focused on her career as an associate producer at the fictional WJM news program.

A central female character who was not married or dependent on a man was a rarity in American television in the early 1970s. This concept led to numerous publications citing the Mary Tyler Moore Show as groundbreaking in female empowerment on television.

Lizzie McGuire

Lizzie is a caring, rational, and cooperative person, although her animated alter-ego displays her true feelings from time to time. She undergoes various “image” changes, including becoming rebellious, disrespectful and rude, but is well-aware of what is right and wrong.

She is a sweet, beautiful, and honest teenage girl, who always knows when to do the right thing. She sticks up for her friends and is even kind to her enemies.

Aria Montgomery

Aria from Pretty Little Liars is witty and intelligent. She’s very empathetic, kind, and caring, as well as loyal to her friends and family. Although she’s book-smart, she also harbors a deep understanding of people.

Aria is sensitive but spunky, always having something to say or ready to point out when someone’s done something wrong. She has feelings for Ezra, but can’t exactly act on them openly since he’s her teacher. But Aria’s determined, and sees herself as mature enough to have a relationship with a guy several years her senior.

Elliot Reed

Elliot from Scrubs is one of the brightest young interns at Sacred Heart. She has all of the brilliance and ability she needs to become an excellent resident. Elliot is quirky, loud-mouthed and awkward. Elliot’s beauty can be intimidating, but she’s full of odd quirks that bring her back down to earth

It seems that J.D. has a crush on her from the first episode. J.D. and Elliot do not start dating right away but do end up having an on again off again relationship. Even though they both know that they’re perfect for each other, they can’t seem to make it work.

Sansa Stark

Sansa from Game of Thrones is traditionally beautiful, with her high cheekbones, vivid blue eyes, and thick auburn hair. She is graceful and feminine. Sansa has been described as tall, slim, womanly, and destined to be a lady or a queen.

She has an interest in music, poetry, singing, dancing, embroidery, and other traditional feminine activities. Like many girls her age, Sansa is enthralled by songs and stories of romance. She strives to become like the heroines of romantic tales by attempting to find a prince, knight, or gentleman to fall in love with.

Maggie Sheffield

Maggie from The Nanny was at first shy and awkward and worried that no boy would ever fall for her. After instantly bonding with the nanny, Fran, the two built a close relationship.

Under Fran’s influence, Maggie blossoms from a shy and awkward teenager to a very beautiful young woman. Maggie’s father considers her “daddy’s little girl” and tends to smother her way too much, discouraging her from any kind of activities with boys.

Rory Gilmore

Rory from Gilmore Girls is quiet, brilliant, full of energy. She is introverted and at times can be socially awkward. She’s learned a lot from her mother, an outgoing woman with a strong, sarcastic personality. It is evident that Rory and her mom share a special bond, and maybe even considered best friends.

Rory shares her mother’s taste in junk food, coffee, movies, music, and much more. They both exhibit a talent for witty, fast-paced, pop-culture-laden dialogue. Rory is brilliant and a hard-working student who at a young age dreamed of attending Harvard. The boys call her Mary (as in “Virgin…”), and the girls see her as a threat.

Ann Marie

Ann Marie, from That Girl, is an aspiring actress who moved to New York City trying to score her big break. Ann has to take several offbeat “temp” jobs to support herself in between her various acting auditions and modeling gigs.

Ann always looks fantastic, dressed to impress with class and style. She has a charming personality and a willingness to make it on her own; she is a very independent woman.

Miley Stewart

Miley from Hannah Montana is witty, stylish, compassionate, hyper girly-girl and southern belle who loves to shop. She’s funny, optimistic, kind, and playful. Miley likes to play and joke around with her friends but can be serious when it counts. She loves music, cheerleading and horseback riding.

She has a very determined, courageous attitude. When it comes to her friends and family, she’s fiercely loyal and when she’s betrayed by one of them, she really takes it to heart. Though she’s very sensitive and compassionate, she’s not afraid to say how she feels and stand up for herself

Tia Landry and Tamara Campbell

With identical twins, you get two girls next door from Sister Sister! Tia is usually honest, responsible, and mature. Tia is a straight-A student. She can lose her honest and responsible credit when she is around boys or scheming.

While Tamera is highly impulsive and seems to care less about her intellects, she is just as smart as her sister but doesn’t apply herself. She can get a bit “boy-crazy,” but she cares about her friends and her family.
Tamera and Tia are different in so many ways but they compliment each other.

Julia Salinger

Julia from Party of Five is intelligent, emotional, and caring. She has always been an ambitious and well-performing student – so much so that she begins to get bored with success and decides to shake things up.

Her sensitive nature makes challenges all the more difficult. Nevertheless, she has a good heart, takes care of her siblings, and always gains control before going too far off the rails.

Sabrina Spellman

Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a very out-going, amiable, and genuinely caring person. She is a very loyal friend and for the most part, is liked by those around her. One of Sabrina’s most prominent personality traits is her quick wit. She’s playful and always seems to have a clever pun or funny comeback up her sleeve.

She is, for the most part, very level-headed and clever, She is very socially aware and will often speak out against the unfair treatment of those around her. Her often bubbly personality can occasionally be annoying to some around her.

Betty Cooper

Many view Betty as the stereotypical girl next door on Riverdale. Although she is beautiful, blonde and often wears feminine sweaters colors of pale pink, blue and white she’s much more than just a pretty face.

She’s a straight-A student and not your typical dumb blonde. She’s an overachiever, striving to be the perfect student, daughter, and sister to please everyone around her. She is always fighting to protect her family and friends.

Shoshanna Shapiro

Shoshanna from HBO’s Girls is bubbly and innocent. She is the least boy-crazy of her group of friends. She isn’t self-centered and isn’t afraid to look silly or to fess up to being uncool.

Still, she’s responsible, loyal and able to get herself out of bad situations. Shoshanna is easily embarrassed in social settings and finds herself in a lot of awkward circumstances. She generally plays it safe and tries to avoid risky situations, but often ends up in the most challenging circumstances of all her friends.

Serena van der Woodsen

Serena from Gossip Girl is famous for her natural beauty and is considered one of the most beautiful girls on the Upper East Side. She is often admired for looking effortlessly gorgeous; including her voluminous blonde hair, flawless skin, and a tall, striking figure. She is known for her revealing outfits with attention-grabbing accessories.

Serena is charismatic, charming, kind and laid back. Her intentions are rarely selfish and her negative actions are often times generally motivated by a lack of foresight. Serena’s natural beauty is a source of envy for her peers, as she effortlessly exudes stylishness.

Kelly Kapowski

Kelly is the all-American type of girl, with a clean slate from Saved By the Bell. Though a good student and role model, Kelly did find herself punished with detention on a couple of occasions. She also was the love interest of Zack Morris.

Kelly is the most popular girl in school. She is a cheerleader and captain of the volleyball, swim, and softball teams. Many boys are interested in Kelly because of good looks and personality, but she is loyal to her crush Zach. They dated on and off in high school then married later.


Penny from The Big Bang Theory is literally the girl next door. This was a surprise to neighbors, Leonard, and Sheldon from whom she frequently freeloads food and wireless Internet. She is easy-going and good-hearted. She prides herself on her social skills, positive outlook and knowledge of the popular culture.

Penny can have a temper when she feels intimidated or put down. She can be self-centered, but mostly in the sense of caring about how she is perceived by others. She is a good friend, often able to humorously make light of problems and cheer others up.

Rachel Green

Rachel from Friends is funny and spirited but pretty self-involved. She is portrayed as a spoiled girl who can often be self-centered, but is sweet and tries to be a good friend. That being said, Ms. Green clearly grew up with people at her beck and call.

Life as an average person in New York is proving harder than she thought, but her sense of humor will allow her to at least laugh about it. 
As she gets closer to her friends, she becomes much less self-absorbed and likable. The show often centers around Rachel’s on again, off again relationship with Ross Geller.

Jessica Day

Jess is a bubbly young woman trying to find herself on the series New Girl. She is a school teacher with a unique, interesting and funny personality. She’s quirky, fun, and sweet. Jess is always willing to look at the bright side of any situation.

But at the same time, she’s not afraid to be herself, even if it means that it sets her apart from the group. She’s never embarrassed to be her “weird” self, even in front of her new roommates. Jess brings an over the top girly vibe to the former bachelor pad.

Laurie Partridge

Laurie from The Partridge family is the sweet wholesome oldest sister who could sing like an angel. She’s kind yet strong and knows how to use her charm to get what she wants.

Her brothers always watch out for her and she has a sensitive yet mature demeanor. She is extremely close and loyal to her family and seems to be the apple of her family’s eye.

Joey Potter

Joey is smart, studious and earned valedictorian upon graduating from Capeside High on Dawson’s Creek. She is somewhat of a tomboy with a passionate spirit, who slowly becomes more careful and quiet as she begins her life outside of Capeside.

Joey is a guarded and cynical teenager, who doesn’t feel like she has anyone in her life who cares about her — except for Dawson Leery. She has started to develop feelings for her best friend and who she feels is her only family, but is scared of how it may change their relationship.