Television Top Trumps - Buster Bluth vs Gary Walsh

When it comes to playing strangely needy man-children, nobody does it better than Tony Hale. Need an entirely co-dependent, slightly odd and entirely downtrodden character? Tony’s your man. In fact, he’s so good at it that googling pictures of him in real life looking happy and confident is a most unsettling experience which is not to be recommended.

For the man has years of manchild experience behind him. After playing the undeniably odd Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, he moved on to playing the definitely strange Gary Walsh in Veep.

But who is stranger, and needier? Let’s find out…

Professional achievement

Gary: “Bag Man” to the titular Veep, Gary’s at the heart of Washington power. Or, at least, he’s carrying Washington power’s bag – or would be, if Selina Meyer had any actual power to wield and wasn’t just bumbling around cocking up almost everything she attempts to do. Gary is a man who never cocks up though, except for that time he forgot to hide his security pass while buying a pregnancy test for the Veep. Other than that, he and his trusty bag – known as the “leviathan” – are absolutely golden. 8/10

Buster: Serial-student Buster is shown to be spectacularly incompetent at almost everything. You’d think a man with that many degrees would be quite intelligent, but no. Buster’s just rich, and studying is an easy way of keeping him out of the way and away from a real world that would undoubtedly destroy him within seconds were he ever to actually encounter it. 3/10

Personal style

Gary: Like everyone else in Washington, Gary wears a suit. But unlike everyone else in Washington, it’s accesorised with the all-important “leviathan.” As man-bags go, it’s a strong look. And given that he manages to carry a bag that seemingly contains everything in the world without looking at all like Mary Poppins, Gary’s surely due some extra points here. Although not as many as he’d get if he pulled a lamp out of the bag. That would win instantly. 7/10

Buster: “Style” is not a word that Buster is overly familiar with, dressing as he does in a collection of questionable chinos-and-sweaters combinations. But what he loses in basics he makes up for in accessories. For Buster has a hook for a hand. That’s right – a hook. It’s all because of an unfortunate encounter with a seal wearing a yellow bow tie, so style runs right through this one. I mean, sure, sometimes he’s got a proper prosthetic hand, but more often than not it’s the hook. What a style statement. 9/10

Unhealthy attachment

Gary: Oh, how Gary loves Selina Meyer. He lives to give her the correct snack, or provide the correct lipstick, or pre-empt her needs all the time. Without Gary, Selina would be a hungry, poorly made up wreck – not that she appreciates him. Gary, meanwhile, adores her in a way that has the hints of the Oedipal about it. Sure, he’d probably do filthy things with her, but then he might call her “mom” afterwards. 8/10

Buster: Speaking of the Oedipal, Buster could out-Oedipus the man himself. Despite apparently being a fully grown adult, Buster is more dependent on his mother Lucille than your average nine month old. Not that she appreciates him. Are we sensing a theme here? 10/10

Almost – but not quite – normal relationship

Gary: In season two, Gary manages to find the love he so craves from Selina. Except it’s obviously not from Selina, it’s from a woman called Dana. Who doesn’t appreciate the love he has for Selina. Maybe she’s just jealous that Gary doesn’t provide her with an endless stream of snacks. After all, that’s pretty much all any woman wants from a man. 7/10

Buster: Just in case he wasn’t Oedipal and creepy enough, Buster decides to/accidentally manages to form a relationship with Lucille 2, his mother’s frenemy from across the hall. Sure she’s older and strange and seemingly as obsessed with his mother as he is, but at least they’ve got two out of those three things in common. 8/10

Unstoppable jealousy

Gary: When the seemingly unthinkable happens, and Selina actually manages to become the President of the United States of America, Gary isn’t all that happy about it. Not because she’s definitely not fit for the job, but because suddenly everyone else wants to suck up to her as much as she does. Cue some seething rage at pretty much all of the West Wing staff. It’s an impressive amount of jealousy to harbor. 9/10

Buster: While Gary worries about being replaced, Buster actually is replaced when his mother decides to adopt a Korean boy just to piss him off. It works beautifully, for the only living creature Buster hates more than the seal who stole his hand is his adopted brother Annyong. 10/10

The Verdict

Buster just scrapes it, with 40 points to Gary’s 39. Which possibly represents the first time Buster has actually won at anything. Poor manboy.

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