Our favourite TV neighbours of all time

Susan Kennedy and Dr Karl Kennedy from Neighbours

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted February 08, 2022

From Seinfeld's Kramer to Neighbours' Susan Kennedy, TV neighbours are the secondary characters that we can't live without. Here are some of our favourites. 

"Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours."

There are few Australians (and even fewer Brits) who can't sing along to the theme tune to the iconic soap that has graced our television screens for 36 years.

From the wedding of Scott and Charlene to Dr Karl Kennedy’s affairs, we have watched the lives of our favourite neighbours unfold on Ramsay St. The long-running soap has also been the launching pad for Aussie actors to grow from soap stars to A-list celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie and Guy Pearce.

With the news that the future of everyone’s favourite soap hangs under a grim cloud of uncertainty, it has us thinking about other favourite TV neighbours.

Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic neighbours on TV. 

Best TV neighbours

Susan Kennedy, Neighbours

A TV staple, Susan Kennedy is the longest-running female character on Neighbours, having lived on Ramsay St for 28 years. But it’s not just her longevity that makes Susan a great neighbour. As one of the more solid and stoic characters on the show (well, apart from the time she slid on some milk and got amnesia), Susan’s place has been a house of refuge for kids and friends needing a place to stay, and has been described by Network Ten as the ‘heart and soul’ of Erinsborough. People relate to the highs and lows of her life as a teacher, wife, mother and friend, and without her, Neighbours simply wouldn’t be the same.

Ned Flanders, The Simpsons

Hi diddly-ho, neighbourino! Love him or hate him, the overly cheery, friendly and devout neighbour is everything Homer Simpson isn’t – which makes for great TV viewing when the two interact. Although he is portrayed as a terribly good person – frequently undertaking charity work, helping people in need and just an all-around goody-goody, it’s Homer’s disdain for everything Flanders stands for that makes hilarity ensue.

From regularly ‘borrowing’ items from Flanders and not returning them to Flanders trying to baptise the Simpson children, or wearing a snowsuit that ‘feels like you’re wearing nothing at all,’ being a ‘good’ neighbour doesn’t mean you’re the most liked – but that may be okily dokily with him!  

Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld

While not many people would want Cosmo Kramer living next door, without Kramer, there is no Seinfeld. He was probably one of the worst neighbours you could get – living across the hall from Jerry, he would frequently let himself in, eat Jerry’s food, use his appliances, have friends in Jerry’s apartment, and create havoc in his own home which would go on to affect others (cooking in the shower, anyone?)

The character was based on creator Larry David’s real-life neighbour, Kenny Kramer, whose crazy antics have now become TV legend – just don’t hand over your keys in a hurry.


Everybody loves Susan Kennedy from Neighbours. Image: Getty.
Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld makes for fun viewing - but perhaps not the neighbour you'd actually want. Image: Getty.

Wilson W. Wilson Junior, Home Improvement

Famous for never showing his full face, Wilson was Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor’s loyal neighbour and confidant on 90s sitcom Home Improvement. Wilson W. Wilson Junior was sometimes used as the show’s moral compass, providing support for all members of the family over the fence, whether it was words of wisdom, famous quotes or a friendly chat. Wilson was there to show that sometimes, good neighbours become good friends. 

Steve Urkel, Family Matters

Who can forget the loveable geek Steven Urkel? With his high-waisted pants and even higher-pitched voice, suspenders and large glasses, Urkel became TV's favourite nerd, coining such catchphrases as ‘Did I do that?’ and ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!’

As the Winslow’s overbearing neighbour in Family Matters, his unrequited love for Laura Winslow serves as an arc over the series run, leading Urkel to go from a one-off appearance to bona-fide favourite.

Chandler Bing and Joey Tribiani, Friends

While Friendophiles will know that Chandler goes from Joey’s roommate to neighbour after moving in with Monica, the years they spent as her man-child neighbours are some of the best.

From Joey frequently helping himself to Monica’s food to winning the rights to Monica and Rachel’s apartment in a friends-style quiz, the frequent interactions between the neighbours across the hall is what made the show so funny and endearing as their lives changed, but staying friends with their neighbours prevailed. 


Who didn't want to live next door to Joey and Chandler from Friends? Image: Getty.
Steve Urkel from Family Matters became TV's favourite neighbour. Image: Getty.

Frank and Marie Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond

Neighbours don’t get much worse than this – but that doesn’t mean we didn’t love to watch. On Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank and Marie Barone are the parents of Ray Barone, and lived across the street. However, this separation didn’t stop them from treating Ray’s home as their own, much to the Ray's wife, Debra’s, chagrin.

Frequent overstepping of boundaries, favouritism, being patronising and treating others with general disdain tends to be Marie’s happy place, while Frank’s overly aggressive and selfish nature helps to fuel the fire between the two. Although they would be painful in real life, the complexities of the Barone family and long-running gags are what kept people loving them for so many years – just don’t tell Marie you’re not hungry.  

Penny Hofstadter, The Big Bang Theory

The quintessential ‘girl next door,’ Penny is the somewhat dim-witted neighbour of the overly-educated Sheldon and Leonard. Although at first she doesn’t have much in common with the ‘nerdy’ gang, what she lacks in degrees and Star Trek knowledge, she brings in social skills, street smarts and even a bit of romance.


Special mentions: Newman in Seinfeld (Hello, Jerry!), Kimmy Gibbler in Full House, Alex Ryan in McLeod’s Daughters, Winne Cooper in The Wonder Years, Marcy D’Arcy in Married with Children, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman.