Fantastic Foursomes: The Best Pop Culture Teams of Four

Fandom Staff
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There is something special about the number four. It constantly pops up in historical and religious texts, works of art, and pop culture dating back to ancient times. In Judeo-Christian belief there are four matriarchs of Judaism, four gospels of Jesus, and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Buddhism has Four Noble Truths and four great elements (earth, wind, fire, and water). There are four seasons. A deck of cards contains four suits. Many sports have four quarters. Many songs by the Fab Four, The Beatles, consist of a 4/4 rhythm (same with The Rolling Stones, if you prefer). There are even four presidents on Mount Rushmore.

Many of our favorite games, movies, and TV shows consists of four main leads. Perhaps there is something about the symmetrical, square nature of this number that appeals to us. Or perhaps it’s because it lets writers explore four unique character archetypes and how they play off one another in a group dynamic. Regardless, groups of four have made for some of the most memorable teams of all time.

FFXV Characters

One of the main features of Final Fantasy XV is the team of four main heroes and how they must work together to save the kingdom of Lucis. In many ways, the game is the story of four classic archetypes from any coming-of-age film: Noctis (the leader), is brash and impulsive, but over the course of the game he must learn the patience and skills to one day rule his kingdom. His bodyguard, Gladiolus (the jock), is strong and dependable. Ignis (the brain) is the smart tactician that also serves as Noctis’ advisor. And Prompto (the clown) is the comic relief of the group, providing levity on a long, arduous journey.

Here are some of our other favorite foursomes that we would gladly put up on our Pop Culture Mt. Rushmore:

Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, Thing – The Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four are the first family of Marvel. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, they were the first creations of Marvel’s Silver Age, setting the stage for all the characters that followed in the last 50 years. The Fantastic Four are so important to the Marvel Universe, yet they stay so grounded as a family unit, with Reed and Sue as the parents, and Johnny and Ben as the bratty kids. Despite all their powers of invisibility, stretching, flames, or brute strength, what makes the Fantastic Four so important is the humanity backing up the characters.

[Henry Gilbert, Senior Games Editor]

Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie – Sex and the City

The four leads from Sex and the City

The iconic foursome of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda may be some kind of sexual archetypes, but that didn’t stop them from being a force of nature on New York’s dating scene. Through its very different characters’ perspectives, Sex and the City explored a wide range of modern social issues and the oft untouched (at the time) topic of female sexuality. As a result, the ladies paved the way for another HBO foursome with the girls from Girls who face their own set of modern social and sexual issues.

[Colette Smith, Staff Contributor]

Egon, Winston, Peter, and Ray – Ghostbusters


Ok, so we may have published an interview with the fifth Ghostbuster, but according to movie canon, there are only four. The Ghostbusters from the original 1984 film are a perfect example of four team members each serving a unique role and narrative purpose. Peter Venkman is the mouth of the Ghostbusters, using his charm, wit, and natural people skills to help get their foot in the door with clients and talk their way out of trouble with the authorities. Egon Spengler is the brains of the operation. His brilliant understanding of paranormal science and quantum mechanics serve as the basis for many of their equipment designs.

If Peter and Egon are the mouth and brains of the Ghostbusters, Ray Stantz is the heart. His enthusiasm and willingness to believe, coupled with his expertise in paranormal history are invaluable assets to the team. The last member to join the squad, Winston Zeddemore, serves an invaluable role to the audience. He’s the everyman who helps the audience translate all the paranormal and scientific jargon into layman’s terms.

[Matthew Allen, Executive Games Editor]

The Survivors – Left 4 Dead

The Survivors in Left 4 Dead

Valve’s multiplayer shooter Left 4 Dead may not be big on story, but its many character moments hit harder than any narrative-focused game. In a nutshell, Left 4 Dead amounts to a tale of four people navigating the rocky waters of friendship in the worst scenario possible: a zombie apocalypse. Sure, they have their moments of tension, but the horror unfolding in the world around them usually brings out the best in this team. In fact, some of Left 4 Dead‘s more memorable points come when the more gruff characters — Bill and Francis — drop the tough-guy facade to reveal the humanity beneath.

[Bob Mackey, Games Editor]

Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Has there been a more popular foursome in the last 30 years than the Heroes in a Half Shell? Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo were a cultural phenomenon when they first appeared, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been in the zeitgeist ever since. Part of the appeal is that each of the four turtles offers up a different personality and fighting style (with complementary weapon) to identify with. It spurs kids and adults alike to pick a favorite to root for, all while enjoying seeing them work together as an unstoppable team of four ninjitsu masters.

[Henry Gilbert, Senior Games Editor]

Turtle, Vinnie, E, and Drama – Entourage


If you thought Entourage was just about Vincent Chase and his three bros banging their way through Hollywood, then you’ve missed the core of what the show is all about. Beyond the excess, wild parties, and sexy times, the four guys are first and foremost best friends. They’re the dude equivalent of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This unwavering friendship where they always have each other’s back sometimes proves problematic for them in forming lasting relationships, but who cares when you’re famous, right?! While Entourage wasn’t the most profound show on TV, nor did it portray its lead characters as exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, their puppy-dog loyalty was always heartwarming *cough* I mean, super manly.

[Colette Smith, Staff Contributor]

Kramer, George, Elaine, and Jerry –  Seinfeld


For a “show about nothing,” Seinfeld managed to produce some of the most memorable segments and episodes in television history. One of the main reasons is the eclectic group of four friends the show revolved around. Jerry is the voice of reason that often vocalizes what the rest of us are thinking. His long string of ex-girlfriends includes the sharp-witted, cynical Elaine Benes. Elaine has her own long line of ex-boyfriends, and her romantic escapades are often the source of many of the show’s best laughs. Next up is George Costanza, TV’s most lovable narcissistic, underhanded sociopath. Jerry’s eccentric neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, rounds out the group. Kramer is never able to hold a job, and despite one failed scheme after another seems to get by on his charm, which — much like our love for these four characters — is unexplainable, yet undeniable.

[Matthew Allen, Executive Games Editor]

Bill, Hank, Dale, and Boomhauer – King of the Hill


King of the Hill‘s foursome may be men of few words, but they’re also men of action. Especially if you consider standing around and drinking beer “action.” But even though King of the Hill features plenty of other interesting characters, the show’s core foursome remains the best. With Hank as the level-headed, responsible leader, Dale as the delusional “local color,” Bill as the definition of “sad sack,” and Boomhauer as the paragon of suave unintelligibility, Arlen’s alley crew comprises one of the best foursomes ever seen on TV. Yup.

[Bob Mackey, Games Editor]

Cartman, Stan, Kenny, and Kyle – South Park


Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman had an extremely modest start as the stars of a crudely animated short film. That ended up being one of the first viral videos of the modern age. This lead to the South Park TV series that’s more than 20 years old, as well as a feature film, video games, and tons of merchandise. Though the technology may have improved, the four boys from the quiet mountain town have stayed virtually unchanged, usually united in their hatred for Cartman when facing everything the modern world has to offer. Here’s hoping these 10 year-olds never age and never stop their crude adventures.

[Henry Gilbert, Senior Games Editor]

Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion – The Wizard of Oz


Where would Dorothy be without her Oz entourage (Oztourage, perhaps?) of Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion? Sure, they mostly hindered and waylaid Dorothy on her quest to get to the Emerald City so the the Wizard could help her return home, but they had their roles and proved themselves worthy in the end. The foursome work together to fight whatever foe comes at them or hurdle that blocks their path, and learn important lessons along the way — like how a fabulous pair of shoes will always get you far in life.

[Colette Smith, Staff Contributor]

The Four Horsemen – Professional Wrestling


When you say the term “Four Horsemen” to most people, they expect you to start going on about the end of the world and the events foretold in the Book of Revelations. But if you mention the name to a professional wrestling fan, only one thing comes to mind: The four-man stable (no pun intended, honest) and its various manifestations that took the NWA and WCW wrestling promotions by storm throughout the ’80s and ’90s. The original incarnation, consisting of Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, and brothers Arn and Ole Anderson, with manager JJ Dillon, is still considered one of the most dominant, charismatic, and popular groups in pro wrestling history. Wooo!

[Matthew Allen, Executive Games Editor]

Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia – The Golden Girls 


Except for the pilot episode when the ladies had a gay butler (yes, that was a thing), the Golden Girls have always been a foursome. The silver-haired quartet of Dorothy, Sophia, Rose, and Blanche dominated ‘80s TV with their sexy exploits and philosophical examinations of what it means to be “over the hill” as a modern woman. On occasion, their stories of hurt and loss got pretty dark, but for the most part, they were four independent, strong women showing the world that life really does begin at 50. Or should that be 60?

[Colette Smith, Staff Contributor]

Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde – Pac-Man

The Ghosts from Pac-Man

We already have four Ghostbusters on this list, so we might as well include four ghosts. These four troublesome apparitions have been giving Pac-Man grief for almost 40 years. Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde may just look like palette-swapped version of the same enemy, but they actually each have unique personalities and in-game behaviors.

Blinky, the red ghost, chases Pac-Man around the maze. Inky, the blue ghost, is the least predictable, and actually bases his position relative to that of Pac-Man and Blinky. Pinky, the — you guessed it — pink ghost, tries to ambush Pac-Man and cut him off. While Clyde, the orange ghost, is the least intelligent of the bunch. He chases Pac-Man most of the time, but if he gets too close will run off to a corner of the maze. Separately, it is easy to deal with these foes. But when all four work together as a unit, you best keep an eye out for the nearest power pellet.

[Matthew Allen, Executive Games Editor]

Sagat, Vega, Balrog, and M. Bison – Street Fighter II

The four bosses in Street Fighter II

Only gamers of a certain age will remember this, but, once upon a time, the Street Fighter series only had eight playable characters. Sure, 12 characters could duke it out on your TV screen, but four found themselves stuck in the role of unplayable bosses: Sagat, Vega, Balrog, and M. Bison. With Super Street Fighter II, they would enter the normal roster, but until then, you’d have to fight your way through the regular World Warriors to even see them. And while the standard street fights could test your limits, the strange, powerful fighting style of this final four made them all the more memorable.

[Bob Mackey, Games Editor]

B.A., Murdock, Face, and Hannibal – The A-Team


“In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them….maybe you can hire The A-Team.”

That monologue, which opened every episode of The A-Team, perfectly explains why Bosco “B.A.” Baracus, H.M “Howling Mad” Murdock, Templeton “Face” Peck, and John “Hannibal” Smith make up one of the best pop culture foursomes of all time. You have the muscle, the wildman ace pilot, the smooth-talking pretty boy, and the master of disguise / genius tactician. What more could you need to get any job done?

[Matthew Allen, Executive Games Editor]

Fandom Staff