Smart people behaving foolishly. That seems to be the essence of scripted TV these days, as characters we've come to admire for their savvy get themselves into terrible trouble because they make regrettable decisions. Sure, that sort of behavior makes for great drama and comedy, but it also makes for messy lives. If our favorite TV characters really want to clean up their acts, they'll take our advice and adopt these custom-tailored New Year's resolutions.
Sansa Stark ("Game of Thrones"): I will not accept any wedding invitations.
Mindy Lahiri ("The Mindy Project"): I will remember that life is not a romantic comedy, and everything doesn't turn out the way it does for Meg Ryan.
Lisa Simpson ("The Simpsons"): After 25 years, I will finally pass the second grade.
Don Draper ("Mad Men"): Maybe seeing Bert Cooper dancing down the hallway after his death is a sign that I shouldn't drink so much.
Saul Goodman (formerly of "Breaking Bad," soon to be seen on "Better Call Saul"): I will find a better class of clientele. Maybe just white-collar criminals.
The cast of "Scandal": We will stop mixing work and our social lives.
Frank and Claire Underwood ("House of Cards"): Yeah, that's probably a good idea.
Alicia Florrick ("The Good Wife"): Me, too.
Fitz ("Scandal"): Oh, one more for me: no more presidential phone sex. You never know who's listening...
Jane Villanueva ("Jane the Virgin"): I'll go through with the malpractice suit against the gynecologist whose epic blunder left me pregnant, even if she is the sister of hunky, wealthy Rafael. Or at least I'll make Rafael cough up for daycare.
Jonah ("Silicon Valley"): I will never get into a driverless, computer-controlled car again.
The cast of "Orange Is the New Black": Is it too late to get time off for good behavior?
Paige ("The Americans"): I know my parents are weird and secretive, but I will not look too hard for the skeletons in their closet, since I might be super creeped out by what I find.
Sheldon Cooper ("The Big Bang Theory"): I will interact more with lesser human beings, and I won't always bring disinfectant wipes.
Jules Cobb ("Cougar Town"): I'll stop drinking so much red wine and switch to something less heavy-duty. Like white wine.
Will Graham ("Hannibal"): I will try to get some sleep, though I'll surely be troubled by nightmares.
Jack Larsen ("Stalker"): Um, maybe I should stop being a stalker? Or at least appearing to be one?
Sterling Archer ("Archer"): You know that whole "Miami Vice" thing we did throughout last season? I'll forget it if you viewers will.
John Thackery ("The Knick"). Imagine how much more brilliant and trailblazing a surgeon I could be if I weren't high on liquid cocaine all the time. Maybe I could have invented transplant surgery in 1900 if I weren't so busy probing the spaces between my toes for injectable veins.
The extended Braverman clan ("Parenthood"): When we have our series finale at the end of January, we won't make you cry... too much.
The cast of "Parks and Recreation": Neither will we... oh, who are we kidding? You'll weep as hard as if Li'l Sebastian died all over again.
Valerie Cherish ("The Comeback"): I'll be back.
Robert Crawley, Lord Grantham ("Downton Abbey"): I will consult with my family before embarking on any new business ventures, since I'm clearly hopeless at such things. Although that American fellow, Ponzi, seems like a successful money manager...
Dowager Countess Violet Crawley ("Downton Abbey"): I shan't be making any resolutions, as I do not require any self-improvement. Though I can think of others who do.