9. Leslie Knope - Parks And Recreation
Like another NBC sitcom on this list, it took the writers and showrunners a good few episodes before they fully understood the dynamic of the characters on Parks and Rec, but few exemplify that more than main protagonist Leslie Knope. Initially, she's established as something of a Michael Scott analogue (which makes sense considering the show was originally a spin-off of The Office), a well-meaning but totally inept government official.
Most of the jokes early on came at her expense, as her dedication to her job made her a source of ridicule, someone who nobody wanted to hang out with. She pined over cool co-worker Mark Brendanawicz (who rebuffed her advances), while her ditzy tendencies often made her look like an imbecile in her job. She was still funny, and Amy Poehler made the character inherently charismatic, but her characterisation was strangely... sad. More tragic than funny.
By the time Season 2 came around though, this had all changed. Now, her intelligence and dedication to her job wasn't a source of ridicule, but her defining strength, and the focus changed so that her passion wasn't seen as lame, but rather better than the apathy of everyone else.
There were still jokes at her expense, but the show felt like it was now laughing with her as much as it was at her.