Now we’ve covered the most shocking TV deaths, the most brutal TV deaths and those TV deaths that could happen and destroy the world as we know it. But Ross McGuinness at Metro brings up an interesting concept in the wake of Family Guy killing Brian Griffin: lazy TV deaths.
Death is meant to be a dire, game changing moment for a television show, but sometimes it just falls flat and we attempt to sweep it under the rug. With Family Guy, many are calling it a ratings grab to kill off a popular character that will most likely return before the season’s end.
So I figured I’d just pick out a few of the lazier deaths I can remember from TV shows over the years. The kind of deaths that just feel cheap, leaving you either wondering what they were thinking or feeling underwhelmed by the entire execution of it all.
Nikki and Paulo (Lost)
A miserable attempt to focus on the other survivors of Flight 815, Nikki and Paulo were despised by fans of the show and were given a quick removal from the series in one episode. Originally planned to have a featured side story throughout season three, the writers decided that Nikki and Paulo were better served being buried alive and more focus given to the main story of the show.
From personal experience, it all just felt like a way to prolong a story that was already becoming frustrating at the time. Death would be a big part of Lost until the final episode, but none felt more unnecessary from start to finish than Nikki and Paulo. Who created these characters and why?
Charlie Harper (Two And A Half Men)
When Charlie Sheen had his very public meltdown that we all either praised as amazing or called a distasteful cry for help, he ended up being fired from his sweet gig on CBS juggernaut Two And A Half Men. Instead of scrapping the show and trying something new, Chuck Lorre and CBS marched on with new lead Ashton Kutcher and a funeral for Sheen’s Charlie Harper. It is nothing new to write someone off of a show via death and it has had varying results over the years.
8 Simple Rules went forward for a year or two without John Ritter, MASH famously wrote off McLean Stevenson when he asked to leave the show, so this should work right? The lazy part to me is that they tried this in 2013, amid a vast array of meaningful and shocking TV deaths. It was a feud played out in front of the audience and instead of just killing one show to provide a cautionary tale, we now live with two crappy shows that just keep trudging along.
Andrea (The Walking Dead)
Did I hate Andrea? Yes. Much like everyone watching, I wanted her to croak more than anyone. That’s why when it happened I finally felt a little underwhelmed by the whole ordeal. The season had trudged along at that point towards the eventual confrontation between Woodbury and the prison and the writing was on the wall for a few episodes for Andrea. It took an entire episode of foot clawing and chair maneuvering to remove her from the show at the end of it all, I was not relieved. I was unhappy. An entire season building up to an inevitable moment just felt lazy.
The Mystery Death (The Simpsons)
With people ragging on Family Guy and writing petitions in outrage, you don’t hear the same about the announcement that The Simpsons will be killing off a character this season. I feel this is lazy for the same reasons Family Guy is coming off as lazy, it’s a cheap grab for ratings. When Marcia Wallace passed away and the show paid tribute, it meant something. When they killed off Maude Flanders it felt meaningful too. I don’t see how announcing that someone will die can carry that same weight. It’s indicative of the current product The Simpsons is putting on the air in my opinion, hitting the nail on the head and garnering more points from what goes on around the show than the actual story.
What are some TV deaths that left you feeling underwhelmed?
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