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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

It’s time for my year-end Big Dummy Awards.  This year, there is a twist on my awards:  times where Hollywood treated US the viewer like a big dummy.  We’ll start with tv shows with characters who inexplicably disappeared.  A few seasons ago, it was even the subject of an episode of Mo Rocca’s Mobituaries podcast.  Sure, television characters die or are otherwise written out of a series all the time.  Occasionally, they stop appearing with no explanation or acknowledgement whatsoever. Here are a few examples.

On the sitcom Schitt’s Creek, Tim Rozon played Mutt, the ruggedly handsome son of mayor Roland Schitt(played by Chris Elliot) and one-time love interest of Annie Murphy(Annie Murphy).  His character departed to0 harvest pine cones with his new girlfriend in season three before returning single in one episode in season 4.  It appeared as if Mutt had returned to complicate Alexis’ love life.  But he never returned to the re show-which ran 6 seasons.

Glee’s Jane Lynch(who played Sue Sylvester) is pregnant the entirety of season 3.  She has a baby girl in the season 4 premiere. While her motherhood could have made for some interesting storylines, especially given Sue’s notoriously cold, demanding nature before having a child, the show basically forgets about Sue’s child the final two seasons.

When discussing Meghan Markle’s acting career, people usually talk about her time on Suits but never mention her time on Fringe.  This is likely because she was on Suits throughout its entirety and her Fringe stint was short.  On Fringe, Markle played FBI Special Agent Amy Jessup, who was called in to assist the Fridge division on an investigation into a mysterious crash.  After just two episode, the next mystery to be solved was the case of the missing character.  No one ever acknowledged her absence.

Fans of Friday Night Lights might remember Santiago Herrera (Benjamin Ciaramello).  After being released from a juvenile detention center in season 2, he was taken in by Buddy Garritty(Brad Leland) , who encouraged him to join the Panthers while coach Taylor(Kyle Chandler) honed his football skills.  After season 2, the storyline and character were completely abandoned due to the 2007 writer’s strike.  Ironically, his last appearance was in an episode titled “Leave No One Behind”.

Countless Dunder Mifflin employees came and went throughout the 9 seasons of The Office, but one disappearance is especially troubling.  In the season seven episode “”, we are introduced to State Senator Robert Lipton (played by Jack Coleman) and his young son.  Lipton soon strikes up a relationship with Angela (Angela Kinsey), who eventually has a son purported to be the Senator’s.  This was significant enough to be on Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer’s Office Ladies podcast.

In the first season of King Of Queens, Carrie (Leah Remini) had a half-sister named Sara(Lisa Rieffel) who seemed destined to be a regular cast member after appearing in the first five episodes but was never seen again.  There was another exit, as Doug(Kevin James) had a friend named Richie, who disappeared after actor Larry Romano got a sitcom of his own(that was cancelled after just 6 episodes).

In the first season of That 70’s Show, Donna(Laura Prepon) had a younger sister named Tina, played by Amanda Fuller.  After only one appearance, the creators decided they wanted Donna to be an only child.  Tina was never mentioned again except for the season 2 episode “Vanstock”, in a spoof of soap opera cliffhangers, the announcer said “and whatever happened to Midge’s daughter Tina”? 

Anthony Tyler Quinn had a regular role on Boy Meets World, as he wasn’t just a high school teacher, he was something of a father figure to Shawn (Rider Strong).  However, after getting badly injured in a motorcycle crash, Mr. Turner never appears again after season 4, even though the series ran another 3 seasons.  Additionally, Topanga(Danielle Fischel) is shown to have a sister named Nebula(Krystee Clark) but only appears in the season 1 episode “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not”.  Clark does return as an entirely different character named Valerie in the season two episode “Wrong Side of the Tracks”.

Here’s one of the one’s that made Mo Rocca’s Mobituaries podcast.  On Family Matters, the Winslow family had two kids: Eddie (Darius McCrary) and Laura(Kellie Shanygne Williams).  But what about their youngest child Judy (Jaimee Foxworth)? Judy appeared in the first four seasons but not the final five.  This was one of the most notable cases of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, as exactly like the Happy Days character, Judy walked upstairs one day and was never seen or spoke of again.  

We know why Tori Scott had a short stint on Saved By The Bell.  Actress Leanna Creel was brought in to replace both Kelly and Jessie(Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley) while they were briefly absent in the fourth season.  Tori caught the eye of both Zach (Mark-Paul Gosselear) and Slater(Mario Lopez, and me too, by the way, but when Kelly and Jesse returned, was never seen again-even in the graduation episode.

Seinfeld changed in a few ways after the pilot episode.  It initially appeared that a bubbly waitress named Claire (Lee Garlington) would be part of the main cast as waitress at Pete’s Luncheonette but was replaced by Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in the shows second episode, and Pete’s Luncheonette was replaced by Monk’s Café.

Although Marisa Tomei is an accomplished Oscar-winning actress, you’re forgiven if you don’t recall her time on the Cosby Show spinoff A Different World.  Tomei had a major role in the first season as Maggie Lauten, a military brat, journalism major and one of the only white students at HBCU Hillman College but did not appear in any of the shows remaining four seasons and her absence was never acknowledged. Tormei simply left the show.  

Here's the link to this information: 23 TV shows with characters who inexplicably disappeared ( and below are the links to my podcast, Blendertainment   



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