More gratuitous death than Maude Flanders?

Tengu, because of the internet – spoiler sites, etc. I can’t remember the last time a TV death surprised anybody.

McLean Stevenson’s send-off on MASH was pretty surprising, and unnecessary.

I’d heard that Stevenson had pissed off the PTB at the studio, and they decided to write finis to his character in a way that precluded ever allowing him to come crawling back.

In Good Times, when the family is celebrating an impending move south, where Dad has found a new job or something, and then at the end of the ep they get notice that Dad has died in an automobile accident.

Not a death, but in Family Matters the youngest child goes upstairs during one episode and is never seen or mentioned again, though the show lasted several more seasons. Apparently they were rarely utilizing her character at all, so when her contract was up the producers didn’t renew it. There was never any explanation or recognition of this in the story–it was as though she never existed.

P.S. - I read about this somewhere, I didn’t actually watch Family Matters! :o

Yeah, it was a “great TV moment” - my (future) wife and I were loyal LA Law viewers and we were two-sided about Rosalind: we didn’t like her (IIRC, she led an opposing law firm that (maybe?) bought out McKenzie-Brackman (the good guys who hired Susan Dey)), however she definitely made the show more interesting and less preachy. Finally, she started sleeping with McKenzie (Richard Dysart), whereupon the writers/producers (probably not knowing how they’re going to wrap up the Rosalind story arc), decided to give her the shaft.

And it was a complete shocker, coming out of nowhere. And I don’t recall any build-up to it, especially nothing like the final episodes of Buffy, season 6 where you couldn’t not know what was going to happen. Again: no internet (at least not for regular schmoes like us).

Not at all. Leland screamed “Oh good God!” and ran to get help.

But he had just moments before, rejected a marriage proposal from Shays, and the last words she ever heard were Leland saying “I just don’t love you.” Maybe that’s what you remember.

Yllaria, how do you mean “gratuitous?” The actors who played Tasha Yar, Henry Blake, and the dad on Good Times all wanted to leave their respective shows. Was it “gratuitous” that the producers decided to write their characters out by killing them off?

Death is random in real life. I like it when a death on a TV show is also random and meaningless.

I don’t see how Henry Blake’s plane being shot down in a war zone in a television show that was about a war is gratuitous. Someone might want to post a definition of the word.

That’s called Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.

Rosalind was brought in at the partner level as a “rainmaker” to help the firm land big clients. She brought in a number of clients but also did some somewhat underhanded things to win existing clients over to her and generally rubbed people the wrong way. The other partners ousted her. Anne Kelso told Rosalind that if she’d been a man she would’ve been applauded instead of dismissed. Rosalind then filed a sex discrimination suit and, based on Anne’s testimony, the firm settled. Following the settlement she and Leland got together.

Chef on South Park died by falling off a bridge, burning, then being torn to pieces by a lion and a grizzly. Gratuitous.

But funny as hell. :smiley:

Yeah, what I said. :wink:

(Thanks for the clarification).

IIRC, the reveal where she and Leland were involved was in Leland’s bed - he was talking to “the air” when the scene opened, and when he rolled over, there SHE was! :eek:

(Of course, I’m probably misremembering this too). :wink:

Knife turning scene when the family finds out.

they are having a going away party for themselves in the apartment. The father is running late (?) and is not there yet. They receive a telegram. Thinking it’s good news the mom begins to read the telegram aloud to the party. She begins to stumble a bit but continues reading when she gets to the part about her husband dying in a car accident.

I vaguely recall some earlier scenes of elevator maintenance guys working on the system, but I may be wrong.

No, that’s pretty much how that reveal went down.

No, it was done simply to keep Stevenson from coming back. That’s definitely gratuitous, even if the method of his death was logical.

But the most gratuitious death was another Blake – Blake’s Seven. Not only did the kill off the entire cast in the final scene, but they made sure that any character connected with the show was also dead. And the episode was the only one of the season: it came off the usual hiatus (it was British) specifically to kill everyone off.

In US TV, there was the death of Mrs. Langenhan in The West Wing, so unexpected that many people thought that it was written in because the actress had died.

No, you’re right. There was some set up, very subtle and well done.


I’m looking at gratuitous as being out of the blue and not fitting into the storyline particularly. Tasha did dangerous things. She was head of security. Henry was flying in a war zone. In that Good Times episode, the death had a powerful effect.

Maude’s death just seemed sort of tacked on. Flanders went on to deal with it in other episodes, but I don’t remember that episode dealing with the effect of her death much. (Could be my memory lapsing, of course.) It certainly didn’t have much effect on Homer, beyond him not wanting to be blamed for it. The plot just rolled on.

I can sort of see a reason for writing out actors who are leaving. There’s kind of a meta-reason for it. So if the voice actress playing Maude was leaving, it’s sort of a reason. Rosalind Shays sounds like the same thing. Gratuitous, but maybe not meta-gratuitous. And I didn’t see Chef get his in South Park, but that would be in the same category.

The death in Spooks was set up to shock. As were the deaths in Serenity. (They killed Wash! I’m still not over that.)

Is Rocket Romano the doctor from ER. That one was a real bolt from the blue. Was that actor leaving, too? Have we ended up with only a list of deliberate shockers and actors leaving their roles?

Yeah, more money so she could fly to and from California to do her lines without paying out of her own pocket. (She eventually founded her own studio that allowed her to do her lines there and send them to Fox over the Internet, but by that time, it was too late- although she did use this to voice Maude’s ghost in a Halloween show.)

Ned actually did spend most of that episode trying to cope with Maude’s death- as he himself put it, “I’m a Q without a U.”