(*Note: Everyone is clearly dying all around us. Run for your lives.)
I basically came up with today’s Top Five topic and immediately, I was hit with WAY too many possibilities. Seriously, there have been some bat-shit crazy plot twists over the years. It was tough to narrow down the list to just five but pretty easy to distinguish what made the list- any time I sat on my couch, eyes wide, and the words, “What the HELL just happened?” And not in a good way.
5. Friday Night Lights– Landry and Tyra Kill Her Rapist- Season 2 (2007)
I’ve been a big-time supporter of Friday Night Lights for a while now and let me just say that it is REALLY hard to promote a show that you’ve been hailing as “realistic”, “gritty” and “so so GOOD” when the second season gives us THIS- nerd Landry and reformed-hobag Tyra kill her almost-rapist. And then they try to cover it up. And then they hook up. And then they forget about it. What?
I’m not the only one who considers Season 2 a giant blunder of epic proportions (and now, as a devoted FNL supporter, it is my solemn duty to inform you that Season 3 was AWESOME and please watch the next season, please please please- ahem), largely due to this LUDICROUS storyline that sought to turn Dillon, TX into the next Genoa City.
4. Bones– Zack is a cannibal’s apprentice in “The Pain in the Heart” (2008)
To their credit, the powers behind Bones tried to warn us early on in season three about the dangers of the “completely rational person.” Because, as they explain, the completely rational person is not moved by emotion but by pure logic. Give them a convincing reason to kill and they could kill, without remorse.
Yeaaaah, ok. I kind of get it. But explain to me how we went from “kill” to “becoming a cannibalistic serial killer’s APPRENTICE”? In the third season ender of Bones, we learn that Gormogon, the serial killer who likes to kill and eat your nibbly bits, actually had help inside the Jeffersonian lab. And that would be- Zack. Precocious boy genius. Temperance Brennan’s favorite student, so like her in intellgence and rational thought, adored by all as something akin to the class mascot. Who suddenly was INSANE.
That overwhelming sound you heard two years ago? That was a gaggle of Bones fans yelping, “WHAT? Seriously?! Aw, does that mean Zack’s not coming back??”
3. Dawson’s Creek– Dawson’s dad Mitch bites it while eating an ice cream cone in “Capeside Revisited” (2001)
Just like people always remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, I will always remember where I was when Mitch Leery died by ice cream cone. I was sitting in my dorm room and I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging over. Almost immediately, I heard a chorus of, “What the FUCK?” down the hall (which was pretty typical for a Wednesday night- Dawson’s Creek episode but louder than usual) and my phone rang. It was my sister, who immediately launched into, “Um, did they just kill Dawson’s dad WITH AN ICE CREAM CONE?”
In case you missed it the first time around, he wasn’t assaulted by Butter Pecan or anything. No, happy-go-lucky Mitch Leery was driving his car, munching away on his cone and singing along to the radio when he dropped his delicious tasty treat on the floor. He then bent down to get it and his car got hit by a truck. Commence flash of light. Commence this expression for three subsequent episodes. Commence “What the FUCK?” everywhere.
Pacey’s right. It was clearly the ice cream cone’s fault. (In an unrelated note, I really miss the old WB promo voice.)
2. Robin Hood– Here’s an idea- LET’S KILL MAID MARIAN in “We Are Robin Hood” (2007)
Ok, first of all- let me just say that I am still so ANGRY about this little development, that even looking up the episode on TV.com filled me with the kind of rage I usually reserve for the likes of Donald Trump and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” newsletter. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the most recent atrocity so the BETRAYAL is still fresh in my mind or if it has something to do with my somewhat pathological obsession with the Robin Hood story ever since I was a little girl.
Whatever the case may be, the decision to kill Marian in the second season ender? I was deeply, deeply infatuated with the BBC’s newfangled “Robin Hood” series- it was so, so BRITISH and like slightly campy but a bit closer to HBO’s Carnivale than those shows like Hercules or Xena. In other words, I was completely hooked to the point of downloading episodes onto my ancient laptop to watch on a cross-country train trip when I moved to Chicago. This is the type of show-obsession where I used to sit anxiously on the edge of my couch, waiting for it to come on, pillow clutched in my lap, DO NOT CALL ME RIGHT NOW. We’ve all had shows like this, you know you have too, and I was ENTRENCHED. So, when the big reveal of “who dies in the season finale” turned out to be, well, HER? I was furious. I threw things. I sat there, gaping, too stunned for swear words. I vowed never to watch the show ever ever again in my life. I’m clearly still not over it. HOW DO YOU KILL MAID MARIAN IN A SHOW ABOUT ROBIN HOOD? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? Ok, I’m done now GOD.
I don’t even want to show a picture or a video or anything. Let’s move on- still SO ANGRY.
1. Roseanne– The entire last part of the show was a LIE in “Into That Good Night (2)”
Oh, Roseanne. Few shows jumped the shark as neatly as Roseanne (I have to tread carefully here. We’re in Bealtown now and I’m pretty sure there’s a statue of the Connors in the town square. Them’s fightin’ words) in its latter seasons. You can actually mark the dividing line of When Roseanne was very good and When Roseanne was unwatchable at “The Connors win the lottery.” As soon as I see that it’s one of those gauzy, leather chair-episodes, I change the channel immediately. Maybe Seinfeld was right to go out on top after all.
I’m a big believer in epilogues. I think the ending to a long-running show is important and not to be glossed over. After all, we the viewers have stuck with you, the show, for almost a decade, if the show is lucky enough to live that long. Give us closure, give us a satisfying end. Sure, ok, make Bob Newhart wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshett. Cute. Clever. Precious. We all preferred Suzanne anyway.
But no. Do not sit in a basement and tell me that the last few years have been a lie. Don’t mess with my mind and tell me Darlene was with Mark and David with Becky. Don’t reveal that it was Jackie was gay, not hilarious Bev (though seriously, I think we all knew Jackie was gay right?). But there’s one point, in particular, where you simply do not go.You don’t kill Dan Conner. No, you can’t. That’s a seriously heartbreaking twist right there and one we pretty much, as a NATION, rejected immediately. No, no, no, no.