Have you ever been watching a TV show that you really liked yet there was just one character that you really hated with a passion played by an actor who just annoyed you completely and you wished he were not a part of the show? Well imagine if that actor were to bring the same acting style you absolutely loathe to show after show that you enjoy? Would you feel like there was a conspiracy going on to ruin TV for you specifically? Well, if so you would be a paranoid nutcase but never let it be said that I considered myself to be 100% sane because I think Michiel Huisman is out to destroy my enjoyment of TV by constantly popping up on shows I like.
In the annals of TV Tropes, Chuck Cunningham Syndrome represents the tendency some TV shows have to completely disappear a character with no explanation whatsoever. The fella it’s named after, Chuck Cunningham, was the basketball loving older brother of Richie Cunningham om HAPPY DAYS who one day went off to college and was never heard from again. No postcards, no calls to Mr & Mrs C, no visits during winter break. Old Chuck was just wiped out of the show’s continuity. And he is not the only one…from Bub on MY THREE SONS to Judy Winslow on FAMILY MATTERS to Cockroach on THE COSBY SHOW…characters have been getting wiped from a show’s continuity since forever. So I’ve put together a little list of 5 more recent examples of this phenomena.
Television is a wild and wondrous place with new shows being pitched and bought and put into production on an almost daily basis. Within that wonderful circle of celluloid life there is a downside though. Sometimes a show is picked up by a network with the full intention of securing a place on the schedule. Actors, writers and full crews end up being hired and episodes (sometimes multiple episodes!) get filmed that never reach our TV screens. The reasons are varied from network interference to censorship to the final product just being plain old bad. It is that last one that I am going to be focusing on here. I plan to take a look at a few shows that were all geared up and ready to hit the airwaves but got the cancellation bomb dropped on them before they got a chance to see the light of day because they were awful. The reasons for these shows awfulness are varied but the one constant is that these shows didn’t deserve to live. Some of them were seen as blights on society while others were deemed too racy or alarmingly unfunny but they all sucked. And if there is one thing I have discovered I enjoy doing it’s picking at the carcass of the dearly departed in as snarky a manner as I can muster.