Listless: Deaths in TV


In movies you, the viewer, have about 2 hours on average to connect to a character and then, if they die, mourn them. A sign of a good movie is if you actually feel something when this happens. But ultimately you survive and in most cases you don’t carry the death of this character around with you. In TV however, you could spend years getting to know a character, watching them grow and evolve into bigger, brighter people. Then just like that, they could die. But then you continue to watch and see the repercussions of this character’s death – how it affects the other people in the show, the storyline, everything. Some of them are particularly rough. So I give you…

Deaths in television shows that’ll rip your goddamn heart out

* Please note, all of these are pretty much spoilers.

How I Met Your Mother – “Last Words”

My favorite character in How I Met Your Mother is Marshall, hands down. He’s the friend you want to have. He’s optimistic, he’s your own personal pep rally, he’s stable, he’s hilarious, and he’s always down for an adventure. So when bad things happen to him, it hurts that much more. When Marshall’s father dies in season six, it’s brutal. It’s an on-going theme that Marshall and his father have a super close relationship, and it even becomes the butt of some jokes. But his dad is his best friend, and when he dies suddenly it crushes Marshall. And therefore, me.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “The Body”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is steeped in fantasy. Buffy is constantly making quips and jabs at the vampires, demons, and other evil things she fights throughout the series, and no matter how dark it gets you know she’ll pull through it. Except when her mom dies. “The Body” is by far one of the best episodes in the series because it doesn’t sugar coat the death of Joyce, Buffy’s mom. Every character experiences her death differently. Buffy stays strong and pragmatic, Willow panics over what to wear to meet Buffy at the hospital, Xander and Giles take over the caretaker roles. Even though Buffy is the chosen slayer of vampires, in this episode she’s just a girl, trying to pull through and accept the loss dealt to her.

Lost – “Through the Looking Glass”

The one constant rule in Lost was that odds were, a character you liked was going to bite the dust. While most of these deaths happened in the show’s final season, it was the earlier ones that I found the most heartbreaking. Specifically – Charlie. Charlie was pretty much doomed from the start of season three. A certain death followed him around the Island, and his only savior was a strange man named Desmond. Whenever Death rounded the corner ready to take Charlie away, Desmond stepped in and punched Death in the face. But this didn’t last forever. Even knowing that Charlie was doomed to die, seeing him do so at the end of season three was so…everything. How Charlie sacrifices himself to save Desmond, so he can see his lost love Penny. How Charlie tells Desmond that the boat coming to rescue them is not Penny’s boat. How you know that Desmond will have to tell Charlie’s sort of island girlfriend Claire that Charlie’s dead. Commence tears.

Futurama – “Jurassic Bark”

Who is more devoted than a dog? NOBODY. Fry’s dog Seymour is the epitome of this. When Fry becomes cryogenically frozen, he left behind his dog who was waiting for him outside Panucci’s Pizza. Most dogs would probably leave after waiting for a couple of days, finding a new home and a new owner to love them. What does Seymour do? Wait. For twelve years. Until he dies. Of old age. He stays outside of the pizza parlor so long that he becomes a fossil. The worst part about this episode is that Fry believes that Seymour moved on after he left. “I had Seymour until he was three,” Fry says when he decides not to clone Seymour. “That’s when I knew him, and that’s when I loved him. I’ll never forget him. But he forgot me a long time ago.”  But he didn’t Fry! He waited for you!