Have you ever been enjoying a TV show and noticed that, all of a sudden, one of your favorite characters is nowhere to be found? Well, it turns out this happens all the time in TV land, for all kinds of reasons ranging from budget cuts to plain old forgetful writers. We don’t want these once-loved characters to be forgotten in time, however. And so we’ve tracked down some of TV’s most notorious disappearing acts that you may – or may not – remember.
20. Chuck Cunningham – Happy Days
Chuck Cunningham was the Cunninghams’ eldest son in hit ’70s TV show Happy Days, but he left for basketball practice one episode and simply never returned. Moreover, the show provided absolutely no explanation for Chuck’s mysterious disappearance. So disconcerting was his disappearance, in fact, that modern TV audiences now use the term “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome” to refer to TV shows whose characters similarly vanish.
19. Tori – Saved by the Bell
Saved by the Bell fans may not even remember the short-lived character Tori, played by Leanna Creel. Tori was drafted in to fill the Kelly and Jessie void for just half a season, while the two actresses who played them sorted out contract disputes. But the pair soon reappeared in the show like nothing had ever happened, and poor Tori was dropped and never seen nor heard from again.
18. Seven – Married… with Children
In order to inject a bit of cuteness into Married… with Children, Peggy’s cousin dropped off her kid Seven at the Bundy residence one day and left. Unfortunately, however, the new addition wasn’t a hit with audiences. And so after a few episodes Seven simply disappeared without explanation. Bizarrely, though, the little boy popped up in a later scene on the side of a milk carton, and the Bundys didn’t even comment.
17. Shauna – The Mindy Project
Shauna was a short-lived character who didn’t survive season one of The Mindy Project. Actress Amanda Setton played the feisty New York native, who was the receptionist at Mindy’s surgery. And strangely, neither the show’s creator, Mindy Kaling, nor any of the producers have commented on the character’s disappearance, other than saying that the decision was a “creative” one.
16. Janice Rand – Star Trek
Yeoman Janice Rand was played by actress Grace Lee Whitney and was first introduced to Star Trek audiences as Captain Kirk’s love interest. But to the dismay of fans, her character was axed with no explanation after just a few episodes. And the reason? Apparently William Shatner, who played Kirk, wanted his the captain to be something of a player, instead of a man tied down to just one lover.
15. Mandy – The West Wing
Moira Kelly had a starring role in the first series of popular U.S. series The West Wing as Mandy Hampton. And not only did her random disappearance after seasonone confuse fans, but “Mandyville” subsequently became a popular term used to describe a place where TV characters go when they disappear without a trace.
14. Judy – Family Matters
Judy Winslow was the poor, forgotten younger daughter of the Winslow family, played by Jamiee Foxworth. But budget cuts and the rise of the more popular character of Urkel meant that Judy was axed after four seasons. Moreover, not only was the 13-year-old never seen from again, but her on-screen parents actually seemed to forget that she ever existed. In fact, they later claimed to only have two children!
13. Mark Brendanawicz – Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation famously updates audiences on the most obscure of characters, leaving no story left untold. Even Pawn Shop Guy has received closure. But for some reason Mark Brendanawicz, the city planner and love interest of both Ann and Leslie in the early seasons, is one of the few characters to disappear and never come back.
12. Denise – A Different World
Denise from The Cosby Show was such a fan favorite that she won her own spin-off series, A Different World, which followed her college years. But after the actress Lisa Bonet fell pregnant, it was decided that Denise had to leave the show. And just like that, the writers simply made her disappear.
11. Dr. Grace Miller – Scrubs
Scrubs creators decided to give Dr. Cox an equal in the stubborn, headstrong surgeon Dr. Grace Miller. But as often happens, the character wasn’t as successful as writers hoped, and so they just stopped writing for her. Miller did however appear in a J.D. fantasy sequence in the finale, but where she was for all those years no one will ever know.
10. Violet – Saved by the Bell
The Saved By The Bell team are repeat offenders when it comes to disappearing characters. The writers finally gave Screech a girlfriend in the form of character Violet Bickerstaff, but after a drama played out surrounding her disapproving parents, she abruptly vanished. However, Tori Spelling, the actress who played Violet, moved on to great success playing Donna in Beverly Hills, 90210.
9. Jonathan Turner – Boy Meets World
Boy Meets World is another show guilty of forgetting about characters on a recurring basis. One disappearing act fans may remember the most, though, is that of of Mr. Turner. The character vanished after being involved in a motorbike crash. And fans, who for years did not know whether he survived or not, were finally treated to his return in the recent revival series, Girl Meets World.
8. Nikki Faber – Spin City
Nikki Faber might not have made the most famous departure from Spin City, but her exit after season four was certainly one of the show’s most mysterious. Because although viewers were given an explanation for the departure of Mike Flaherty, played by Michael J. Fox, Nikki and a bunch of other characters never returned. And no one seemed to neither know nor care where they went.
7. The Woodcocks – ’Til Death
Noughties TV series ’Til Death focussed on the lives of two neighboring couples, the Starks and the Woodcocks. But for no obvious reason, writers decided to axe the Woodcocks halfway through season three – and without giving them a proper departure, either. The family simply disappeared without a trace, and fans were understandably left scratching their heads.
6. Cody Lambert – Step By Step
Step by Step’s characters regularly came and went without any explanation, but the most notable disappearance was that of the Lamberts’ waster cousin Cody. Sasha Mitchell, the actor who played him, was cut from the show after being accused of domestic abuse. And while the actor was found not guilty in real life, fans never found out what happened to Cody in the show.
5. Tiffany – 227
The ’80s sitcom 227 followed the ups and downs of several black women who lived in an apartment building in Chicago at number 227. But one of the main characters, Rose Holloway, had a daughter Tiffany who was never again seen on the 227 stoop after a few seasons. The actress who played her, meanwhile, moved on to play Sondra in The Good Wife.
4. Nebula Lawrence – Boy Meets World
Surprise surprise, it turns out thar Boy Meets World forgot about yet another of is characters. Topanga from the hit series originally had an older sister named Nebula, who appears only in season one. But seemingly forgetting that they had created her, not only did the show’s creators never feature her again, but scripts later referred to Topanga as an only child. Ouch.
3. Tina Pincotti – That ’70s Show
Tina Pincotti from That ’70s Show is another TV sibling that got the axe. She was Donna’s sister, who takes the award for most neglected sibling as she only appeared in one episode of the show. And like many before her, Tina was never addressed again, while Donna seemed to adjust to being an only child pretty quickly.
2. Maggie Lauten – A Different World
Maggie and her friend Denise disappeared from The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World with no warning. But whatever the reason, it didn’t affect Marisa Tomei’s career at all – she went on to become an Oscar-winning actress with roles in huge films like My Cousin Vinny and The Wrestler.
1. Various – The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The writers of The Fresh Prince of Bell Air have a lot to answer for. A string of inconsistencies include two Aunt Vivs, one actress playing multiple characters and of course, a few disappearing characters too. For example, Will’s best friend Ty and girlfriend Jackie both vanished from the show. Perhaps to go hang out with the first Aunt Viv, wherever she is?