15 TV Characters That Disappeared...
Happy Days - In the first season of happy days the lovable and adorable Ritchie had a brother named Chuck. He wasn't really a part of the integral cast like the "Fonz" or Ralph Malph, but hey he was definitely there. One episode he went to his room and apparently never came out. Interestingly enough this phenomenon of disappearing cast members has come to be known as "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome".
Family Matters - Judy Winslow on "Family Matters" was the adorable little sister who's departure from this prime time show was never mentioned by its cast. The writers could have at least told us that she got hit by a car, or that she joined a traveling circus, but her mysterious disappearance has always left viewers dumbfounded. This is perhaps exacerbated by the fact that her father (Carl) was a cop, and should have had the resources available to find a missing adolescent. By the way, Jaime Foxworth (Judy) has since went into making adult films under the stage name CRAVE.
Saved By The Bell - "Saved by the Bell" might have been one of the worst offenders for this sort of thing. Apparently the turnover rate at Bayside was so fast that they were only able to hang onto students and teachers for several days at a time. But, somehow the same six were the only regulars. Notable is Max from The Max, the gang's local hang out. Early on he gave advice and performed magic tricks for the kids, but suddenly Max was gone (insert making himself disappear joke). Additionally, Tori Spelling showed up a few times as a nerdy character only to vanish without explanation.
That 70's Show - On "That 70's Show", you may remember Eric Foreman had a sister named "Laurie" who was originally on the show quite a bit. Eventually she was re-cast with a different actress and slowly lost all of her camera time. This is too bad, because her ditzy character really was Fez's only chance at getting a dumb girl drunk enough to get laid.
The Simpsons - Waylon Smithers on "The Simpsons" hasn't disappeared, but on the first incantation of the show he appears to be black, or brown, or something - at least not yellow like most of the characters. Who knows why they changed it, maybe the nation just wasn't ready for a black, closeted homosexual character. But with the recent election proving the US to be more progressive than the world thought, maybe Smithers can un-Michael Jackson himself and go back to his true ROOTS.
Step By Step - While this examples is one everyone can be thankful for, but whatever happened to Cody on "Step By Step"? One day he was a fun-loving adorable goofy character who was dumber than a brick. Basically he was Joey Lawrence's character from "Blossom", but with a flat top. Eventually Sasha Mitchell beat up some girl in real life, and was unceremoniously kicked off the show. The show then replaced him with a campy hairdresser played by Brosnan Pinchot (Balki), for no apparent reason.
Friends - "Friends" is unashamedly guilty of trying to pull the wool over the viewers eyes. You may remember Giovanni Ribisi as Phoebe's crazy half-stupid brother - not that far of a stretch really. Well, the crazy thing was that he was on the show a few seasons earlier, and played a weird teenager that left a condom in her guitar case. Wouldn't she recognize her own brother, I guess not. Also what is Foreman's mom doing there?
Fresh Prince of Bel Air - Another move that shows are guilty of is replacing actors without any explanation. "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" had aunt Vivian's character replaced after only the second season. Apparently the original actress violated her contract by getting pregnant in real life. To whoever she is, "it's the only paying acting job you'll probably ever have, and it's in YOUR CONTRACT. Have the dude slip on a rubber or get on the pill. Whoops, now you're in the unemployment line. Congrats." In the end, uncle Phil got the good end of that deal, the old Vivian kind of looked like Scottie Pippen.
Rosanne - Becky on the white trash sitcom "Rosanne" also went through an interesting switch, which in a way was referred to on the show. The family is sitting around watching "Bewitched" and Rosanne makes a comment about it being crappy when shows change actors. They then zoom out to reveal a new Becky. But wow what an upgrade, the old one was beat up from the feet up, but the new one was at least an 8.5. Later in the series, the old Becky would return for the rest of the show's run. And when she first appears on-screen, Rosanne simply says, "Where the hell have you been?"
Boy Meets World - "Boy Meets World" is another show with more than one disappearance. Most notable is the not-so-lovable nerd, Minkus. He was an integral part of the first seasons of the show, but once Cory got to high school he simply vanished into thin air. Also disappearing was Morgan who was Cory's little sister. She left sometime in season 2 and mysteriously reappeared in season 3 played by a different actress. The writers did give her a nod by her saying, "...that's the longest time out I ever had". Slow clap, brilliant explanation.
Can you think of anyone else who suddenly disappeared from your favorite shows?-Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]