Big Sitcom Plot Twists No One Asked For

A split image showing the mother in How I Met Your Mother, Seymour Skinner in the Simpsons and Brian Griffin in Family Guy

Despite their focus on humor over drama, sitcoms can tell stories as well as any other TV genre. Many sitcoms have episodes or moments that shock viewers and turn the entire show on its head. Some of these, like Chandler and Monica sleeping together on Friends, give their shows exactly the lift they need at the right time.

RELATED: 10 Sitcoms That Are Better On A Rewatch

However, some sitcom plot twists feel like filler. They come out of nowhere, seem undercooked, or downright unnecessary. This doesn’t necessarily mean these plot twists are bad, just that the show didn’t need to include them. However, other twists are infamous for both being unnecessary and for dragging their shows down with them.



10 Charlie Harper’s Possible Survival

Two And A Half Men

Many fans think Two and a Half Men took a downward turn after Charlie Harper’s death let Walden Schmidt replace his character. However, this plot twist was fairly essential. Charlie Sheen’s erratic behavior got him fired from Two and a Half Men, and without him the series either needed to cancel itself or retool.

However, the premise of ‘Of Course He’s Dead’ was obviously unnecessary. The episode throws out the idea that Charlie might have survived his apparent demise and is planning revenge on the rest of the cast. It’s all set up for the mean-spirited fourth wall break that ended Two and a Half Men. No one needed either the twist or the underwhelming finale.

9 Principal Skinner’s True Identity

The Simpsons

The Simpsons has had many contentious episodes over its thirty-four seasons (and counting). However, few of these episodes left fans as bitter as ‘The Principal and the Pauper.’ This story revealed that Principal Skinner was actually an imposter stealing the identity of his former Sergeant in Vietnam.

RELATED: 10 The Simpsons Characters With The Best Character Arcs

In actual fact, the character known as Seymour Skinner was named Armin Tamzarian. However, the writers hit the reset button hard by the end of the episode, sending the newly disgraced, if real, Skinner out on a rail and pledging to mention the incident again “under penalty of torture.” While this twist seemed disrespectful to some fans, it lacked consequences and was mainly unnecessary..

8 Trevor’s Attempted Sabotage

The Good Place

The Good Place is more plot-oriented than most sitcoms. It’s full of infamous reveals that overturn the show’s very premise, usually to great effect. However, The Good Place‘s third season contains an early plot twist that is much less effective. Shortly into Michael and Janet’s attempt to help the heroes, the demon Trevor joins their group as a saboteur.

This twist appears to set up a long-running plotline in The Good Place where celestial and infernal entities battle over the two groups. However, Trevor acts as an obstacle for one episode before Judge Gen disrupts their plans and banishes him. Trevor’s appearance, treated as a significant cliffhanger, ends up leading to a dead end.

7 Leonard Cheats On Penny

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory splits its later episodes between humorous geeky exploits and the main characters’ romances. For the most part, both are positive and entertaining. However, The Big Bang Theory tried to throw a spanner in the works shortly before Leonard Hofstadter and Penny got married.

‘The Commitment Determination’ has Leonard reveal that he kissed another woman while dating Penny. To many fans, this seemed out of character for Leonard, and hiding his infidelity for two years seemed completely unlike him. This plot twist undermined what should have been one of the series’ happiest moments and while it set up several storylines, they’re universally despised.

6 Ross Was Emma’s Father


Friends is full of long-running storylines, many of them focused on the characters’ love lives. By far the most enduring and famous is the fraught relationship between Ross and Rachel. It was filled with years of unrequited love, betrayal, pining, and false starts for only one actual relationship.

RELATED: 10 Best Friendships On Friends, Ranked

By Friends‘ eighth season, many fans were tired of Ross and Rachel’s will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic. Rachel getting pregnant seems like the setup for a good storyline. However, the show revealed that Ross was the father after yet another one-night stand with Rachel. For many fans, this plot twist added nothing, just adding another brick to their relationship’s wall.

5 Pierce’s Death

Community‘s behind-the-scenes drama involving Chevy Chase is infamous and led to his character, Pierce Hawthorne’s, departure in the show’s fourth season. However, this wasn’t the last dramatic turn for Pierce. He died in the show’s fifth season, and they spent an entire episode dedicated to his will.

The Community episode following Pierce’s death, ‘Cooperative Polygraphy’, is considered one of the show’s strongest for its catharsis and the humor it mines from genuine mourning. However, his death itself felt unnecessary. Given the tense situation between Chase and series showrunner Mark Harmon, it felt mean-spirited to some fans.

4 Holt’s Demotion

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine often ends its seasons on dramatic, life-changing notes for at least one main character. In the show’s sixth season, Captain Holt was demoted. A throwaway line about his quick rise to detective somehow allowed his nemesis Deputy Chief Wunch to demote him back to the beat.

This was less dramatic than many of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s other finales. However, it also felt much less believable or necessary. It relied on unbelievable bureaucratic rules and put a harsh spin on an otherwise-successful episode. While it did affect season 7 some, fans always knew Hold would regain his former position, so it made the series feel like it was treading water instead of moving forward.

3 The Mother Died

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother‘s premise is in its name. Ted Mosby takes nine seasons to tell his children how he met their mother, Tracy McConnell. Most of the show’s ninth season focuses on Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend that led up to the fateful meeting. However, the How I Met Your Mother finale revealed that Tracy died a few years later.

RELATED: 10 Ways How I Met Your Mother Aged Poorly

As a result of this twist, How I Met Your Mother has one of the most controversial finales of all time. The twist comes across as exploitative and pointless rather than as a meaningful gut punch. By discarding her to make room for the show’s original romance between Ted and Robin, it made it feel like Tracy hadn’t mattered at all.

2 The Main Characters Going To Prison


Seinfeld is also known for its controversial finale. Just as things are looking up for the main characters, they accidentally violate a duty-to-rescue law. This results in a lengthy episode where they’re put on trial, with many characters from the show’s past returning to testify about the main quartet’s sins.

Seinfeld ends with a stern moral about the cast’s amoral, petty behavior. They end up in prison for a year as a result of their selfishness. However, this twist doesn’t sit right with many fans. While Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George deserved some comeuppance, having it come at the end made it feel like a tacked-on fable with no real consequences in the series.

1 Brian Griffin’s Death

Family Guy

Family Guy is usually light on dramatic stakes even by sitcom standards. One of its attempts at a dramatic plot twist has gone down in infamy for its fans. The episode ‘Life of Brian’ sees iconic Family Guy character and family dog Brian Griffin die after being hit by a car. To cope, the family gets a replacement dog, Vinny.

Brian Griffin’s death is so infamous that even fans who had stopped watching Family Guy seasons earlier heard about it. However, Brian returned only two episodes later, robbing it of any meaning, and making it feel like a manipulative attempt to gain ratings through controversy.

NEXT: 10 Great Sitcom Characters Ruined By A Bad Decision


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