I really think that, for the most part, television helps us cope with death in real life. That may seem silly, but let me explain. If you watch a show every week for five years, and in the first year a character who has been on the show since the first year dies, that is not like a death in a movie. A movie you spend 90 minutes to two hours with those characters. By the fifth year run of a show, you have spent well over one hundred hours (if the show is an hour long) with that character. In other words, they vanish from your life. In that sense, TV deaths are the closest we come to mimicking real loss. That out of the way, here are five TV deaths we never got over.
Spoilers for Buffy, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead follow.
I still truly think that Buffy’s mom was the most expertly handled death in TV. She wasn’t murdered by monsters. She wasn’t turned into stone. No, she died from being sick. Like, in real life. But it was the way Buffy kept trying to wake her up with that little puppy dog voice, like she knew something was wrong but couldn’t accept it. I still get chills.
I had not read the books, and did not yet know that this series whole vibe was killing off people it shouldn’t kill. So I went into the death scene like every other newcomer. I was expecting some hero to ride in and save him. When that didn’t happen and they chopped off his head (reflected to the viewer with a flock of birds suddenly rising from the trees), it messed me all up. Neddard was the man. Westeros has gone to Hell since he died.
Maude Flanders from The Simpsons
Wait, did Homer just cause the death of Ned’s Flander’s wife? That is what I thought when I saw it? Much like Game of Thrones (what is it with guys named Ned and shocking TV deaths?), this death caught me off guard and was very depressing for an otherwise upbeat and funny show. That was its point, though. To show is it was a cartoon, but could still carry the impact of a live action show.
He may be awesome on Community now, but we were so sad to see Mike go on Breaking Bad. He was definitely one of my fave characters on the show, and Walter White kind of messed up with that one. That was the true beginning of the end of Heisenberg.
Hershel on Walking Dead
Sorry, this one is too fresh in our brains to even talk about.
[Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty]