This week’s episode of ‘Community’ featured the exit of founding study group member Troy Barnes so that his actor can embark on his dream career as a rapper, a moment which still has me feeling a bit melancholy.  I certainly understand the need for actors to move on to new material, or the dramatic power inherent in having a character die within the story, but the loss of an important part of an ensemble cast (especially after the exit of Chevy Chase last season) feels serious enough to change the show’s entire dynamic forever.  One of the most heart-rending example for me came in the final season of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,’ when Terry Farrell exited the role of Dax after she had won the heart of not only Lieutenant Worf, but me.  Her absence was felt mostly keenly during that final season, one of the finest of the series, with the symbiont that made up part of her character’s personality being passed on to a legacy character who never quite seemed to be “my” Dax (though, admittedly, mileage on this one varies.)  This, in turn, begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) still has a soft spot for the crew of Serenity, but is worried that the comic continuation can’t ever quite be the same without Wash, asking: What’s the most painful actor exit in your favorite pop culture?

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  1. January 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm — Reply

    “Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake’s plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan. It spun in there were no survivors.”

    • January 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm — Reply

      I think that’s the most painful exit of any actor in any pop culture item ever and will be until the end of time.


  2. January 24, 2014 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    When Tommy (and three other Rangers) left Power Rangers in Power Rangers Turbo was when it was pretty much “the end” for me. I was already having trouble dealing with Justin, the little boy that turned into grown-up size while morphed (why couldn’t we have gotten Radietta Fanbelt instead?), but then having to adjust to several new characters I didn’t really like at once without any characters I liked remaining (not counting Bulk and Skull) made it difficult to continue. I did regain some interest years later when Disney was making the series, particularly with “SPD” and “Dino Thunder”, but it was never the same level of interest as it used to be (although to this day I still enjoy Super Sentai much more than I ever did Power Rangers).

    And the death of Connor MacLeod in “Highlander: End Game”, the only Highlander sequel movie that I actually liked. I can understand some of the reasons behind it and I can certainly understand that either Connor or Duncan did eventually have to die since “There can be only one” (not counting the alternate meaning shown in the gawd awful “Highlander: The Source”), but it was still troublesome to see the end of Connor.

    • Jared
      January 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm — Reply

      agreed, Connor’s death was bad and I will also agree with you on the front of The Source being a terrible ending to the Highlander story. Bouncing off of that my first character death to absolutely tear me apart was Richie’s death in the show, after becoming an immortal.

  3. January 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm — Reply

    Coach leaving cheers.

    • J Michael T
      January 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm — Reply

      This… :(

    • January 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm — Reply

      Oh, yeah. There’s something particularly resonant when it’s not just the character but the actor who is gone. Phil Hartman’s tragic death made the loss of his important character on NewsRadio far more potent. The loss of Jack Soo as Det. Yemana on Barney Miller was one of my first big encounters with that kind of experience as a kid.

  4. Jared
    January 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm — Reply

    Probably the only time I’ve cried over the leaving of an actor was when Tennant left Doctor Who. His final line is easily the saddest final line the I, at least, have heard. I have been moved at the leaving of an actual character through death, but this is the first time that I have been upset about an actor’s departure.

  5. Frank
    January 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    @NotNumbersix – For those old enough to watch the episode when it first broadcast, it was quite traumatic. We expected to actor to leave the show, but not have the character be killed off.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.