Earlier this week, it was announced that “Desperate Housewives” would be killing off a major character in this, its final season. I don’t really care about “Desperate Houswives.” I haven’t seen an episode since they did the five-year jump, and not even Nathon Fillion’s turn on the show was enough to draw me back in. But I do appreciate that Marc Cherry has enough cajones to kill off a major character, although he probably should’ve killed them all off five seasons ago.
See, even the best shows on television often carry dead weight. There always seems to be one or two characters that hold the rest of the show back. Oftentimes, these characters are introduced, serve their narrative purpose, and then just kind of hang around, waiting for something to do. Most television writers are reluctant, however, to dispose of them. So they these characters float around aimlessly, taking up space in distracting subplots that pull the focus away from the major storylines. Other times, these characters are just annoying and obnoxious, and their shows would be much better off without them, if only the showrunners had the courage to write them out of their respective shows.
Here are ten shows that would be much better if they killed off a major character.
Betty Draper, “Mad Men” — Look, she’s basically useless to the show now. Her and Don are divorced, she has nothing to do with the ad agency, and she’s a terrible, horrible mother whose children would be significantly better off without her. Plus, it’d be very satisfying to her her die tragically.
Andy Bernard, “The Office” — There’s several characters on “The Office” whose death would improve the show, but if Andy were to die, they could try again with a new manager and maybe get it right this time. Instead of Michael Scott-lite, they could take the show into a new, different direction. Plus, the funeral could be held at Schrute Farms and provide a starting point for the potential “The Office” spin-off.
Kenneth Parcell, “30 Rock” — He was a great character for a few seasons, but Kenneth is useless to the show now. Last week’s episode, where he actually said “folksy down home metaphor” instead of actually providing one says all you need to know about Kenneth. The writers have run out of ways to use him, and he’ll never be promoted.
Ted Mosby “How I Met Your Mother” — I have no idea how to pull this one off, unless we find out that Bob Saget is actually speaking from the afterlife and Ted’s kids were the product of artificial insemination. Ted is not only useless to the show, but a giant douchebag, to boot. Kill him off, and we’ll finally be free of his increasingly repetitive dating life.
Manny, “Modern Family” — I have nothing against Manny. He seems like a nice kid, but how many lessons is he going to learn from and teach Jay? And how many classmates is he going to attempt to woo and fail? The character is static. Plus, they have that great big pool in the backyard that’s perfect for drowning in.
Winona Hawkins, “Justified” — Before you get in a huff, hear me out. I like Winona. She’s gorgeous. But she’s also a noose around Raylan’s neck and nothing good can come of that pregnancy. I don’t want to see Raylan tied down, and I’m tired of her empty threats about leaving Raylan if he doesn’t leave his job. Kill her off, and Raylan will be free to shack up with Carla Gugino’s character, which means we’d be privy to the best sex scenes on basic cable (alternatively, Raylan can get hip to Newt Gingrich’s open marriage plan).
Jess, “New Girl” — Too much whimsy. Too much quirk. She’s cute, but her character can be grating at time, and she’s the weakest character in the ensemble. Kill her off and bring in Lizzy Caplan full time. She’s hot, and acerbic. Or, just give Schmidt his own show.
Rick, “The Walking Dead” — Rick should be the heart of “The Walking Dead,” but not only is he the least dynamic character on the show, he may be the most boring character on television. Kill him off, and maybe the show can finally progress at something faster than a glacial pace. God knows there’s plenty of opportunities.
LaGuerta and Batista, “Dexter” — Why are these two characters still on the show? They’re like dangling appendages hanging by a tendon that needs to be cut off. For the last several seasons, the writers have basically used these two to create pointless side plots to fill time. Kill them, and at least the show will have a higher stakes investigation that the rest of the show’s characters might feel more invested in.
Tara Knowles, Sons of Anarchy — There might be a case for keeping her around another season, if only to see how her feud with Gemma plays out. For the most part, she hasn’t been an interesting character since the first season. Last year, Kurt Sutter teased us all year long, threatening to kill her off or at least move her away. But he couldn’t pull the trigger. What I’d like to see, ultimately, is Gemma get the best of her at the end of next season, which would give Jax an excuse to find a new, more dynamic love interest.