Babies are born, kids grow up, couples get married, people die, circle of life, hakuna matata, etc. This is how real life works, and television series, too. Things happen and people have to leave, for one reason or another. For the purposes of this list, I’m only including still-alive characters who we got to know that knowingly left the show rather than one-off characters (that’s for another time).
Diane Chambers, Cheers
Career > love, and even though Diane and Sam were THISCLOSE to finally sealing their deal of a happily ever after, Sam lets his love go to write her novel and get her book deal (though, really, why couldn’t she do both at the same time?).
Carol Hathaway & Doug Ross, ER
Carol leaves Chicago for Seattle when she realizes she wants and needs Doug in her life, because, George Clooney. The two of them getting back together is like every middle-aged woman’s fantasy. Let’s pretend their appearance in the last season never happened.
Michael Scott, The Office
Say what you will about The Office, but when it was good, it was GREAT, and this includes “Goodbye, Michael.” His attempts at an Irish exit work well as he tries to personalize a goodbye for each and every person working in the office. Then there’s that last moment between Pam and Michael at the airport, both un-mic’ed, with an unheard farewell that obviously made me sob.
Ann Perkins & Chris Traeger, Parks & Recreation
They weren’t really the strongest characters on the show, but Leslie’s love for the two of them, well, really for Ann, made this farewell a sweet and sad moment. Plus, nothing beats an every-holiday party, buddy boxes, mix tapes, and ass grabs.
All of the Doctor Who regenerations
We all know it’s going to happen, when that yellow light consumes the Doctor, transitioning him into his next new form. I tried to think of who I was saddest about leaving (maybe David Tennant because he was my first Doctor?) but they’re all excellent. OK, it’s D-Ten.
Stefon, Saturday Night Live
What better way to say goodbye to the side-swept haired, soft-spoken, overly enthusiastic club queen of New York’s under-under-under-underground club scene than with a grandiose wedding to Anderson Cooper, complete with an array of “it’s that thing…” characters, until he runs away with Seth Meyers,
Troy Barnes, Community
The study group said their goodbyes to Troy, who was off to discover the world thanks to Pierce’s lovely parting gift, the yacht, and co-captain LeVar Burton (and his music career), in a way that only Community could. Lava. I’m referring to lava.
Nadia Chaudhury is really really really excited for the new Doctor.