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Top 10 TV Characters Who Vanished Without A Trace

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Derick Mcduff
What ever happened to that guy anyway? Welcome to, today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Characters Who Vanished Without a Trace. We’ll be looking at characters on TV shows that disappeared with little explanation or logic.

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What ever happened to that guy anyway? Welcome to, today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Characters Who Vanished Without a Trace.

We’ll be looking at characters on TV shows that disappeared with little explanation or logic.

#10: Ben Geller

“Friends” (1994-2004)

Although Ross’ son Ben was raised by his ex-wife and her partner, the neurotic paleontologist always made an effort to be in his son’s life – well, at least until the last few seasons of “Friends”. Who can forget his attempt to get Ben to connect to his Jewish heritage by dressing as “The Holiday Armadillo”? However, the last time we see Ben is midway through season eight, with him hardly being mentioned in the final two seasons. This coincides with the birth of Ross and Rachel’s daughter Emma, whose storylines largely took the place of Ben - even Ross’ father seemingly forgot he had another grandchild during Emma’s birth.

#9: Jackie Ames

“The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (1990-96)

Jackie, played by Tyra Banks, is introduced in season four of “Fresh Prince” as a childhood friend of Will’s from Philadelphia. Their deep emotional bond, which predated most of the other characters on the show, coupled with clear sexual/romantic tension, established a delightful will they/won’t they dynamic. Unfortunately, nothing would ever come of it. Even their friendship seemed to be destroyed after her final appearance and (rather abrupt) disappearance. The last we ever see of Jackie is her being driven home from a party to distance herself fom an inebriated Will,

#8: Seven

“Married... with Children” (1986-97)

Introducing a young child to a family based sitcom late in the game rarely works out; a mistake that “Married with Children” learned the hard way. A rambunctious young cousin of the Bundy family named Seven was introduced to the show in an effort to boost ratings, but fans despised him, feeling his character was out of place with the raunchy Bundys. Seven was dropped from the show and quickly forgotten by the family. The series had some fun mocking the trope it had fallen into, however, having Kelly literally forget about Seven, and showing his face on a milk carton.

#7: Buzz Hickey

“Community” (2009-15)

The introduction of the curmudgeonly Criminology professor Buzz Hickey, played by “Breaking Bad” alum Jonathan Banks, was part of “Community’s” return to form in its fifth season. After the departure of main characters Troy and Pierce, Hickey was a welcome addition, with his gruff exterior and hidden depths quickly endearing him to fans. However, Banks left “Community” the following season to reprise his role for “Breaking Bad’s” spinoff “Better Call Saul.” Unlike other characters, his departure was never truly explained, and he was barely mentioned in passing. However, eagle eyed fans have spotted an e-mail with the title “Buzz Hickey Memorial Services,” which we hope was just a morbid retirement party thrown by the Dean.

#6: Mr. Turner

“Boy Meets World” (1993-2000)

One of Corey, Shawn, and Topanga’s youngest teachers, Jonathan Turner could relate to the kids in a way others like Mr. Feeny never could. Mr. Turner even became a guardian for Shawn when his father temporarily disappeared. One of the most emotional moments in the show’s run came when Turner got into a motorcycle accident that landed him in the hospital in dire condition. Following that dramatic twist, Turner was conspicuously absent for the rest of the show’s run, only getting a joking reference about being on the other side of the school. Thankfully, Turner would finally reappear on the spinoff “Girl Meets World”, still friends with his former students and their children.

#5: Caitlin

“Heroes” (2006-10)

The second season of “Heroes” introduced a number of new storylines and characters, including new major players like Monica, a girl from New Orleans with the power to replicate any physical activity she viewed. Despite her status as a main character, she never appeared in another season, but at least her fate wasn’t tied to an unresolved cliffhanger. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Caitlin, Peter’s girlfriend who time traveled alongside him to a horrific future where 93% of the world had been killed. While Peter traveled back to the present, Caitlin was left behind, the future she existed in was rewritten, and Peter just never bothered to figure out what happened to her.

#4: Behrooz Araz

“24” (2001-10; 2014)

“24” was notorious for constantly putting its characters in peril, and then never returning to them. One of the most notorious examples of these unresolved cliffhangers was when Air Force One crashed, with the President surviving, only to never be seen again. Even more famous was Behrooz Araz, whose disappearance was so shocking that fans adopted the term “Behroozing” when referring to characters who vanished without a trace. Behrooz was an instrumental character in the fourth season, last seen kidnapped by terrorists and in grave danger. While two separate resolutions to his story were filmed, neither made it into the show, as both cut in order to make room for other storylines.

#3: Mandy Hampton

“The West Wing” (1999-2006)

Another show famous for its characters quietly disappearing was “The West Wing.” The characters that vanished were often jokingly said to have been sent to “Mandyville,” so named for Mandy Hampton. Mandy was a main character in the show’s first season; a key member of President Bartlet’s team, and the White House media consultant. Over the course of the season, however, she appeared less and less, and by season two she was gone without explanation, never to be mentioned again - even in flashback episodes where she should have been present.

#2: Chuck Cunningham

“Happy Days” (1974-1984)

While “Mandyville” and “Behroozing” apply to specific shows, “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome” is the broad catch-all for characters who disappear from a show with little fanfare. The term, of course, refers to the older brother character on “Happy Days”, Chuck Cunningham, who appeared in the show’s first two seasons - and who was played by a pair of different actors. Starting in the third season, supporting character Fonzie began to increasingly share the spotlight with Richie Cunningham, while the sporadically appearing Chuck disappeared altogether.

Before we reveal our top picks, here are a few honorable mentions:

Dr. Grace Miller

“Scrubs” (2001-10)

Maxwell Lord

“Supergirl” (2015-)

Tori Scott

“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)

#1: Judy Winslow

“Family Matters” (1989-98)

In perhaps the only example of Chuck Cunningham syndrome worse than the original, the youngest member of the Winslow family, Judy, seemingly ceased to exist overnight. Like many others appearing on this list, her absence was never acknowledged by her family or anyone else. In fact, Judy and the rest of the original main cast became largely expendable as “Family Matters” turned into a show centered on their neighbor, Urkel. There were plans for Judy to reappear in the show’s original planned finale, but the series was cancelled before this could happen, and as a result her fate will likely never be known.


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