Everyone knows that a TV show doesn’t truly become your favourite until it’s reached out of the television, ripped your heart out through your tear ducts, and chowed down on it with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Dig out the man-size Kleenex and a pint of full-fat cookie dough ice cream, because if you’re not a sobbing mess by the end of this list then you just might be a heartless shell, completely devoid of feeling. That, or a character in Game Of Thrones. In which case, welcome to the 21st Century and thank you for being able to stop feeling up your sister long enough to read this.
1. – Brian Griffin, Family Guy
Let’s get this one out the way, since it’s been such a sore spot as of late. It’s never nice when a family pet dies, and it’s even worse when not even your diabolical toddler’s time machine can save him. It’s not the saddest cartoon dog death to appear on this list – just you wait – but Brian still deserves his moment. Until they bring him back in the next season, that is.
2. – Mr Heckles, Friends
He was the grumpiest character in the history of 90’s sitcoms and only ever appeared when he wanted to royally fuck things up, but the reason that The One Where Mr Heckles Dies was one of the saddest TV deaths ever was the effect that his death had on the rest of the group. He kidnaps Ross’ monkey and dresses it in a pink tutu, he chased away Chandler’s fashion-photographer roommate with the porn star sister and he tried to kidnap Paolo’s innocent cat, yet his death still manages to give Chandler a life-changing epiphany. Don’t say that you didn’t tear up the last time you heard “Goodbye, Mr Heckles. We’ll try to keep it down.”
3. Amber - House M.D
In the words of Dr Greg House, “Cutthroat Bitch” met her tragic and agonizingly slow demise hooked up to some machines next to a sobbing Wilson, after the bus she was on got into a fight with a garbage truck. Much like a certain someone else who appears later on in this list, we somehow go from hating everything this character does to angrily shaking our fists at the sky and wondering why we we ever started watching this damn show. However, Amber never let a little thing like being dead stand in the way of her screen time – she pops up inside House’s head as his subconscious later on in the show, and the show is better off for it.
Honourable Mention – Kutner. We never actually see his death, but that’s fitting because it came out of left field and totally socked us round the face, then left without a word.
4. Ben Sullivan – Scrubs
Nobody watches Scrubs expecting to be sobbing into their cup of tea. Ben Sullivan – Dr Cox’s well-meaning younger brother – seemingly came back for one episode to help celebrate his nephew’s birthday. Family fun and frolicks, right? No, because he dies of cardiac arrest and after a homage to The Sixth Sense, a heartbroken Dr Cox comes to the realization that he’s at his own brother’s funeral rather than his son’s first birthday. Don’t even get me started on Laverne.
5. Anyone And Everyone – Blackadder Goes Forth
Isn’t it always the comedy shows that catch you off guard? This is the oldest reference on the list – I was born in the nineties, so sue me – but it’s still the most poignant and still hits a raw nerve even twenty four years after it first aired. They dangle a happy ending in front of your face and then swipe it away and send every last man gets sent over the top to face the guns, no matter what cunning plan he had up his sleeve. Boom boom boom, boom, boom boom boom.
6. Lori Grimes – The Walking Dead
Lori Grimes was such a godawful character that at times, she almost came back full circle and arrived at a genius character. Her death was one of those times. She stopped fucking things up long enough to actually make the audience warm to her in her final moments, thanks to a tearful monologue, the phrase “take care of your daddy for me”, and the fact that she was being cut open to save the life of her unborn kiddo. It still kind of sucks that T-Dog’s death had to play second fiddle to Lori, but why ruin the general theme of the entire three seasons?
7. Every character you ever loved – Game Of Thrones
They say that killing off your main character shows poor writing skills. George R. R. Martin says nothing to this, because he is too busy laughing maniacally and bathing in the tears of every Game Of Thrones fan ever. EVER. Eddard, Drogo, Robb, Cat, the wolves, Talisa, take your pick. Each one picked off without any thought for the poor fans at home, although on the plus side, it does get easier to keep track of who’s who without having to pause and Google it.
8. Seymour Asses – Futurama
“Seymour? Who’s that?” I hear you ask. Well, you’ve just scrolled past the video, so obviously by this point you know that it’s a dog. Fry’s dog, to be exact. When Fry finds her fossilized remains, he decides not to bring her back to life because she must have carried on with her life after him and found new owners.
What he doesn’t know is that Seymour loyally waited outside the pizza shop where Fry worked before he was frozen, waiting for her master to come back for twelve whole years, until she finally gave up, exhausted and elderly. C’mon, dead dogs always tug at the heart strings.
So there’s the list as it stands today. Seeing as it contains Game Of Thrones and Walking Dead, it will probably need updating next year with at least five more beloved characters each.
As ever, please feel free to add your own and let me know exactly how stupid and wrong my decisions are in the comments section below. Bonus points for creative death threats.