#2. Tony Soprano's Unkillable Russian
In the 2001 episode "The Pine Barrens," Tony Soprano's nephew Christopher and capo Paulie shake down Valery, a mouthy Russian mobster.
Valery proceeds to piss off Tony's muscle to such an extent that Paulie smashes the Russian's prized universal remote control. And his wind pipe.
A broken universal remote is a tragedy, but a broken Russian is all in a day's work for Christopher and Paulie, so they drive to the New Jersey Pine Barrens to dump the body. Unfortunately, Valery isn't dead and promptly beats Paulie's ass with a shovel. As usual, Paulie totally overreacts and puts a bullet in the Russian's head.
To everyone's surprise, Valery shrugs off the headshot and capers off into the woods. At this point, the mooks get a concerned call from Tony:
According to Tony, Valery is a nigh unkillable ex-Russian military man. And what's this? Christopher's car has been stolen! Looks like the NJ Turnpike will run red with borscht and blood tonight!
Why It's Maddening:
This episode hints at an epic Goodfellas versus Eastern Promises style mob war. Valery is bulletproof, Tony's browning his trousers out of fear, and chances are Viggo Mortensen is en route for some naked wrastling with Edie Falco. There's enough material here for a decade worth of story arcs.
That is, if Valery ever reappeared on the show. Seriously, the one guy who could bring the full brunt of the Red Mafia down on the Soprano family never appears again.
Discounting some half-assed foreshadowing from Tony by episode's end ("Paulie, [...] he's your problem, not mine."), the entire cast totally forgets that there's an invincible Ruskie on the loose, plotting his revenge. What's the deal? Is chronic amnesia an obscure Italian stereotype we've never heard of?
"I cut off your leg and I don't-ah know why!"
Anyway, fan reaction to Valery's disappearance has irritated the show's writers so much that they'll just tell you to piss off should you dare bring him up.
Which is too bad. Imagine if instead of the "cut to black" series finale, we got a gunshot to Tony's head, and a pan up to the missing Russian mobster! Holy shit! We'd have bought multiple copies of the DVD just so David Chase could have the extra cash.
#1. 24 Silently Impeaches the President
In season four, President John Keeler suffers an audacious aerial assault on Air Force One. He survives, but is hanging onto his life by a thread! To make matters worse, Charles Logan, Keeler's Machiavellian vice president, now controls the Oval Office! Will Keeler pull through?
Why It's Maddening:
Eh, he's just the leader of the free world. Who gives a rat's ass?
See, 24 pulls this stunt so often that fans have a slang term for it: "Behroozing," after Behrooz Araz, a key player from the fourth season who inexplicably vanished from the face of the franchise. This example is particularly insane as the character the writers "Behrooz" is the goddamn President of the United States.
Behrooz, prior to his Behroozing
We realize that a lot of exciting stuff happens in the world of 24. Heck, it's so thrilling that no one has the time to drop a deuce. But the fact that Logan was permanently installed as president kind of indicates that, you know, the actual President fucking died.
Not that the show mentions it, ever again, in any capacity. In the universe of 24 the passing of the leader of the free world was met with no media coverage, no national day of mourning, no US Weekly retrospective. Hell, the writers didn't even bother to placate us with a throwaway line here and there ("We need the extra security for the President's funeral!")
Then again, in the world of 24 they've been through nine presidents in seven seasons, so maybe we can't blame them for reporting a dead president somewhere under the hockey scores.
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For a look at how these shows kept you tuning in week after week, check out 5 Cheap Tricks TV Shows Use To Keep You Watching. Or check out some TV boobs in, The 6 Most Gratuitously Cleavaged Women on TV.
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