5 Shockingly Dark Sitcom Fan Theories
Sitcoms generally skew lighthearted and amusing. Hence the reason why Dick Van Dyke never broke his collarbone tripping over that ottoman, and the Friends gang stubbornly pretended that 9/11 didn’t happen. But despite their amiable nature, some sitcoms may be secretly harboring truly disturbing storylines — at least according to a bunch of imaginative folks on the internet. Yes, some fans have concocted some weirdly intense theories about your favorite television comedies, such as…
‘Parks and Recreation’s Mark Died Offscreen
It’s no secret that the early seasons of Parks and Recreation were generally pretty awkward, paling in comparison to the rest of the show. One casualty of Parks and Rec’s evolving nature was Mark Brendanawicz (played by Paul Schneider), the Pawnee City Hall employee and one-time love interest for Leslie Knope, who disappeared at the end of the second season, never to be mentioned ever again.
This is objectively strange — sure, it makes sense that Mark would take another job and move to another town, but his name never came up even once in the ensuing years? He never popped by for a visit or sent a Christmas card or accidentally got butt-dialed by Garry/Jerry/Lenny/Larry/Terry? Some fans believe that the reason for this is that Mark is actually dead, possibly taking his own life between Seasons Two and Three following his failed relationship with Ann Perkins.
This would explain the severity of the disappearance, as the “documentary” we’re watching omits any references to this tragic figure. It would also perhaps add context to Leslie’s belated relationship with Ben — not only is their coupling forbidden by City Hall rules, but she is still getting over the untimely death of Mark.
R.I.P. Mark, you weren’t worth 5,000 candles in the wind like Li'l Sebastian, but at least maybe a JJ’s plate of grief waffles for Leslie.
‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Took Place in the Afterlife
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air famously follows the story of Will Smith, a West Philadelphia teen who gets sent to live with his auntie and uncle in Bel-Air following just one schoolyard melee, all of which is recounted in the show’s opening theme song, which we’re guessing is now stuck in your head.
According to one fan’s runaway imagination, though, Will actually died in that fight. He’s whisked away, not to a gated Californian community, but to the afterlife. The strange taxi driver who picks him up from the airport? That’s God “taking him to the kingdom of Heaven.” This would also possibly explain some of the show’s reality-bending anomalies, like the sudden transformation of Aunt Viv.
‘Home Improvement’s Wilson Was in Witness Protection
When he wasn’t busy narcing on his own kids, Tim Allen’s Home Improvement character, Tim Taylor, was frequently soliciting life advice from his oddball next-door neighbor Wilson. Bizarrely, the bottom half of Wilson’s face was always obscured, not unlike Austin Powers’ junk, usually by the fence separating their lawns.
One theory suggests that there may be a reason behind Wilson’s facial shyness: He’s in the witness protection program. In addition to his efforts to keep a low profile, we know that Wilson is from Chicago, so could he possibly have ties to organized crime? Sure, this sounds like a big stretch, but the show also indicates that his wife “died under mysterious circumstances.” So, perhaps Wilson testified against the killer? Also, his name is revealed to be “Wilson W. Wilson,” which, frankly, sounds like an alias haphazardly thrown together by an FBI agent looking to take an early lunch.
Bob Is Having a Psychotic Break in ‘Bob’s Burgers’
Apart from its cannibalistic origins, Bob’s Burgers is a pretty damn pleasant show. But one idea that has surfaced online puts the entire series in a much bleaker light. According to the popular theory, every member of the Belcher family is dead, except for Bob, who is in the midst of a “psychotic break.” How did they die? We see the tragic accidents, including a house fire and a downed electrical pole, in the show’s opening credits.
In this theory, Linda died first, prompting Bob to move the restaurant next to the funeral home “because he can’t let her go.” Then the children died in various calamities, causing Bob to hallucinate their presence. This may seem pretty wild if not for the fact that Bob is constantly interacting with hallucinations throughout the course of Bob’s Burgers.
Also, this theory could allow us to pretend that Jimmy Pesto was merely a delusion nobody needs to worry about anymore.
Angela Killed Dwight’s Aunt Shirley in ‘The Office’
While we can all agree that Toby was 100 percent a serial killer, there’s another theory surrounding The Office that is potentially even darker. As part of the awkwardly sweaty efforts to set up the failed Schrute family-based spin-off The Farm, Dwight’s suspiciously TV-friendly relatives gathered to pay respect to his late Aunt Shirley.
But the last time we saw Aunt Shirley, she was under the care of Angela…
Leading some fans to suspect that Angela killed Shirley as a way to get back at Dwight for poisoning her cat Sprinkles, essentially using his own warped logic against him by putting an elderly being who’s “struggling to survive” out of their misery.
This would explain why Dwight and Angela broke up after Sprinkles’ death but got back together after Shirley’s passing — because Angela made them even, in her own twisted way.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).