5 Loveable Sitcom Characters That Did Horrible Things
Sitcom characters are often one-dimensional, existing solely for viewers' amusement. These are people inherently immune from the human burden of depth. They're pretty much there to fart and fall down while the romantic leads worry about the important stuff, like who to make out with next. And that's how, sometimes, the silliest goofballs get away with the vilest things, and all right under our noses. Look at how ...
Friends: Chandler And Joey Exploit Someone's Mental Illness
In a show where emotional abuse masquerades as quality playful banter, the Friends episode " The One Where Eddie Won't Go" doubles down. Chandler isn't getting along with his new roommate, Eddie, and tells him to leave multiple times. Problem is, Eddie can't seem to remember these encounters. Furthermore, he has memories of events that never happened, such as trips to Las Vegas with Chandler. It turns out he has some sort of mental illness that causes him to forget unpleasant memories and replace them with happier fake ones. And sure, Eddie certainly has some weird, annoying habits, but they're no worse than Chandler's ... everything.
So what does Chandler do with this very serious revelation? Oh, he just moves all of Eddie's stuff out of the apartment, and when Eddie comes back, he pretends that Eddie's real memory of living there was made up. He even changes the locks just to give this soon-to-be homeless, and again, harmless mentally ill person, a few more seconds of hellish embarrassment. Eddie apologizes for inconveniencing them, and Chandler, unaware of any irony, calls him a psychopath.
And who helps Chandler with all of this? Joey, who gets a big canned applause reaction when he's revealed, as if it's some kind of joyous surprise that one of the main characters of the show is on the show.
The Office: Michael Attempts To Get A Co-Worker Imprisoned
The Office's Michael Scott is every awful boss combined and cranked up to absurdity. And while many of his more unsavory moments are due to his charming obliviousness, the episode "Frame Toby" makes him downright malicious. Michael tries to get Toby -- the hapless HR rep he doesn't like -- fired. He goes through a string of wacky schemes, like trying to bait Toby into a fight and setting him up for sexual harassment using one of the other workers. But after some of the worst possible schemes fail, he decides to frame Toby for a crime, and because he's Michael Scott, this doesn't go well either.
He buys and plants what he believes to be weed in Toby's desk, and has Dwight call the cops with the tip. When the cops get there, they search Toby's desk and find that the two pounds of weed Michael paid $500 for were actually a bag of Caprese salad.
The cops leave, and Michael doesn't learn a lesson. He just hates Toby even more for being more concerned about the waste of police manpower, despite the fact that he, a man with a daughter, was almost hit with a serious drug charge. Maybe Michael wasn't the best choice for the " happily ever after" treatment when he left?
Saved By The Bell: Zack Is The Worst Human Being Alive
If there was a Mt. Rushmore for things that haven't aged well, Saved By The Bell would be both Lincoln and Roosevelt. The best thing that can be said about main character Zack Morris is that he may be a teen, but he has the defined sociopathic tendencies of a much older person. This is made clear in the Season 2 episode " Model Students," in which Zack takes risque photographs of the very underage girls in his high school's swim club without their consent, and then sells them as a sexy calendar.
OK, so far, so gross. Then this attracts the attention of a grown man, who claims to be a professional fashion magazine photographer looking to feature three of the girls in his magazine. This leads to the man (pictured below, looking like a credible authority on fashion) offering to take one of them, Kelly Kapowski, to Paris to be a model.
None of the students see any bright red flags pop up, except for Zack, who decides to sabotage the man's plans. But this is only because Kelly happens to be his girlfriend, and he doesn't want her to move to Paris and enjoy life without him. So even if by some chance the "photographer" isn't a dangerous predator, Zack is still a jealous, vindictive child.
Later, in the Season 4 episode " Video Yearbook," Zack uses clips of the (again, underage) girls from the video yearbook he's supposed to be making to create a fake dating service. This time he includes their real phone numbers and distributes the tapes around town. When the girls figure out what's going on, they decide against confronting him directly about it, because they know he won't learn a lesson. So Zack pretends to leave for military school to make them feel guilty for being mad at him. And the episode ends with Zack forgiven, because he isn't so much a sitcom character as he is an eldritch god of chaos, coming to turn a local high school into a nightmare for teenage girls that no one can wake up from.
The Simpsons: Homer Frames Marge For A DUI
Since it first aired back in 1842, The Simpsons has consistently used severe alcohol dependency as a punchline, and Season 15's " Co-Dependent's Day" is no exception. Marge begins drinking more in order to spend time with her husband, until she gets a terrible hangover and realizes she can't keep up. She decides to cut back on the boozing, and advises Homer to do the same. But that would mean the showrunners would have to find a different thing to make fun of, so he doesn't. Instead he takes her out to Oktoberfest and pressures her into getting drunk with him. On the way home, Homer crashes their car. Fearing losing his license, he moves his unconscious wife to the driver's seat. She has no memory of driving, but Homer convinces her it's because of all the booze. She goes to jail. D'oh?
The personal toll the event takes on Marge, coupled with the ridicule she gets from the people in Springfield, drives her to rehab and (somehow) more drinking. Thus the episode ends with zero consequences for Homer, and the very last thing before the credits is a joke about his drinking habits. And if you think that somehow the "good" in Homer might balance out this momentary lapse in integrity, know that other comedies have used a similar setup ... to demonstrate that the main character is an unrepentant monster.
Related: The Evolution of Homer J. Simpson
30 Rock: Jack Uses A Fake Suicide To Teach An Emotional "Lesson"
In the series finale of 30 Rock, " Last Lunch," NBC executive Jack Donaghy is finding it hard to say goodbye to his friend, Liz Lemon, on account of her being an adult with a family and a demanding career. So to get her attention, he does what any healthy person would do and spends the whole day alluding to an intention to kill himself. He even goes so far as recording a video suicide note wherein he blames her for the decision. When she drops everything to go try to stop him, he jumps off a waterfront.
But surprise! He wasn't really going to kill himself! He just wanted her to know what life without him would be like. Liz shrugs off this psychological abuse, rather than doing what you or I would and set Jack on fire in a vengeful rage.
But this shouldn't come as a surprise, as 30 Rock could be fairly tone-deaf about even some of the most straightforward topics. I mean, Liz, the victim in this story, had a whole other episode wherein she outed her gay cousin, then forced him to go back and live with his homophobic family. Basically, what I'm trying to get across here is that no one, especially not a beloved sitcom character, is your friend.
KJ is your friend, though, and really wants to tell you more about it, so send him an email today!
For more, check out The 6 Most Unintentionally Creepy Sitcom Characters - After Hours:
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