User:Donmega60645/Chuck Cunningham Syndrome

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Chuck Cunningham syndrome is a phenomenon observed when a regular character in a television series leaves with no explanation, and is never referred to again despite the character's previous importance either to the show or to the other characters. The term has been used since at least as early as 1997.

The term derives from the Chuck Cunningham character from the American series Happy Days (1974-1984). Chuck, the oldest of the three children in the Cunningham family, first appeared in the pilot episode "Love and the Happy Days" (aired as part of the series Love, American Style). However, when Happy Days became its own series, Chuck appeared as a minor character (usually seen on his way to basketball practice). He was written out of the series at the beginning of the second season with the explanation that he was going off to college. After the second season, he was never mentioned again. Subsequent episodes referred to the Cunninghams as having only two children (Richie and Joanie).

Chuck Cunningham was played by two different actors during his short run in the series (Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts). This also makes Chuck Cunningham an example of Darrin Syndrome. The Happy Days reunion special that aired on February 3, 2005 referred to the character's disappearance and both "Chuck" actors were then brought out as a surprise for Marion Ross and the rest of the Happy Days cast.

The process has also been referred to by fans of the show ER as "being Bobbed", named after a supporting character who suffered a similar fate.




  • Rose's daughter Tiffany (Kia Goodwin) disappears halfway through the series' third season, never to be mentioned again.
  • Sandra Clark (Jackee Harry) disappears halfway through the fifth season, no explantion of what happened to her or no mention of her name again.


  • Jonathan, the sniper assigned to kill then Senator David Palmer disappears after the first attempt fails in episode 8 of season 1.
  • Lynn Kresge is never heard from after her character falls down a flight of stairs and is rendered in critical condition. Her status is never clarified either.
  • Behrooz is never seen or alluded to after the viewers see him traveling to CTU during season four. Although if you watch the deleted scenes it shows him being brought into CTU safe


All My Children:

  • Joe Martin's son Bobby went upstairs to wax his skis one day in 1970 and was never seen again. The show has been known to poke fun at the incident, such as one episode in which Opal ventured into the Martins' attic and found a skeleton with a shirt bearing the word "Bobby" next to a pair of skis.

Are You Being Served:

  • Mr Mash, seasons 1-3; Mr Grainger, seasons 1-5; Mr Lucas, seasons 1-7; The young Mr Grace, seasons 1-8; Mr Goldberg, season 7; Mr Grossman, Mr Klein, and the old Mr Grace, all season 8; all departed without being written out nor mentioned again.


  • Police officer Kate Lockley, a regular charcter in the first two seasons of the show vanished without trace late in the second season and was never seen or even mentioned again.


Babylon 5:

  • Lieutenant Commander Laurel Takishima was second in command of Babylon 5 in the pilot. She was completely absent from the subsequent series, however, and while several characters from the pilot didn't appear in the series, their absences were at least explained with onscreen dialog. Series Creator Joseph Michael Straczynski stated several times that he had intended for her to return in some capacity later on, but this never materialized.[citation needed]

Battlestar Galactica (2003):

  • Boxey, played by Connor Widdows appears in the miniseries and in one episode on season one. After being chased out of the pilots' meeting room by Colonel Tigh, he is never mentioned or heard from again during the series. Additional scenes featuring Boxey were shot, but ended up being cut. In a commentary track on the Season 1 DVDs, the producers claim - somewhat tongue-in-cheek - that Boxey has died of cholera.[citation needed]

The Bill:

  • The character of WPC Debbie Keane vanished in the late 1990s without explanation, and was never heard of again.[citation needed]


  • Adam Cartwright, played by Pernell Roberts, was one of three sons of Ben Cartwright and was a regular character for the first few seasons of the show. When Pernell Roberts quit the show in 1965, Adam simply ceased to exist and his disappearance was never explained until the 1994 TV movie Bonanza: The Return, where his son returns from Australia.[citation needed]

Boston Public:

  • Jessalyn Gilsig and Rashida Jones were abruptly written out of the show after the series' second season.[citation needed]

Boy Meets World:

  • In early seasons, Topanga has an older sister, Nebula. When Topanga grows up and dates Corey, she is never mentioned again. When Topanga's parents get divorced, she is referred to as an only child.

The Brittas Empire:

  • In the first series, leisure centre manager Gordon Brittas had a personal assistant named Angie (played by Andree Bernard). From the commencement of the second series, Brittas had a new assistant, Julie (played by Judy Flynn). Angie's disappearance was never explained, she was never mentioned again, and in a later flashback episode, Julie was shown working at the centre from the time it opened.[citation needed]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

  • In seasons four and five, witches Tara and Willow have a cat that they call Ms. Kitty Fantastico. She was seen and spoken to every once in a while but then disappears with no explanation. She's mentioned very late in season seven when Dawn tells Xander that she doesn't leave bows and arrows on her the floor anymore, especially since what happened to Ms. Kitty Fantastico. That hints that she probably killed her by accident, but is never confirmed.



  • Nurse Dillon Cahill (Dan Rymer) was shot and left for dead at the end of the 17th series. Despite being a major character and a close friend of several of the other characters, he has never been seen or mentioned since, although in response to a query in Radio Times the producers did confirm that he had survived the shooting.[citation needed]

Coronation Street:

  • Ida Clough (Helene Palmer), a worker at the Underworld factory, appeared in the Rovers Return pub talking to Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn) in 1997, only to disappear the following episode. She has not been mentioned since, despite being one of Duckworth's best friends and having been in the show for twenty years.[citation needed]


  • When Madeline Kahn died halfway through the show's 4th and final season, there was a special episode where the rest of the cast (appearing as themselves) paid tribute to her. However, in the show's narrative, after her final appearance early in the season, her character was never mentioned again, even though she was the best friend and business partner of Phylicia Rashad's character.[citation needed]

The Cosby Show:

  • Theo's best friend, Walter "Cockroach" Bradley (Carl Anthony Payne II), disappeared in the middle of the fourth season.

Courage the Cowardly Dog

  • Eustace's mother mostly known as "Ma" dissapeared from the show in the third season when she was washed away by a tidal wave at a beach. Her departure was most likely due to Billy Lou Watts' (the character's voice actress) death shortly after the episode premiered.


Danger Man:

  • For the first half of this spy series' second season, secret agent John Drake takes his orders from a somewhat similar figure named Hobbs. Midway through the season, Hobbs disappears and Drake begins taking orders from a succession of guest star performers.[citation needed]

Daniel Boone:

  • During the first two seasons, Boone's daughter Jemima was shown (played by Veronica Cartwright), but she disappeared with no explanation toward the end of the second season. His friend Yadkin, played by Albert Salmi, appeared in the first season only and also disappeared without explanation.

Days of Our Lives:

  • In 1985, Don Craig (Jed Allan, who had played the role since 1971) went out to mail a letter and never came back, and was never referred to again.[citation needed]
  • In 1991, Neil Curtis (Joseph Gallison, who had played the role since 1974) announced to colleagues that he had to see to some of his patients, and also disappeared without an explanation.[citation needed]
  • In early 2005, Cassie "DiMera" Brady (Alexis Thorpe) returned safely from Tony DiMera's European castle along with Jack Deveraux, Victor Kiriakis, and Caroline Brady. Soon after returning to Salem, Cassie disappeared with no reason. Her twin brother Rex left Salem after a fallout with Mimi, but Cassie's whereabouts remain unknown.[citation needed]

Degrassi: The Next Generation:

  • Kendra Mason wasn't seen in season 3 until episode 314 Accidents Will Happen, and was never seen after that season ended.In the first episode of season 4, Toby mentions that he and Kendra broke up over the summer holidays.

She is seen in the Degrassi graphic novel, Missing You, which takes place in the summer between Seasons 5 and 6, possibly revealing that she may have transferred out of Degrassi.

Kendra was present in the opening sequence for season's 4 and 5, but had no proper credit. Despite being shown in the opening sequence, she never appeared in any episodes. It is unclear what happened to her after the third season ended, as Spinner never mentions or talks about her. She didn't even appear during the school shooting in season 4 or when Spinner was dealing with testicular cancer in season 7.

In Degrassi Takes Manhattan, Kendra was not seen in the Class of 2008 graduation ceremony. She was also not seen or mentioned at Spinner and Emma's wedding. Despite the fact that Spinner's mom walked him down the aisle. If Kendra was still appearing in the series, she would be a first year graduate as of the present day.

[citation needed]

Dexter's Laboratory

  • Mandark's sister, Lalalava vanishes in season 3 with no explanation. Additionally, in season 3 and 4, Mandark's parents act as if Mandark is their only child.

The Doris Day Show:

  • For the first three seasons, Doris Day, as widow Doris Martin, had a dad, Buck, and two young sons, Billy and Toby. In Season Four the rest of the family vanished, as Doris became a single staff writer for Today's World.

Dragon Ball GT:

  • Bulma's daughter Bra (or Bura) is a supporting character in Dragon Ball GT. In episode 47 of the series, she is shown to be with everyone else at her house. In the next episode everyone is there but she is not, despite it being her house. She is not seen again or mentioned.[citation needed]


  • Leslie Carrington was beaten up by Sean Rowan and never seen or mentioned again.[citation needed]



  • The character of Sasha Perkins (Jemma Walker) disappeared with no explanation in 2005.[citation needed]

El Hazard: The Alternative World:

  • During the course of the series, Princess Rune Venus met and fell in love with Chibal, a farmer. The tenth episode of the series ends with a literal cliffhanger, with Chibal hanging onto the edge of a cliff. However, the cliffhanger was not resolved and the character was never even mentioned again (in this case, due to the series run being literally cut in half, causing the creators to scramble to jam in a resolution to a plotline that was intended to take twice as long).[citation needed]


  • Ward clerk Bob (see lead section).
  • Though many supporting characters are "Bobbed", a prominent example is the character of Charlene 'Charlie' Chiemingo played by Kirsten Dunst. Throughout the 3rd season, she was introduced as a major supporting character whose storylines intersected with Dr. Ross. She disappears after the 3rd series finale, despite Dunst admitting in interviews at the time that there were storylines being written for the character.[citation needed]

Everybody Loves Raymond:

  • Jennifer, Debra's care-free sister, visits and says she will become a nun. She is never mentioned by Debra or her parents in any episode before or after.


The Facts of Life:

  • Stephen Bradley (John Lawlor) was the headmaster of Eastland in the first season, and in season two,

it was said there is a new headmaster with absolutely no mention of what happened to Mr. Bradley, nor any mention of his name ever again.

Family Guy:

  • Both Joe Swanson and Cleveland are shown to have sons in the earlier seasons of the show who completely disappear later on. In a newer Family Guy episode Joe's son is mentioned as being killed in Iraq - Cleveland's son is the fat child in the Family Guy spin-off, The Cleveland Show.

Family Matters:

  • Judy Winslow (Jaimee Foxworth) disappears in the fourth season. She was last seen at Mama Winslow's wedding.
  • Eddie Winslow's best friend Waldo Geraldo Faldo (Shawn Harrison) originally appeared as a sidekick to a bad guy named Willie (played by Larenz Tate), but then he befriended Eddie with no explanation and eventually was so popular that he became a series regular only to be dropped mysteriously a few seasons later.[citation needed]
  • Bryton McClure, who played Richie Crawford, Rachael's son, appeared less and less once the character of 3J was introduced. By the last season, his character was completely dropped with no explanation.[citation needed]

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

  • Three of Will's close friends disappeared after the first three seasons: Tyriq Johnson (Perry Moore), Jackie Ames (Tyra Banks), and Kellogg "Cornflake" Lieberbaum (Michael Weiner).[citation needed]


  • After the birth of Ross and Rachels daughter Emma, Ross' son Ben makes 1 more appearance before disappearing for the final 2 seasons along with his mother Carol and her partner Susan. He is rarely mentioned from then onwards.
  • Phoebe's brother Frank Jr disappears without further mention, despite Phoebe giving birth to his artificially induced triplets.


  • John Scott(Mark Valley) was an FBI agent and Olivia Dunham's(Anna Torv's) lover. He was killed in the pilot episode and appeared in subsequent episodes as "visions" whenever Olivia was inside an isolation tank. Visions of his character disappeared in the first season as his character was written out of the show.

Full House:

  • Michelle's best friend Denise vanishes after the seventh season.[citation needed]
  • Stephanie's friend Mickie also vanishes, to be replaced by Gia.[citation needed]


George Lopez

  • Claudia (Dagney Kerr), appeared in season one as the absent-minded secretary for George in the factory. She disappeared in season two and was seemingly replaced by Marisol.
  • Mr. Needles, he appeared in seasons two and three as their family dog that they bought from a homeless man. The dog had many different diseases, and they treated all of them. He disappeared out of nowhere without any explanation.

Gimme a Break!:

  • After Uncle Ed, the Chief's older brother, gets married, neither he nor his wife are ever seen or mentioned again.[citation needed]

The Golden Girls:

  • Coco, a gay housekeeper who helped out around the house where the women lived, disappears after the pilot episode, and is never mentioned again.[citation needed]

Good Times:

  • At the end of Season 4, Florida Evans agrees to marry Carl Dixon and move with him to Arizona. They are unseen in Season 5, but when Florida returns at the beginning of Season 6 for Thelma's wedding, she is alone. Carl is never mentioned again, and Florida continues to be addressed as Mrs. Evans, not Mrs. Dixon.[citation needed]
  • J.J. and his three best friends Poppo, Cool Breeze, and Head refer to themselves as the "Awesome Foursome". But after only one episode Cool Breeze disappears, never to be mentioned again, and the friends become the "Gleesome Threesome".[citation needed]

The Greatest American Hero:

  • Ralph Hinkley's son Kevin went from being featured semi-regularly to appearing rarely to only being mentioned in passing by mid-season 2, after which he is never seen or heard from again.[citation needed]

Guiding Light:

  • Roxy Shayne,Kristi Ferrell Reva's younger sister, suffers a nervous breakdown and is never mentioned again.[citation needed]
  • Samantha Marler Suzy Cote after helping solve the Daniel St. John mystery, is never seen nor heard from again.[citation needed]


Happy Days:

  • Chuck Cunningham (see lead section).
  • In addition to the Chuck Cunningham character, Fonzie had a young nephew named Spike who liked Joanie and was a young clone of the Fonzie character. After the character of Chachi was introduced, Spike disappeared.[citation needed]


  • In Series 1, a young couple, Alan and Sandra, were major characters. They did not return for Series 2, and were never seen or heard of again.[citation needed]


  • Early in Season 2, Peter's girlfriend Caitlin is trapped in a future in which most of humanity has been wiped out by a virus, providing much of Peter's motivation in that season. She is never rescued and in season 3, is never mentioned again.

Hey Dad:

  • Nudge, the Kelly family's next-door neighbor and regular character vanished between seasons. No mention was ever made of the character again. While almost the entire cast would leave the show during its run, the departure of Nudge is the only case where no reason was given.[citation needed]

Hey Arnold:

  • Some minor examples are Mr. Smith, a mysterious housemate who disappears, and Arnold's coach's son Tucker, who was absent even in his parents' remarriage.[citation needed]

Hogan's Heroes:

  • During the final season of the series (1970–1971), Ivan Dixon did not appear as the character Sgt. Kinchloe and the producers replaced his character without any explanation with Sgt. Richard Baker.[citation needed]


  • During August 2008 main character of his own drug addiction storyline, Fletch, mugged Sasha Valentine. After this Fletch was not seen, heard or mentioned again despite being in the main family in Hollyoaks at that time.
  • In November 2009 character Natty was given a job in Relish Restraunt and moved into Ste's flat. The next episode Ste is seen in his aparment but without Natty. Natty was never seen or mentioned again.


  • In the pilot, Bette Davis plays Laura Trent, owner (or majority owner) of the hotel. However, in the series that followed her sister-in-law Victoria Cabot (Anne Baxter) is at the helm. It is explained in the script she is minding the hotel while Laura takes care of troubled hotels she owns elsewhere. However, in subsequent seasons, Laura never returns; Victoria (rather than Laura Trent) is later said to have hired the general manager Peter McDermott (James Brolin) even though he was in place prior to the events of the pilot. Victoria is also said to share ownership with her family business Cabot Inns.[citation needed]


It's Garry Shandling's Show:

  • In the pilot episode, Garry spends a fair bit of time promising the arrival of his friend Lewis (Geoffrey Blake), who shows up too late to be part of the story. Lewis did make appearances in a few subsequent episodes, but disappeared halfway through the first season, never to be referred to again.[citation needed]

It Ain't Half Hot Mum:

  • Rangi Ram dissapeared after season five without being written out or mentioned again.


Just Shoot Me:

  • In the first season, Maya had a goofy roommate named Wally, played by Chris Hogan. He usually had one scene per episode, and in one scene slept with an age-phobic Nina Van Horn. After the six episodes of the first season, Wally was never seen nor mentioned again. Some of Hogan's scenes were cut from re-runs as well. Fans of the show have some alarming theories as to what became of Wally. [5]


The King of Queens:

  • Doug's best friend Richie Iannucci, played by Larry Romano, only appeared during the show's first two seasons and one episode (Paint Misbehavin') in the third season. He has not been heard of since his last appearance. Richie was apparently replaced by Doug's cousin Danny, played by Kevin James' real-life brother Gary Valentine.[citation needed]
  • Carrie's sister moved into the house along with their father. The sister has a room upstairs and the father moves into the basement. At the start of season two the father is still in the basement but the room upstairs suddenly becomes Carries "office", and her sister is never mentioned again.[citation needed]


Life With Bonnie:

  • The Molloys' oldest child, Samantha, disappeared from the show after the first season. According to series star Bonnie Hunt, this was due to "creative differences." The daughter seemed to have been replaced by a young neighbor whose parents are never seen.[6]


Mad About You:

  • During the first half of the first season, Paul Buchman had a college buddy named Jay Selby. Selby was Paul's sidekick, though Jamie appeared not to like him much. Selby's character went off to escort his grandmother to the museum and was never heard from again. His role on the show was replaced by Paul's cousin Ira. In a fifth-season episode, Selby's sudden disappearance is referenced by Paul during a conversation with Jamie about how they don't seem to have that many friends: "Like Selby, what the hell happened to him?"[citation needed]

Malcolm & Eddie:

  • Malcolm had a waitress employed at his bar named Holly Brooks (Angelle Brooks) that appeared in almost every episode of the first season. By the second season, she had disappeared.[citation needed]

Malcolm In the Middle:

  • Malcolm's classmates, the Krelboynes (Dabney, Lloyd, Cynthia, Eraserhead and Kevin), appear regularly in the series, but disappear completely after Season 4.[citation needed]
  • Francis' best friend, Eric Hanson, appeared in the first three seasons as his sidekick while at military school and in Alaska. But by the end of the season three, Francis and his wife, Piama leave Eric in Alaska after they're fired from their jobs. He's last seen hitchhiking down the highway and is never seen or mentioned again.
  • Malcolm's teacher, Caroline Miller appears frequently in season 1 and for two episodes in season 2 where it is revealed that she is pregnant. She dissapears from the series after giving birth in the school parking lot and is later replaced in season three by Mr. Herkabe.

Mama's Family:

  • During the first two seasons of the show, Mama's son Vinton had two teenage kids from his first marriage -- Sonja and Buzz. When the show returned for its third season, both kids were gone with only one fleeting reference made to them in the first episode. They are not mentioned at all for the remainder of the series. In the final season, while Vint and his second wife Naomi awaited the birth of their first child, it was implied that Vint had no other children.[citation needed]

Married... with Children:

  • The Bundys' youngest son Seven (Shane Sweet) runs away to live with the D'Arcys and is never seen again. His face is later seen on a milk carton.[citation needed]
  • In the first few episodes, his buddy was Luke Ventura (Ritch Shydner), who was even listed as a series regular in the original pilot episode. He was never seen after the first season, although he was referenced one final time.[citation needed]
  • Al also had an assistant at Gary's named Aaron (Hill Harper), who was briefly replaced by Dexter (Chi McBride) before the producers settled on Griff (Harold Sylvester).[citation needed]


  • Spearchucker Jones was a lead character during the first season as a doctor at the 4077th and the fourth tent mate in the Swamp. Although his character was carried over from the film, he quietly disappeared without explanation during the first season when the producers were made aware that his presence was a factual inaccuracy, as there were no black surgeons in United States Army M*A*S*H units during the Korean War. Despite this, however, there are many instances of black extras wearing doctors' uniforms.[7]
  • Later on in the first season, the anesthesiologist Ugly John Black, who played a rather prominent role in the series, also disappeared. No explanation was ever given for his departure, even though he too was a carry-over from the film. However, the character of B.J. Hunnicutt was scripted to reference Ugly John in a much later episode, but the line was removed from the final cut. BJ was scripted to write a letter to his wife, in which he wrote "It seems like they're all leaving us. Even Ugly John got shipped home."[citation needed]
  • Ginger Bayliss, an African-American nurse played by Odessa Cleveland, was another prominent character in the first season & appeared in the M*A*S*H Christmas Episode. However, she was never seen again in the series.[citation needed]


  • Ben's assistants Tyler Hudson, Cassie Phillips, Michelle Thomas and Conrad McMasters, as well as his neighbour Les Calhoun, all left without explanation.[citation needed]

Mayberry, R. F. D.:

  • See Return to Mayberry under the Movies heading.

McLeod's Daughters:

  • Towards the end of Series 3, Becky Howard (Jessica Napier) left with her boyfriend Jake Harrison (Charlie Clausen) to go to College. After that she is never seen or mentioned again. While Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) who was killed off afterwards, still gets mentioned by the other characters on a regular basis.[citation needed]

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:

  • Sometime between the end of Season 5 (Power Rangers Turbo) and the beginning of Season 6 (Power Rangers In Space), the Youth Center disappears for no reason and is replaced with 'The Surf Spot'. No mention is made of why this occurred.[citation needed]
  • Throughout Season 1, one of Rita Repulsa's allies Scorpina has a prominent role, teaming up with Goldar on several occasions. After Rita is banished into space by Lord Zedd, she is never mentioned again, save for reappearing during one episode in season 2. After this brief reappearance, she was never seen again.[citation needed]
  • Similarly, Lord Zedd himself is not mentioned after his last appearance in the Power Rangers in Space episode Countdown to Destruction, except for a minor reference in an early episode of Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, despite the fact that Rita herself reappears as Magic Mother in Power Rangers: Mystic Force.

Mork & Mindy:

  • The producers radically made-over the series between the first and second seasons and the characters of Fred (Conrad Janis), Cora (Elizabeth Kerr) and Eugene (Jeffrey Jacquet) were dropped. While Fred and Cora eventually returned as regulars, Eugene was never mentioned again.[citation needed]

My Hero:

  • Avril, George's nervous assistant, simply faded away at the end of the first series, and was never referenced again.[citation needed]

My Three Sons:

  • A clear-cut example of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome that actually predated Happy Days by a decade. From 1960-65, Mike Douglas (played by Tim Considine) was the oldest son of widower Steve Douglas. (The other two sons were Robbie and Chip.) When Considine left the series, Ernie Thompson (played by Barry Livingston) was adopted so that Steve still had three sons. While Ernie's adoption was referred to throughout the series, Mike was never mentioned again, and Steve Douglas mentioned several times that he had three sons, never four, and that Robbie was the oldest.[citation needed]



  • Marlene Kratz, who was a regular cast member from 1994 to 1997, announced that she was going away for a three-month cruise and was not mentioned again for several years. In a special episode airing in 2005 for the soap's 20th anniversary, which contained cameos from past characters, Marlene appeared briefly and praised her time on Ramsay Street, while standing next to a boat. Producers included this as an in-joke for fans who had been confused about Marlene's disappearance.[citation needed]

New York Undercover:

  • Chantal Tierney was the mother of J.C. Williams' son, Gregory ("G"). After the massive cast shake-up at the beginning of Season 4, Chantal is never mentioned again (although G is seen several times).[citation needed]

The New Tomorrow:

  • The fearsome and bossy character of Jag suddenly disappears, and no explanation is made.[citation needed]

Numb3rs The character Terry Lake portrayed by Sabrina Lloyd was written out of the show by her choice. Her contract had the option of leaving after the first season, an option which Lloyd took. She was also absent from the last 2 episodes of the first season, and given no explanation was gone from the show.


The O.C.:

  • Holly, Marissa and Summer's old best friend, is never seen or mentioned again after the first season.[citation needed]

One Life To Live:

  • Carlotta Vega's adopted son Eli Traeger disappeared in 1998, never to be spoken of again.[citation needed]


The Parent 'Hood:

  • Robert's original best friend, Daryl (Bobby McGee), and a neighbor, Mrs. Wilcox (Carol Woods), were series regulars during the first season, but then they were dropped without explanation. Coincidentally, the same thing happened to Robert's second best friend (and Mrs. Wilcox's son), Wendell Wilcox (Faizon Love), who disappeared midway through Season 4.[citation needed]


  • Reese, who had a crush on Kay, one day disappeared from the show without explanation.[citation needed]

Pound Puppies

  • Captain Slaughter (Peter Cullen) appeared in four episodes in the first season. He does not appear in the next season and was never mentioned by any of the other characters.

Punky Brewster:

  • Eddie Malvin (Eddie Deezen), the building superintendent, went to fix the fuse box one day and never returned, nor was he mentioned again.[citation needed]

Phil of the Future:

  • Seth Wosmer (Evan Peters), one of Phil's friends, appeared in various episodes in Season 1, but was not seen or mentioned again.[citation needed]
  • Mandy Teslow (Yeardley Smith), Keely's mom, was not seen or heard from again in the second season.[citation needed]


Quincy, M.E.:

  • Actress Lynette Mettey played Quincy's on-again, off-again girlfriend Lee Potter in four first-season episodes and the first three episodes of the second season. After that she was never seen or mentioned again.[citation needed]



  • In the first few episodes of the Macross Saga, Minmei spends much of her time babysitting her cousin Jason. After Rick saves her, the two are separated from Macross City and the plot focuses on them. When Minmei returns to her aunt and uncle on the SDF-1, Jason is gone and his absence is never explained.[citation needed]


  • Bonnie Watkins (Bonnie Bramlett), a waitress at Rodbell's and close friend of Roseanne, disappears without further mention at the end of season four.[citation needed]


  • During the first season, Maria had a younger brother who lived at home with Maria and her mother. He was never mentioned again after the end of the first season.[citation needed]


Sabrina, the Teenage Witch:

  • Between the first and second seasons, the character of Sabrina's best friend Jenny Kelly (Michelle Beaudoin) was dropped with no explanation for her absence.[citation needed]

Saved by the Bell:

  • Max, the owner of the hangout the gang frequents, disappeared during the second season. Although the gang still goes to the Max, he is never mentioned or heard from again.[citation needed]

Saved by the Bell: The New Class:

  • Scott Erikson, Barton Wyzell, and Vicki Needleman all dissapeared after the first season without further mention.
  • The same thing happen to Megan Jones, Brian Keller, and Robert Wilson after season two.

SeaQuest DSV:

  • Dr. Kristin Westphalen, Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock, Lieutenant Ben Krieg, and Chief Manilow Crocker mysteriously vanish following the first season finale "Higher Power", with only Hitchcock and Crocker given explanations as to their disappearance (Hitchcock assumed command of her own ship and Crocker retired from the navy). With the exception of Lieutenant Krieg who reappears in one third season episode, none of the departing characters are ever seen or mentioned again.[citation needed]
  • Similarly, in the third season priemiere, "Brave New World", Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz and Dr. Wendy Smith (who replaced Dr. Westphalen) both mysteriously disappear, their absence only explained by a throwaway line from Captain Bridger who claims "We lost some very good friends."[citation needed]

The Secret Life of Us:

  • A large portion of the cast left the series at the end of the third season, and while the final episode revolved around the election of Sibylla Budd's character to parliament, the characters of Dan Spielman, Gigi Edgley, Spencer McLaren (a founding member) and Nina Liu disappeared without warning. The fourth season began with an almost entirely new cast and without explaining the disappearances of four key characters. The series was axed three episodes later.[citation needed]

Silver Spoons:

  • Edward Stratton's business associate Leonard Rollins (Leonard Lightfoot) was a series regular for the first season; afterwards, he was never mentioned again (the character had apparently been replaced by Dexter Stuffings, played by Franklyn Seales).[citation needed]

Sonic X:

  • Big the Cat appeared in the first episode; he was fishing and was warped to the human world. He was then missing for the rest of the first season, until the beginning of the second season, but after a few episodes, he went missing again. Even when everyone went back to Sonic's planet, Big was never seen going back with them, nor was he seen on the planet ever again.[citation needed]

South Park

  • Pip, who was a very prominent main character throughout the shows first three seasons as the english boy the other kids made fun of. However, in season four, he had his own episode called Pip based on the book "Great Expectations". After that, he was never heard from again. He did, have one cameo appearance in Season 6's "Professor Chaos", but has yet to appear again as of halfway through 11th season.

Space: 1999:

  • In the pilot episode, the Moonbase computers are entirely under the control of a prominent character named "Ouma." "Ouma" then disappears without explanation and is replaced by David Kano.[citation needed]
  • In a first-season episode, "Alpha Child", a child is born to a pregnant Alpha crewmember. After he grows rapidly into adulthood under the influence of an alien who wishes to take over Alpha for his own race's purposes, he is returned to infancy and is never seen or mentioned again (in a later episode, Commander Koenig even tells an alien that they've had to ban new children due to limited resources, but this doesn't explain the child's fate).[citation needed]
  • Between the first and second seasons, Paul Morrow and David Kano disappeared from Moonbase Alpha without any explanation, a particularly glaring omission since there was nowhere they could have gone (both were let go by new producer Fred Freiberger in favor of new characters Tony Verdeschi and Maya in an effort to make the show's appeal a little broader).[citation needed]
  • Victor Bergman (Barry Morse) also vanished between the first and second seasons. A throwaway line about a spacesuit malfunction was written, but not aired. Morse left due to a contract dispute with Freiberger.[citation needed]
  • Sandra Benes Zenia Merton disappears a few episodes into the second season without explanation, and is replaced by a Japanese character named "Yasko." Yasko herself abruptly disappears after twelve episodes without explanation, and is replaced by Benes.[citation needed]

Spin City:

  • At the end of the fourth season, four principal characters departed: Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox), Nikki Faber (Connie Britton), James Hobert (Alexander Chaplin) and Janelle Cooper (Victoria Dillard). While Michael J. Fox's departure was set up over the course of several episodes, and he made guest appearances in later seasons, none of the other characters were ever mentioned again, and the reasons for their disappearances remain a mystery.[citation needed]
  • Stacey Paterno (Jennifer Esposito) and Angie Ordonez (Lana Parilla) similarly vanished without comment at other points in the series' run.[citation needed]

SpongeBob SquarePants:

  • In the pilot episode, SpongeBob has a pet scallop, Shelly, sitting by his bed. We only see him again in one more episode, and after that Shelly disappears completely, apparently replaced by Gary the snail.[citation needed]

Star Blazers:

  • The chief engineer Orion who was a regular during the Quest for Iscandar and Comet Empire series was not seen in the third season, The Bolar Wars. He was replaced by another chief engineer. In the Japanese version of these series, Orion (Tokugawa) was killed near the end of the Comet Empire and his replacement, Joe Yamazaki was introduced in the movie Yamato: The New Voyage which was never released as part of the Star Blazers continuity. Orion's death was simply cut out of the English language Star Blazers.[citation needed]
  • In the original Space Battleship Yamato canon, the rookie characters of Sakamoto and Kitano are introduced as apprentices to Kodai and Shima during Yamato: the New Voyage which also introduces Tasuke Tokugawa (Orion Jr.). Tasuke continues in the further Yamato movies and series but Sakamoto and Kitano are never seen again. Sakamoto's place is taken over in the following film Be Forever Yamato by Shiro Kato (Conroy), brother of the late Saburo Kato (Conroy).[citation needed]

Star Trek: The Next Generation:

  • Commander Katherine Pulaski, MD replaces Dr. Beverley Crusher for the second season. In the third season Crusher returns and there's no sign of Pulaski.

Star Trek: Voyager:

  • In the episode "Collective", the crew encounters a group of Borg children, one of which is an infant who is sent to sickbay. Although the Doctor saves the child, it is never mentioned again, although the other children remain on the show.[citation needed]

Stargate SG-1:

  • Dr. Carolyn Lam, daughter of Gen. Landry, was a recurring character meant to replace the late Dr. Janet Fraiser as the SGC's chief medical officer. However, she has not appeared since the plague outbreak in The Fourth Horseman although she was mentioned in dialogue as late as Morpheus. Her absence may be largely due to actress Lexa Doig's real life pregnancy.[8]

Stargate Atlantis:

  • Sgt. Bates, a frequent foil of Sheppard and Teyla in Season One, is not seen at all in subsequent seasons.[citation needed]

Step By Step:

  • In the first season, Carol owns a beauty salon attached to the Lamberts' house. The beauty salon employs two women, Carol's mother and sister, who are also main characters. After the first season, the two women are completely dropped.[citation needed]
  • The youngest Lambert boy on the show, Brendan, saw his role reduced during the last few years of the show (especially after the birth of Lilly) until he was completely dropped from the show during the last season without explanation.[citation needed]

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody:

  • Tapeworm, one of Zack & Cody's friends appeared in Season 1. He is not seen or heard from in the second season.[citation needed]



  • No further reference was made to the character of Superintendent Jack McVitie after the passing of actor Iain Anders in 1997.[citation needed]

Teachers (UK)

  • Susan, Jenny and JP; three regular characters with significant roles in the show, disappeared in between series 2 and 3 with no explanation. Brian, Kurt and Matt also disappear in between series 3 and 4, though it's implied they died in a car crash.


  • Cabbie John Burns (Randall Carver), a displaced midwesterner, disappeared after one season of being a regular character. Nothing was mentioned about it on the show, but the producers realized the character had run its course, and most jokes associated with his character could easily be transferred to Tony Banta (Tony Danza).[citation needed]

That's My Mama:

  • Two old fellows who frequented Clifton's Barbershop, Wildcat (Jester Hairston) and Josh (DeForest Convan) disappeared after the first season, and were never mentioned again.[citation needed]

That's So Raven:

  • Mr. Lawler appeared throughout season one and in one episode from Season two, and was never seen or heard from again.[citation needed]

The Thin Blue Line:

  • While only two series of this sitcom were made in the mid 1990s, there were two cases of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, with the characters of DC Kray (Kevin Allen) & DC Crocket (Joy Brook) leaving without explanation. No mention was ever made of these characters again.[citation needed]

Three's Company:

  • Next-door neighbor Lana Shields (Ann Wedgeworth) was added to the show at the beginning of the fourth season but disappeared without explanation after only a handful of episodes when the show's writers realized they had run out of ideas for her.[citation needed]

The Tomorrow People:

  • During the 1990s version of The Tomorrow People, the show originally introduced Adam Newman, Lisa Davies, and Kevin Wilson as the shows three main characters with the ability to "teleport". Marmaduke 'Megabyte' Damon was originally a close friend of Kevin's with no teleportation ability. However as the shows later stories were broadcasted, both Lisa and Kevin disappeared and only Adam and Megabyte (now with teleportation abilities) remained steady as the shows main characters.[citation needed]

The Torkelsons:

  • During their move from Oklahoma to Seattle (and the show's name change to Almost Home), the family mysteriously lost two children, Steven Floyd and Ruth Ann.[citation needed]



  • At the mid-point of this cult science fiction series' first and only season, several major cast members drop out without explanation, most notably the character of Col. Alec Freeman (George Sewell) who is replaced as the first officer of the secret organization SHADO by Col. Virginia Lake (Wanda Ventham). (The dropping of several characters was sparked by a five-month break in production while the series changed studios, during which time several lead actors took roles in other shows and were thus unable to return.)[citation needed]


The West Wing:

  • The character Mandy Hampton was featured in the shows first season as White House media consultant. She is never mentioned or seen again after the season finale, and no explanation was ever given for her departure, although writer Aaron Sorkin mentions in an official West Wing book that her character "wasn't working" and that her departure was amicable.[citation needed]

The term "Mandyville" was named after her sudden disappearance. On the website Television Without Pity, Mandyville is the place fans of The West Wing on the site say where she disappeared to.


Yu-Gi-Oh!/Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

  • Bastion Misawa inexplicably disappears from the cast after episode 97, and had not reappeared or mentioned until episode 120. It was later explained that he had joined Society of Light member Albert Zweinstein in one of his experiments, and was transported to the Duel Monsters world, the rest of the cast eventually ends up in Season 3, but there's still no explanation as to how no one noticed he was missing (especially Jaden, who had a sort of rivalry going on with Bastion and, thus, was the closest to him friendship-wise).
  • Similarly, "Bandit" Keith Howard vanishes after his last duel with Yugi during the beginning of the Battle City arc, and is only mentioned within the context of that duel a few more times later in the arc. This is most likely due to the fact that Bandit Keith was killed in the manga during Duelist Kingdom and the Battle City duel never took place.
  • Zane Truesdale leaves the cast permanently near the end of Season 2, and is not mentioned or seen until episode 128, where he unceremoniously duels Johan Andersen. This is a unique case, as while his reasons for leaving is clear (he has turned pro and, thus, has no use for hanging around his former friends), the reasons behind his lack of reference is not; a minor subplot in season 2 was for his friends trying to snap him out of his overly aggressive mentality on dueling, and while they failed in that endeavor, there was no indication that they were going to give up, making their non-mentioning of Zane or their attempts to turn him around very Cunningham-esque.
  • Finally, Atticus Rhodes is missing completely from season 3, with no mention as to what happened to him.


Home Alone:

  • In the first two installments, Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) has two brothers (Buzz and Jeff) and two sisters (Megan and Lainie). The third film focused on another family. When the franchise returned to the (recast) McAllisters in Home Alone 4, Buzz and Megan are his only siblings; one of many cases in which the film significantly deviated from established series continuity.[citation needed]

The Simpsons Movie:

  • Homer's pet pig Plopper/Spiderpig is last seen in the Simpsons household. After the Simpsons flee their house after being chased by an angry mob, he is never seen or mentioned again from that point on. He was last seen shortly before the house caught on fire. He has however been seen in episodes produced after the movie.

Dr. Dolittle film series:

  • The character Charisse (played by Raven Symone) was a main character in the first two movies. She had her father's ability to talk to animals as well, as her younger sister Maya didn't. By the third movie, the character is missing, and is still mentioned yet nowhere to be found. By the fourth and fifth movies, she is still not seen.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

  • In I Know What You Did Last Summer Barry Cox, played by Ryan Phillippe, is the main character who meets his demise along with another main character. In the sequal I Still Know What You Did Last Summer he is never mentioned even when Freddie Prinze Jr. character is referring to what occured last summer he mentions all of the characters even the deceased apart from Barry.

The Santa Clause film series:

  • The head-elf Bernard is a main character in the first two movies, but because of David Krumholtz (actor) work issues in his new TV Show Numb3rs, the character Bernard was completely dropped from the series by the third film in which the character is not seen or mentioned at all.

Poltergeist film series:

  • The oldest daughter Dana Freeling (Dominique Dunne) was only seen in the first film. Dominique Dunne died on November 4th 1982, her ex-boyfriend was convicted of her manslaughter. As a result, no further reference was made to her character in the Poltergeist films.[citation needed]

Problem Child:

  • In Problem Child 2 Ben Healey (John Ritter) met and fell in love with Annie Young (Amy Yasbeck), who had a daughter named Trixie. The conclusion of Problem Child 2 suggested a "happily ever after" ending. However, in Problem Child 3, Ben and Junior are alone: There is no trace of Annie or Trixie, and no explanation as to what happened to them.[citation needed]

Return to Mayberry:

  • In the TV series Mayberry R. F. D., Andy Taylor and Helen Crump marry in the first episode in September 1968 and one year later they come back to Mayberry with a baby son, Andy, Jr. They did an episode with four prospective godfathers (Howard, Emmett, Goober, and Sam) battling over the baby. You never know if they had any other children, but in the reunion movie from 1986, in which Andy, Jr. should have been 17, his existence was never mentioned.

Transformers: The Movie:

  • In one scene, Bombshell and Skywarp are transformed into "Cyclonus and his armada"; and Thundercracker, Kickback, and Shrapnel, are transformed into "Scourge and the Sweeps". In the scene immediately following, however, the "armada", (in actuality, only one ship, Skywarp's altered form), is gone and never seen or mentioned again, and there are suddenly three sweeps present, not two.[citation needed]


  • The character of Doctor Karen Jenson (N'Bushe Wright) played a pivotal role in the film as a hematologist who not only developed a cure for vampirism and improved the serum used by Blade to steer away the "thirst" for human blood, but also discovers that EDTA (a blood thinner normally used clear clots) has a highly volatile reaction to vampire blood, which becomes essential to the movie's plot. In the sequels, Blade II and Blade Trinity, no mention of Jenson or her contributions to the Blade universe are ever mentioned again.[citation needed]

General Movie Franchises:

  • Sequels often do not contain appearances by or reference earlier characters due to actors not reprising roles or a purposeful distancing from earlier entries. A love interest like Chase Meridian in Batman Forever may be significant at the time but doesn't get a mention in Batman & Robin and her predecessor Vicky Vale only does marginally better with a non-specific reference in Batman Returns.

James Bond:

  • In every EON production movie up to the penultimate pre-reboot movie The World is Not Enough - except for On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Bond ends up with his love interest. At the start of the next movie she's gone and never mentioned again.
  • Sylvia Trench, Bond's regular girlfriend in Dr. No, and From Russia with Love disappears after that.
  • Sir Frederick Gray, The Minister of Defence in six movies disappears after The Living Daylights.

Police Academy:

  • Not a single character that departed before the final movie was written out or referred to again.

Johnny English:

  • Bough and Lorna Campbell were Johnny's sidekicks in the first movie. Neither were seen or mentioned in Reborn.

Charlie's Angels:

  • In the original Dylan has a boyfriend, Chad. In Full Throttle we learn that Seamus O'Grady, the movie villain, is an old flame, but no sign or mention of Chad.


  • In the third installment Clark's love interest is Lana Lang, a returning childhood friend from Smallville. Yet in The Quest for Peace his attentions return to Lois Lane, with no sign or reference to Lang.

Mission: Impossible:

  • In the second movie Hunt's love interest is Nyah Nordoff-Hall. Much in the same vein as the Bond movies, she gone and forgotten by the sequel.

City Slickers:

  • In the original Ed Furillo was part of the trio of New Yorkers. In The Legend Of Curly's Gold he's replaced by Mitch Robbins' brother, Glenn. No sign of Furiilo.

Meet the Parents:

  • Jack Byrnes' had a son, Denny, in the first movie, he wasn't seen nor mentioned in the two sequels. In Little Fockers, Jack asked Greg to be "The Godfocker", suggesting he had no male heir.


Calvin and Hobbes:

  • Calvin had an Uncle Max. After a week, creator, Bill Watterson felt Max didn’t create enough humor for Calvin to play off of. Also, Calvin’s parents were not given first names; Watterson felt it would be odd that Max calls them only by pet names (like “bro”)![citation needed]


  • The "Great Missing" character of Charlotte Braun was seen in a handful of strips. Intended to be a major character she was written out when creator Charles Schulz realized her one main characteristic (she was loud) was covered already and much better by Lucy.
  • Another character, Frieda's cat Faron, was introduced by Schulz as a rival to Snoopy. Schultz discontinued the character when he felt Snoopy's reactions toward the cat made Snoopy appear too much like an actual dog.


  • The character of Lyman, Odie's owner, was dropped after the first few years of the comic strip, and Odie suddenly became Jon's pet. Cartoonist Jim Davis explained that the character of Lyman was created to give Garfield's owner, Jon, someone to talk to. As Garfield's character evolved into a more human-like persona, Jon's conversations became more centered around Garfield, making Lyman superfluous. While the strip doesn't explain Lyman's sudden disappearance, Jim Davis's humorous explanation was, "don't look in Jon's basement!".[citation needed] He also gives some humorous scenarios as to what happened to Lyman in the Garfield 20th Anniversary Book. On the official Garfield site, in the Scary Scavenger Hunt game, Lyman appears chained to the wall in the mansion's dungeon.

Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire:

  • The first time the unnamed Infernomancer appears [9], he is accompanied by a berserker named Brok. The Infernomancer and Brok then fight against the main characters for the life of a dryad. Partway through the battle, Brok chases away the supporting characters Stunt and Bumper. [10] Brok never reappears and is only mentioned once in passing after this point; the battle is resolved without his presence, Stunt and Bumper never mention the outcome of that chase, and the Infernomancer works alone in every subsequent appearance. The comic's FAQ page states that the character of Brok was scrapped.

Bad News Bears Trilogy[edit]

  • In the first movie, The Bears consist of the characters Amanda Whurlitzer, Kelly Leak, Tanner Boyle, Ahmad Abdul Rahim, Alfred Ogilvie, Mike Engleberg, Rudi Stein, Timmy Loupus, Jimmy Feldman, Toby Whitewood, Miguel and Jose Aguilar, and Regi Tower, by the second movie, it was reduced to Kelly, Tanner, Ahmad, Ogilivie, Engleberg, Rudi, Timmy, Jimmy, Toby, and Jose and Miguel, Regi and Amanda just disapeared without an explanation of where they went. Then it got really bad in the third (and final) movie in which Ogilvy, Tanner, Timmy, Carmen Ronzonni (character introduced in the second movie), and Jose Aguilar all disapeared without explanation.

Video Game series[edit]

Banjo-Kazooie Series

  • Banjo's sister, Tooty vanishes in Banjo-Tooie and also doesn't appear in any other Banjo games released after Banjo-Kazooie. No explanation was given of her absence, and she is never mentioned by any of the characters.

Ratchet and Clank:

  • In the Second game of the series, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Ratchet seemingly ends up linked romanticly to Angela Cross, but by the third game Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Angela is gone and is never mentioned, even as Ratchet falls for Captain Sasha.[citation needed]

Sonic the Hedgehog series:

  • Many early Sonic characters have disappeared with little to no explanation: Mighty the Armadillo, who had appeared in two games (SegaSonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles Chaotix) has vanished without a trace, with only the vague explanation that he was a traveler given to mask his departure; similarly, Ray the Squirrel (also from SegaSonic the Hedgehog) hasn't been mentioned since his only appearance. Fang the Sniper has also disappeared after his last performance in Sonic the Fighters. Many other minor characters and locales (like Heavy and Bomb from Knuckles Chaotix, Bean the Dynamite and Bark the Polar Bear from Sonic Fighters, and Little Planet from Sonic CD) are never mentioned or seen outside of their initial appearance.

Mega Man X series:

  • Dr. Cain mysteriously disappears as a character after Mega Man X2, and is never mentioned after X4, with no explination as to why he left. The recent remake of the original Mega Man X, Maverick Hunter X, has Cain in poorer health than he was in the original games, with him dying at the end of the game, but it's uncertain if the revised continuity of the game will continue.
  • Similarly, the minor villain Dynamo disappeared after Mega Man X6.

Spyro the Dragon series:

  • Bianca the Rabbit, a minor villain-turned-heroine in Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon, becomes a love interest to Spyro ally Hunter near the end of the game, but is not seen or heard from in later installments.

Mortal Kombat series:

  • In Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, three other elemental gods are seen alongside Fujin in the Temple of Elements stages, but while it's confirmed Fujin survived the ordeal and went on to appear in future games, the fate of these other three gods have been overlooked.
  • The prequel game Mortal Kombat: Special Forces introduced the Black Dragon members No-Face, Tasia, and Tremor, but their fate after this game has never been clarified. Also, in a unique version of 'reverse Cunningham Syndrome', Kabal was not seen or mentioned in the game in any capacity.

Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Reverse Cunningham and Lazarus Cunningham[edit]

"Reverse" Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:[edit]

A reverse Cunningham is essentially the opposite of Chuck Cunningham syndrome, in which a previously-unknown and un-alluded-to character is introduced under the context that they had always been there, and had significantly interacted with the other characters before. This causes even more continuity problems than regular Cunningham Syndrome, as although it's easy to overlook the sudden absence of a character, it's harder to ignore the sudden appearance of a character, especially one that we are expected to believe was part of the regular cast, all along. Perhaps because it creates even more credibility problems, producers are much less likely to suddenly introduce characters whose presence should have been at least alluded to or explained earlier. But it has happened on a few occasions.


Are You Being Served:

  • Mr Harman, replacing Mr Mash, joins the show in series 4 with no introduction. Yet all the cast know him.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

  • The character of Dawn, Buffy's sister, is introduced in the first episode of season five as if she had always been a part of the show and was known to all the regular characters. This was later explained as a major plot point to the season.

Coronation Street:

  • Kelly Crabtree was first featured on her final day working at the factory - we were told that she had been there for some time, however she had never been seen nor mentioned in the series previously. Soon afterwards she returned to working at the factory and became a regular character.[citation needed]

The Cosby Show:

  • In the pilot episode, an exasperated Clair Huxtable says to her husband "Why do we have four children?" He replies "Because we do not want to have five." However, in subsequent episodes, the Huxtables refer to having five children, with an oldest daughter away at Princeton. Sabrina Le Beauf made an appearance as Sondra Huxtable in a first-season episode, but was not listed on the opening credits until the second season. There was no explanation in the series for the addition of Sondra, though after the series ended Bill Cosby explained that the character of the eldest, collegiate daughter was added to provide a positive role model for black youth.[citation needed]

Degrassi: The Next Generation:

  • Jay Hogart appeared in the episode Gangsta, Gangsta when he'd never been there before.[citation needed]

Designing Women:

  • Jan Hooks replaced Jean Smart at the beginning of the sixth season, playing Carlene Dobber, the sister to Smart's Charlene Frazier character. Despite several previous episodes giving details about Charlene's family, her sister Carlene was never mentioned.[citation needed]

Great Teacher Onizuka:

  • Azusa's younger sister Makoto was never mentioned until she suddenly appeared in an episode because Azusa was kidnapped and detained by Teshigawara. Onizuka being too stupid to investigate it himself, Makoto uses her very advanced detective skills to find her.[citation needed]

Invader Zim:

  • In the last episode of the series, "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever", Zim is shown going about his business with a new sidekick: a purple, floating moose called "Minimoose". Minimoose is revealed to be robotic in origin and highly powerful, with a "Vortian Doomsday device hidden in his Nubs of Doom". Part way through the episode, Dib, held captive by Zim, notices Minimoose and asks "What is that?" to which Zim responds "Oh, uh, that's MiniMoose, my other sidekick, yeah. Yup, been with me the whole time!". Minimoose's origin episode had been written, but due to the show being cancelled by Nickelodeon was never produced. The X-Mas episode was originally scheduled to appear later in that series, after many of the unproduced episodes (including Minimoose's introduction), but the series was delayed, and the Christmas episode was shown at Christmas that year anyway - hence the disparity in the timeline, and (in true Zim style), making light of the unintended error rather than rewriting the whole episode without Minimoose.[citation needed]

The Jeff Foxworthy Show:

  • During the entire first season, Jeff's wife Karen was pregnant with their daughter, which she gave birth to in the last episode of the first season, and they already had a son. On the first episode of the second and final season, they have another son who looks about four years old, but there is no sign of a daughter. Also, the first son hasn't aged at all since the first season.[citation needed]

Mama's Family:

  • Neighbor Iola Boylan did not appear until three years into the show's run, but according to the show she had lived next door to the Harpers her entire life. Although viewers only see a small fraction of a sitcom family's lives — leaving many relatives, friends, acquaintances and enemies unseen — Iola's absence is notable because her closeness to the family implies she would likely have figured into a number of scenes in the first three seasons.[citation needed]


  • For the 7th season, Ben's second daughter Leanne MacIntyre joined the cast, despite never being referred in the series before.[citation needed]


  • In 1984, six years into the run of this prison-based soap opera and with no original characters remaining amongst the prisoners, new characters Lou Kelly (Louise Siversen) and Alice Jenkins (Lois Collinder) were portrayed as having been in the cell block since the story events of the very first episodes from 1979. Siversen had played several bit parts in earlier years (though not as a prisoner) and had spent about a year as a cell block extra while Collinder had made a few brief appearances as a prisoner, but not as these characters.[citation needed]

Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM):

  • In the show's second season, the character Dulcy the dragon (voiced by Cree Summer) is added to Sonic's group of friends, the Freedom Fighters, without any explanation.[citation needed]

The Sopranos:

  • In the fifth season we meet Tony's cousin, Tony B (Steve Buscemi). We are told that Tony and he grew up together, thought of each other as brothers, used to pick on Christopher, etc. And even though we'd seen Tony go through his whole life in his therapist's office for five years, Tony B was not mentioned until he joined the cast. This was acknowledged when Bobby Jr. asked Tony B. "How come I've never heard of you until now?" in the episode "Rat Pack".[citation needed]

South Park:

  • In one episode where Kenny was in a vegetative state, Kenny's family appeared with a female child that suddenly appeared.

Space: 1999:

  • In the second season, Security Chief Tony Verdeschi (Tony Anholt) is a regular character, part of the command staff and treated by the other regulars as if he has always been. However, not only his character had never been seen before, but also no explanation was given as to how he had somehow been promoted to that level. Alpha hadn't even had a security chief in the first season. By contrast, an entire episode was devoted to the introduction of Maya, the other new regular that season.[citation needed]

Star Blazers:

  • In the third series "The Bolar Wars" Gamilon Leader Desslok had a Sergeant Masterson as his chief adjutant. This role had previously been filled by General Talan in the previous series and movies. This inconsistency does not exist in the original Japanese version in which the Masterson character is supposed to be Talan. Unlike the first two seasons of the show, the third season was dubbed into English by a different company who failed to fully research the characters.

Star Trek (The Original Series):

  • Ensign Pavel Chekov is on the bridge from the second season. There was no introduction or mention of him joining. This caused a discontinuity in Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan when Chekov and Khan (a guest star in the opening season) recognize each other.

"Lazarus Cunningham":[edit]

On rare occasions, a Cunninghamed character returns to the show just as suddenly as they have left. This is arguably the worst case of Cunningham Syndrome, as not only does a viewer have to endure the character's abrupt and unexplained disappearance, but also their equally abrupt and unexplained return, especially if the return happens much later in the series, when the other characters have enough time to develop and grow without the returned character. Like Reverse Cunningham, the awkward break in their appearance, and the troubles with reintroducing them into the show, make a Lazarus Cunninghamed character a very underused occurrence, though it has happened.


Family Matters

  • The character of Rachel Crawford (played by Telma Hopkins) suddenly disappears from the show after the fourth season, and was not seen or mentioned again throughout season five. The character reappears in season six without any explanation of her disappearance in the previous season, hinting that she was there the whole time but just wasn't seen.

Boy Meets World

  • The character Stuart Minkus did not appear onscreen for four seasons, but when Cory and Shawn ask him where he has been for those years in the graduation episode, Minkus replies that he has merely been in another part of the school.

Family Guy

  • Though Joe Swanson's son, Kevin, was abruptly said to have been killed in Iraq after a long absence, he returned alive in the season ten episode "Thanksgiving", where it is explained that he actually faked his own death.

James Bond film series:

  • Felix Leiter and Bill Tanner come and go throughout the series with there departures and returns never being explained.

Video Games[edit]

Mortal Kombat series:

  • The tiger-Shokan Kintaro vanished from continuity after Mortal Kombat 2, with only a non-canon appearance in Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Mortal Kombat: Deception's Konquest mode, before reappearing in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. While there are many rumors as to what happened to him, none have been confirmed, and until his bio is released by Midway, the mystery of where he went after MK2 remains just that.

See also[edit]

External link[edit]

Chuck Cunningham Syndrome Quiz

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