If you’re a living, breathing human you watched This is Us after the Super Bowl, and are likely still surrounded by Kleenex following Jack Pearson’s death (oops — spoiler alert? No, but really, you’ve been clued into this and the subsequent RIPs for a while now, so don’t hate). We all knew it was coming — they’ve been priming us for it from the very beginning — but it still hurt. Like, really hurt.
And not since the death of beloved Sesame Street shopkeeper Mr. Hooper (the kids’ show used the actor’s real life death as an opportunity to explore the complicated subject rather than writing him off the show) has the passing of a fictional character hit a collective TV audience so hard. Unless, of course, one of the following ten bucket kickers struck you in the guts.
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Gran, True Blood
Come on, HBO, how are you going to kill off the only truly pure person (or undead bloodsucker) in all of swampy, vampire-ridden Bon Temps? Poor Gran (AKA Adele Stackhouse) was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and hit all the wrong notes for a lot of HBO viewers.
Barb, Stranger Things
When you really think about it, Barb was actually not that cool. But there was something about Nancy’s uber-nerdy BFF that entranced the Internet and, after her untimely death, turned her into a meme and unlikely icon. Poor Barb never got any credit (or any play), and her last moments were spent sitting alone outside a party she got dragged to so her thirsty bestie could get some action. Shame! #JusticeForBarb
Hodor, Game of Thrones
Speaking of “shame,” there are too many shocking deaths to count on GoT. Main characters gasping for their last breathes are as commonplace on HBO as a gratuitous boob. And while Ned Stark’s public beheading was a close second, we were most gutted by poor Hodor’s demise. The big guy deserved better. At least we finally figured out what he’d been saying!
Marissa Cooper, The OC
If there’s a more devastating scene than that of Ryan Atwood carrying Marissa’s lifeless body down a dark road as Imogen Heap’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” swell, we’d like to hear about it. Troubled teen It-Girl Marissa Cooper flirted with death many a time over the course of The OC (she probably would have died in that alley in Tijuana IRL), so we kind of knew it was coming eventually, but damn — this was emotional.
Rita Morgan, Dexter
There were two camps when it came to serial-killer-with-a-conscience Dexter’s sweet wife Rita. Some found her innocence and simplicity a little insipid; others adored her as the one human being (other than Deb) who came close to inspiring any human emotion in Dexter. Regardless, you have to admit you did NOT see her bloody bathtub death at the hands of the Trinity Killer coming.
Denny Duquette Jr., Grey’s Anatomy
LikeGame of Thrones, people died on the regular in this show. It was set in a hospital, so, yeah. But Denny’s passing was particularly tragic because the dude finally gets his heart transplant and then dies of a stroke? So unfair. Plus, even though Izzie was kind of annoying, we were really rooting for those two.
Zoe Barnes, House of Cards
Zoe was a journalist of questionable morals and professional ethics, but she was also young and kind of spunky. So, while we were never quite sure how to feel about her, we were nevertheless blindsided when she was, er, blindsided by the Metro. Knowing what we now know about Kevin Spacey somehow makes it that much more egregious.
Adriana La Cerva, The Sopranos
What, exactly, did Adriana think would happen to a rat that cozied up to the feds? You don’t hang around with the mob as much as she did and expect special treatment after you break the cardinal rule of mob life. Still, she didn’t deserve to be unceremoniously betrayed by her own fiancé and then butchered by one of his cronies.
Charlie Pace, Lost
If you’re like us and found almost every character on Lost (with the exception of Sawyer and Charlie) to be insufferable in their own ways, then you were hit hard by the loss of this guy. The former addict was spunky and likable, and we’re betting “you all everybody” were saddened by his suicide mission death.
Kenny, South Park
They killed Kenny! And though we came to expect this trope, he was still just a kid, man.