8 Sitcom Character Farewells We’re Still Not Over

Michael Scott The Office

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Tonight at 10:30P, EST, Reggie Watts will make his final appearance on Comedy Bang! Bang!. Judd Apatow will make a special guest appearance for the affair, which will probably be an extremely emotional and an all-around heartbreaking moment in television history. We don’t want to be too dramatic, but it’ll probably be as devastating as the final episode of Cheers.

There’ve been many TV shows that’ve had to say goodbye to some of their most beloved characters. But sitcom character farewells are particularly moving. Maybe it’s the fact that we welcomed them into our living room every week.  These are characters that for one reason or another, left us and were sent off in the most glorious and tearjerking way possible. And we can only hope the same will happen for Mr. Watts. (Please note: WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CHARACTERS WHO DIED. That’s a different, even more depressing list. Please don’t yell at us in the comments.)

1. Michael Scott, The Office

How do you possibly say farewell to the man who put his faceprint in drying cement, claimed the phrase “that’s what she said” as his own, and treats every week like it’s Shark Week? The Office team did a pretty great job by invoking Rent for a final musical tribute that was both moving and perfectly dorky, just like Michael Scott.

2. Richie Cunningham, Happy Days

Richie was the heart of Happy Days, so his goodbye to his family and The Fonz was particularly moving, awkward mustache notwithstanding.

3. Troy Barnes, Community

Donald Glover released a letter to his fans in the form of a series of Instagram messages to explain why he had to leave Community, and all of our hearts sank. It wasn’t that he wanted to pursue his rap career, it was more that he “felt helpless” and needed to make his own path. The last episode where we had to say goodbye to Troy was an emotional time for the characters on the show and his fellow co-stars.

4. Eric Forman, That ’70s Show

The That ’70s Show gang just wasn’t the same after Eric (Topher Grace) shipped off to Africa in the seventh season. The show wasn’t the same either, for that matter. Remember when Seth Meyers’ brother Josh joined the cast as Randy Pearson? Yeah, we don’t either.

5. Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger, Parks and Recreation

Ann Perkins has been a mainstay of the Parks and Rec family since the pilot episode, and although her baby daddy Chris Traeger came in halfway through, he took up residence in our hearts. This speech of Leslie Knope saying her goodbyes to her best friend in the entire world, the lovable sunflower, the radiant unicorn, was just a precursor for having to watch her drive off to her new home.

6. Most of the cast, Scrubs

Zach Braff and pretty much the entire cast of Scrubs left the show before its final season on ABC. JD’s final scene, where he remembers all the people who touched his life, is a fitting send-off for the series…provided you ignore that final season.

7. Diane Chambers, Cheers 

Cheers had many heartfelt moments (we still tear up over the Coach episode), but Sam and Diane fans still remember when Shelley Long’s character said goodbye to the bar for a writing career in Los Angeles. Sam’s last words as he watches Diane go (“Have a good life…”) still resonate all these years later.

8. Mike Flaherty, Spin City

Mike Flaherty leaving the Mayor’s office was doubly sad — not only did Spin City lose its lead character, but TV lost Michael J. Fox who left the show to deal with the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. The ensuing Charlie Sheen era of Spin City had its fans, but the show was never the same again.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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