The new season of “Two and a Half Men” is set to air soon, and the first episode will feature the funeral of Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper. The man who insists he is winning at life has stated that he will be having a funeral viewing at his home, according to TMZ.
Sheen’s character is not the first to be killed off on a sitcom. Sometimes it is due to contract disputes, while occasionally it is because the actor portraying that specific character has passed on. Every once in a while, Hollywood writers add a death just to shake things up on a show. Here is a look back at other notable sitcom character deaths.
The devoted and religious wife of Ned Flanders on “The Simpsons” was killed after falling off of a grandstand after being hit with T-shirt cannons. Maude’s death was due to a contract dispute with the voice actress Maggie Roswell. Roswell was no longer willing to commute from Colorado to Los Angeles for work. She is back on the show, with her voice being recorded at home . Maude, however, seems to be gone for good.
John Ritter’s death was tragic and unexpected. The actor known for his kind demeanor and comedic chops was enjoying a Hollywood comeback when he was suddenly struck down by a thoracic aortic aneurysm. The writers of the show, 8 Simple Rules, chose to write in the death of Paul Hennessy, Ritter’s character. The second season deals with how the family copes with the loss of their patriarch , which was relatively uncharted territory for a sitcom. The show lasted just one more season, but remains a lasting tribute to the great actor.
The death of George Costanza’s fiance on Seinfeld is probably still the most bizarre case of a sitcom character being killed off. Susan was killed while licking the envelopes for her and George’s wedding invitations. Costanza, who was not thrilled at the prospect of marrying Susan, was relieved at the news of her death. Seinfeld dealt with death in the same way that it dealt with all other subjects; dark humor and little humanity.
NewsRadio was a great ensemble sitcom, but was never the same after the tragic murder of star Phil Hartman. Hartman was shot by his drug-addicted wife , and his departure hit the entertainment world hard. The writers at NewsRadio included the death of Hartman’s character, which created an emotional farewell episode. Bill McNeal died of a heart attack on the show, and the tears shed by other characters were clearly for Hartman. It remains one of the most touching tributes to an actor on television.
While these deaths have elicited everything from tears to shock, it is unclear how fans will react to Charlie Harper’s or to his replacement, actor Ashton Kutcher. Ratings for the first episode will be huge, but the future of the show remains questionable.