Four Storylines That Suck or Sucked (in Otherwise Good TV Series)

I was talking to my nephew this morning, and he had the audacity to imply that the recent developments on Dexter might be a good thing.

My first reaction was to type up a long-winded response to his ridiculous suggestion, explaining all the reasons why [spoiler] is not only a bad thing, but a total catastrophe.

Then that got me thinking. After I watched Dexter's season six finale, I decided that if that storyline continues for long, I might be forced to quit watching the series. Even if the writers realise their horrible mistake, however, this dark moment in Dexter's history will always remain, like a scar you can't really get rid of.

(And reparative surgery, as Dallas proved in the past, has disastrous results on TV series.)

And Dexter's not the only TV series to have made such a mistake. No, there's a long line of TV series to choose from, otherwise good shows whose writers went crazy for a day, a month or, hell, an entire year and either gave their creations a terrible scar that will never go away or just went and killed them entirely. Here are four of those storylines.

(Spoilers follow for Grey's Anatomy, Angel, Doctor Who, and obviously, Dexter.)

Here's an image of a puppy to give you the chance to leave the page if you want to remain spoiler-free before accidentally reading any of the headlines.

OK, here we go:

#1. Grey's Anatomy: Izzy slept with Denny. (Who was dead.) Repeatedly.

Say what you want about Grey's Anatomy today (and you'll probably be right), but it used to be a good show in the first three seasons. You know, before everyone started sleeping with everybody, about a thousand new characters were included in the regular cast (thus giving each main actor screen time that can last up to approximately 3 mins and 32 secs) and the parallels between the medical cases and the characters' lives started being applied with sledgehammers, Grey's Anatomy was a good show. Occasionally, even brilliant.

Then Shonda ran out of ideas.

The beginning of the end for me was that time in the third series when Meredith fell into the ocean and nearly drowned or froze to death or whatever, then was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead but then was brought back to life about four hours later (!) even though her brain had not been functioning during that time and she was... fine. And not just that: during those four hours, she had had a supernatural experience which involved meeting the ghosts of past patients and people she knew and having a heart-to-heart with her mother, who had just died in the real world, before the latter crossed over and Meredith was revived.


Even without the Christian undertones (which do not belong in a medical show), this would've been a terrible idea. But some fans loved it, so what was the natural next step?

This, apparently.

In case you're not familiar with the story, Denny was a patient in season 2 who fell in love with Izzie, a doctor at the hospital where he was admitted. Theirs was a doomed and forbidden love, for doctors are not allowed to have sex with patients (it breaks some protocol or oath or something), but their feelings for each other were so strong that they overcame all the obstacles in their way.

Except Denny's illness, which is why he died after he proposed to Izzie. It was sad.

("Come back, Jack -- err, Denny, come back!")

Then a couple seasons later, Izzie apparently exhausted all the alive options and the producers decided that it was a terrible idea to get rid of the one guy who could not run away (literally, since he was usually confined to a bed), so what did they do? They had Izzie have sex with his ghost.

Have sex. With his ghost.

(And all that after she had got Casper's hopes up. The bitch.)

Of course, it wasn't his actual ghost. As we later found out, Izzie was suffering from cancer, the type that brings back dead lovers, and as soon as she started her treatment Danny disappeared. (Thus reaffirming the stereotype that all guys want is to fuck you and then go away.) But this took about 7-8 episodes to be revealed, and there was no indication whatsoever that something was wrong with Izzie.

Well, something was clearly wrong with her since she was screwing a dead guy, but the whole story was treated as a joke.

(Grey's Anatomy's Life Lesson #143: "Cancer is funny.
And you get some great hallucinations if you feel like masturbating.")

Is it any wonder that Katherine Heigl quit the show soon after?

#2. Angel: Cordelia had sex with Angel's son. (While possessed by Gina Torres. To whom she gave birth.)

Angel was never that great of a show, if you ask me. Some people will disagree, referring to the "if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do" mentality that characterised it as an important life lesson -- which I do kinda agree with, but I don't believe that's what Angel was about. Also, some fans will suggest that "Angel was darker than Buffy" (the former span off from the latter), which is a ridiculous and infuriating idea. But anyway, Angel was a decent, enjoyable show and it had some great storylines here and there.

It also had some horrifyingly stupid storylines here and there. Namely, the entire fourth season.

In case you don't remember or don't know the details, let me help you out: in season 3, Angel and Darla (his ex-lover) had a son, Connor. Connor was later kidnapped by one of Angel's enemies and taken to a hellish dimension, to which nobody had access. A few weeks later, Connor returned, now a teenager, from said dimension, where he had been raised to hate and wanna kill and torture his dad, Angel.

(Talk about Oedipal syndromes.)

Then, at the end of season 3, Connor finally managed to do what he wanted: he confined his dad to a casket and threw him in the ocean, while he was on his way to meet Cordelia, to whom he wanted to confess his love.

At the same time, Cordelia, on her way to confess her love to Angel as well, was visited by a guide who let her know that her destiny was to become a higher being, so she ascended to heaven while Angel descended into the ocean, providing us with some symmetrically sad and epic ending for the season.

("It doesn't have to make sense, just make it symmetric!")

So then season 4 came, and Cordelia returned... without any memories. No worries, they did a spell and the memories returned, and then Cordelia slept with Connor.

(I hate to use a .gif twice, but it's fitting.)

Connor, as in the child that up until a few weeks ago she was holding in her arms. The child that pooped and peed in her arms. The child whose diapers she changed. The child of the man whom, up until recently, she was in love with.

(The creepiness calculator exploded soon after that.)

But, wait, no. It's all right, because it wasn't actually Cordelia. As we found out about half a season later, Cordelia had been possessed all that time. Apparently, while she was in heaven, her body had been hijacked by another higher being, who had been awoken when they did the memory spell, and it was it who used Cordelia's body to have sex with Connor, so Connor could impregnate Cordelia with another body for that higher being so it could give birth to itself.

Also, apparently the past four seasons of the show had been plotted by said higher being, to make sure that she would be born.

(There's an argument for you, abortionists.)

So, basically, the entire show was a plan devised by a bad guy. Huh.

("I never fail.")

#3. Doctor Who: Rose returns to the man she loves. (And gets a free copy of him to keep, since the  original doesn't love her the same way.)

Doctor Who is a children's show from the 1960s, which was cancelled somewhere mid-1990s and then revived in 2005 by Russell T. Davies... and this is where my gratitude ends to this guy.

Russell T. Davies is a terrible writer. I'll say it now so I can get it out of the way. He's an OK showrunner, but most of the scripts he has produced would be better if they had been crapped upon by writers like Joss Whedon, Stephen Moffat (a.k.a. Doctor Who's current showrunner), Bryan Fuller or, hell, even Marti Noxon.

This is the guy that gave us farting aliens:

girlfriends made of stone:

and about a million episodes with these annoying little creatures called the "Daleks":

Nothing could prepare us, however, for the worst abomination of all time and mother of Deus-ex-Machinae, i.e. the ending of Rose Tyler's story.

Now it's been a good while since I watched those episodes so bear with me, but this is what I remember: Rose Tyler was the Doctor's best friend ("companion", in the DW universe) in series 1-2. She started developing feelings for him in series 2, but he could not respond because she was a measly 20-something-year-old human and he was a 900-year-old alien.

("Name: Doctor
Surname: Who
DOB: ??
Place of Birth: Planet of Gallifrey")

Then something involving the Daleks happened and they were trapped in two different worlds, unable to ever meet each other again.

But wait...

Two series later, all throughout series 4, Rose kept reappearing here and there, trying to contact the Doctor in various ways. And at the end of series 4, the barriers between the worlds collapsed, and she came back to him.

Then the Doctor died.

(Because people can't just run towards each other without something bad happening.)

Well, sort of. See, if I remember correctly, the Doctor had a magic hand in his house which is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside and he used it to survive the deadly blow he suffered, but this somehow made the hand create another copy of him which looked exactly like him except it wasn't alien like him, but human, so it could love Rose like she loved him without any trouble.

(As I said, it's a children's show.)

So what did the original Doctor do? My, my, of course he gave the copy to Rose as a freebie, took her back to the alternate universe she had been trapped in for the past couple of years and left her there with it, so she could live out the dream she had of shacking up with him while he continued to travel. Basically, everyone lived happily ever after.

("I'm sorry, I have to get out of here before this storyline gets any worse, 
if that's even possible.")

Moral of the story: every doomed love story would have a happy ending if writers were as smart as Russell T. Davies and introduced clones out of nowhere into their scripts.

#4. Dexter: Debra falls in love with her brother because her therapist told her so. (Don't worry, they're not blood-related. That makes everything better. Right?)

Dexter is a show about a serial killer you're supposed to root for, so some lenience is required. From the get-go, you're aware that not everything is going to be a bed of roses, or morally clear.

Also, some scenes are meant to make you squirm, or think about them for weeks.

(This still haunts me, for example.)

But there are certain lines that even shows like Dexter aren't meant to cross, and this was one of them: for five and a half seasons, Dexter and his sister Debra have had a dysfunctional, but insanely interesting brother-and-sister relationship. Then in season 6, Debra goes to a therapist and the therapist suggests that she's actually in love with her adopted brother and Debra takes her word for it and runs to tell him and finds him killing someone so she discovers he's a killer and then CUT, see you next year.

...Where do I start?

First of all, just because you're not biologically related doesn't mean you're not still siblings.

This is the first argument the (very very few) supporters of the idea bring up: they're not actually brother and sister! Dexter is adopted, so it's not gross.

IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. Regardless of whether you share the same blood with someone or not, if you've been raised as siblings, YOU'RE SIBLINGS. Dexter and Debra were raised by the same parents, as siblings, so they are siblings. Ergo, it's disgusting. So there's that.

But, as I said, Dexter has always been morally grey, so why is this any different?

Well, first of all, because Debra went from "I love my brother" to "I'm in love with my brother" in two seconds. All it took was a therapist suggesting it and a dream and she was ready to confess her love to him.

(The writers of Dexter in the writers' room.)

And the therapist? What the fuck, lady? Where'd you get your degree? I've been to a therapist before and I took psychology classes in uni, so trust me when I tell you you're not supposed to put ideas in your patient's head. She wasn't helping Debra reach a conclusion; she tied Debra's hands behind her back, threw the conclusion in a pit and then grabbed Debra and just dumped her in the same pit, all the while screaming: "THIS IS WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU BECAUSE I SAY SO!"

Uh, no. This is not what's wrong with Debra, this is what's wrong with writers who have clearly run out of ideas.

And the worst part? We've been waiting for Debra to find out about Dexter's serial-killerish ways for seasons now. But now that moment's been ruined, because she's in love with him. As I told my nephew, Dexter fans wanted Dexter's fucked up but normal sister to find out that her brother is a serial killer. We did not want Dexter's fucked up and crazy and in love with him sister to find out that the brother she wants to have sex with is a serial killer. This does not a good drama make. So fuck you, Dexter writers. You took away the one interesting storyline everyone was looking forward to.


  1. Every time I think of that Dexter one, I want to punt squirrels or something. Argh.

  2. Seriously. That half consumed girlfrend-now disembodied face on a paving stone Who storyline was SERIOUS accidental nightmare fuel. I still feel a little bit sick even thinking about it.

  3. Cordelia being possessed *slightly* lessens the ickiness of her boffing Connor. SLIGHTLY.

    About Doctor Who...I believe it was cancelled in the '80s, then brought back for a movie in the '90s.

    Also, you're making the Rose/Tenth Doctor shippers cry, Noel. :p

    "Love and Monsters" pissed me off. So he forced that poor girl to live as a slab because that douche was sad? What the fuck, Doctor?

    In re: to series 4: Handy, the 10th Doctor's clone, wasn't fully human. The fistbitingly stupid metacrisis made him part-human/part Time Lord/Gallifreyan. It changed Donna in the same way. I like to think that after a week stuck with her in the alternate world, bored and with no TARDIS, he killed her. It all happened because he was shot by the Dalek and shot his regeneration energy into the hand. I can't remember exactly what caused Handy to "emerge" but that's the explanation! I miss Donna. :(