Chuck Cunningham Syndrome

For some reason my TiVo decided to record one of the final episodes of “Happy Days.” While checking online to see how close to the end of the series it was, I stumbed upon this: Chuck Cunningham syndrome.

Chuck Cunningham syndrome is a jargon used by TV critics; it refers to a TV series in which a main character or a character otherwise important to the show’s plot is dropped with no explanation. If a recurring character disappears under realistic circumstances (i.e. a waitress at a diner stops showing up) it is not a case of the syndrome.

* 1 Origin
* 2 Examples of Clear Cut Chuck Cunningham syndrome
* 3 Examples of Lazarus Chuck Cunningham syndrome (where ‘Chuck’ comes back)
* 4 Examples of Near Chuck Cunningham syndrome (where ‘Chuck’s absence is briefly addressed)
* 5 Chuck Cunningham syndrome in reverse

Tons of examples follow.

3 thoughts on “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome

  1. They missed Spin City. I’ve long thought it was inexcusable that they devoted an entire much-hyped episode to Michael J. Fox’s departure, since three other cast members abruptly left the show at the same time without explanation.

  2. “All My Children” have that happen a few times over the years where a character would stop showing up for good without explanation. The most famous one is Bobby Martin, Ruth and Joe Martin’s oldest kid who, one day in the first year of the show back in 1970, went up to the attic to wax his skis and was never heard of again. The writers did a joke on this back in thr 80’s where another character, Opal, went up to that attic and backed into one of those med. school skeletons that was wearing a ski cap with “Bobby” written on it.

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