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Must Sad TV: Why are shows so sad these days?

Must Sad TV: Why are shows so sad these days?

Feb 01, 2018

Spoiler: If you aren’t caught up on the current seasons of The Walking Dead and This Is Us, stop reading now. 




On paper, The Walking Dead and This Is Us don’t have much in common. One show is about zombies and the other is about a family with a multi-generational twist. But what they do have in common is that they are about to kill off two beloved characters and it’s going to be so sad, I’m not sure I can bare to watch.

The big death episode of This Is Us is something we’ve known that is coming since near the beginning of the first season last year. Simply put, Milo Ventimiglia‘s Jack Pearson isn’t alive in the present timeline of the show, which means he dies, but how, when and is anyone to blame are all questions that we’ll find out this Sunday after the Super Bowl.   Why someone thought these two were a good fit isn’t something I understand, but it’s safe to say that between the sports match and the TV show, a lot of people will be crying on Sunday.

After the last episode, I’ve honestly been feeling anxious. We know we are going to see Jack die on Sunday, and I’m honestly considering not watching it. It’s just going to be too sad, and who needs to be that sad? I know it’s just a TV show, but usually when a character dies on a show, it tends to be a surprise, so you don’t have time to think about being sad. But in the case of Jack, we’ve been thinking about it for over a year and our hearts are going to break. In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Ventimiglia called the episode “an absolute soul-crushing event.” I’m sorry, who wants to have their show crushed? Is that entertainment?

And if for some reason The Super Bowl episode of This Is Us, doesn’t crush your soul, The Walking Dead is aiming to do it in a few weeks, when it returns from its winter hiatus to deal with the impending death of Carl, who when last saw him had been bitten by a zombie, which means his clock is ticking. Producers and news stories have all revealed that Carl does indeed die. But again, why do we want to see it? Carl is one of the only nice people on the show, oh and let’s not forget, he is a child!  First of all, I think it’s incredibly cruel to use the death of a child as a cliffhanger, but even worse, it’s truly senseless because he’s still alive in the comic books.

It’s no secret that The Walking Dead has been creatively struggling for a few years now, and I’d love to know why killing off one of the show’s few-likeable characters was somehow going to turn it around. Like, watching Rick being tortured for season up season wasn’t enough, now they are going to take his only son. I don’t think any fan of the show was hoping that Carl would bite the dust, if anything, we were hoping Rick was going to.

So as we get ready to watch these shows that will no doubt cause tissue stock to sky-rocket, I find myself wondering with so much sad news in the world, do we really need our TV shows to be super sad too? Or maybe as I’m getting older, skin is getting thinner and thinner. I’m not sure if I’ll watch the next episode of The Walking Dead or This Is Us. They’re sad. We get it. Doesn’t mean I need to be.

What do you think?





  1. Darlene Goodwin

    We needed a Time Out from these shows – gasp!. We binged on Fargo – Netflix (we live in High River so that was fun) and seeing Patrick Wilson without the Creepy was a nice change. Then we revisited Homeland … on Let’s Talk mental health day. Oh, yes. That was interesting. I love her. Claire Danes is fabulous. Too fabulous in the shock-treatment scene. I didn’t read everything you wrote because I will be tuning in again to This Is Us. I have a few friends whose real lives are pretty crazy right now so I am preoccupied. Do not need This Is Us right now. Roseanne? No.