16 Great TV Shows That Featured Truly Awful Subplots

There are many elements that make a fantastic TV show including a good cast, decent budget and some good cinematography. Of course, none of that really means anything if the plot is garbage. The story is what draws us in and makes us properly addicted to a show.

There have been some very unique and compelling plots in TV’s history, but there have also been some duds. There are even good TV shows that have been brought down by bad story lines. Maybe the shows wanted to try something different. Maybe they wanted to boost their ratings. Or, maybe they genuinely did believe that they were awesome. What ended up happening was that these storylines left viewers scratching their heads about the future of the show…

16. Scandal – Olivia’s Mom

Oh, boy. One of the things that makes Scandal so addictive is that it could actually be real. (Remember, Olivia Pope, is actually partially based on former George H.W. Bush administration press aide Judy Smith. And she even serves as a co-executive producer on the show.) That’s why the plot about Olivia Pope‘s (Kerry Washington) mom, Maya Lewis (Khandi Alexander), just doesn’t work. She was supposed to have died in a plane crash, but it turned out she was very much alive, in jail, and working on tipping people off. And Olivia had no idea about any of it.

15. Friends – Joey and Rachel Hookup

No, no, no. Friends had so many hilarious storylines. Just think about Marcel the Monkey, “Smelly Cat,” the Naked Guy. The list could go on for pages. But, then they had to go and ruin their sterling track record by making Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) get together. It was a decision that upset many fans because it went against their Friends values. It also upset the cast with the actors telling producers that the move didn’t feel right. Of course, they did it anyways. It was a brief romance but one that’ll go down in Friends history for all the wrong reasons.

14. Felicity – Time Jump

When shows have time changes written in the plot, they sometimes work out. However, they often end up being failures. Many would say that the time-traveling in Felicity falls into the second category. There are people who still don’t really understand the decision, especially as the show was family focused on Felicity Porter‘s (Keri Russell) college years. We think things are over when she graduates then we’re gifted/cursed with more episodes from the future.

13. Roseanne – Winning The Lottery

We are very excited for the reboot of Roseanne, but one thing we hope is forgotten about is the family winning the lottery during the show’s ninth season. The first few episodes of the season focus on the lottery and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) dreaming about how she is going to spend her $108 million. We were happy to see Roseanne get the cash, but we really just wanted things to go back to focusing on the blue-collar family like they did in the past.

12. Gossip Girl – Dan Being Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl had some juicy plot lines which admittedly went a bit downhill when the main characters graduated high school. We were willing to let some of the questionable plot details slide, but one we couldn’t forget was when it was revealed that Dan Humphries (Penn Badgley) was Gossip Girl the entire time. There are articles dedicated to proving why Dan couldn’t be GG. Plus, it just didn’t make sense. Dan wasn’t into the whole GG scene. He was Lonely Boy! And why would he still have been Gossip Girl when he was with Serena Van der Woodsen (Blake Lively)?

11. Grey’s Anatomy – Denny the Ghost

Grey’s Anatomy started out as a great medical drama. As the seasons progressed, it has lost its way and come up with some very random plot lines — some we can get behind because it’s oh-so-dramantic, others we can’t because it’s a little too dramatic. Viewers knew that things had taken a turn for the worst when Denny Duquette Jr. (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) came back as Izzie Stevens‘s (Katherine Heigl) ghost lover. Just the phrase “ghost lover” should have you wincing. It was probably meant to be heartfelt and make a statement on loss, but everyone thought it was absurd.

10. Dallas – Car Accident/Dream

Even iconic TV shows had some questionable moments. Case in point: The time when the car accident that “killed” Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) turned out to be a big fat dream. Yes, it did totally flip the script. And there really hasn’t been a TV switch up as surprising as it, but it wasn’t completely successful because the whole dream scenario wiped out an entire season of other decent story lines.

9. Sex and the City – Berger

*Spoiler alert* There are people who are very against the finale of Sex and the City where Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) ends up with Mr. Big (Chris Noth). One other story line that fans have real issues with is the relationship between Carrie and Jack Berger (Roy Livingston). Berger might actually have been more of a jerk than Mr. Big, and that dumb break-up Post-It note made many people’s blood boil.

8. Arrested Development – Michael and Rita

Arrested Development gained a cult following with great guest stars and totally random plot lines that actually worked. Unfortunately, the plot line with Charlize Theron was one of the few that didn’t work. She played Rita Leeds, an MRF that Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) falls in love with for some reason. We could see that Rita was beautiful, and we knew that Michael had a tendency to pick the wrong women, but we just couldn’t believe that Michael would like Rita and not find her annoying AF, like everybody else did. And then there was the questionable portrayal of mental health…

7. Dexter – Deb’s Crush

Dexter started off as a great show, but it sadly began to lose its way as the seasons went on. First of all, it became harder to believe that no one would have figured out that Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) was dabbling in murder while working as a blood splatter expert. Then there is the story line between Dexter and his sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter). It ended up being one of the creepiest things on the show thanks to Deb’s obsession with Dexter. She might not have been his biological sibling, but it felt very, very wrong. It was made worse when she confessed her love for him. Just no.

6. The O.C. – Marissa’s Death

There were a lot of rumors that Mischa Barton wanted to leave The O.C. despite it being one of the hottest shows around. Therefore, we knew that it was likely that the character of Marissa Cooper was going to get killed off. That happened in the finale of season three. Some random and OTT happened already (read: Johnny Harper‘s death) but Marissa’s demise was way too melodramatic with the flames, Ryan carrying her body from the car… then not much else.

5. How I Met Your Mother – The End

Even if a show loses its way with the random story lines, it usually gets its act together for the finale. That wasn’t the case with How I Met Your Mother. It was actually the ending that pretty much destroyed a very heartfelt, lovable show. People spent the better part of nine seasons wanting to know who the mother was that Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor/Bob Saget) talked about. We got our answer…and then we found out she died. And that wasn’t even the only downer of the finale. The entire last episode is actually best forgotten about.

4. Friday Night Lights – Murder

First of all, Friday Night Lights was (mainly) about a high school football team. And most high school football teams don’t involve murder plots. Yet, we got one in the NBC show. Sigh. The plot line involving Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) and Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) started with Tyra getting assaulted on the way to study with Landry. It escalated with the two killing her rapist and disposing the body… but only after they attempted to save him. It was just… way too much.

3. The Office – No Michael Scott

The American version of The Office proved critics wrong who said that it would be a complete failure. It had some great seasons, but the story lines without Michael Scott (Steve Carell) were, um, not the best. Sure, we’ll admit that the writers obviously had a hard time when Steve decided to leave the show, but there were some things we’d like to forget about, especially the attempts to make Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) the “new” Michael Scott. There could only be one.

2. The O.C. – Oliver

The O.C. makes it onto the list for a second time thanks to Oliver Trak (Taylor Handley). The FOX show had a lot of drama with the main characters, but writers decided it needed some extra characters, so we got Oliver. Everyone basically knew that he was E-V-I-L the second he showed up in the therapist’s office. There were some very obvious red flags that something bad was about to go down — like when he transferred to The Harbor School — and then, *spoiler* bad stuff did go down.

1. Gilmore Girls – Rory Leaving Yale

Gilmore Girls fans do not need reminding that it was Rory Gilmore‘s (Alexis Bledel) dream to go to Harvard — but Yale was the college where her heart took her, ultimately. Given that she was super intelligent and carried a backpack with 20 pounds of reading material, you knew she was going to go and succeed. Yet, when she gets there, she ends up dropping out. You could sort of see the writers wanting to switch things up, but it so went against her character. It also sucks that during this time, she becomes Emily’s mini-me and stops talking to her mom. You know, the show is about her and her mom’s friendship so taking that away majorly sucked. After all of the drama, she goes back and graduates so… silver linings.

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