This trope is named for when a character reaches a point where there is nothing left the series can do with them.
This could be for a couple of reasons. Maybe their plot lines and personal issues have all been resolved but they continue to hang around. Perhaps they’ve become a Flat Character
from a lack of development.
Either way, what was once an interesting and compelling character becomes dull. Every nuance has been probed until there is nothing left to explore. The writers, having boxed themselves into a corner, find themselves with no choice but to have the character Put on the Bus
or killed off.
This trope comes in three types:
Compare this trope to Static Character
, where they have not yet run their course. See also Character Fatigue
, where the person who Has Run His Course
has not yet been Put on the Bus
Live Action TV
- Detective Stabler of Law & Order: SVU is a Type A. He started off as a complex and compelling character. Twelve years of examining every facet of his anger issues later, there was nothing about him that has not been said before in multiple episodes, and Stabler was put on a bus
- Cameron of House, M.D. Over three seasons her personality developed and her personal and romantic issues were resolved. By the third season finale her character had received closure. However, the writers kept Cameron for another two years as a cast member, where they struggled to write content for her, before finally sending her away.