[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Banjo-Kazooie}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Tooty.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[Creator/{{Rare}} They]] are [[LampshadeHanging well aware of this trope]] and [[{{Pun}} milking it]] for all it's worth.]]

->''"Let us contemplate the mystery of [[Series/HappyDays Richie's older brother Chuck]], who [[FauxSymbolism ascended the stairs with his basketball]] in season one, and never came down again."''
-->-- '''Peter Griffin,''' ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy,'' "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz"

Generally, if writers want to remove a character from their ensemble, they will either [[CharacterDeath kill that character off]] or [[PutOnABus put him on a bus]] ([[BusCrash or both]]) to explain their absence. Sufferers of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, on the other hand, simply disappear into limbo. They will often be {{retcon}}ned right out of the story's history, while, of course, everyone still left on-screen will simply carry on as if [[OrwellianRetcon Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia]]. This is sometimes caused by the writers gradually losing interest in the character and, without making a conscious decision to remove them, eventually forgetting about them entirely. More often, complications behind the scenes drive the decision to remove a character.

The [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] is Chuck, who was actually Richie Cunningham's older brother for two seasons on ''Series/HappyDays''. Remember him? No?

[[AppealToObscurity Exactly]].

In recent years, though, as media has become more meta, playful references to the ignominiously departed have become common, either as [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] within the series itself or in parodies or satires of it.

A subtrope of UnPerson. Similar in spirit to TheOtherDarrin. Also see OutOfFocus, when a character is gone but not ''quite'' forgotten; and ShooOutTheNewGuy, who gets at least an excuse in the show for disappearing. Contrast with RememberTheNewGuy. For characters who are written out of the main story but are still hanging around in view, see DemotedToExtra. For characters who are specifically brought in for a one-shot purpose, see LongLostUncleAesop. For characters that are given a reason for their departure ''and'' an on-screen send-off, see PutOnABus. Compare ForgottenFallenFriend and WhatHappenedToTheMouse. If a character appears in the pilot or very early episode of a show and [[DroppedAfterThePilot then vanishes]] it may be a case of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. See also AbsenteeActor. PresentAbsence is when this is averted.

This trope is only applicable to genuine members of the ensemble who would otherwise seem to be a little more permanent, not characters who appear out of nowhere for one or two episodes and vanish just as swiftly.

%% '''Note:''' when adding examples, this trope is specifically about characters who disappear ''entirely'' without explanation. If they reappear even briefly, or if their absence is explained in-show even flimsily, it is more likely one of the alternate tropes listed.

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!!Examples
[[index]]
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Advertising}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/AnimeAndManga
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/ComicBooks
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/FanWorks
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Film}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Literature}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/LiveActionTV
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Music}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/NewspaperComics
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Other}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/ProfessionalWrestling
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/TabletopGames
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Theatre}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/VideoGames
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/{{Webcomics}}
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/WebOriginal
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]
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