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Shoo Out the New Guy
aka: The Poochie

"I have to go now. My planet needs me."

A character is introduced into a show with a lot of fanfare, and almost at once moves up to main character status (if not necessarily the credits). He/she will often form a close relationship with the existing main characters, and may even have a prior history with a main character, even if this has never been mentioned before. Sometimes the character is a result of Executive Meddling.

For some reason, the character doesn't gel. Maybe the audience takes against him/her, maybe the actor over- or underperforms, maybe the writers realize they have no idea what to do with him/her. Whatever it is, the character will end up leaving the show setting, often for a fairly contrived reason (and they probably won't be back, even if they logically should be at certain points).

Different from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in that the character's disappearance will be explained, even if in a fairly flimsy manner.

The easiest way to tell if it's this trope is if the character is written out in a clumsy manner — if their departure or death makes no sense, this trope is usually in play.

Compare with Aborted Arc and Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Contrast with The Artifact.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Justice Society of America had Magog, who joined the cast when Alex Ross was allowed to collaborate with Geoff Johns on his own "Kingdom Come" sequel. Magog made a huge splash, was subject to a MASSIVE multi-part storyline and ultimately given both his own comic book AND his own spin-off JSA team book! But fans didn't take to him and not only was his comic canceled, but he was killed off in the pages of "Justice League: Generation Lost".
  • Cecilia Reyes, Maggott and Marrow in X-Men. Marrow in particular, who continued to exist within the X-Men roster largely because editor Bob Harras wanted her to be both the next Wolverine and as a potential spoiler for the Rogue/Gambit relationship. Thankfully, she was put on a bus right before Chris Claremont returned to the X-Books. At least Marrow had a fair number of fans, was popular for some years (even making an appearance as a new fighter in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes) and, as of 2014, she's again a X-Team member, appearing in the new volume of X-Force; Cecilia Reyes gained popularity enough to star in some Claremont stories and returned to the team some years later; Maggott, on the other hand, remained as a Scrappy.
  • Likewise, the sister book New Mutants had Rusty Collins and Skids, who were added to the book as part of a group of kids called the X-Terminators. While initially important, they were left behind to fend against Freedom Force and search for mutant children while the others went to Asgard. They were turned evil and joined the MLF, due to Rob Liefeld deeming them lame.
    • Rusty was later killed in a crossover event. Skids, however, is alive and well and working as a S.H.I.E.L.D.. agent.
  • Jeph Loeb's run on The Ultimates managed to have no less than three of these: Black Panther, Ka-zar, and Shanna. All were introduced and removed in the same arc, without even doing anything significant to the plot, due to backlash from before the story was even published.
  • Thunderfox fron Femforce was introduced with much fanfare, but only appeared in eight issues before disappearing. The explanation occured five issues after her last appearance, telling us that her 'book' was cancelled.
  • In Red Hood and the Outlaws, Crux was going to be a main team member after being mentioned in interviews and given a backstory, but the fans didn't care for him and the writer decided he didn't fit in. Sent to Arkham, until next needed.
    • The New 52 relaunch of Teen Titans, by the same writer, introduced two new members to the team: Bunker and Skitter. Skitter was very, very quickly (and quietly) written out of the book due to less-than-stellar fan reception, though she would eventually reappear just prior to a relaunch that ended up not involving her. Bunker, on the other hand, has remained on the team to great prominence, even earning Ensemble Darkhorse status thanks to his cheery, upbeat attitude.
  • Andrew Maguire (a portmanteau of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire) aka Alpha. He was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #692 as a frighteningly average, under achieving, generally ignored 15 year old kid who got amazing superpowers via a Freak Lab Accident during a field-trip to a presentation made by none other than Peter Parker. He even had a little hype behind him and became Spider-Man's sidekick. Having such low self-worth, it isn't long before everything starts going to Alpha's head. Though it wasn't two issues later where he messes up big time, almost causing some planes to crash, when Spider-Man almost completely de-powers him. And just like that, he's out of the comic after only 3 issues. He was even called this trope's former name, The Poochie, in-universe! Of course, since he later got his own miniseries, it becomes easier to realize that this was planned from the start.
  • Many times, a writer starts a new take on a team with a "classic" lineup by adding a newly-created or unconventional character to the team. These characters are usually dropped as soon as the next writer shows up. Justice League is particularly prone to this; few characters added to the team since the 1970s have managed to stick.
  • There were four series in the leadup to Annihilation: Conquest: the Nova ongoing, and the Quasar, Star-Lord, and Wraith miniseries. Nova was a well-established character, while Quasar and Star-Lord were Ascended Extras in the original, but Wraith was a new character. Touted as a new and unique addition to the Cosmic mythos, Wraith instead came off as a mix of Drizzt Do'Urden and Jackie Estacado, with the little depth of both replaced with a double-barrel blast of Common Mary Sue Traits. His miniseries mostly focused around how edgy he was while he got to save the much more likeable Ronan and Kl'rt from The Virus. Fans, of course, hated this guy, and when Conquest itself finally rolled around, Wraith was barely in it at all. Upon the series ending, Quasar and Star-Lord got their own series, while Wraith left to try to cure the Phalanx and hasn't appeared since.

    Film 

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Coy and Vance, the "New Dukes," whose characters had been created out of necessity after series stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat walked out on the show during the filming hiatus between the fourth and fifth seasons due to a dispute with the producers. When Schneider and Wopat settled their dispute, they were invited back in large part to stem hemorrhaging ratings due to Coy and Vance being widely despised and the "New Dukes" were written out as "needing to care for a sick relative." After one quick scene between the four actors, Coy and Vance were gone ... permanently and never to be referred to again.
  • Hunter: When Stepfanie Kramer left this highly successful cop show in 1990 after six years as Sgt. Hunter's partner/sidekick Dee Dee McCall, her character was replaced by Officer Joanne Molenski, who quickly became Hunter's new beat partner. However, actress Darlanne Fluegel was unable to get along with series star Fred Dryer or others on the show's staff, and she soon resigned less than three months into the 1990-1991 season. It was decided the new girl — Molenski — would be murdered by a serial killer.
  • Babylon 5: Poor Keffer, he was actually utilized fairly effectively during season 2 and was really quite likable, not to mention it made more sense for there to be a dedicated starfury squadron commander in Keffer rather than the senior command staff constantly jumping into fighters. Unfortunately for him, though, his creation was actually the result of Executive Meddling (they wanted a "hotshot Top Gun kind of pilot"), and the series creator/head writer J. Michael Straczynski never forgave him for that and subsequently killed him off, even though he was fitting in just fine.
    • In the Babylon 5 scripts, JMS mentioned he felt really bad for the actor playing him, to the point that he couldn't tell said actor he was dead at the wrap party for the season...
  • Several characters in The O.C. suffered this, but Lindsay Gardner was an especially glaring example, as she was introduced as a love interest for Ryan and turned out to be a blood relative of three other main characters. She didn't even return for Caleb's funeral, despite discovering he was her real father.
  • Likewise in Dawson's Creek. A notable example is Nikki Green, who after a major initial appearance as a rival/potential love interest to Dawson, was dropped only a few episodes later.
    • In fact, Dawson's Creek might have used this trope more than any other series. Many secondary characters vanished in between seasons, with flimsy reasons given for their disappearance. Gretchen Witter, for instance, was introduced in Season 4 as Pacey's sister and Dawson's childhood crush. After spending the entire season as practically a main character, she moved away and was never seen or mentioned again.
    • Season three saw the addition of Jen's long lost sister Eve. A misguided attempt to make the show sexier and soapier by the new showrunners who replaced creator Kevin Williamsion after his departure. She was a cliche straight out of Melrose Place which conflicted with the show's quaint down-to-Earth tone. The writers quickly realized their mistake and gave her the boot mid-season. The writers were so intent on forgetting her that her story was never wrapped up and Jen never knew she even had a sister.
  • Thats Life (the American dramedy, not the British consumer protection show) featured a variation with one of the original cast as being shooed out: Candy Cooper, one of the protagonist's best friends, was written out half-way through the first season.
  • Megan Donner of CSI: Miami had the same fate.
  • Holly Gibbs didn't survive the pilot of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,original variety. The fans disliked her and Jorja Fox's Sara Sidle came in to replace her in episode 2.
  • In Happy Days, Pinky Tuscadero and Sticks were both hyped in promos as new characters, but neither appeared for more than an arc before disappearing. Pinky's sister Leather was a stand-in for Pinky — whose actress apparently caused problems — but even she did not appear very often. Other examples include down-home hick cousin K.C. Cunningham and Fonzie's temporary girlfriend and her daughter for the first post-Richie season.
    • Regarding Sticks: it's possible he disappeared because he had previously performed in porn. Not exactly the sort of thing you want hanging over a "family" show.
  • Nikki Carpenter from season 3 of MacGyver. She was written as a potential love interest for the title character, only for the producers to discover that female fans did not want Mac to have a regular girlfriend. About halfway through the season, she is mentioned as being on assignment in South America and is then never heard from again.
  • In Scrubs, Grace Miller was Brother Chucked after the writers realized that she was a Dr. Cox Distaff Counterpart, but with the key difference of not having any redeeming qualities, and his ex-wife Jordan already having that position, therefore making her a completely superfluous character.
  • The Applewhite family from season 2 of Desperate Housewives, and Kayla Scavo from season 4.
    • A better example would have to be Ana from season six. For some time, there was quite some buzz over her entrance, only for her to be reviled by many fans on message boards. She eventually got Put on a Bus to New York... literally.
  • The Muppet Show had Fleet Scribbler, tabloid journalist. One show, a few mentions later, and he vanished. The critics loved him. The writers hated him.
    • There's also Gladys, who ran the canteen introduced in season three. However, there weren't many scenes in the canteen, and Gladys was dropped halfway through the season. In one season four episode, she was replaced with a bird named Winny, who didn't make it past her initial appearance, and the few remaining canteen scenes didn't have any canteen ladies (just The Swedish Chef).
  • Just Shoot Me! had Vicki Costa, a brash hairdresser whom Jack brought in to help make the magazine hipper. Everyone else's story lines were sidetracked to revolve around her — Jack immediately respects her, Elliot immediately falls for her, Nina feels threatened by her, Finch thinks she's really hot, and Maya is obsessed with getting Vikki to open up to her. All the while, Vikki's too cool to really participate in the plot and usually has to be pursued by the other characters. It's been suggested by somewhat dubious sources that forcing her character into the cast was an aggressive attempt by executives to give Rena Sofer a star vehicle. Ratings plummeted after her introduction, she barely lasted half a season, and they didn't even air her farewell episode.
  • Nikki and Paulo from LOST were suddenly introduced in the third season as regular characters. The idea was to shine a light on what was happening with some of the other survivors who were not main characters. The characters were written to be somewhat unsympathetic at first to give them an arc, much like many of the other main characters. However, fans didn't like the new characters, nor the artificiality of their sudden inclusion. Luckily, the writers had sensed the incoming backlash and "scrapped" the idea, chosing to give them a gruesome death in a single character-centric episode. Happy now, Losties?
  • West in Heroes. His much-trumpeted relationship with Claire ended in the final episode of Series 2, leaving a way for him to be left out in the future because he was poorly received by fans. The show's creator has stated in an interview that one of the mistakes he made with this series was writing the romance badly.
    • West did, however, appear in the graphic novels that run concurrent to the television show, as one of the freedom fighters working with Rebel. He's not nearly as annoying when he's not around Claire, but he did not reappear on the show.
      • Or maybe it was because it was a comic. The role may have been miscast.
    • He also played a role, though off-screen, in the last season, when Peter visited him to gain his flying ability.
    • Similarly, Alejandro and Maya were included in season 2 and initially teased as major characters. After much angst, Alejandro is murdered by Sylar, Maya is cured of her Unfortunate Implications powers, and they are never referenced again.
    • Monica Dawson was written out the same time West was and was equally hated.
    • DL could count seeing as he wasn't introduced until episode 5. He was killed offscreen in possibly the lamest way possible. (Niki developing a THIRD personality WHICH IS NEVER SEEN AGAIN)
    • Any Big Bad other than Sylar was destined not to last long.
      • Adam Monroe is introduced in Season 2, revealed to be a a bad guy about halfway through, then buried alive in the Season finale. He is then brought back in Season 3, only to be Killed Off for Real by Arthur Petrelli within an episode.
      • The build-up to Season 3 trumpeted the four new 'Level 5' villains who were said by Angela Petrelli to be "just as bad or worse" than Sylar. Jesse and 'The German' of them are dead by the time they've had a couple of lines, Knox is killed in the Volume 3 finale, which Flint survives but thereafter is never seen again except in the comics.
      • Arthur Petrelli is introduced in the middle of Volume 3, quickly becomes by far the most powerful character on the show, and is then abruptly killed by Sylar.
      • Emile Danko is introduced in Volume 4, then killed off in Episode 1 of Volume 5.
  • When NBC decided to order a new run of episodes during the final season of Saved by the Bell, Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkeley refused to stick around, so Kelly and Jessie were written out in favor of the much less popular Tori. But because the series finale had already been produced with Thiessen and Berkeley, that episode was saved for last, which gives the impression that Tori has disappeared again. Thiessen would return for the College Years (well, College Year, to be accurate).
  • After the death of James Beck (Private Walker), Dad's Army brought in a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the form of Private Cheeseman, who was part of a major storyline in which he joined the platoon so he could report on them for the newspaper he wrote for. He was not well liked by either viewers or some of the cast (John Laurie is on record as saying that both the actor and character were fast approaching Spotlight-Stealing Squad status) and was written out after the seventh series.
  • Lauren Graham played efficiency expert Andrea for a few episodes of NewsRadio. With that writing staff, the character was probably doomed to begin with. One story has it that Andrea was introduced as a potential replacement for Khandi Alexander's Catherine Duke. After a few episodes, Graham got cold feet about joining the cast when another well-liked actress was being pushed out. Sadly, Catherine was written out anyway.
  • The Ferrera family on EastEnders was introduced to compensate for the lack of South Asian characters on the show. They were introduced with a great deal of hype, but became immensely unpopular despite at least one storyline that threatened to elevate them to Spotlight-Stealing Squad status. Viewers complained that these characters were deathly boring and the writers didn't research the Ferreras' ethnic background. The show had planned a major storyline based around the family's children killing abusive patriarch Dan, which might have redeemed them in the eyes of viewers - but Dan's actor ran into problems with his permit to work in the UK, and Dan was written out overnight. Writers then gave the Ferreras a new storyline where they discover that their friend Tariq is their long-lost half brother, allowing him to donate a kidney to another member of the family. The so-called "Kidneygate" became hugely unpopular (not least because it made Tariq's past romance with the Ferreras' daughter incestuous - even though the characters insisted they had never had sex.) Worse, other plots planned for the show had to be changed or cancelled due to various illnesses and pregnancies of other cast members, meaning that for months on end "Kidneygate" was the show's main storyline. When it became clear that the Ferreras were more hated than ever, the remaining characters were hastily written out by having a gangster bully them out of town.
    • A similar case occurred previously with the Di Marco family. They were greatly hyped after their debut and were supposed to rival the long-running Mitchell family, but their fancy Italian restaurant didn't quite fit into the atmos of Albert Square and none of their storylines really caught on with viewers. They were finally written out en masse in a rather poorly thought out exit (the entire family, despite their in-fighting, leave together to move in with a random uncle). Beppe and his son lingered on a while longer but were written out when their current storyline came to an end, since the writers could think of nothing else to do with them.
  • Sadie from Grey's Anatomy is almost too perfect an example of everything mentioned at the top of the page: she shows up out of the blue in Season 5, where it's revealed that she was apparently Meredith's BFF in med school, despite having never been so much as mentioned by Meredith prior to this. Originally intended to become another major intern character as well as a lesbian romantic foil for one of the series regulars, she stuck around just long enough for her to prove she was not only crazy incompetent but also just plain crazy. Promptly quit her job at the hospital before the end of the season.
    • Doc in season 2. It seems that the only reason he died from Soap Opera Disease was simply because the writers didn't want to deal with him anymore.
  • Kara of Smallville is a "writers didn't know what to do with her" version. She was an interesting side character for about five episodes, then bigger and better ways are found of keeping her out of things. She spends a great deal of time wandering with amnesia, returns fully for an episode or two before it's revealed that Brainiac is impersonating her and has her trapped in the Phantom Zone. When Brainiac is defeated, she is not freed and the show goes on without her as normal. She finally does come back for one episode before deciding at the end, "Hey, I'll just fly into space in a random direction and hope I run into some other Kryptonians."
    • However, they did bring her back in season 10, though this might be a case of a season-long Back for the Finale. In the end, she appeared in precisely two episodes of Season 10, at opposite ends of the season, before running out on Clark right before his last battle with Darkseid, putting on a magic ring and transporting herself into the future for reasons the show never bothered to explain.
    • Also from Smallville: Lex Luthor's long lost half-brother Lucas from season two. He appeared in one episode (which was almost painfuly bad) and was immediately Put on a Bus ride from which he never reappeared; no one has ever even mentioned him again. Also something of an Aborted Arc, given the amount of build-up to his appearance.
    • Lana Lang's real father was revealed to be Henry Small in Season 2. They managed to get along with each other, and Henry appeared (as a distracting subplot) in 5 episodes of that season. Finally, Lana realizes their relationship is putting a strain on Henry's marriage and advises Henry that he should distance himself from her and put more focus on his own family. He must have REALLY taken that advice to heart, since he was never seen or heard from again.
  • The second season of Charmed introduced Jenny Gordon, neighbor to the main characters. Beyond living with her hot uncle (a convenient love interest for Piper), she was apparently important enough to get mentioned in the opening credits, but moved away to live with her parents before she actually did anything important, while her uncle remained a recurring character throughout the rest of the season (after season two, he also inexplicably disappeared).
    • He was seen putting a For Sale sign up in the season 2 finale. He didn't much care to be around witches and warlocks. Being turned into an 80 year old man (albeit temporarly) can do that to a guy.
  • Community mocks this mercilessly with Jack Black's appearance as "Buddy", a student who has allegedly been in the gang's Spanish 101 class this entire time. The entire main cast are either weirded out by his sudden, unexplained appearance in their lives or convinced he's a murderous psycho. The episode ends with Owen Wilson suddenly appearing and offering Buddy a spot in the "cool" clique.
  • Doctor Who had one early in its long run. In the fourth and final part of The Myth Makers (set during the Trojan War), a Trojan handmaiden named Katarina snuck on board the TARDIS and became the First Doctor's latest companion. She was promptly killed off in the following adventure, the 12 part epic, The Daleks' Master Plan...in part four. According to the actress who played Katerina, her death scene was the very first scene she was filmed in. This means that the writers created the character, tried her out, decided she wasn't working, and dropped a bridge on her before a single scene of her had been filmed (and possibly before the character was even cast).
    • Kamelion, a shape-changing robot who joined the Fifth Doctor and his companions on board the TARDIS. Kamelion was an actual Real Life robot...whose designer died suddenly without telling anybody how to operate the blasted thing.note  Technically, Kamelion was a companion for nearly a full year. In practice, he only showed up in 2 adventures, the one where he came onboard the TARDIS and the one where the writers said, "Enough's enough," and Dropped a Bridge on Him.
    • Liz Shaw was unceremoniously removed between episodes and replaced with Jo Grant.
  • Josie Sutton on Cold Case was given a mysterious Back Story and complicated relationships with the regular cast before being Put on a Bus four episodes later.
  • Married... with Children had Seven, a little boy who was adopted by the Bundys. Seven was forced on the show by Fox execs, who saw how popular the cute kids on other sitcoms of the time were and decided that's what the Bundys needed (even though their ratings were just fine.) Fox hyped the kid's arrival to no end, but Seven was resoundingly hated by fans and writers alike. The main problem was that the writers couldn't do anything with him: the show's humor came from mercilessly abusing the characters, but that wouldn't work with a little kid. So Seven just kind of stood around in the background doing nothing when he wasn't serving as a source of abuse for the other characters - with Peggy doting on him endlessly - meaning he was either a nonentity or The Scrappy. After half a season of this, the writers removed him from the show entirely. His picture shows up on a milk carton a few episodes later, as both a quick gag and an explanation for his absence.
  • Marcus from The Suite Life on Deck, a former hip-hop star who came to the ship to try and live a (fairly) normal life, was introduced to the series with a decent amount of fanfare, quickly receiving a Promotion to Opening Titles and becoming a Regular Character soon after. He left the show a season later to become one half of a Pair Of Kings
  • Lana Sheilds on Three's Company, the foxy older lady who was trying to get Jack in bed. They ran a few good episodes featuring her chasing after him then...nothing.
  • Degrassi The Next Generation introduced multiple short-lived New Guys between Seasons 7 and 8. Thankfully as it's a school characters vanishing from the center stage is easily handwaved away.
    • Season 7 gave us Damian who started off as Manny's love interest, quickly became Emma's love interest, then quickly became Liberty's love interest. And at the end of the season he's gone because he graduated... and all three girls want nothing to do with him.
    • Kelly, Leia, and Blue in season 8. Kelly was the cool stoner roommate for Manny, Emma, and Liberty. Quickly put in a love triangle with Manny and Emma, then became Emma's new romance. He's never seen again after he breaks up with Emma in Season 9. Leia and Blue were never fleshed out, Leia's a pathological liar trying to fit in and Blue is a tall dreamy artist who can net himself any girl he wants. When Blue and Holly J don't work out, Blue slowly fades into the background. Leia appears for two episodes in Season 10, but after that she's dropped from the credits.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Shakaar, who was mentioned early in the show's run as being Major Kira's former resistance commander. After he actually appeared in person he went from being a dirt farmer to being head of the Bajoran government in one episode, then in his next appearance he revealed that he had fallen in love with Kira who decided she felt the same way. He pops up again when she's giving birth (not his child, or hers) before finally being Put on a Bus via offscreen break-up (in-universe Word of God told the two they weren't meant to be together). For those keeping count, this was all in the space of three appearances. In this instance the writers actually did like Shakaar (even if the fans didn't) and intended to make him an important recurring character, but actor Duncan Regehr's other work commitments put a halt to this plan.
  • An odd example from Merlin: in the first episode of season two a new knight called "Sir Geraint" in the credits was introduced, who seemed to function as Arthur's second-in-command and was given several promotional shots. He was never seen after the first episode, possibly because the second episode introduced... Sir Leon!
    • Agravaine is a scarily accurate portrayal of this trope, so much so that it's as if the writers deliberately ticked off all the prerequisites listed at the top of the page. He pops up completely unannounced in series 4, having been integrated into the court during the Time Skip with no explanation as to where he was beforehand. He's the well-respected Evil Uncle of Arthur, who speaks of him as though he's known him all his life, even though he didn't get a single mention in any of the prior seasons. He has a close working relationship with Morgana, though their history together is never explained. Actor Nathaniel Parker is Promoted To Opening Credits by the fourth episode after his introduction, and appears in every episode of that season (whereas actresses Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby, cast members who were around right from the beginning, have to sit out a few episodes). And he proceeds to do absolutely nothing of note except feed information to Morgana and act horrendously, painfully, Obviously Evil. The writers never bothered to give him any sort of background or meaningful motivation, and they eventually Dropped a Bridge on Him in the final episode. No one on the show mentioned him ever again, and no one in the audience missed him.
  • Who's the Boss?: During the fall of 1990, a cute kid named Billy (Jonathan Halyalkar) briefly joins the Miceli-Bower household, purportedly as a comic foil to Tony Danza's male lead character; the idea was that Billy's parents had died several months earlier in a car accident, and that Tony (both he and Billy were from the same Bronx neighborhood) would be the perfect person to raise him. Although a promising actor, Halyalkar had problems meshing with the cast (according to Katherine Helmond in a series retrospective that aired on E!), plus he came off as annoying to audiences. By the end of the season, Billy had gone to live with a new foster family, and he was retconned out of existence.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Riley Finn, introduced in Season 4 to be Buffy's new love interest after Angel got his own series. He was never really accepted by the fans, and got written out again in Season 5.
  • Law & Order SVU added Kim Greylek in Season 10 to replace the disbarred Casey Novak. Her cold demeanor didn't win over fans so after 15 episodes she was quickly booted and replaced with the returning Alex Cabot.
  • Dallas had an interesting case with Jack Ewing, played by Dack Rambo. He was brought in near the end of season 7 to replace the departing Patrick Duffy. He had a major role in the All Just a Dream season 8. When Duffy returned for season 9, the character was no longer needed and Put on a Bus with very little time having passed in show, while two years of real time had passed.
  • Supernatural:
    • Jo Harvelle was promoted as Dean's first recurring love interest (in fact, the first recurring love interest on the show in general) and even receiving three clear storylines of her own (becoming a hunter, finding out the truth about her father's death and tracking down her MIA boyfriend Rick, who only appeared on a hidden feature on the Season 1 DVD). Instead of being "the Leia" to Sam'n'Dean's Luke and Han Solo as promised, Jo got dropped like a hot potato with only three episodes under her belt (two of which were basically just cameos). Her final appearance for three seasons before she returns and dies in a terribly sad way was as a disillusioned Distressed Damsel terrorized by a demon possessing Sam. It gave her an earful on how Dean doesn't think of her either as a fellow hunter or as a potential girlfriend that was ripped right from the online forums, made her describe her dad's death to it and taunted her with a much more gruesome and disturbing version of how it said it went down, and it was implied to be about to rape and torture her to death when Dean arrived. She then saw first-hand that Dean would have let her die rather than kill his possessed brother and was left dejectedly muttering, "No, you won't," when he said he'd call her. That's a pretty freakin' harsh way to satiate the bloodthirsty hatred of the rabid fangirls, Supernatural writers.
    • Something similar happened with Anna, Dean's second would-be love interest. She wasn't really disliked by the fans -Well, other than the shippers, of course- but she had the unfortunate luck of being introduced a few episodes after Castiel. The original idea was that Castiel would be Killed Off for Real after only a few episodes of screentime, and then Anna would take his place as Dean's angel guide. However, by the time Anna made her first appearance Castiel was already so loved by the fans that the writers didn't dare get rid of him. Instead, they decided to make him a major character and expand his role in the series, and this meant a lot of material originally intended for Anna went to Castiel instead. Initially they tried to keep Anna around too, but this didn't work too well, so eventually they decided to write her out by having her randomly turn evil and try to kill Sam.
    • Bela Talbot would also fit the bill. She was a thief out to exploit the supernatural to her benefit, able to either help or hinder the Winchesters as the story needed, and with a potential for being a romantic interest for Dean (as Ruby, who was tied to Sam's story, was introduced around the same point in time, with both actresses placed in the 'starring' portion of the credits). However, her second episode was the episode "Red Sky At Warning," which was not well received by both fans and the writers (there was even a later in-universe apology for the episode as being 'bad writing'), and her next two appearances had her first give a bad guy the location of the Winchesters, then help them out so that she could get close and steal the Colt, the only weapon they had that could kill demons. There might have still been a chance had she appeared in other episodes in more detail, but this was the season of the Writer's Strike, and, with her theft of the Colt being one of the last things for her character prior to the Strike starting and fan reaction being made clear over the course of it, she was killed off in the penultimate episode of the season.
    • Amelia in season 8 is another example. The intention was for her and Sam to have a beautiful, tragic romance together that would eventually force Sam to choose between a perfect life with her, or giving up that life to help Dean save the world. What actually happened is that fans couldn't figure out why Sam was wasting his time with this random woman instead of helping Dean get out of Purgatory or trying to save the prophet Kevin from Crowley. Epileptic Trees that she was some sort of Honey Trap sent to divert Sam from some greater purpose abounded until it was eventually confirmed otherwise. The whole arc came off as a Trapped by Mountain Lions plot, and Sam Took A Level In Jerk Ass to get it to work. Eventually, the writers realized how badly Amelia had misfired and quietly wrote her out halfway through the season. Word of God is she won't be coming back.
  • Julia Duffy replaced Delta Burke for the 6th season of Designing Women as the Sugarbaker's prissy cousin, Allison. The character was very poorly received and was gone by the 7th season premiere. Creator Susan Bloodworth-Thomason blamed herself and the writers for not creating a more multi-dimensional character for Duffy to play. Jan Hooks was more successful as Jean Smart's replacement and was kept around for the final season.
  • Randy in That '70s Show became a replacement for Eric and Kelso in the last season, gaining a permanent role in the group and quickly becoming Donna's new love interest. However, the fans couldn't stand him, so he only shows up in one brief scene at the beginning of the series finale, and doesn't appear in the final Circle at the end.
  • 24: Most of the new characters introduced in the first half of the fourth season were quickly kicked out, with a few exceptions such as Curtis and Edgar, to bring in some of the more beloved characters from the previous three seasons.
    • The sixth season had Sandra Palmer, the third sibling of the Palmer family. Most viewers found her moral stances to be overly preachy and annoying, and the writers themselves apparently had little idea of what to do with her, leading to her to be Put on a Bus after just a few episodes. She came back halfway into the season only to be put another one just two episodes later, this time for good. She's had the least amount of appearances in the show out of every single main cast member of the show, even compared to the ones quickly kicked out from season 4 as stated above.
    • Most of the main FBI Agents for season 7 lasted through at least through most of the season. Not so for Sean Hillinger, a rather unpopular character known mainly for acting somewhat creepy and generally being an all-around dick. Less then halfway through the season he was revealed to be working with terrorists and was almost immediately arrested, never getting another appearance or even mention.
  • SSA Ashley Seaver of Criminal Minds got this treatment once the production team was allowed to reverse the Executive Meddling that created her. After breaking the show's base for half a season she was unceremoniously Put on a Bus to the white-collar crime division and has not been mentioned since.
  • ER: Lucy Knight, who from her first episode was shoved into the audiences' face at the expense of established characters, then abruptly dropped into the background when it was realized that she wasn't fitting in, before finally being killed off a mere 1.5 years into her tenure.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in the season 3 premiere of Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, "Planes": Less than halfway through the very episode in which she is introduced, Steve's new co-host, Linda, dies in a plane crash. That Steve is mostly responsible for. But hey, she shouldn't have gone first.
  • This happened to most of the new kids on Glee. Really, the only new kids who had any staying power were Sam and Blaine:
    • First was tomboyish athlete Lauren, originally a background character who was bribed by Puck into joining New Directions in the middle of season 2 and later started dating him and bonded with other members of the group. Come Season 3, however, she appeared just long enough to dump him and leave New Directions because it was no longer "cool enough" for her.
    • Season 3's own additions were foreign exchange student Rory, delusional rich girl Sugar, and Christian hippie Joe, all of whom had compelling storylines during the season. While Rory's disappearance in Season 4 can be justified by him returning to Ireland, Sugar and Joe were Demoted to Extra early in the season before they eventually just stopped appearing.
    • Season 4 was perhaps the worst in this regard, since half of the glee club graduated at the end of 3, and the show made a big deal hyping up the "New New Directions," composed of the current seniors (the members who didn't graduate last year) along with five new kids: Marley, Jake, Unique, Ryder, and Kitty. Unfortunately none of them really caught on with viewers, possibly due to having character concepts similar to the members who graduated. By this point the show was split between the cast in Lima and the grads who moved to New York City to follow their dreams, and since the latter was much better received by viewers, the show eventually dropped Lima altogether halfway through Season 5.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Uncle Max in Calvin and Hobbes, who had a brief storyline and then left the strip permanently, partly because Max did not bring out any new sides of Calvin, thus making the character redundant, and also because Bill Watterson found it too awkward to write dialogue in which he never called Calvin's parents by their names.
  • Somewhat prophetically, in 1973 a character named Poochie debuted in Peanuts. She was a little girl who used to live in the neighborhood, who supposedly was the first to refer to Charlie Brown by his full name and who almost adopted Snoopy before choosing another dog. After appearing in a few Sunday strips, she disappeared without a trace.
    • There was also Charlotte Braun, who appeared in a dozen strips in the 1950's before evaporating. She had a loud voice and ... that's about it. Originally she was to be a female foil for Charlie Brown, but was no more interesting in the role than Lucy was. There's a hilarious response letter that Schulz wrote to a fan who didn't like the character, featuring Charlotte with an axe in her head.
    • Poochie was mentioned a couple of times later on, usually when Snoopy was adamantly refusing to accept her Valentine's Day card or send her a Christmas card.
  • Pearls Before Swine had creator Stephen Pastis introduce a character named Leonard who wore a bear costume. He was actually a third roommate who lived with main characters Pig and Rat. He only appeared in about a week's worth of comics and Word of God said the character just wasn't working. As acknowledged in the strip itself, he was killed off by getting his head stuck in a toilet and drowning.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the WWE, Kevin "Big Poochie" Nash (though nicknamed more for his Spotlight-Stealing Squad nature). Came in with lots of history (he was, after all, Diesel back in the early '90s, but wrestling fans aren't supposed to remember that) and an infamous Real Life friendship with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Scott Hall, and X-Pac (his teammates in the nWo). His presence seemed to leave a bad taste in a lot of fans' mouths, and after his second quad tear, he left for another several years. Why Hall and X-Pac didn't get a Shoo Out the New Guy treatment is anyone's guess.
    • Nash's nickname of "Big Poochie" actually dates back to late-90s WCW, where he was Head Booker and essentially forcing Nitro to revolve around himself, with increasingly absurd segments that seemed to be aired purely for the amusement of Nash himself.
  • This is actually fairly common in wrestling. Whenever a wrestler debuts and is immediately hated by the fans, promotions will usually either retool him with a different gimmick, or put him on a bus. An example would be Beaver Cleavage, who was heavily hyped by the WWE prior to his debut and lasted all of a week before becoming Chaz.
    • A more recent example was Kizarny. The gimmick was that he was apparently a carnival/circus performer so he always spoke in Carny. Carny is a form of Pig Latin commonly used by carnival folks (duh) and wrestlers, where you put "iz" before the first (or maybe all) vowels of a word. This, of course, made nearly everything the guy said unintelligible and the character was dropped before he could even debut save for one match against MVP.
    • In 80's WWF a lot of vignettes were filmed hyping a wrestler named Outback Jack. This was basically Vince's attempt to cash in on the success of Crocodile Dundee. After months and months of hype, fans were treated to some of the worst "wrestling" ever performed in public. Jack was shown the door in short order.
    • ECW and WCW tag team the Public Enemy was brought into the WWF as a favor to there-for-a-cup-of-coffee-himself booker Terry Taylor in 1999. They managed to irritate both the fans and wrestlers in short order, and found their way out of the company after being legitimately beaten up during a match.
  • The most infamous example though, is The Gobbledy Gooker. He had all of one appearance (not even a match, just a ten minute long skit with Mean Gene Okerlund) before he was never mentioned again, save for a gimmick battle royale at Wrestlemania X-7.
    • He does get referenced by the WWE every now and then, albeit only to point out how horrible he was. He's also got a page on WWE.com in the "WWE Alumni" section of the roster.
  • Krissy Vaine, who debuted by attacking Torrie Wilson brutally at ringside after a match on Smackdown. She was seen in a backstage segment the next week but requested her release almost immediately for some really tragic reasons note .
  • Three out of four of the WWENXT winners have gotten this treatment. Wade Barrett fared really well but Kaval spent two months being Demoted to Extra and then asked for his release. Kaitlyn was sent straight back down to FCW because she was too green. She then reappeared a couple months later. Johnny Curtis did not appear for months after season 4 wrapped, then appeared in a series of backstage vignettes and then promptly disappeared again for months, he actually was sent back to NXT during its fifth season. He is now appearing in another set of promos with a complete gimmick change.
    • At this point in time, Kaitlyn is now the Divas Champion, so she's definitely on the rise.
    • Johnny Curtis is doing great with the fans under the gimmick "Fandango".

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Near the end of the Final Battle of Dino Attack RPG, Atton Rand introduced a cast of characters consisting of Buffy Captain Ersatzes and put the spotlight on them, expecting that his fellow players would enjoy these new additions to the cast. Instead, other players were tired of so many Captain Ersatz characters in the RPG, and the last thing they wanted was another group of Ersatzes based on a show they did not watch introduced at the last minute and expected to share the spotlight with the main cast. As a result, Atton Rand quickly shooed out the Buffy Ersatzes, and they were never mentioned again.

    Video Games 
  • As much as some fans complain about all the additional Sonic the Hedgehog characters the newer games have added, Sonic Team seemed to learn their lesson with Silver; after his debut in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and prominent role in Sonic Rivals 2, he's been demoted to extremely minor roles. His reputation with fans has improved a bit, mainly due to his rule in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics, even getting a leading role in an arc for the Sonic Universe spin-offs. Meanwhile, fans of his game appearances are currently stuck wondering when Sonic Team will ever address the massive Continuity Snarl between the Sonic Rivals titles and Sonic Rush titles and Sonic 06's real place in the continuity that his involvement ties into.
    • His return in Sonic Generations was met with ire from people who remembered his incredibly cheap boss fight in his debut game, until people actually fought him. Cue everyone liking him again.
    • Princess Elise, who debuted in the same game, is a much straighter example. During the sneak peeks of Sonic 06, she was heavily hyped up, especially with the addition of Lacey Chabert as her VA. When the game was released, she quickly became the most hated character in the franchise because she is constantly kidnapped and developed a disturbing attraction toward Sonic, up to kissing Sonic's corpse to revive him in the Last Story.
    • Most of the characters introduced between Sonic Adventure and Sonic Unleashed have been demoted to very short appearances in recent Sonic games due to the re-emphasis on Sonic being the only mandatory playable character. Recent titles have Tails as the other only companion to Sonic. The reduced roles of other characters, even in titles where they reasonably could have had a non playable role of some plot significance, makes some fans wonder if Sonic Team is merely doing it to shut certain groups up while the reputation of the series improve. (For example, Tails not being optionally playable outside of co-op in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 while Metal Sonic got that and his own story mode didn't set well with some fans. However, Tails being an optional playable character in the XBLA/PSN/Steam re-release of Sonic CD made mainstream game news outlets livid.)
    • Due to his fishing levels in his debut game and his slowgoing, dopey personality, Big the Cat has mostly been relegated to goofy cameos. Harmless stuff, right? Continued aggression towards the character despite not having any relevant role in a main series title in years led to his Sonic Adventure 2 cameos being pointlessly Dummied Out of the GCN re-release (most of them return in the XBLA/PSN/Steam re-release), a cameo in Sonic Generations being cut and Sonic Team heads apologizing for bringing him in during a Q&A at the Summer of Sonic fan convention. Ouch.
    • Even after re-introducing other characters to the games, Sonic Team is still adamant about having Sonic be the only playable character until they're perfected the Sonic formula, although they seem to be tyring to ease other characters back in and will presumably make them playable in a later game

    Web Original 
  • The guy from this short Cyanide and Happiness video.
  • Todd and Travis from Arby 'n' the Chief were introduced, and subsequently removed a few episodes later, because of the enormous backlash they received from the fanbase.

    Webcomics 
  • Parodied in this DMFA strip. The character lasts two half-sized panels and some anguished screaming in the third. Didn't even get to finish introducing himself.
  • The second Electric Wonderland comic ended with the introduction of Shroomy's boyfriend, a slacker named Parker. He did not appear in the following story for reasons unknown, although Shroomy still expresssed hope later that he would return. He finally did so in the sixth comic, written 11 months after his disappearance, but only to ask Shroomy for $50. As a result, Aerynn advised Shroomy to break up with Parker and find a more dependable boyfriend. By the time the next comic came out, Parker was officially no longer a member of the Nettropolis Free Press staff, and he wasn't even included in a set of character bios written in July 2010.
    • The remake of the second comic has Trawn decide to make do with a staff of five before Shroomy can introduce Parker to the gang.
  • Pre-emptively invoked in the Homestuck Adventure Game Kickstarter. The $10,000 reward is "Your Fantroll will become canon". The $100,000 reward is "Your Fantroll Will Survive Past The First Panel".
    • And indeed: they do not survive past the first panel. More seriously though, the higher tiers were only ever intended as jokes, and after two people sincerely paid $10,000 to have their fantrolls in the series, the tier was locked to prevent anyone else from reaching it.

    Western Animation 
  • Poochie from The Simpsons, who is an in-universe example. Meddling executives create the Totally Radical character (voiced by Homer) in a clumsy attempt to pander to kids. In his first episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show, Poochie sidetracks the plot to introduce himself by rapping about all of the reasons kids should just love him. The audience overwhelmingly hates Poochie and the focus being put on him. In the very next episode, the president crudely alters the cartoon himself to kill Poochie "on the way back to his home planet." Krusty then promises the audience that he will never be brought back, And There Was Much Rejoicing. The same episode got all meta and dropped a cool guy named Roy into the Simpson family's house, with no explanation. At the end, he moved into an apartment with two sexy ladies.
    • The sad thing is, Fox was at first actually serious about the idea of having a new 'hip' character in the Simpsons' household. Of course the writers were against it, and thus they created this parody instead.
    • Poochie does make a brief cameo without any lines in another Itchy and Scratchy episode.
    • The producers would find themselves in familiar territory years later when FOX held a contest that would allow the winning fan to create a new Simpsons character. Naturally the writers responded by having the character die instantly after only one scene.
  • Ms. Choksondik from South Park seems to be designed to be intentionally unpleasant, and takes the empty teacher spot left by Mr. Garrison. Either out of mercy to the audience or simply because her jokes had run their course, the creators eventually kill her off by way of an instantly-resolved Tonight Someone Dies faux-cliffhanger where her death is little more than just a footnote, and restore Mr. Garrison to his previous post.
    • That and they might as well fulfill her prophetic name. She may have always been planned to be a substitute teacher while Mr. Garrison took some Character Development.
    • In his first appearance, Towelie appears to be a parody of this trope. He appears out of absolutely nowhere, the boys react just enough to get him to wander off periodically, and the episode features a fake commercial for Towelie merchandise (including, just in case, "I hate Towelie" T-shirts).
      Cartman: Towelie, you're the worst character ever
  • Parodied in an episode of Pinky and the Brain, with Larry, who got an awkward Promotion to Opening Titles, and generated a Retool into a The Three Stooges knock-off. And plenty of My Friends... and Zoidberg moments. In a Lampshade Hanging, he left specifically because Brain pointed out that he didn't gel. Then, at the very end, just as it looked like that Pinky and the Brain will carry on as a duo again, a scientist placed another mouse into their cage, and the mouse introduces himself as Zeppo. The ending reprise of the theme song was then reworked to have Zeppo's name in it in the same manner as Larry. He's gone before the next episode, though.
  • The Smurfs cartoon show averts this trope by the fact that most of the Smurfs are basically Faceless Masses, identical to each other. A character can be brought in, given prominence for a while, and then be easily written out with no problem and without anybody really missing them.
  • In Kim Possible, Adrena Lynn was meant to be a recurring rival and foil for Kim. The fans disliked her - and, more to the point, far preferred Shego - leaving her as one of the very, very few villains with only one episode (and a cameo in the finale).

    Real Life 
  • Most workplaces have an at-will policy, particularly for new employees during the first few weeks or months on the job. This is a probationary period, which allows the new hire's supervisor(s) and co-workers to assess his/her skills and whether they'll be a good fit for the company. If the employee doesn't work out for some reason — often, it's due to poor performance or failure to meet expected standards, or a lack of skills expected for the position, but it can also be for any number of other reasons (ranging from resume fraud to inability to get along with others to simply not gelling with the workplace culture) — the new employee will be fired, thus fitting the trope.
  • When Spain took over the Louisiana Territory from France in the 1760s as a result of the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), the first new Spanish governor was so unpopular with the residents that they revolted. He was ousted and a new guy installed.
  • A frequent result of seniority when there are layoffs, which can often increase the number of employees laid off. Senior workers often command higher wages. The company could have kept more staff at a lower wage by releasing workers with more seniority.
    • This was mentioned in Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker. When Salomon Brothers, a famous 80's powerhouse investment bank, took a huge dive, they began to cut staff rapidly. Indeed, over-aggressive expansion coupled with a failure to recognize new markets (mostly in junk bonds) nearly tanked the bank in the late 80's. The Brothers began laying off "geeks," or the newest employees, who had no real tenure, hadn't caused the bank's crisis, and cost much less than the "old guard" to employ. As a consequence, the layoffs did little to ease the crisis.


Sesame Street CredCharacters and CastingSignificant Double Casting
ScrubScrappy IndexSmall Annoying Creature
Not That Kind of DoctorImageSource/Web ComicsCheckerboard Nightmare

alternative title(s): Shoot The Scrappy Dog; The Poochie
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