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So an actor's walked out of the show, leaving you and the other writers in a bit of a sticky spot. Or maybe one of your characters has (for whatever reason(s)) become The Scrappy. You don't want to kill their character off, but you're still feeling pretty malicious, and just having them Put on a Bus isn't nasty enough. The solution is to put them on a Bus to Hell: write them out in a way so mean-spirited that it's clear to all and sundry that you're doing it out of malice and spite.
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The most common form is for them to suffer rapid Character Derailment, often over the course of a single episode. Maybe they're too busy holding onto the Idiot Ball to prevent a beloved character getting hurt, or perhaps they even did something irredeemably awful themselves. Whatever the circumstances, by the end of the episode, they have no choice but to leave town forever to preserve what tattered shreds of dignity they have left and save their friends from the worthless wreck of a human they've become.

This trope is for specifically non-fatal examples. If a character dies under these circumstances, then he has been McLeaned.

Compare Dropped a Bridge on Him and Put on a Prison Bus. Contrast Bus Crash. More literal cases go under Dragged Off to Hell.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball GT does this to Piccolo, quite literally. After he's already dead. Of course, he went there himself on purpose, actually prefers being there, and uses his newfound position to guard here as seen at the end.
  • Miya from My-Otome disappears completely from the show following her implication in Arika's Attempted Rape situation halfway through the series, while also confessing to other Arika-related incidents (in one of the situations, she is completely innocent) before being led out of Garderobe by school administrators. None of the other characters see or hear anything from her again.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew seemed safe as long as they were in Comic-Book Limbo. Unfortunately, when they were brought back in the mid-2000s, their Animal Superheroes world had to become darker to reflect the Darker and Edgier mainstream DC Universe. As a result, Little Cheese is murdered, and then comes the Captain Carrot And the Final Ark mini-series. Their world has become uninhabitable, so Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew, and the other anthropomorphic animal superheroes, arrange for an ark to take them to the Justa Lotta Animals' world, Earth C-Minus. However, because of a mishap, not only do they end up in the "main" DC Universe Earth, but they are also turned into non-anthropomorphic animals who can't communicate with Superman and the Justice League. The mini-series ends with them stuck this way, and the DC heroes not knowing why this ship appeared filled with animals. Fortunately, there's good news: The Monitor Nix Uotan breaks down that bus to Hell by reverting the Zoo Crew into their original forms in time for the final battle of Final Crisis.
  • Spider-Man: Mary Jane Watson once left for a short period of time as to avoid her and Peter getting married. They did so with her returning the engagement ring he gave her and claiming that marriage just isn't her thing, doing so in a rather unsympathetic way. The anti-marriage fans still haven't forgiven her.
  • Asterix: The fate of Erix, the teenage pirate. The other three pirates form a well-balanced Comic Trio with a good joke template (after a failure, Pegleg says a Latin aphorism, Baba makes a pun on it and Redbeard yells at them both to shut up), leaving Erix with nothing to do. Since he isn't funny, his own dad is forced to sell him into slavery offscreen, and Erix is never heard from again.
  • In Runaways, Xavin poses as Karolina and offers herself up to the Majesdanians, who had demanded that Karolina return with them to answer for her parents' crimes. The odds that Xavin, a Skrull, might be spared if the Majesdanians ever discover the deception are not exactly favorable...
    • In Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), it's established early on that Klara was taken away by child services after the events of Avengers Arena. Subverted when it turns out that Klara is happy with her new foster parents, although it took some time for her to accept them because they were a gay couple. Ironic, given how foster care has been portrayed as a Fate Worse than Death in this franchise, and given that Klara is precisely the sort of kid who would not do well in the system...
  • Marvel was really bad about this in the 2010s:
    • After Fear Itself, Nick Fury was shuffled off and replaced by his son, Nick Fury Jr. (the one who looks like Fury's Ultimate version), with the explanation that the Infinity Formula that sustains him is wearing out... somehow. Then, a few years later Original Sin states that in fact it had worn out ages ago, leaving Nick looking his actual age. Then he turns out to be the one who murdered Uatu, and winds up cursed to live forever on the Moon as "The Unseen".
    • Thor: How did Marvel take Thor out of the picture when they decided that they wanted to replace him with Jane Foster? By having him become unworthy and unable to lift his hammer, then lose his powers and his left arm, then' try to reclaim his hammer only to discover that there's someone else wielding it, having to relinquish his signature weapon and his name as a result.
      There's also how Jane herself relinquishes the mantle; she takes it up to stave off the effects of her cancer, but the kicker is that, every time she transforms, her body reverts to how it was before chemotherapy, to the point where Doctor Strange warns her that, if she "Thors out" once more, she will die. Still, she takes on one last mission in order to stop a rampaging Mangog by hurling him into the Sun while chained to Mjolnir (since any other method of getting rid of him would just end up with him coming back). While Jane does die after Mjolnir gets vaporized, Odin and Thor travel to rescue her soul and bring her back from the gates of Valhalla (where she's just standing because she hesitated), and so she comes back to life, with her cancer in remission, and lets Thor be Thor again — although, without Mjolnir, he makes due with a variety of enchanted hammers until the climax of War of the Realms when he has Mjolnir reforged.
    • Captain America is aged into a really old man so that Sam Wilson can take his place. And when the original is brought back, his whole history is changed via an in-universe retcon to make him a villain and a HYDRA agent all along. Even worse, it's eventually revealed that the HYDRA agent is the original Captain, and the non-HYDRA Cap we know and love had been created by a previous Cosmic Retcon, making the new HYDRA Captain actually a return to his true self from the original timeline—or so HYDRA Cap thinks, as it turns out that HYDRA Cap himself was the Cosmic Retcon created by the Red Skull, and the non-HYDRA Cap is indeed the real Cap, who returns at the end of Secret Empire.

    Comic Strips 
  • Baldo: Smiley is originally Baldo's tomboyish next-door neighbor and later becomes his girlfriend. Word of God is that the relationship wasn't interesting to write, so the characters break up but decided to stay friends. A couple of months later, Smiley has some offscreen Character Derailment within the span of three days, culminating in an Evil Makeover into an Alpha Bitch. Despite a claim from the author that she might return, Smiley disappeared from the comic after 2006.
  • Retail has Josh. While he was always obnoxious and disliked by other employees, he was initially just eager to be the best employee possible. However, after he gets promoted to assistant manager, he becomes more and more antagonistic, culminating with him lying about receiving a job offer from a rival store in order to secure a big raise. After some time, his bosses discover that he lied about the offer, but opt not to fire him immediately due to it being the holiday season, and them needing all the help they can get. Josh eventually realizes that his superiors have discovered his scheme, so he quickly finds a new job before they have a chance to fire him. After Josh turns in his two weeks' notice, he admits to lying about the job offer and brags about it. Josh is fired on the spot, not letting him work out his notice. He hasn't appeared since 2014, although he is mentioned in one 2016 strip.
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    Fan Works 
  • A very popular Fandom-Specific Plot in My Hero Academia stories is to have Mineta Minoru expelled by Aizawa at the Quirk Apprehension Test or for his perverted antics. This is especially common with Crossovers and Self-Inserts that put somebody new in Class 1-A, because the class has to stay the same size, and if somebody has to go, it might as well be Mineta. Americans hate him, after all.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Interestingly, Lorne has something akin to this happen, in a case of Tropes Are Not Bad. His growing discomfort with the gang's Enemy Mine situation, and feeling out of place as the resident comic relief guy in an increasingly dark series, is cemented in the finale. He helps out with Angel's plan to take out the worst bad guys ever — shooting resident Amoral Attorney/Arch-Enemy Lindsey after they fight off a bunch of demon Mooks, but makes it quite clear that he's finished with their vigilante shtick, and that this is the last thing—and personal Moral Event Horizon—he's going to do with them. After that, he becomes the force that binds the universe together. He also gets an encore that flips the script, this time literally in hell. In the Angel comic series, he gets to be an almost angelic leader of a refuge district of the LA hellscape.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Ivanova was hastily written out of the series after the actress, Claudia Christian, left under a cloud. This happened during tense re-negotiations with WB and threw the fifth (unplanned) season into utter chaos. Enter Harlan Ellison, who handwaved Ivanova's departure with a Take That!, saying she left for a better paying job.
    • Even before this, Talia Winters had her personality erased and turned evil in the span of one episode, following producer arguments over screentime with actress Andrea Thompson. A throwaway line in a later episode suggests she had been killed and dissected. Following this actor dispute, J. Michael Straczynski was keen to point out that every character had a possible replacement planned - only for emergencies, of course.
  • black•ish: Lucy is fired in the season 2 finale and is replaced by the boss's son. Fitting with her status as the Butt-Monkey, her firing is a massive Humiliation Conga.
  • In The Blacklist, Samar had to be written out after her actress left, so the writers gave her a degenerative brain disease caused by her near-drowning at the end of season 5. After half a season of increasingly severe memory issues and aphasia, Mossad takes out a hit on her because they believe her condition has made her a liability, forcing her to go on the run and leave the rest of the task force behind—including Aram, whom she’d planned on marrying. Unlike many examples, Samar was not The Scrappy; she was a fairly well-liked character, and the decision to leave her alone, on the run, and disabled from brain damage baffled many viewers (especially because Liz had survived a year-long coma with seemingly no consequences not even a season prior.) Fan dissatisfaction with her ending likely contributed to the unpopularity of her replacement, Alina Park.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Oz is written out by a Story Arc which ends with him acting amazingly stupid, breaking Willow's heart, and killing (a villain, but this is a show where Thou Shalt Not Kill). His encore episode later on is barely any kinder.
    • Riley is similarly written out, with his alienation from the group turning to mind-melting stupidity that nearly gets him killed, and quitting when Buffy can't forgive him. Again, he gets an encore episode where he's portrayed more nicely, if blandly.
  • Coronation Street: The departure of Todd Grimshaw is probably meant to be sad, but since it involves him verbally abusing and assaulting both his brother and the ex-girlfriend he cheated on for sleeping together, then jumping on a bus declaring no one would ever love her like he did, it's hard not to think the writers were trying to make sure no one would miss him. (He does come back to be best man at the couple's wedding, to show there were no hard feelings, but then he comes back again as a snob who is ashamed of his working-class roots.)
  • Degrassi
    • In Degrassi Junior High, Nicole Stoffman (who played Stephanie) left the show in the third season to further her career elsewhere. In the next episode, Stephanie's brother says that their mom has sent her to a private school with a strict dress code, "including knee socks." Stephanie is a fashionista who had spent the entire show up to that point trying to be glamorous and pretty, so she could escape her Control Freak mother's iron fist.
    • Degrassi: The Next Generation. Dan Woods, who had been commuting between L.A. and Toronto, wanted to leave the show because his productions for Speed Channel were taking off; Principal Raditch speaks to Rick three times in the two days before the shooting, entirely clueless as to how deeply troubled Rick was, and is Reassigned to Antarctica not long after.
  • Doctor Who: Dodo was kicked out of the companion role by a producer who hated the character. In her final story, she is hypnotized by the supercomputer WOTAN. The Doctor fixes her mind, also using hypnosis, but she leaves offscreen and doesn't show up in the final episode of the story or get to say goodbye to the Doctor, instead getting a second-hand goodbye via Polly who assures him that Dodo sends her love.
  • In Les Filles d'à côté, core character Magalie was written out of the show after her actress walked out on the series. To explain her disappearance, she is portrayed as a despicable sneak thief with personality issues who robs the gym and goes on the run.
  • Friends: Happens in-universe to Joey's TV persona, Drake Ramoray, after he inadvertently pisses off the writers of the show. He is written to fall down an elevator shaft and left in a coma, with brain damage so severe that Drake himself was the only doctor who could have treated the damage.
  • Game of Thrones: Ellaria Sand is last seen in Season 7, chained up and trying to comfort her daughter who is dying of poison in the dungeons. A fitting end to the character who had to be punished by Cersei for poisoning her daughter, Myrcella, leaving her to die in her father's arms.
  • On Glee, Lauren leaves New Directions at the start of Season 3 after breaking up with Puck and deciding that the club just isn't cool enough for her anymore, despite having bonded with some members during Season 2, explicitly not caring what others think of her, and being well-received by viewers. To add insult to injury, since this wasn't the actress's idea, her only speaking role in Season 3 is where she tells Puck Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • The Good Fight has Maia leave Chicago for New York with her Evil Mentor Blum, alienating herself from all her friends and becoming a drug addict.
  • Hogan's Heroes has a ready-made one (albeit only ever for one-shot characters) in the Russian Front. However, if Solzhenitsyn's accounts are anything to go by, this trope could also fit the Russian POW's return.
  • Home and Away has Alex Poulos, who is ostracised by most of the town for the heinous crime of dumping his current girlfriend for his ex, and leaves town in shame. In case viewers didn't get the message, he comes back a few years later, reveals the girl in question has left him, uses his unknowing sister to smuggle drugs, puts his nephew's life in danger by leaving drugs lying around and leaves town in even more shame.
  • In Land of the Lost (1974), the first episode of the third season starts with Rick Marshall (played by a double and seen only from the back) falling through a time doorway back home, leaving his kids stranded. Spencer Milligan had a dispute concerning the fact that the cast members' likenesses were being used on merchandising and that they got no share of those royalties. The Kroffts elected to not renew his contract.
  • Law & Order: SVU has Stuckey sent to prison. They also get rid of Detective Chester Lake by having him arrested for committing a vigilante murder.
  • The Man in the High Castle: The last we see of Nicole, Himmler is sending her to a reeducation camp in Germany over her "perversions" (she's bisexual).
  • Neighbours has Dan Fitzgerald. While he doesn't turn downright evil, his character assassination becomes very obvious toward the end of his Ramsay Street run. He was originally portrayed as the stereotypical 'good guy', being the principal of Erinsborough High as well as a valued mentor figure for the teens; he's even said to be the "good brother", in stark contrast to his younger sibling Lucas. In one of his last episodes, however, he is shown verbally abusing his mother-in-law—who is carrying his child (as a surrogate mother)—who becomes so distressed by this that she actually trips and ends up losing the baby. Then he walks away.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • Miss Claudette. During the first season, she reconnects with an old friend and has renewed interest in being released. However, at the end of the season, her appeal is denied and in a fit of anger, she attacks one of the guards. She is taken away to maximum security, where you don't get out.
    • Nicky gets sent away to max, as did Sophia, but both of them come back next season.
    • In season 4, Lolly got sent to psych.
    • Earlier in the series, there is an elderly woman named Jimmy who has developed Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. While in one of her delusions, she mistakes the altar in the prison chapel for a diving board... and (predictably) gets hurt. The prison can't keep her (even in psych), seeing as she's such a high risk to herself and others, nor is the state willing to commute her sentence to a psych facility or a nursing home. Unfortunately for Jimmy, she has no family or friends on the outside that she can rely on, or that could get her into long-term care, either. So she is given "compassionate" release. She gets out of prison, but they basically just throw her out onto the street, with the idea that "whatever happens, happens," since she has no place to go.
  • In the two-part premiere of Power Rangers Zeo, when the Machine Empire arrives and kicks Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd off the moon, the villainous couple is forced to seek refuge with Rita's father Master Vile. Zedd hates Master Vile, and Finster, Squatt, and Baboo don't seem too pleased by the idea, either.
  • Sliders:
    • Sabrina Lloyd supposedly didn't return for season four due to behind-the-scenes drama, and her character Wade's fate sure seems to confirm this: she gets taken by the villains to spend the rest of her life being used for breeding purposes. The way she's brought back is not much friendlier, being kept in a jar with her brain exposed to control the same villains' new advanced dimension-hopping machine. She destroys the base in a Heroic Sacrifice, but appears to Rembrandt once more afterward, so there's hope she survived... if you can call being trapped in the ruined Kromagg base in a mutilated, And I Must Scream condition "hopeful."
    • Likewise, after Jerry O'Connell's departure, there was no reason to keep his brother Charlie around, leading to his character getting stuck sliding between worlds for all time.
  • Two and a Half Men accomplishes this with a particularly vindictive Bus Crash. After some controversy revolving around Charlie Sheen that led to him leaving the show, the next season premiere not only kills off his character off-screen, but spends the entire episode effectively pissing on his grave, with events like a funeral attended by many of Charlie's ex-girlfriends who heckle the funeral, Alan spilling Charlie's ashes all over the floor, and the heavy implication that Charlie's Stalker with a Crush Rose killed him and got away with it. The series finale joins in on it too, revealing that Charlie was actually alive this whole time but was locked up in Rose's basement, only to kill him off again in the last few minutes of the series by dropping a piano on top of him after he escapes.
  • Van Helsing (2016): Midway through Season 4, Vanessa is trapped in the Dark Realm in the process of stopping Dracula's escape. She doesn't appear again until midway through Season 5.
  • Water Rats: Regular character Constable Terry Watson was written off by having him get arrested for abducting his 3-year-old daughter. He does this in order to frame the loser his ex was with at that time.
  • Zoey 101: Alexa Nikolas quit the show because of a feud between her and Jamie Lynn Spears. Alexa's character, Nicole, is an intensely boy-crazy, insecure kid who hates unfamiliar situations — and Zoey says in the third season premiere that Nicole has been shipped to an all-girls boarding school. In a previous episode, Nicole had broken down sobbing when she thought she'd have to transfer to another school.
  • Schitt's Creek: Happens to Moira Rose In-Universe. After contract negotiations break down and her treacherous co-star Clifton Sparks pushes for her firing, Moira's Sunrise Bay character vomits a demon into a toilet and then drowns. Then is shredded. When Moira is invited back for a reboot, her daughter Alexis does some sleuthing with the help of the Fandom, discovers Clifton's part in her mom's firing, and encourages her to demand what she is worth.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • It's common for a wrestler leaving a company to lose ("do the job") in their last match there, in order to make their opponent look good. These are not examples of this trope, they're just the norm in the industry. What is an example is when it's known that a wrestler is planning on leaving for another company, and having them lose repeatedly in order to diminish their potential value. One particular notable example is The Undertaker, being infamously undefeatable at Wrestlemania (previously his winning streak had only been broken once in 25 years, by Brock Lesnar) for his entire career. While he's made the occasional cameo since then, his second-ever defeat at Wrestlemania at the hands of Roman Reigns officially marked the end of his career.
  • 1997's Montreal Screwjob is one of the most infamous instances of this in Professional Wrestling:
    • Wrestler Bret Hart had a disagreement with WWF owner Vince McMahon as to whether Hart should lose his final match before departing WWF for WCW, as is the norm in the industry. Moreover, Hart was the WWF champion at the time. Previous WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze had left for WCW still holding the belt, and on her first appearance on WCW, she dropped the it in a garbage can on live TV, nuking her career in the process. Vince McMahon had no desire to see a repeat of that with the WWF championship belt, and it was thus of utmost importance for Hart to lose the championship before leaving for WCW. Hart, however, was unwilling to lose in his native Canada and didn't want to give the belt to Michaels, whom he disliked. Hart also had a "reasonable creative control" clause in his contract, meaning he could veto angles he deemed detrimental to his character so long as doing so wouldn't completely derail an ongoing storyline. Hart and McMahon agreed on a disqualification ending for the match with Hart surrendering the title on the next night's RAW (an alternative to jobbing to Michaels on the PPV that would've kept the storylines intact, thus meeting Hart's contract clause)... but that's not what happened. When Michaels put Hart in a submission hold from which Hart was scripted to escape, McMahon ordered the bell rung and the match awarded to Hart's opponent Shawn Michaels as though Hart had surrendered, in order to make sure Hart lost the match and his WWF Championship before leaving. The effects of the Montreal Screwjob are still felt over today, and it also led to a Real Life Writes the Plot situation, as McMahon's Kayfabe character went from nice-guy announcer to scheming politician.
    • Bret was perfectly willing to drop the belt to anyone (including Michaels) as long as it was not at the PPV in Canada, as he felt that doing so would destroy his character, plus his dislike for Michaels was (likely) very justified due to Michaels' (likely) actions during the time - which (likely) included drug abuse and unchecked power-tripping egomanianote  - and that Bret was (likely) not going to repeat Blayze's actions. A combination of timing errors (like Bret being unable to get a hold of Eric Bischoff due to him being out on a hunting trip to clarify certain things that might have allowed him to work out a better solution) and the failings of all men involved (though many people will squarely point the finger at Michaels and McMahon rather then Bret, though he has his part of the blame to shoulder as well) did the rest.
    • According to Eric Bischoff's 2006 autobiography (produced by WWE, no less), WCW was so restricted by Turner Broadcasting's legal team (due to a pending trademark lawsuit brought by the then-WWF over Kevin Nash & Scott Hall's debuts) that there would have never been a reprise of the "belt in trash can" incident, or any inclusion of a WWF/E trademark (such as a title belt) on a WCW program, even if Bret had been willing to do it. Ultimately, the entire "screwjob" incident did little more than serve as a catalyst for the change in Vince McMahon's on-air character and may have done as much as WCW's booking incompetence to ruin Bret's wrestling career.
    • Michaels has since admitted that he was in on the job, and whenever he appears in Canada, he receives "YOU SCREWED BRET!" chants from the Canadian fans. Referee Earl Hebner (now with TNA) and Vince also receive said chants. Then-writer Vince Russo claimed in his autobiography that he was responsible for the screwjob, but then again, this is Vince Russo we're talking about.note 
    • When Bret returned to the WWE, after a storyline where he and Shawn made peace, Vince played the villain and tried to torment both of them. Needless to say, it ended with Vince in the sharpshooter.
  • The Spirit Squad's grand exit from WWE under those characters involved being shipped off to Louisville (home of WWE developmental territory OVW) in a giant crate by D-Generation X. Three of the membersnote  were never seen on WWE TV again, the fourth (Kenny Doane, er, Dykstra) returned solely to job up until his release in late 2008, and the fifth and sole remaining member returned to portray Dolph Ziggler, the guy who really, really likes shaking peoples' hands and repeating his own name (and being a total Jerkass Heel). Ziggler actually went on to be successful, becoming a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and a Triple Crown Champion. The main reason he got over so easily is that he was completely repackaged — the Spirit Squad gimmick was originally to put over Kenny, but that backfired on Kenny because he became forever associated with the gimmick, so the audience never took him seriously.

    Video Games 
  • The ending to Portal 2. Given that Wheatley had become the villain, he needed a punishment when he was finally defeated. However, killing him off or letting GLaDOS torture him forever would be too much, but a simple slap and detach from the mainframe was too little, hence the final version of the ending, where he is blasted off into space.
  • Sonic Rivals 2: Eggman Nega is sealed in the Ifrit's dimension and is never seen again.
  • Tomb Raider: Between the 2013 reboot and its sequel, Sam doesn't return because Himiko was partially successful in possessing her, landing her in a psych ward.
  • Star Control 2: The Androsynth suffer this just before the game starts, when their experiments in FTL technology attract the attention of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Crash: Mind Over Mutant: While the other villains either run off or are shooed away by Aku Aku, Nina Cortex gets sent to Evil Public School against her will by her uncle Neo Cortex, out of retaliation on behalf of him being betrayed by her in the previous game.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight, being intended as the Grand Finale of the Batman: Arkham Series, gives a number of characters this fate (the ones that don't end up dead, at least), styming any chance at continuing the series without having to shift the focus to Batman's allies or the wider DC Universe. Riddler's stuck in prison with his robot factory destroyed and his bank account drained, robbing him of any resources he could use in the future. Scarecrow is reduced to a gibbering, catatonic wreck after being subjected to a concentrated injection of his own fear toxin. Freeze's sole reason for being a criminal is removed as Nora convinces him to stop trying to save her and let her live out her final days with him. Ra's Al-Ghul, depending on the player's actions, is slowly dying after the Lazarus Pits have finally dried up, and is last seen barely even able to speak and on life support at the police station. Batman himself is either dead or in hiding, but either way both his and Bruce Wayne's reputations are irreparably destroyed and if he ever returns, it'll never be the same again.

    Webcomics 
  • Penny and Aggie. Cyndi is committed to a psychiatric hospital at the end of the "Missing Person" arc; her very last appearance shows her parents driving into the hospital's front entrance as she asks where they're taking her.
  • Scary Go Round: Not only is Erin Winters literally sucked into Hell, but her very memory is also Ret-Gone from everyone who knows her, so no rescue attempts will be made. In Bad Machinery The Bus Came Back, but still no one remembers her. Allison subsequently wrote a story about Erin breaking out of Hell and becoming its ruler.

    Then, back in Scary-Go-Round, Erin surrenders her mortal life to save her mortal sort-of boyfriend, returning to rule Hell, although she can still occasionally visit her sister, who now remembers her. Then her boyfriend gets himself killed anyway. They both eventually return to Earth again, under unexplained circumstances. This annoys the heck out of the personification of Death, who complains that the Winters family keep treating mortality as temporary.
  • Girl Genius has Moloch von Zinzer — although his bus comes back four years later (or a couple of months later in comic-time), it doesn't change the fact that he was sent to the sentient Castle Heterodyne for being part of a plot that he had no idea existed. It's so bad that when he asks for help from the guy that roped him into the plot in the first place, he is given a poison pill that will kill him instantly because it's better than living in the Castle. Nonetheless, he manages without it.

    Web Videos 
  • Puffin Forest: Inverted for laughs at the end of the Malikar storyline. Malikar is an immortal who is reborn every time he gets killed and is performing a ritual that would have destroyed the world. The players had spent the campaign searching for a weapon that can permanently kill him. The players confront him with the weapon and disrupt the ritual, but ended up just barely losing the final fight by a single dice roll. This results in the most of the player characters and Malikar getting randomly scattered into the various outer planes. Through sheer luck of the dice, all of the player character end up in planes on the good side of the great wheel. When Ben rolls the dice to decide where Malikar ended up, he bursts out laughing because he was sent to Mount Celestia, the plane of Lawful Good and equivalent of Heaven, where he is immediately arrested and imprisoned, removing him as a threat for a long time.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Void" has Gumball, Darwin, and Mr. Small discover that background character Molly the sauropod has been sucked into a dimension full of bad ideas because she's so boring. At one point, another equally minor character, Rob the cyclops, can be seen floating around the background of the void. Since nobody notices or remembers him, he, unlike Molly, is still stuck there by the end of the episode... or so it seems. He returns in "The Nobody", where it is revealed he escaped, although the results aren't very pleasant.
  • In the first season of Gravity Falls, Mabel has a brief romance with a merman named Mermando who leaves for the ocean before the end of the episode. In the next season, he sends a postcard informing her that, for political reasons, he's been forced into an Arranged Marriage to a manatee. The photo attached makes it obvious he is not happy about it, although Mabel doesn't notice.
  • Justice League: Galatea ends up electrocuted by Supergirl in their final battle, leaving her a charred, twitching husk. The show never brings up her whereabouts ever again. According to the writers, Galatea was taken back to Cadmus labs where Dr. Hamilton is caring for her and teaching her basic motor skills.
  • The Simpsons
    • One-shot characters Lurleen Lumpkin and Mindy Simmons, both of whom attempt to entice Homer into an affair. The former makes several cameos where she appears to be down on her luck and struggling with substance dependency (to the point she sometimes doesn't seem to know where she is), while the latter apparently "hit the bottle pretty hard" and lost her job. Lurleen eventually got a follow-up episode where the Simpsons help to get her life back on track and Marge kinda-sorta buries the hatchet with her. Mindy, meanwhile, still appears in background shots at the plant, but whether this is her benefiting from George Jetson Job Security or just the animators getting lazy has never been addressed.
    • Homer's half-brother Herb is left financially ruined thanks to Homer's antics and leaves on a literal bus, spitefully making it clear that he has no intention to acknowledge Homer as his brother any longer by the end of the episode. Apparently the executives were left uncomfortable, so they ensured another episode was made in which The Bus Came Back, allowing Homer to help Herb regain his fortune and the two half-brothers to reconcile. He hasn't been seen since, but his answering machine message in season 24 states that he isn't currently rich.
    • Homer voices the character "Poochie" in one episode of the animated cartoon within the animated cartoon, The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Poochie proves so unpopular that in the next episode, the animation stops in its tracks as Poochie (not voiced by Homer) says he has to return to "his planet", his departure simply involving sliding his animation cel up and off the screen. A screen appears with a message drawn in marker reading "Note: Poochie died on his way back to his home planet." Immediately afterwards, Krusty the Clown puts the final nail in the coffin by cheerfully declaring Poochie dead, and signing a contract prohibiting him from ever returning. This didn't stop Poochie from making a cameo later on during Scratchy's funeral.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, John Jameson, a likable and heroic character, gets powers that make him a Flying Brick and expresses interest in becoming a superhero ally of Spidey. Unfortunately, these powers cause him to become increasingly aggressive and irrational, which is helped along by Venom attacking him while pretending to be Spider-Man. Spider-Man ends up having to de-power John in order to stop him. When last seen in the show, John is in an asylum and is a broken wreck suffering from power withdrawal, shown to be every bit as crazy as Electro, the most mentally unstable character in the series.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series has Mary Jane sucked into a limbo between universes. She later comes back, until it's revealed that this is a clone, and the series was Screwed by the Network before the real Mary Jane was seen again. The final episode does make it clear that Peter is about to go on a mission to save her, though.
  • This happens to Mandarin twice in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), Baxter Stockman is last seen trying to retreat into a dimensional portal with Shredder's retro-mutagen ray, intending to use it on himself, only for the Turtles to reclaim it and escape the portal, leaving him stranded in Dimensional Limbo. He is never seen again.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)'s crossover episode with the above series has the death-defying villain Kraang Sub-Prime get flung into the Mirage Turtles universe by the end. He doesn't show up for the rest of the series, although given how the Turtles are like in that universe, his chances of survival are very slim.
  • Kim from The Venture Bros. is a very insignificant character who became an Ensemble Dark Horse randomly after showing off a cool outfit and vaguely interesting personality in the episode "Victor. Echo. November." The writers never particularly cared for her and didn't bring her back - so they wrote her out with a quick line in the fourth season finale, where her friend Triana says that Kim moved to Florida, fell in with preppies, got addicted to drugs, then became a born-again Christian. In other words, they deliberately killed anything cool about her and skewed her as far in the other direction as possible.


Alternative Title(s): Put On A Bridge To Hell, One Way Ticket To Nowhere

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