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Playing With / Chuck Cunningham Syndrome

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Basic Trope: A character disappears from a series with no explanation.

  • Straight: Bob disappears from the series Legends of Troperia halfway through, with no mention of what became of him.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Roughly 80% of the cast is gone by the end of the series, and none of them are ever spoken of again.
    • Bob was essentially the star of the show as the Title Character. But disappeared without explanation in the second episode.
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  • Downplayed: Bob disappears from the series, and is finally mentioned offhand several years later.
  • Justified:
    • Not applicable. (The lack of an In-Universe reason is a vital part of this trope. If Bob leaves town or is otherwise written off such that he could return, it's Put on a Bus. If he dies, it's Killed Off for Real.)
    • Possibly justified if the character disappears off the face of the earth and everybody but those who were closest to them (the main cast) has zero memory of that person. This of course is a situational example.
  • Inverted: Bob shows up halfway through Legends of Troperia with no explanation of why he's there or where he came from, and is treated as if he had been there the whole time.
  • Subverted: Bob disappears early on, but then he shows back up later.
  • Double Subverted: Except it's not him, it's another character named Bob.
  • Parodied:
    • By the end of the series, it's down to exactly one character, but they still steadfastly refuse to address anyone's departure.
    • Bob literally disappears into thin air in the middle of a scene and no one comments on it.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob's disappearance is treated this way, but Alice is Put on a Bus, then minor character Dave gets A Death in the Limelight but when Carol's actress quits, her character is simply never mentioned again.
  • Averted:
    • "Our lead actor just quit. We won't mention him again" "The viewers won't buy that! We'll establish that he had a big argument with Charlie offscreen as the reason why he no longer hangs out with the group."
    • Any departures have an In-Universe explanation.
    • No one is written off, period.
  • Enforced:
    • The actor playing Bob suddenly quit, died, or was fired under very unsavory circumstances (arrested for a drug or sex crime, has been accused of saying or doing something racist, sexist, or homophobic, asked for more money and exchanged cross words with the management) and the writers didn't have time to fully explain what happened to him or replace him with another actor.
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    • Bob wasn't a major character or important to the plot, so they just forgot about him.
    • Executive Meddling forced Bob to be written out for whatever reason (audience complaints over not being likeable and/or Moral Guardians claiming he's a bad influence)
    • "Dammit, our lead actor just quit! What do we do about the character of Bob?" "Just don't mention it."
  • Lampshaded: "Where'd Bob go? Remember...he used to travel with us? Why the blank stare?"
  • Invoked: Not applicable. (This trope is beyond the control of the characters.)
  • Exploited: Not applicable. (This trope is beyond the control of the characters.)
  • Defied: Not applicable. (This trope is beyond the control of the characters.)
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: "Where did Bob go, and why aren't they talking about him?"
  • Deconstructed: Because of Bob's disappearance, the fans of the show keep asking the cast and crew what happened to him.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Bob's departure - and the apathetic response to such - is later used as a plot point when a character calls out the hero.

Head back to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and we'll forget you were ever here.

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