Whether it’s a glossy teen soap, an all-singing drama or a broad sitcom, there are some TV shows we turn to for the lighter side of life. However, sometimes they blindside us with a shock storyline that appears to come from nowhere. From All in the Family to Sesame Street, here’s a look at 20 times a typically feel-good show left us feeling stunned.
With its setting in a fictional hospital, Scrubs regularly had to deal with themes of life and death throughout its nine seasons. But the 2000s sitcom took things to a new level in an episode which saw three patients all lose their lives after receiving organs from a donor with rabies. This storyline also helped cement The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” as the medical TV genre’s ultimate tearjerking soundtrack.
Dave Karofsky was first introduced to Glee viewers as McKinley High’s resident bully. There, he physically and verbally abused the club’s members on a regular basis, particularly gay member Kurt. But the jock’s behavior masked a secret – he was actually gay himself. And once he’s outed by another student, he becomes a bullying victim himself. Seeing no other way out, he later tries to commit suicide by hanging himself, but his father discovers him just in time.