5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

unintentionally morbid tv shows 5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

In the history of television, there have been thousands upon thousands of TV shows. While the intent is to always deliver an interesting story for the viewer, certain problems may arise during the actual development of a series.

Sometimes, a creator may have an interesting story idea, but no initial plot to drive the series’ pilot, or a network may attempt to force the creation of a television show around a particular star.

Whatever the case, when this happens, the core reasoning for the series’ plot can, at comes, become askew. Most of the time, the viewer remains unaware. A seemingly ridiculous, convoluted, or (in this case) morbid premise is often overshadowed by the series’ entertaining storytelling.

Fortunately, a hardcore television fan (like myself) never forgets, and so we present you with five TV shows that intended to deliver earnest storylines, but unintentionally incorporated certain morbid elements into their premises.

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How I Met Your Mother

(2005-Present, CBS)

how i met your mother unintentionally morbid tv shows 5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

The Intent: An endearing show about a father telling his children the story of how he met their mother.

In Actuality: In the 45 hours (soon to be 62 hours – with the recent two season pick-up) that the elderly Ted Mosby (Bob Saget) has been recalling the “romantic” tale of how he met his children’s mother, he has yet to actually tell his kids how he met their mother. Instead, the only thing that he’s been chronicling is how he used to goof off with their “Uncle” Marshall (Jason Segel), “Aunt” Lilly (Alyson Hannigan) and “Uncle” Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

Oh yeah, Old Ted also makes sure to continuously tell his children how, for years, he used to sleep with their “Aunt” Robin (Cobie Smulders), but then stopped… but then started to again… but then stopped again… but then did a couple more times. That is, of course, on top of all the other women that he’s telling his children that he slept with.

At some point, this series is going to have to change its name from How I Met Your Mother to How Great My Life Was Before I Met Your Mother & Had Kids.

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My Two Dads

(1987-1990, NBC)

my two dads unintentionally morbid tv shows 5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

The Intent: The hilarious tale of what happens when two bachelors are forced to take care of their teenage “daughter.”

In Actuality: The reason why the bachelors, Michael Taylor (Paul Reiser) and Joey Harris (Greg Evigan), are forced to take care of Nicole Bradford (Staci Keanan) is because her mother, Marcy Bradford (Emma Samms), died and left custody of her daughter to Michael and Joey.

Why did Marcy Bradford leave custody of her only child to these bachelors? Well, like an episode of Maury, it turns out that Marcy Bradford slept with both Michael and Joey around the same time and didn’t know which man was actually Nicole’s father. Playing into the deceased mother’s ignorance (after playing into her willingness to “have a good time”), neither Michael nor Joey wants to take a paternity test to find out who the real father is, so they both take on the dad role.

If that description is too hard to follow, the intro of My Two Dads summarizes it nicely (with appropriate 80s theme music):

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Our Top 3 picks…

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Cro

(1993-1994, ABC)

cro unintentionally morbid tv shows 5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

The Intent: To entertain children on Saturday morning with tales of prehistoric fun – adding just a dash of science, for good measure.

In Actuality: The 11-year-old Cro (Max Casella) is dead – and has been for millions of years. The series centers around a woolly mammoth named Phil (Jim Cummings), who is found frozen in a block of block of ice by Dr. Cecilia (Ruth Buzzi) and Mike (Jussie Smollett). After thawing Phil out, Mike and Dr. C razzle the grief-stricken woolly mammoth into telling them tales of his prehistoric friends and family – friends and family that are not only dead, but who believed that Phil had also died millions of years ago, after falling into a crack in the ice.

Who would develop such a morbid television series for children to watch? Children’s Television Workshop, of course. You know, the same company that created Sesame Street.

If that’s not enough, the intro/theme song to Cro shows/sings this morbid premise in detail:

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ReBoot

(1994-1995, ABC; 1996-1996, Syndicated; 1999-2001, Cartoon Network)

reboot unintentionally morbid tv shows 5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

The Intent: To tell children a fantastical story about what happens inside their computer, on “The Net.”

In Actuality: The series centers around Bob (Michael Benyaer & Ian James Corlett), Guardian #452 and defender of the fictional city of “Mainframe.” Outside of battling the viruses Megabyte (Tony Jay) and Hexadecimal (Shirley Millner), with the help of Dot (Kathleen Barr) , Enzo (Jesse Moss & Matthew Sinclair) and Phong (Michael Donovan), Bob’s main focus is protecting Mainframe from the biggest enemy of all, “the user” – A.K.A. humans.

Whenever “the user” decides to play a computer game, a “game cube” falls upon a sector of Mainframe. Bob’s role is to enter the game before it begins, “reboot” into the correct game character and make sure “the user” doesn’t win. What happens if “the user” wins? That sector of the city that the “game cube” fell on is destroyed and everyone that was stuck inside the game would turn into energy-draining, worm-like parasites called “nulls.”

So, this premise basically meant that every video game-playing child watching was the ultimate villain in their favorite television show, and that each computer game that he/she played and won would result in them killing all of the characters that they enjoyed watching on Saturday morning. Yikes.

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Our top pick…

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The Wonder Years

(1988-1993, ABC)

the wonder years unintentionally morbid tv shows 5 Unintentionally Morbid TV Shows

The Intent: To tell the story about young Kevin Arnold’s (Fred Savage) life growing up in the tumultuous eras of the ’60s and ’70s.

In Actuality: The finale of The Wonder Years not only reveals what happens to many of the familiar characters in the series, but that the now grown-up Kevin Arnold (Daniel Stern) has a son who wants to go outside to play. This means that for the past 40 hours of storytelling (115 episodes at 21 minutes each), grown up Kevin has basically been neglecting his child. Upon having his son ask him to come outside and play with him, Kevin responds, “I’ll be right there.” After 40 hours of ignoring his kid, he better be.

The evidence of child neglect can be seen below (SPOILER ALERT: This video reveals the fate of all the characters on The Wonder Years)

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TAGS: how i met your mother

34 Comments

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  1. Uh…what? How is the wonder years morbid?

    • He was neglecting his child for nearly 2 days.

      • Also, Kevin is essentially going on and on *and on* about his feelings for a girl that he *didn’t* marry. It’s like the “HIMYM” example.

  2. I gotta say, pretty bad article, ScreenRant.

  3. This was a waste of my time. Not one was a morbid series. Maybe I just dont get it.

    • “Unintentionally”

      The Wonder Years example for instance, the narrator has been telling the story of his past for 40 straight hours, ignoring his kid who wants to go outside and play catch. That’s the joke.

      • I’m sorry, I still don’t get it.

        So, it took 40 hours? to tell the whole story, and we know that this 40 hours was “in-a-row”? Or spread out over a year? or four?

        I don’t see how that makes it morbid.

        You see the father at the end, and your immediate interpretation is that he has been talking for 40 straight hours? Sorry, I don’t buy it.

      • Who sang awesome rendition of “Stand by Me” at end of “The Following” Season 2, Epi2 or 3. It was song right when “Joe” and his protege are burning down the house where he has been staying for the last 14 mos. HELP

  4. Wonder years? Morbid? No way. It was a window to the past we all remember or would like to remember. The things that we thought were shattering drift away and mellow. If there is one thing you should take from that clip is that life and the parts we treasure are far to brief to waste. If you are lucky to still have a father or mother, call them right now and tell them how much you enjoyed some moment you remember. If you are blessed with a son or daughter hold them and hug them as if you could keep them safe and young forever and remind them that it isn’t how many breaths we take that makes a life, it’s the moments that take our breath.

  5. I loved reboot wtf

  6. you guys really need to go look up the word morbid.

    • Thanks for the tip!

      Merriam-Webster lists the second definition of “morbid” as:

      2: abnormally susceptible to or characterized by gloomy or unwholesome feelings

      Considering every single series on this list is attempting to be wholesome and every single “morbid” thing that I pointed out about each series contradicts its wholesomeness, the usage of “morbid” is, in fact, correct.

  7. I completely forgot about Reboot.

  8. How was this article so hard to grasp? I liked it. Good job Anthony.

    • I thought it was pretty funny myself.

  9. I never watched those shows, so this provided a nice summary for each. lol

  10. Hahahahaha. THIS was a great article. I never thought about HIMYM or The Wonder Years in that way. I am a huge fan of HIMYM. Good job Anthony.

  11. Loved Reboot. But srsly? The show’s probably more a joke about the tendency of 90s-era computer games to hog system resources and introduce glitches, etc., than about offing lovable characters (who aren’t “real”, it’s worth noting). It’s like calling a video of someone destroying his laptop morbid. BTW, you’d be hard pressed to find many action/adventure stories these days (and even in days gone by) that didn’t include major or minor character death of one variety or another. I can’t help but notice that few of them are described as “morbid”. In so much as action/adventure games themselves are morbid, so is Reboot, perhaps.

    As for Wonder Years, WTF? Did he say that he was sitting there, uninterrupted, for 40 hours? Or was he always being called out of his reminiscences after every hour to, IDK, live his life? Isn’t there such a thing as subjective time? Do you seriously think the show implied 40 hours of hardcore reminiscing? Not even a potty break? Gah. Literal-minded much?

    • I find that response wholly ironic, since you took that WY part so literally yourself. There is such a thing as tongue and cheek.

      Plus Anthony’s point holds: If Kevin is an aloof dad, that’s not good. So he was either aloof this one time or is in general. Neither is a good look.

      • Suggesting TWY is unintentionally morbid for that reason, though, is ridiculous because who really thought the show was implying such a thing that (the dad was aloof or spent the last 40 hours ignoring his kid)? I don’t even think Anthony believed it, so . . . yeah, that point really doesn’t hold at all. TWY basically took the frame around Stand By Me with the kid trying to coax the dad away from memory lane and ran with it in series form: if there’s one thing you can count on, kids want constant attention and parents find it challenging to manage them and any sort of personal time, too. It was a *gimmick*. Suggesting that the frame unintentionally implied the dad was aloof (which is somehow morbid) insults the audience’s intelligence. The argument here is weak.

        • Haha… I totally believe that Kevin ignored his kid for 40 hours. I’m not saying that he always ignores his child, but he did in this instance. We never heard from his kid before the finale.

          I understand what they were going for in the series finale. I understand the meaning of the child speaking at the end. I understand all of this.

          Not sure why you’re attempting to break down the amount of time a child wants to spend with their parent, or how parents find it challenging to manage children.

          I really don’t understand the earlier comment of the person telling everyone to call their parents and hug their kids.

          I love television, thought this was a funny premise, and went with it. That is all.

  12. In teds defense (HIMYM) he did say to his father that when he told the story of how he met his wife to his kids that he would tell the whole story… Everything.

    • Haha… Zing!

      • But you gotta admit you love the show right ? Also a show that ran before two and a half men and involved Barney stinson doesn’t seem at all that wholesome lol.

        • I’ve a bit behind, but I do love How I Met Your Mother.

  13. Wow, I didn’t know The Wonder Years ended that way, it’s actually kind of sad, why didn’t he go to Paris with her?? If I loved a girl for so long and wanted to spend my life with her, I wouldn’t just let her go and marry someone else… I think a lot of viewers must have been disappointed because a lot of people wanted to see them finally get together…

    • Obviously Winnie knew that Kevin would be ignoring their kid, and didn’t want put up with it. ;-)

      But, yeah… Every time I watch that final bit, my heart always drops. I tried not to watch it while writing this piece, but I couldn’t help it.

      • It would have been a little bit better if they actually showed their reunion with I guess “grown up” versions of them and show that Winnie was happy and so was Kevin, that wouldn’t have been as bad I think.

  14. I totally disagree on TWY. It didn’t seem like he was neglecting his son for 40 hours. It’s not like he narrated EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF THE SHOW. The dialogue of the actors between narration was there to fill the story for the viewer, I really don’t think it was meant to imply that he reiterated every word of what happened 20 years beforehand. Heck, I can barely remember what I said to my GF this MORNING much less 2 years ago. I think that his son asking to play catch was just to show the circle of life continuing, not neglection of fatherly duties.

  15. I get why TWY is unintentionally morbid but I disagree with it being the top of the list. If anything, Life Goes On is much worse. The adult Kevin in TWY spends 40 hours neglecting his son with stories about growing up in easier time that maybe wasn’t so easy. But the adult Becca in Life Goes On spends around 80 hours telling her young son a bedtime story about how the child’s uncle is different from everyone else and how Mommy used to be marrried to a man who died from a disease he got from having sex. Or is Life Goes On on “The Intentionally Morbid TV Show” list?

  16. Hahaha wow. I love how close minded some of the readers on Screen Rant are.. This was a very good article, very well written and it must have taken a lot of thought.

  17. I feel like…the word morbid means they’re unintentionally about death. If anything this is about shows that are secretly twisted, not morbid. It doesn’t make much sense as it is…

  18. wonder years is the best tv show of ALL-TIME

  19. How r any of those shows morbid? Makes no sense. Reboot was my fave show as a kid n when I played video games I nvr once associated it with killing computer ppl. I got them on dvd for my kids n they love the show so wtf are u smoking? And the wonder yrs morbid? Once again wtf?

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