Even the best television shows can have moments that don’t gel with the rest of the series. There always seem to be scenes that make the audience sit up and remember that they can’t get lost in the story in every show.
Sometimes, jarring scenes can be the product of a strange writing decision that doesn’t seem in keeping with the rest of a plot line or character arc, but they make sense at a later point.
Other times, the scene can be one that echoes tropes that the audience thinks is cliche, or even harmful tropes that anger the target audience. On other occassions, the scenes might be forced into the episode as a result of producer interference or the need to appease a sponsor with product placement.
The CW is a smaller network with a smaller audience, so not all of their series get extensive critical coverage. Many of their series even ride the more outlandish side of prime time soap operas, but the network still has its own fair share of these kinds of scenes. Even the much loved Arrowverse isn’t immune.
It's time to take a look at some of the worst offenders with the 16 Jarring Scenes That Take You Out Of CW Shows.
16 Betty’s “Mad World” Dance (Riverdale)
The Riverdale writers and producers like to get their audience talking. Whether they’re inserting a student-teacher relationship or a family with mob connections, they like to shock the audience. When Betty Cooper decided to try and join the Southside Serpents, though, the scene hit a wrong note with fans.
Betty and Jughead organized a party for his father, and wanting to be a part of her boyfriend’s world, Betty did what generations of women have done in order to get in with the serpents-- she took off her clothing on stage at their local hangout. Betty also did it while singing “Mad World” and while her mother was in attendance.
Plenty of fans called the scene degrading and disappointing since Betty was a minor in a room full of adults.
That discomfort was exactly what the audience was meant to feel, though, as Betty crossed a line that no one was comfortable with.
15 Felicity Takes Over A Wedding (Legends Of Tomorrow)
It’s been a rocky road for Barry and Iris to get to the altar on The Flash. The four part Arrowverse crossover “Crisis On Earth X” aimed to get them there, but they weren’t the only ones who wound up married.
By the time the final chapter of the crossover rolled around on Legends of Tomorrow, the universe already lost one hero and the wedding had been interrupted to save the world(s).
Barry and Iris decided to just have their friend John Diggle marry them in a small ceremony instead of trying for a big showy wedding again. Felicity interrupted their vows to get married herself.
Yes, Olicity fans can rejoice that Oliver and Felicity found their way back to one another, but stealing another couple’s spotlight on their wedding day left a bad taste in some fans’ mouths.
14 Khalil Takes A Bullet (Black Lightning)
We’ve only just begun learning Black Lightning’s story, and while critics and fans can agree that the series is certainly a breath of fresh air for the CW, it isn’t without its share of jarring scenes.
In the third episode, one such scene occurred with the titular hero at the center. Intent on stopping violence during a peaceful march, Black Lightning attempted to protect a religious leader. During the march, not only was the reverend shot, but the bullet went right through him and into a teenage boy named Khalil.
While the scene speaks to violence against people of color in America, it also calls upon a more troubling trope in media aimed at young people. Khalil, the boyfriend of Black Lightning’s daughter, discussed losing his virginity earlier in the episode.
>The shooting reinforces the idea that two young people sleeping together only leads to pain and death.
13 Clark Discovers Heat Vision (Smallville)
Audiences spent several seasons watching the boy who would be Superman learning about his abilities-- how to control them and how to use them to help others. One ability took a bit of getting used to though, and made audiences more than a little uncomfortable.
As Clark Kent came into his Kryptonian abilities, season two of Smallville saw him, quite literally, get hot for teacher.
A substitute teacher entered Clark’s life with a pheromone power that allowed her to influence a man through his libido. She used her ability on Lex Luthor, but Clark found himself caught in the crossfire, his heat vision raging out of control as a result of his attraction to the teacher.
It was a thinly veiled metaphor for a boy going through puberty that was completely out of touch.
12 Sam And Dean Discover Fanfiction (Supernatural)
Supernatural likes to have fun with meta episodes, and when it introduced a series of books written about the Winchester brothers by a “prophet,” the show gave plenty of nods to its real fandom.
The episode “The Monster at the End of This Book” saw the Winchester brothers meet Chuck Shurley, a man who wrote a series about the brothers. His books spawned a small, but loyal, fan following, including plenty of people who wrote their own versions of stories-- much like the real life fandom.
Sam and Dean were then introduced to the idea of fanfiction, including fans of their stories who “shipped” the two together.
This prompted a display of disgust that anyone could want the two brothers to be romantic. It was seen by many fans as making fun of them instead of acknowledging them.
11 Veronica And Archie Share An Awkward Shower (Riverdale)
Leading off the second season of Riverdale was a scene between Archie Andrews and Veronica Lodge that was meant to be steamy, but it just came off as forced, not to mention a little gross.
The events of the season premiere picked up after Archie’s father shot in the freshman season finale. Archie, distraught at the possibility of losing his father, afraid of what might still happen, and with his father’s blood still on his hands, found himself relieved of his hospital vigil by family friends.
Rather than allowing him to process what happened, Veronica chose to make him feel better the only way she knew how-- by jumping into the shower with him while he washed his father’s blood away.
With a lack of chemistry, Veronica still in her pearls, and horrible timing, the attempt at an intimate scene fell incredibly flat.
10 Stretched Scenes (The Flash)
When you can’t fit all your sponsors into a show, what’s a network to do? Create bonus scenes for fans to enjoy that double as advertisements. In the past, Team Flash and Team Arrow battled it out in Guitar Hero during commercial breaks. This season, Iris planned her wedding instead.
Newcomer Ralph interacted with long term members of the Flash team in “stretched scenes” that acted as commercials for the Surface. '
With the aid of technology, Iris could plan her wedding and help Ralph and Cisco catch a bad guy.
Product placement is part of the reality of producing a television series, but when a TV spot takes away from the show and does nothing more than spotlight a product, fans tend to hit mute instead of go shopping.
9 Lexa Takes A Stray Bullet (The 100)
On an apocalyptic series like The 100, the idea that no one is safe is certainly true. Series regulars and guest stars alike fall victim to a variety of deaths on the violent show. One particular death, however, took fans by surprise, and not in a good way.
Alycia Debnam-Carey played fan favorite Lexa on the series, but her time on the show was cut short due to her series regular status on AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead. Fans expected Lexa to be written out of The 100, but not in the way she was.
After finally consummating her relationship with Clarke, Lexa’s advisor threatened Clarke’s life. Lexa returned to Clarke only to be hit by a stray bullet from their struggle over a gun. Rather than see the warrior got out in a blaze of glory, fans were outraged as writers fell right into the “bury your gays” trope.
8 The Justice Society Comes To Town (Smallville)
Though Smallville never quite wanted Clark Kent to become Superman, it did bring a lot of heroic team-ups to the small screen, including the Justice Society of America. They looked very much like their comic book counterparts, which wasn’t always a good thing.
The Justice Society members had extremely colorful and eye-catching costumes, which were great for the pages of a comic book, but not so much for a live-action series where they were supposed to inspire confidence in the people they met.
The costumes of the team came across as tacky and out of place.
Of course, their costumes were made to reflect the 1970s-- the time in which the team was founded on the series-- and Smallville certainly had a brighter color pallette than the likes of Arrow, so perhaps those of us seeing the show in action now are judging a bit harshly.
7 Pete Wentz Does Makeup With The Girls (One Tree Hill)
With musicians in the cast and a stage on set, a new rock or pop star could debut a new single every week if the One Tree Hill writers asked for it. Pete Wentz and the rest of Fall Out Boy appeared in a few episodes as a result.
Wentz in particular got the spotlight on the show as he partied with the female characters at the center of the story. The series even showed Wentz putting on his pre-show eyeliner with the girls as they prepared for a fun night out. A rocker wearing makeup wasn’t what was so jarring about the scene though.
At the time, all of the central characters were in high school, meaning a recording artist was spending his free time hanging out with a group of minors. Adding to the creepy factor was that Wentz pursued a romantic relationship with one of them later.
6 Cate Gets Some Meta Advice (Life UneXpected)
Life UneXpected was a hit with critics, but it never found a very large audience. In an effort to bring new viewers to the show, the series crossed over with One Tree Hill as two of its musicians appeared as part of a concert on Life UneXpected.
The actual crossover scene involved One Tree Hill’s Haley and Mia performing at a venue where radio personality Cate was working.
Cate and Haley met and bonded in a scene where they discussed the decisions that they made when they became pregnant in high school.
Rather than work as a fun crossover, the scene made the effort seem forced, acting more as a way to introduce the audience to the storylines of One Tree Hill than anything else. It was the only time a One Tree Hill crossover was ever attempted on the network.
5 Pete Gets Super Gum (Smallville)
After Pete Ross had been absent from Smallville for nearly four years, he reappeared in the season seven episode “Hero” to temporarily gain powers of his own. It was what the episode led to that annoyed some people, though.
With Pete’s return came a special kind of chewing gum, dubbed "Green K Gum," that was laced with with Kryptonite. The gum gave Pete super powers for a while, but he thought he was a metahuman with powers of his own. The gum had the added bonus of making him cocky and lash out.
By the end of the episode, Pete is no longer chewing Green K gum, but instead, has a pack of Stride gum on him, which even gets the focus as he assures everyone it doesn’t contain Kryptonite. It made the return of a fan favorite seem like little more than a commercial for gum.
4 Shameless Product Placement (The Vampire Diaries)
With a small network like the CW, a lot of cost can be offset as a result of companies paying for product placement in the shows. Unfortunately, the product placement can be a little too obvious, detracting from the story.
One of the worst culprits of jarring product placement was The Vampire Diaries during its run. In addition to the characters regularly using Bing instead of the more popular Google, they even tried to use “Bing” as a verb in dialogue.
The worst, though, might have been attempting to make AT&T’s Mobile Hotspot MiFi work organically in a scene.
When Jeremy and Bonnie spent extensive time hiding out in a basement, it was Jeremy who thought to use his MiFi Hotspot to keep things from getting a little too dull-- and contact Elena, of course, to make sure she and Bonnie were still friends.
3 Mary’s Assault (Reign)
Reign never shied away from adult content. Even in its premiere episode, the show received ire for showing a lady in waiting taking care of business herself after witnessing two nobles consummate their relationship. In season two, the show moved away from the intimate politics of the court to demonstrated it used as a weapon against Queen Mary.
In the second season, Mary’s castle was infiltrated while her husband was away. A religious group wanted to get back at the royal family for their persecution, and one of the men who took part in the campaign assaulted Mary.
To the show’s credit, the scene was markedly different from any other intimate act portrayed on the series and not glamorized. Mary’s recovery arc following the assault was handled well too-- the writers did not simply abandon her feelings.
However, the scene itself was just not something that the audience had expected to encounter.
2 Felicity Breaks Up With Oliver (Arrow)
After being introduced early in the series, Felicity Smoak quickly became a fan favorite for the Arrow audience. In season four, as a romance between Oliver Queen and Felicity blossomed, she was put through the wringer, but one scene stood out to fans in particular.
Felicity, confined to a wheelchair after suffering a gunshot wound, became the show’s equivalent of comic book character Oracle. She assisted in taking down the bad guys from behind a computer screen.
As Felicity had a harder time finding herself and understanding her role, though, she decided to break up with Oliver in a scene that had fans cringing.
Not only did she break up with him just as their relationship was finding its footing, but she did it by standing up out of her wheelchair and walking away, exchanging awkward looks with Oliver the entire time.
1 Dan Is Gossip Girl (Gossip Girl)
Gossip Girl was known for taking liberal leaps with its storytelling. The writers often made choices that left their audience shocked and awed, but the season finale left many audience members simply confused instead.
After years of speculation, intricate theories, and even mapping out which characters were where and when, fans learned the identity of Gossip Girl. To their disappointment and outrage, it was Dan Humphrey.
Dan was the boy from Brooklyn who both wanted to be and hated being in the inner circle of the Upper East Side. Some of the storylines throughout the season actually made it impossible for Dan to be Gossip Girl, but the writers hand-waved those away.
To add insult to injury for many fans, Dan admitted that he became Gossip Girl essentially to stalk Serena, who then decided to marry him. Apparently, she didn’t find stalking as creepy as the rest of us.
Did we hit all the CW scenes that made you wonder just what the writers were thinking? Or did we miss an equally jarring scene from one of your favorite shows? Let us know in the comments!
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