7 Traumatic TV Deaths We Couldn’t Help But Enjoy

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We weren’t sure what to expect on Sunday’s Big Love finale. With only 70 minutes to tie up one of TV’s most tangled plot webs, the show was going to need a Joseph Smith-worthy miracle to finish up without seeming incomplete. And, thankfully, one of our favorite series actually pulled it off — but not without pulling the trigger on a few of its central characters. Now, it goes without saying that we should be happy to see TV’s villains die. But it struck us, watching this demise, that sometimes we enjoy seeing characters we were probably supposed to be rooting for meet their maker. After the jump, we round up seven TV deaths we shouldn’t have enjoyed but secretly loved. Spoilers abound throughout the post, but don’t scroll past page one if you don’t want to know which Big Love characters return to Heavenly Father.

Shannon Rutherford, Lost

From Jin and Sun to Sayid, Lost had no shortage of heartbreaking deaths. But Shannon? The whiny one in the skimpy skirts who spent most of her time sexually manipulating her beautiful puppy dog of a stepbrother? The girl whose romance with Sayid was never ever slightly believable? (Let’s not even talk about their reunion in heaven, when it’s clear the true love of his life is Nadia.) Yeah, we were pretty psyched not to ever have to hear her whine again.

Bill Henrickson, Big Love

Was it shocking to see Bill gunned down by a deranged neighbor over some crappy sod when he already had the entire Mormon church and Utah state government against him? Sure. But how else could Big Love have ended, with our hero losing his Home Plus empire and facing jail time over statutory rape while he and his wives are each pulling the family in a different direction? Let’s face it: Bill had to die. And you know what? We never liked him to begin with. His selfishness, self-importance, and shortsightedness made him your typical politician, and his insistence that his wives make major sacrifices for him when he would never do the same for them earned our annoyance early on. If it took a few holes in the chest to bring the Henrickson clan back together and for Bill to realize that Barb would make a fantastic spiritual leader, then so be it. (Now, when Bill’s ailing mom Lois went gently to sleep in the arms of her formerly abusive husband? That’s the one that really hurt.)

Nate Fisher, Six Feet Under

A few episodes before Six Feet Under‘s finale, Nate, uttered the “narm!” (meaning: “numb arm”) heard ’round the world and then hit the floor. His latest AVM flare-up looked like a false alarm when he woke up in the hospital later, but then Nate unceremoniously bit it while recovering. Although he had his moments, we never quite warmed up to the Fisher family’s eldest son. Not only was he a self-centered, narcissistic 20-something who refused to grow up, but he never manages to make much progress as a character — especially in the cheating-on-awesome-girlfriends department.

Cordelia Chase, Angel

Had Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s bitchy, snobby cheerleader died some time in that show’s first season, fans everywhere would have applauded. But in the next two seasons of Buffy and the first four seasons of Angel, most would probably agree that she redeemed herself. Not us. First impressions sometimes stick, and we always found it hard to care about Charisma Carpenter’s poor little rich girl. Also, Cordy? Stay away from Buffy’s man.

Eggs Talley, True Blood

True Blood is another show with a notoriously high body count — and we admit we’ve gotten teary over some of those deaths (Gran!). But Benedict “Eggs” Talley, Tara’s supposed soul mate and the evil Maryann’s designated axe man never quite did it for us. Perhaps because the frequently shirtless Eggs often had a hypnosis-induced case of the dead eyes, he didn’t seem to have much of a personality. In fact, killing him off seemed almost merciful: putting a half-baked character out of its misery. Of course, you could argue that Tara’s next boyfriend was a bit too distinctive…

Susan Ross, Seinfeld

The death of George’s fiancée, Susan, was one of the most controversial TV kill-offs of all time. Some people were so offended by her sudden demise (via poison wedding-invitation glue) and George’s relieved response that they stopped watching the show right then and there. Us? We had nothing against Susan. She was a little boring, sure, but she was also one of the show’s nicest recurring characters. And that was entirely the problem. If George went through with the marriage, he risked becoming a normal family man. But Seinfeld wouldn’t have been Seinfeld without Jason Alexander’s childish, neurotic nebbish — making Susan’s death a justifiable sacrifice. Also, guys? It was funny. And it was only TV. So get over it.

Kenny, South Park

For a while there, Kenny’s death was the high point of any South Park episode. In fact, he pretty much existed to be constantly killed off. Eventually, the joke got old and every elementary school boy in America was screaming “Oh my God! They killed Kenny! You bastards!” at any opportunity. And while that was irritating, the concept itself was originally pretty hilarious