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The 2018 TV episodes that made us say ‘thank u, next’

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One taught us love, one taught us patience, and one taught us pain.

Breakups are tough, especially when it comes to TV shows you’ve invested so much emotional energy into, only for them to turn around and royally disappoint. 

Maybe your time together was short lived, or maybe you saw it coming for years. But like our patron saint Ariana Grande, we’ve gotta learn from the loss and find the strength to break off the engagement to these sinking ships.

So to all our TV show exes, we say sorry for dipping.  

Roseanne Barr’s infamous tweet, Roseanne

"I think I messed up."

“I think I messed up.”

Roseanne‘s explosive rise and fall was the “We were rooting for you!” Tyra Banks moment of the year for TV. At first, even naysayers to the revival had to give it some props for those astounding ratings, and an initial two episodes that at least tried to be culturally relevant. The episode that demolished all our good will toward it happened on Twitter rather than the actual show. But the result was the same. Thanks for the memories (but not really)! Next.

“Chapter Five: Dreams in a Witch House,” Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

We're just as confused about this episode as you are, Sabrina

We’re just as confused about this episode as you are, Sabrina

Image: Diyah Pera/Netflix

Oh, Sabrina. Our excitement for you could not have been fiercer, with the promise of nostalgic IP, a fresh spin, and a beautiful aesthetic, plus the social relevancy of witch power in 2018. We stood by you, excited smiles dropping only slightly, as your first four episodes did a whole lotta going nowhere. 

But it was “Dreams in a Witch House” that made the fire we tried to keep burning for you go cold. Really? A dream episode in the first half of your first season?! I mean, most shows wait until at least Season 6 before they admit they’ve run out of ideas. At least you taught us patience.

“Option C,” Maniac

Maniac

Maniac

While flawed, Maniac was a show brimming with possibilities, offering a beautifully rendered original world populated by equally original ideas. Emma Stone’s performance, as the much-needed emotional anchor in a bizarre journey, guaranteed some tears. But the biggest reason we needed to break up with this show was its finale, “Option C.” With an ending that fails to capitalize on all the show’s promise, we’re leaving you at the altar, Maniac.

“Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World,” Riverdale

'Riverdale' is the definition of hot mess

‘Riverdale’ is the definition of hot mess

Riverdale Season 2 already had a lot stacked against it. What started out as a dark-ish comic book adaptation had, over the course of a season, turned into an absolute casserole of mob violence, silly drug names, gang wars, eleventh-hour reveals, and Glee homages. But the finale of Season 2 surely sealed Riverdale’s fate as one of the more bonkers (in a bad way) shows on television.

Golden boy Archie was randomly arrested right after being elected student body president? Veronica, a 16-year-old, suddenly owns a speakeasy under a diner? Jughead asks Betty to be his “Serpent Queen” with a straight face, while in bed with her? You almost miss the days when Archie was whining about pursuing football or music every twelve minutes. – Alexis Nedd

“No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” The Simpsons

The grossest part was that they made Lisa say it

The grossest part was that they made Lisa say it

In 2018, The Simpsonsconsistently terrible mishandling of the Apu controversy taught us a lot about pain. It’s hard to watch a loved one die on a hill, but that’s exactly what it felt like to witness such a beloved classic refuse to catch up to social progress. There was a path to making the situation better. Instead, this love of our life couldn’t see past its own ego. 

For that reason and the abysmal moment included in episode 15, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” we’re gonna have to put you in the Burn Book, Simpsons.

“The Passenger,” Westworld

Lol... OK???

Lol… OK???

Almost the entirety of Westworld Season 2 was a lesson in patience. The lesson we learned from the season finale “The Passenger” was that we should listen to our instincts when we feel like a show is wasting our damn time. 

Westworld‘s mystery box puzzle plot tricked us for most of the season, fueling a steady supply of Reddit speculation. Then we finally got  answers to those mysterious questions, and it was ¯_(ツ)_/¯ . We loved and lost, but we also gained a 90-minute whirlwind of repeatedly saying, “What the fuck is even happening?” Seriously, not even the actors had a clue

“The First Polaroid,” 13 Reasons Why

A whole lotta nope to this whole school shooter plotline

A whole lotta nope to this whole school shooter plotline

The fact that 13 Reasons Why even got a second season was baffling (this was before every contained novel became a TV show with superfluous seasons), but the show’s blatant retconning and callous treatment of sensitive issues were unforgivable in Season 2. 

After controversially depicting a violent suicide, the show doubled down with more sexual assault, drug use, gun violence, and more, never giving any topic sufficient attention or care and creating an irredeemable, offensive mess. The characters, actors, and earnest young audience deserve better.  – Proma Khosla

“Chapter 73,” House of Cards

Season 6 of House of Cards was fighting an uphill battle before it even aired. The firing of star Kevin Spacey, following multiple sexual assault allegations, left them in a tough spot of rewrites. And for what it’s worth, thanks to the incredible talent of Robin Wright, much of the season was still pretty fascinating — even if it did have some inelegant narrative holes. But the house of cards that was House of Cards’ final season came tumbling down in the finale. A clear product of its cobbled-together story, we were forced to part with this cultural phenomenon on a low note. 

And don’t believe the rumors: We broke up with House of Cards first — like waaaay before it was canceled.

“Who Knows Better Than I,” Orange is the New Black

We could tell this wasn't going to end well from the beginning

We could tell this wasn’t going to end well from the beginning

As televised swan dives go, the downward trajectory of Orange is the New Black is on the more heartbreaking end of the spectrum. What began as a clever, impactful masterclass in representation and social justice slowly spiraled into an unfortunate game of “so what prison-y thing can we do next” that not only outlived its welcome, but also let down many of its most cherished characters.  

OITNB hasn’t had a great episode since the finale of Season 4 (shout out to Poussey Washington, the queer saint we never deserved), but Season 5 at least held the promise of a possible return to quality. Unfortunately, the first few moments of OTINB‘s Season 6 premiere made it clear, we weren’t getting anywhere close to the kind of comeback we’d prayed for. Sure, Suzanne’s opening hallucinations sequence was beautifully acted, but also… a big bucket of “Why though?” Thank you. Next.  – Alison Foreman

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