20 Clever Plot Twists From Sitcoms That Are No Joke

    Comedy does involve the element of surprise.

    Many great sitcoms over the years have defied their audience's expectations with some truly ridiculous plot twists.

    20. The Real Skinner — The Simpsons

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    In the critically panned episode, "The Principal and the Pauper," we all learned that our favorite school principal, Seymour Skinner, was not the person we thought he was. Instead, he was an imposter who stole the identity of the real Seymour Skinner after he was presumed dead while in the Army. This twist marked the point that many consider began The Simpsons' fall from grace. But what really irritated fans was that everyone in Springfield agreed to let the imposter keep pretending to be Skinner and to never speak of this again, making the entire twist feel pointless and insulting.

    19. The Mother Dies — How I Met Your Mother

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    This one p@#$ed off many fans, to say the least. Audiences waited nine seasons to see Ted meet Tracy, the mother of his children. But after coming to know and love Tracy's character, everyone was shocked to learn that she ended up dying from a terminal illness six years before Ted began recounting the story. They also didn't like that Ted got back together with Robin after telling the story. Though there is an alternate ending in which Tracy never died, audiences were still utterly disappointed by the twist that made the final cut.

    18. Kramer's First Name — Seinfeld

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    The Seinfeld episode, "The Switch", aside from its titular switch, is best known for how Kramer's first name was finally revealed. When George and Kramer visit the latter's estranged mother, she turns around in shock and says the name, "Cosmo." After watching the K-Man for six seasons, audiences never thought they'd get to hear his first name, and George effectively shares our surprise when he hears it.

    17. Erin Meets Her Parents — The Office

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    In the series finale of The Office, the Dunder Mifflin crew attends a Q&A session with fans of their documentary. This episode was full of delightful surprises, particularly when Michael returns for Dwight's wedding. But the most unexpected one comes when Erin speaks to a man and woman who turn out to be her birth parents. We've heard Erin tell tales of her life as an orphan, but I don't think anyone expected her to meet her family like this.

    16. Kenny Is Mysterion — South Park

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    For a while, the identity of South Park's child vigilante, Mysterion, was left unknown, even after he revealed his face at the end of the Season 13 episode, "The Coon." But when he reappears alongside Coon and Friends the following season, he was unceremoniously revealed to be Kenny McCormick. Not only that, but the character's tendency to hilariously die and come back to life after each episode turns out to be his actual superpower.

    15. Archer Gets Shot —Archer

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    Though Archer has been shot many, many times before, this one changed his life forever. At the beginning of Season 7, we see him floating face-down in a pool, bleeding to death. But it is only until the season finale that we are led to believe that it was a cyborg clone of him who was shot instead. However, just when it seems like the real Archer was proposing to Lana, everyone is horrified to learn that this Archer was the cyborg all along, and that the bleeding body in the pool was the real one.

    14. Pierce Dies — Community

    Troy, Jeff, Annie, Britta, Shirley, and Abed mourning over Pierce's death by staring at his study chair in "Community"

    13. Fez Marries Laurie — That '70s Show

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    After Fez is arrested for vandalism, he learns that he has to return to his home country after high school graduation. But at the end of the Season 5 finale, Eric's sister, Laurie, reveals that she married Fez so he could stay in America. And Red is so shocked by this revelation that he suffers a heart attack (or arm attack, as Kelso calls it), which leads to Eric staying home instead of going to college.

    12. Brian Dies — Family Guy

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    After Stewie destroys his time machine, he is shocked to see Brian murdered by a hit-and-run driver. Seeing no other way to bring Brian back, he is forced to accept that his best friend is gone when the family replaces him with another dog, Vinnie. Many fans were understandably furious at the showrunners since this death was apparently done for mere shock value, only to be undone two episodes later. And it didn't help that the next few episodes depicted Brian as an absolute jerk, as this wasn't the beloved character that fans wanted back from the dead.

    11. Diane Is Pregnant — Parks and Recreation

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    In the Season 5 finale, Andy finds a positive pregnancy test in Ron's cabin, and he tries to figure out which of the five women there had taken it. After a lengthy investigation, he confirms that all five of them are negative, leaving him at a dead end. But at the last minute, Diane walks into Ron's office and hints that she is pregnant with his child, which gave birth to one of the greatest memes in Internet history. And when the next season began, the couple immediately got hitched in a Swanson wedding for the ages.

    Watch on Peacock.

    10. Jim Kisses Pam, Then Leaves — The Office

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    Fans anxiously waited to see Jim and Pam get together after many episodes filled with romantic tension. This all comes to a head in the Season 2 finale when Jim finally declares his love for Pam, but she turns him down. However, the two end up kissing in the final scene, leaving everyone on an insane cliffhanger. But when Season 3 began, we learn they still didn't get together, and Jim ended up leaving Scranton, making us wait another season for them to get together.

    9. Rosa Comes Out — Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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    In the 99th episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Boyle tries to figure out the identity of Rosa's new boyfriend. He eventually hears her talking to her new beau on the phone, but in a surprising twist, Boyle learns that Rosa is dating a woman and that she is bisexual. It's a clever spin on the reveal that Captain Holt was gay in the pilot episode, and it's one that added an extra dimension to Rosa's mysterious character.

    8. Evil Morty's Return — Rick and Morty

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    The Season 3 episode, "The Ricklantis Mixup", turns away from the Rick and Morty we usually follow, and focuses on the inhabitants of the Citadel of Ricks. It's a combination of many different plot lines that culminates into Morty becoming President of the Citadel. At first, you'd think this episode would have no impact on the main characters. But in the final scene, we learn that the newly elected President Morty was really the infamous Evil Morty, and fans were blown away the moment they heard the villain's theme song.

    7. Tim's Betrayal — Solar Opposites

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    This is how a C-plot became better than the actual show. A large portion of Solar Opposites follows Tim and all the other unfortunate people Yumyulack shrunk and stored in his bedroom wall. Tim and his lover, Sherry, lead a revolution against the Wall's despotic ruler, the Duke. But when they learn there's a secret hole leading outside the house, Tim stabs Sherry and leaves her for dead so he can create a utopia for everyone in the Wall.

    6. Maggie Shot Mr. Burns — The Simpsons

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    One of the greatest TV cliffhangers came when Mr. Burns was shot after terrorizing Springfield in the Season 6 finale of The Simpsons. Everyone in town had a grudge against him, so who did it was anyone's guess. After a long wait for Season 7, audiences finally learn that baby Maggie had shot him accidentally. It's hilarious to think that an infant would be responsible for almost killing Mr. Burns, but The Simpsons is known for its subversive brand of comedy.

    5. The Bad Place — The Good Place

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    In the Season 1 finale of The Good Place, Eleanor and her crew argue over who should be sent to The Bad Place. But as everyone else is at each other's throats, Eleanor makes the shocking revelation that they were in The Bad Place the entire time, and that Michael tricked them in an elaborate new method of torture. And when Michael utters his sinister laugh, we all know that they were all caught in the devil's twisted game.

    4. Monica Slept With Chandler — Friends

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    I don't think anyone saw these two getting together, but love does make fools of us all. While the friends are in London for Ross's second wedding, the groom runs into Chandler's room, excited about getting married. But when Ross finally leaves, Monica comes out from under Chandler's blanket, and the crowd goes wild.

    3. Moving To A New Reality — Rick and Morty

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    When Morty asks Rick for a love potion, a series of scientific blunders lead to the entire world transforming into hideous monsters in love with Morty. Instead of fixing the planet, Rick takes Morty to another reality where the Earth was saved, but its versions of them died. Morty is absolutely traumatized by all the chaos he left behind, especially after burying his own dead body so he can take his variant's place. In only its sixth episode, Rick and Morty showed us that nothing in the show was sacred and that anything could happen.

    2. Ross Says Rachel — Friends

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    After Rachel gives up wanting to tell Ross she still loves him, it seems like the latter's wedding to Emily would go as planned. But just as Ross gives his vows to Emily, he says Rachel's name by mistake, leaving the characters and the audience in a state of complete shock. For once, you'd hope things would turn out fine for poor Ross, but of course, he goes and screws everything up.

    1. The Cast Goes to Jail — Seinfeld

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    Let's be honest. The four protagonists we've come to know and love on Seinfeld were terrible people. Though many of the accusations made against them during their trial were based on misunderstandings, some of their misdeeds showed they deserved some time in the slammer. But no one really thought they'd see the greatest sitcom of all time end like this.

    Do you agree with this list? Were there any other shocking sitcom twists that I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.