Note: Some of the following contains mentions of sexual assault.
1. Recently, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman addressed one of the show's controversial aspects: Chandler's parent. She was often referred to with he/him pronouns and as "Chandler's father" or "dad," despite the fact that she was a transgender woman.
Kauffman apologized for misgendering her and said, "Pronouns were not yet something that I understood, so we didn't refer to that character as ‘she.' That was a mistake."
2. Kauffman has also said she regretted the Friends storyline where Phoebe dates her sister Ursula's stalker.
4. New character Chrissy was introduced in the first episode of Stranger Things 4, and rightaway she had an easy chemistry with fan favorite character Eddie.
Chrissy ended up dying at the end of the episode, upsetting fans — and the creators themselves. “We always have those moments [of ‘What have we done?’],” Matt Duffer said. The Duffer brothers revealed they'd actually shot the drug deal scene (above) after they'd shot Chrissy's death, so they didn't realize how great the characters would be together.
6. "The Principal and the Pauper" is one of the most loathed episodes of The Simpsons, with many fans and critics marking it as the point where the show jumped the shark.
In the episode, Principal Skinner is revealed to be an impostor (whose real name is Armin Tamzarian) who has been assuming the identity of a military friend long thought to be dead.
Simpsons creator Matt Groening eventually called the episode and its storyline "a mistake" in an interview with Rolling Stone, and in the Season 9 DVD introduction, he said it was one of his least favorite episodes.
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer memorably killed Willow's girlfriend Tara in Season 6, just after she'd been added to the opening credits. As Tara was one-half of one of the first lesbian couples on mainstream TV, the death resulted in lots of controversy, and is often cited as a part of the "bury your gays" trope.
"I think that killing Tara was — in retrospect, of all the people, did she have to die?" Writer Marti Noxon said to Vulture of the controversial decision.
8. A similar example was Kate on Last Tango in Halifax. Many people saw the death, which occurred just after the character had gotten married to her wife, as yet another example of "Bury Your Gays"/Dead Lesbian Syndrome. Writer Sally Wainwright initially called this phenomenon a "myth," saying, "People get killed off all the time."
However, Wainwright later changed her mind — "I wrote another ending, but it didn’t work. At the time, I thought it was the right choice, but I do actually regret it now.”
9. Another main character's death that the creators regret? The unexpected death of lead character Marissa Cooper in The O.C.
Turns out, The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz is still conflicted about the character's death.
10. On another The O.C. note, Schwartz also said he regrets the way the Season 3 storyline between Johnny and Marissa was handled.
"I think, for a lot of us, the Johnny storyline was probably one we'd like to have a do-over on," Schwartz said in an interview with HuffPost.
11. Remember when Berlin died on Money Heist? Well, turns out that series creator Alex Pina regrets killing him off!
Pina called him a "misogynist, narcissist, and psychopath" but said he made the show interesting.
12. A huge part of The Vampire Diaries was the love triangle between Elena and brothers Damon and Stefan.
Well, it turns out that one Vampire Diaries showrunner was NOT a fan of the person Elena ended up with, Damon.
In fact, Kevin Williamson wanted Elena and Stefan to end up together.
In speaking about the series finale, Williamson told Deadline, “I always thought it would be Stefan and Elena. They were sort of the anchor of the show, but because we lost Elena in Season 6, we couldn’t go back."
13. One more love triangle that a show creator doesn't view too fondly...the love triangle with Dean, Rory, and Jess on Gilmore Girls.
In this case, it's not that Gilmore Girls writer Amy Sherman-Palladino felt that Rory ended up with the wrong person — it's that she wishes viewers wouldn't focus on this triangle at all, which suggests she is possibly not a huge fan of the storylines, looking back.
14. Shonda Rhimes kind of regrets killing a character too — the minor character Dylan Young, who was the bomb defuser in the famous Grey's Anatomy episode with the patient who had a bomb in his chest.
Rhimes said that actor Kyle Chandler would pitch her ideas where his character didn't explode, but she didn't take him up on any of them because exploding was what the character was written to do, even if she didn't want to do it. "I did not expect to have Kyle Chandler," she said. "I didn’t want to explode him."
15. Another character death the creators wish they could go back in time on: Lexa from The 100. Creator Jason Rothenberg walked back on the show's controversial decision to kill off Lexa and even issued the fandom an apology letter.
Rothenberg said he was stunned by the backlash from fans and "heartbroken" over the criticism.
16. Having Spinner and Emma drunkenly get married and then decide to stay together on Degrassi: The Next Generation has been heavily criticized by both fans and the cast.
During a 2018 interview with Miriam McDonald (who played Emma), executive producer Stephen Stohn called having Spinner and Emma end up together "one of the biggest regrets of his life."
More recently, Degrassi director and producer Stefan Brogren, a longtime defender of the relationship, came out against it in an interview with AV Club.
17. On another Degrassi note, the relationship between Miles and Tristan in The Next Generation and Next Class has become controversial in recent years, mostly because of anti-bi comments by Tristan's character that went unaddressed.
In 2021, Degrassi creator and producer Linda Schuyler said that she would definitely write certain aspects of that relationship differently now.
18. And finally, here's one last character death a writer regrets — Lamplighter on The Boys. Showrunner Eric Kripke said Lamplighter's death was written into the scripts early on and needed to happen, based on what the character had done. Still, Kripke regretted writing the death in after seeing actor Shawn Ashmore in the role — but it was too late to change.
"Shawn made that character so world-weary and sympathetic for someone who had done such terrible things, and made that character so interesting that I, along with the other writers, were like, goddamn he's an awesome character," Kripke said.
Did any of these surprise you? Disagree with any of the creators here? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly identified Dylan Young as the patient, not the bomb defuser, in #7. Oops!