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    15 Times Hollywood Wrote Brilliant Arcs For TV Characters, And 16 Times They Flushed Their Growth Down The Toilet

    Toby from The Office honestly deserved so much better.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which TV characters had the best *and* worst story arcs (to get a full picture of Hollywood's decision-making when it comes to character growth). Here's what they had to say.

    Warning: Possible spoilers ahead! 🚨

    1. Who had a compelling story arc: Santana Lopez from Glee

    Santana coming out to her abuela, saying: "I love girls the way I'm supposed to feel about boys. It's just something that's always been inside of me"
    Fox

    Suggested by: kc4jsc

    In the beginning of the series, they wrote Santana as this deeply mean character who didn't care about anyone but herself (and Brittany). But, as the series progressed, they gave Santana a better story and she really grew as a person — she lived happily "out of the closet" with Brittany, she came out to her abuela, and she got a better understanding of herself as a person. She's honestly one of the best TV characters, and I'm so glad they turned things around for her by the end of the series.

    2. Who had a compelling story arc: Dwight Schrute from The Office (US)

    Dwight consoling a crying Pam by wrapping his arm around her shoulder
    NBC

    "In the earlier seasons, Dwight rarely interacted warmly or shared a positive relationship with anyone except for Angela, and was socially inept in most moments. We saw a constant growth in him (highlighted MOST beautifully in his friendship with Pam) and by the finale, he had successfully cemented himself as a fan favorite for many seasons. Rainn Wilson was PERFECT as Dwight and I can't think of anyone else who could've shown the strict, vulnerable, comedic, sensitive, socially awkward, and lovable facets of Dwight as well as he did."

    ananyeah

    3. Who deserved a better story arc: Haley Dunphy from Modern Family

    Haley, Dylan, and Claire at the doctor's office while Haley's pregnant
    ABC

    "They DEFINITELY did Haley dirty toward the end of the show. She had so much growth personally and professionally, she had an awesome relationship with Andy, and then they set her back soooo many paces by bringing Dylan back and knocking her up with twins. It was so disappointing!"

    a488165a13

    4. Who had a compelling story arc: Nathan Scott from One Tree Hill

    Nathan telling Haley he learned how to be a good parent from her
    The WB

    "He was a complete fuckboy in Season 1, and he was awful to Lucas, Peyton, and his mother — but as the series went on, he got better and better. A lot of that was because of Haley but his character growth as a brother, friend, and father was incredible."

    j4e44a2b53

    5. Who deserved a better story arc: Chuck Clayton from Riverdale

    Jordan Calloway as Chuck Clayton in "Riverdale"
    The CW

    "He came back from the punishment he got in Season 1 feeling legitimately remorseful and wanted to make amends — but his image got ruined by Cheryl. On a representation level, giving a Black person an in-depth storyline would help fix the stereotype of making the Black man a 'bad guy.'"

    jbmasta

    6. Who deserved a better story arc: Angela Moore from Boy Meets World

    Angela and Shawn saying goodbye to each other in the second to last episode of "Boy Meets World"
    ABC

    "Not only was Angela written off the show one episode before the finale (making her the only main cast member not in it), but she was also brought back for only one episode in Girl Meets World. They said she broke up with Shawn and their relationship wasn't authentic, which was false. They got through his dad's death, her abandonment issues, and their romantic problems to become a stronger couple. Angela's character deserved so much better."

    tjpen

    7. Who had a compelling story arc: Tahani Al-Jamil from The Good Place

    Tahani telling Eleanor, "Whatever progress I have made, it's because you and I have become mates."
    NBC

    "How about Tahani from The Good Place? I thought she was condescending and arrogant in Season 1, but she grew so much after coming to terms with her envy for Kamilah and accepted that her parents would never validate her insecurities. By Season 4, she had grown so much!"

    books_baking_broadway

    8. Who deserved a better story arc: Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother

    Barney and Robin getting married; Barney in the last episode, saying, "I'm the guy who straightens his tie, says something dirty, and high-fives himself and then goes and talks to that girl over there"
    CBS

    "Talk about an amazing character arc that was ultimately abandoned. Barney grew up, he finally learned real love and commitment with Robin, and the writers completely undid every positive change he experienced in the last episode. To have him go right back to being a 'player' and sleeping around with women was a slap in the face to the viewers who watched him grow over nine seasons. I’m still not over it."

    —Jennifer Sullivan, Facebook

    9. Who had a compelling story arc: Regina Mills (Evil Queen) from Once Upon a Time

    Regina telling herself how much she loves who she is
    ABC

    "She literally went from being the Evil Queen who murdered her own father and cursed a whole town to being crowned the Good Queen (seen as a hero to the same people she cursed). That's some big story arc and character development right there."

    christinam40fb556c0

    10. Who had a compelling story arc: Will Smith from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    Will upset that his birth father doesn't want to have a relationship with him and ultimately cries in Uncle Phil's arms
    NBC

    "He went from being an immature teen who was afraid to study and be vulnerable to a supportive cousin who knew his worth and had grown as a person, while still also keeping his cheekiness."

    donoteatmynachos

    11. Who deserved a better story arc: Kai Parker from The Vampire Diaries

    Chris Wood as Kai Parker in "The Vampire Diaries"
    The CW

    "Kai Parker was treated badly by his family and was locked away for 18 years in an empty world. He showed signs of redemption — especially when he began expressing his feelings for Bonnie — but no, they had to kill him off. He deserved better and he would've been such an amazing addition to Legacies."

    reddragon7

    12. Who deserved a better story arc: Vanessa Abrams from Gossip Girl

    Jessica Szohr as Vanessa Abrams in "Gossip Girl"
    The CW

    "She was usually a good friend to Dan and was always loyal to him, even if she did do horrible things to the rest of the Upper East Siders. In the end, she left New York to go back home, and everyone practically forgot about her. She deserved a redemption arc with Dan and Serena."

    sierra_m907

    13. Who had a compelling story arc: Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren from Orange Is the New Black

    "Crazy Eyes" saying: "I am not crazy. I am unique"
    Netflix

    "At the start of the show, she was the oddball everyone called 'Crazy Eyes.' Over the course of the show, she became one of the most perceptive and self-aware characters, despite the women constantly making fun of her."

    lexieb45c54cc52

    14. Who had a compelling story arc: Jeff Winger from Community

    Jeff telling Britta: "Stop making our hatred of ourselves someone else's job and just stop hating ourselves"
    NBC

    "Definitely Jeff Winger from Community. he started out as an immature and rude person in the beginning of the series and didn't want any friends, and by the end, he was mature, respectful toward others, and had a lot of good friends."

    hanam554

    15. Who deserved a better story arc: Sharon "Boomer" Valerii from Battlestar Galactica

    Boomer being shot and dying in Chief's arms
    NBC

    "We sympathized with her, then we disliked her, then we felt bad for her, then she was a monster. Eventually, she was doing the right thing by rejoining the crew, but nope! She had sex with the husband of her copy Athena and kidnapped their kid — she regretted her choice in the end but was gunned down. What a waste of a good character."

    thurmanfc

    16. Who deserved a better story arc: Toby Flenderson from The Office (US)

    Michael Scott telling Toby: "Who let the lemon-head into the room? You are a waste of life and you should give up"
    NBC

    "I would've liked to see him get a happy ending of some sort. People hated him so much for almost no reason, and while he wasn't the greatest character ever, he deserved more than what he got. I don't think the finale was true to his character and for all the times people crapped on him at work, I would've liked for him to at least have a happy home life, like Jerry from Parks and Rec."

    l49ca8a44c

    17. Who had a compelling story arc: Rachel Green from Friends

    Rachel telling her dad she still needs his money in the first episode of "Friends"; Rachel saying, "No uterus, no opinion," later in the series
    NBC

    "I know some people might not agree with me, but c'mon: This girl went from being a completely self-absorbed person who lived off of her dad's money to a WOMAN who was so ready to face life and raise her child alone. Rachel Green completely transformed into an independent woman."

    tanishasharma742

    18. Who had a compelling story arc: Gabrielle Solis from Desperate Housewives

    Gabrielle and Carlos in the "Desperate Housewives" series finale in their new California home
    ABC

    "At the start of the series, she was a glamorous housewife who valued material things more than relationships, and she was cheating on her husband. By the end of the series, she was a much better person. She learned the value of family and had become a mother who fought tooth and nail for her kids."

    mattyc3

    19. Who deserved a better story arc: Poussey Washington from Orange Is the New Black

    Poussey standing with the city skyline behind her at night, smiling
    Netflix

    "I'm still devastated by her death. For one, she was one of the few Black lesbian characters on the show, and this was amid the discussion of LGBTQ characters always being killed. The writers clearly intended for it to be a commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement, but made the white guard who killed her sympathetic and portrayed him as having done it by accident — she deserved better."

    alexiaelena3

    20. Who had a compelling story arc: Daisy Johnson from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Daisy saying: "Usually, one person doesn't have the solution. But a hundred people with 1% of the solution; that'll get it done. I think that's beautiful. Pieces solving a puzzle."
    ABC

    "She went from being a computer hacker to an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to one of the most powerful people on the planet. She experienced tremendous loss but ultimately gained a new family in the process."

    jima23

    21. Who deserved a better story arc: Azula from Avatar: the Last Airbender

    Azula looking puzzled with her hand on her chin
    Nickelodeon

    "You could see at the end of the series that she was losing her mind because she was betrayed by the only two people in the world she felt were her friends (in the comics, they explored her frame of mind more and the 'true destiny' she had yet to find). I love Azula, villain or not, and I desperately wanted to see where she ended up. She's never mentioned in The Legend of Korra, but maybe we'll find out in the comics."

    cfrinkadju

    22. Who had a compelling story arc: Elektra Wintour from Pose

    Elektra crying while saying: "You may have birthed me, but you refuse to see me. You never understood me. And I'm done waiting for that to happen!"
    FX

    "Though she hasn't become nicer, we've gotten a better understanding of why she is the way she is. Dominique Jackson does such a wonderful job of making Elektra a multifaceted character and has been robbed of some awards, y'all!"

    itsnotyouitsyou101

    23. Who deserved a better story arc: Angela Moss from Mr. Robot

    Portia Doubleday as Angela Moss
    USA Network

    "I was so pissed by her story arc and how she ended up mistreating Elliot and Darlene. I felt bad when Angela had a breakdown; she deserved a redemption arc where she realized her egocentrism and the fact that she couldn't always do things alone, and just make it up to Elliot and Darlene. But unfortunately, they made her go back to her old pattern, resulting in her death."

    tanyam44ab2253d

    24. Who deserved a better story arc: Ray "Voodoo" Tatum from Friday Night Lights

    Ray telling his fellow team members to do a certain play against Coach Taylor's wishes during a football game
    NBC / The 101 Network

    "They depicted him as a total villain. He and his family were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, so his 'bad attitude' and outlook on life were actually completely valid and understandable. He deserved to become a sympathetic character before his storyline ended."

    gelynm2

    25. Who had a compelling story arc: Schmidt from New Girl

    Schmidt looking at Cece on her wedding day earlier in the series; Cece asking Schmidt if he wants to get married later in the series, and him responding with: "I don't think I can wait another second"
    Fox

    "Schmidt started out as the most annoying guy, but then he learned from his mistakes and learned WHY he acted the way he did. He ended up having a bigger heart by the end of the series."

    taylorp4c7128c1b

    26. Who had a compelling story arc: Mary Richards from The Mary Tyler Moore Show

    Mary Tyler Moore in the first vs. last episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
    CBS

    Suggested by: socratesaovicente

    In the first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Richards was a 30-year-old single woman who moved to Minneapolis by herself and landed a job at a news station, which was groundbreaking for a TV show in 1970. She was on her own for the first time ever, tackling new adventures on her own terms. Over the course of seven seasons, Mary grew as a TV producer, as a person, and as a friend. She grew to be a person who always stood up for what she believed in and never settled for anything less.

    27. Who deserved a better story arc: Katerina Petrova from The Vampire Diaries

    Katerina saying: "That is too sad for me to accept, My Lord. Life is too cruel. If we cease to believe in love, why would we want to live?"
    The CW

    "Katherine Pierce, aka Katerina Petrova, from The Vampire Diaries. A lot of the men got redemption arcs, but heaven forbid she got one — sure, the men had upsetting pasts, but so did she!"

    —Theresa Greenwald, Facebook

    28. Who deserved a better story arc: Lucifer from Supernatural

    Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer, his eyes glowing
    The CW

    "He could've been the coolest ally to the Winchesters, but the writers got lazy so they made him super evil in the end and killed him off. They gave him some closure with God in Season 11 and he had a chance to grow with Jack in Season 13, but they were like, 'Nah, we don’t want to write him anymore,' and killed him. It was lazy writing, if you ask me."

    katiethesupernaturalhunter

    29. Who deserved a better story arc: Rachel Gatina from One Tree Hill

    Rachel telling Lucas it was wrong to ask her out to make Brooke jealous, but ultimately, she likes wrong
    The WB

    "Rachel's story arc was super fucked up. It was understandable when they wrote her as a drug addict because it made sense for her character (even though it was sad). But if she was going to reappear in the series after running away, it should’ve been so we could see her get her shit together."

    stephaniek4282e151d

    30. Who had a compelling story arc: Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    James Marsters as Spike in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
    The WB

    "When he was first introduced, he was a villain through and through. By the end of the series, he was a truly good guy not just because circumstances forced it, but because he really wanted to be good. He had his setbacks throughout the course of the show but it’s the most complete character change I can think of."

    strangerthanitseems

    31. And who deserved a better story arc: Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones

    Jon Snow killing Daenerys in the last season of "Game of Thrones"
    HBO

    "SEASONS of character buildup, only to have that go out the window with that trash last season. I have never been more heartbroken to see a character that has come so far to just be screwed over by the writers in the end. Daenerys deserved the sun, the moon, and the stars, and she never got them! I’m still not over it."

    kaetlyng3

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Which TV character do *you* think had a compelling story arc and which character deserved a better one? Tell us in the comments below!

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