Do you ever find yourself watching a show and thinking to yourself that there’s one character who just doesn’t seem to fit in with the others? Something about them is just fundamentally incompatible with the rest of the show, whether its their personality or their life philosophy or their storyline. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily unlikable, but it can often mean that they don’t resonate well with the audience, or that they wind up written off because the writers aren’t sure what to do with them.
I’m not talking about characters who are better suited for a spinoff show in the same universe. This isn’t where we discuss whether Felicity would be better utilized on The Flash than on Arrow (although she totally would be). I’m talking about characters who feel better suited to a completely unrelated show than the one they’re in. The characters who somehow wound up in the wrong genre, the wrong world, the wrong cast, and are wandering around lost, not knowing they were meant for something entirely different.
As always, tread lightly, for here there be spoilers.
Character: Samwell Tarly
Show: Game of Thrones
Should’ve been on: The Office
Poor, kind, soft-spoken Samwell Tarly. Of all the worlds for him to be
born written into, it had to be Westeros, where despicable people have more lives than cats, while good ones can’t even seem to make it through a wedding alive. Sam’s quiet, bookish disposition is far better suited to the good-natured banter and talking heads of Dunder Mifflin than the dangers of The Wall. Scranton Sam would probably work in Accounting with Kevin, Oscar, and Angela (who would terrify him just a little bit). He would chuckle quietly at the constant feuding of Jim and Dwight, avoid Kelly’s constant chatter by hunkering down with a pair of headphones, and would probably even have coffee with Toby every now and then.
Character: Stosh “Piz” Piznarski
Show: Veronica Mars
Should’ve been on: Gilmore Girls
As most of us who saw the Veronica Mars movie will admit, Stosh Piznarski deserved better than he got. Arguably the best of Veronica’s boyfriends in terms of being an actual good person, he still ended up shoved aside by Veronica, dismissed by the fandom, and beaten up both literally and figuratively by the Smirking Charisma That Is Logan Echolls. The problem was that Veronica just had too much chemistry with Logan. No matter how sweet and cute and loyal Piz was, he could never compete with that. However, there’s a different Logan he probably could have vanquished quite handily: Logan Huntzberger, Rory Gilmore’s last standing — but still ultimately rebuffed — suitor on Gilmore Girls. To this day, the Gilmore Girls fandom still can’t seem to agree on whom Rory should’ve wound up with, and there’s a not-small contingent who are firmly Team No One (all of Rory’s boyfriends were, at one point or another, Truly Awful). So why not give Piz a shot? He was smart, funny, and could’ve easily held his own in a rapid-fire Gilmore conversation (Give Rory that “What’s the word? Is it ‘avuncular?'” line and she’ll at least agree to a date, guaranteed). Plus he would’ve treated Rory well, while not compromising who either of them were to be with her. That seems like the bare minimum for a successful relationship, but is actually a bar none of Rory’s courtships hit during the course of the show. Hey, Gilmore Girls: Seasons isn’t out yet, maybe this could still happen…
Character: Piper Chapman
Show: Orange is the New Black
Should’ve been on: Girls
Is there any show better suited to Piper “I’m Gangsta-with-an-A Now” Chapman than Girls, the ultimate TV cesspool of narcissistic white female privilege? Despite ostensibly being the main character of Orange is the New Black, as the show has increasingly become more about racism, the corruption of the American penal system, the cyclical nature of crime, and the murky morality of justice, Piper has become more and more peripheral. Her scenes now feel incongruous at best, jarring and frustrating at worst. She’d be much better served on HBO’s Showcase of Terrible People, where it’s almost too easy to imagine the conversations she could have with Hannah about how unfair it is that everyone hates her for accidentally starting a white supremacy club, or musing to Jessa about how she turned her unwanted swastika brand into a window and now she kind of likes it. (Warning: don’t try to imagine the conversations Piper might have with Marnie, or your brain might actually melt.)
Character: James Novak
Should’ve been on: The West Wing
Intrepid reporter James Novak deserved better than the seedy world of Scandal. Despite making some really questionable choices in his three-season run, James always gave the impression that he wanted to do better, be better, believe in something better… if only the terrible people surrounding him would stop being terrible (his husband, Cyrus, was the worst of all). James’ noble spirit and hunger for the truth would’ve been far better served on The West Wing, where the Bartlet administration would’ve exceeded his every expectation for what life in Washington could be. His wit and charm would’ve helped him fit right in with the likes of Josh and Sam, and he may have even given Danny Concannon a run for his money as C.J.’s favorite reporter.
Character: Finn Collins
Show: The 100
Should’ve been on: LOST
It was evident early on that The 100 never really knew what to do with Pacifist Good Guy, Finn Collins. In a show where most of the main characters thrive in the dusky gray area between right and wrong, Finn was always a little too upstanding to truly fit in. Eventually, the show writers appeared to get tired of trying to reconcile someone like Finn with the world they were trying to create, and he was written off the show in a way that completely destroyed his character in the process. It’s too bad that, instead of landing on a post-apocalyptic earth, Finn didn’t crash onto the Island with the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Despite having some significant plot issues, LOST was always a show that knew how to handle its sprawling cast. While there were absolutely some characters who lacked scruples, morally upright Finn wouldn’t have been out of place at all among company like Jack, Sun, and Desmond. Who knows if he would’ve been the same sort of leader on the island that he was at Camp Jaha — somehow I doubt that Jack & Co. would’ve routinely answered to a teenager — but LOST was good about giving every survivor their chance to shine, and I’m sure Finn would’ve had some great heroic moments. Sure, he may not have made it all the way to the final seasons (few did), but at least he probably would’ve stayed true to himself until the bitter end.
How about you? Which characters never quite clicked for you on their own shows, but you think could’ve worked somewhere else? Let us know in the comments!