Christina Applegate Is Leaving ‘Up All Night’: How TV Exits Affect Us

It has recently been reported that Christina Applegate is leaving Up All Night! What??! I, for one, am VERY disappointed in this news. Christina Applegate has been one of my all time faves since she didn’t tell her mom the babysitter was dead. From Kelly Bundy to Broadway to Veronica Corningstone and everywhere in between, my girl Christina is The Sweetest Thing. And her portrayal of Reagan Brinkley was no less awesome than any of the others. So now, what will become of the show after its main character leaves? Here are some ways, based on historical television comings and goings, I think this could go…

The Michael Scott

Not too long ago, Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, left The Office. Steve left on good terms, and just moved on to pursue a career in film. This was made common knowledge and his departure was written into the script. In his last season, Michael Scott was even helping to find his own replacement. With speculation circulating among Office enthusiasts, it became interesting and almost exciting to find out who was going to replace “The World’s Best Boss”. With a few guest spots that never panned out, co-worker Andy Bernard eventually won the title. I have heard mixed opinions about the results. Some people feel Andy and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew are doing enough to keep the attention of viewers, while others don’t feel the show is the same without Michael Scott. Either way, The Office is currently in its farewell season, and I will miss it when it’s gone.

Up All Night scenario: Reagan appears in the first episode, gets a job in Manhattan, decides to take it and helps Chris find a nanny to replace her.

The Brenda Walsh

I will never forget when I was little and heard that my favorite character on my favorite TV show would not be returning next season. I was devastated. I got her address from one of those fan mail address books from Scholastic and wrote her a long letter telling her how upset I was. At the time, rumors for the reason behind her departure were everywhere. Allegedly, Shannen Doherty was difficult to work with, consistently late, and couldn’t get along with the rest of the cast. I don’t know what was truth, but I do know this was not an amicable departure. On the series finale when they showed the whole original gang’s high five, Brenda’s face was blacked out. While I give props to Tiffani Thiessen for coming in as a solid replacement brunette bad girl, I was still mad at Mr. Spelling for throwing Brenda out like that. We knew Brenda was in England, as they still made mention of her at times, but it was pretty clear Shannen was no longer a part of that television family. (Although much later, Shannen was involved in a reunion show, and then reprised her role as Brenda on the CW’s new 90210, which for me was as epic a moment as they get.)

Up All Night scenario: A summer has gone by, and the show opens with Chris signing divorce papers and moving his new girlfriend into the house. He lets the audience know Reagan ran away to Italy with another man.

The Becky Connor

One of my all time favorite TV moves is when Roseanne switched out Becky in one foul swoop. Luckily for viewers, the second Becky (played by Sarah Chalke) was totally likable. And if you liked the original Becky better (played by Lecy Goranson), you were in luck when she came back for a while, replacing her replacement. Still, Lecy’s schedule did not allow her to return full time, so they continued to interchange the two “Beckies.” In true “in your face” Roseanne fashion, they made several references towards the switch throughout the episodes. On one episode, the family was watching an old Bewitched where they pulled a similar move (aka “The Darrin”), and Sarah Chalke’s “Becky” says, “I like the second Darrin much better.” As an audience member, I appreciated feeling “in” on the joke.

Up All Night scenario: They hire Lisa Kudrow to be the new “Reagan.” She makes a few jokes about how Friends was a better sitcom than Married With Children.

The Kelly & Jesse

What the H? I still don’t understand what happened to Kelly Kapowski and Jesse Spano on Saved by the Bell. How did they go to senior prom and then disappear into thin air while everyone else had another year of high school to complete? Did Zach, Slater, Lisa, and Screech get held back? And who thought replacing Kelly, the peppy cheerleading beauty with Tori, the motorcycle riding, leather jacket wearing, snippy chick was a good idea?! I know plenty of SBTB fans who, to this day, would like some sort of an explanation for this. Please don’t take two main characters out of a show and act like nothing happened and never mention them again. Thank you. (If you have any information on the disappearance of Kelly Kapowski and Jesse Spano, please share it below.)

Up All Night scenario: Reagan is no longer on the show, and now Chris is gay. He’s best friends with their annoying neighbors and Amy is 12. No explanation is given.

The Addison

There was a time when I loved Grey’s Anatomy (I stopped watching sometime around The Izzie & George Exits”) In the beginning, Dr. Addison Montgomery, played by the beautiful and funny Kate Walsh, was one of my fave characters. So you could imagine my disappointment when I learned she was leaving the show. But THEN you can imagine my excitement when I found out she would be getting her own spin-off show, Private Practice! Even though she would no longer be on Grey’s, her character would live on in TV land! This is the easiest form of a let down when it comes to characters leaving a show. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I end up thinking they should’ve just remained on the original show, but either way, we don’t have to say goodbye forever. And cross-over episodes are always a nice bonus.

Up All Night scenario: Sick of being behind the scenes, Reagan gets her own talk show, making Ava insanely jealous. It is recorded in documentary style, ala The Office, and she explains everything little by little throughout the first season of her spin-off, The Reagan Show.

The Charlie

If you loved Lost then probably loved Charlie, played by Dominic Monaghan, and didn’t want him to die. You suspected it might happen, as the plot line alluded to it several times, even literally telling him in a kick ass accent, “You’re gonna die, Charlie.” But you didn’t want to believe it. Still, at the end of season three, as we watched in horror, holding our breaths while the water rushed in, they killed off a perfectly good character too soon. Thankfully his death was not in vain, as was able to leave his friends with three words that would help save their own lives. Still, when a beloved main character gets killed off, it definitely makes you question your television faith. (“The Charlie” may also be used to used to refer to “The Charlie Harper,” where Charlie Sheen’s character gets killed off of the sitcom Two and a Half Men.)

Up All Night scenario: Reagan dies. Chris grieves, but eventually starts dating again. Demi Moore plays his new girlfriend, perhaps?

Some shows can survive with rotating casts. Degrassi has been adding and subtracting characters for years, and it does it well. Soap operas have pulled every one of the moves above, and fans forgive them. Melrose Place and Baywatch did all of the above, all the time.

My main issue with this case is that, hello?!, the whole show is about Christina Applegate’s character! So what’s the plan, Up All Night? I  still love the rest of this hilarious cast, but I’m nervous for the fate of this great sitcom without its main mama. And now I’m hearing rumors that Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph may be leaving, too?! We shall see, Up All Night fans. It might be time to let go. Poor baby Amy.

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