Amanda Bynes, Steve Carell
It's been a great week for quitters. Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater went out big by quitting over his plane's intercom, grabbing some beers, and sliding down the emergency chute. Then a young woman's quitting via dry erase board made the online rounds, though she turned out to be an actress named Elyse Porterfield (whose name also sounds too good to be true). In honor of these disgruntled employees, real and fake, we salute eight of TV's greatest quitters — real, fake, and both.
8. Amanda Bynes: The All That and Amanda Show star announced in June that she was retiring from acting at the age of 24. A month later she changed her mind and announced her return to the Chicago Bulls.
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7. The Men and Women of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce: Unhappy at their purchase by an outside firm, the key players in Mad Men's fictitious Sterling Cooper got themselves deliberately sacked at the end of the show's third season. They immediately began the new and somewhat awkwardly named firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Can they please quit that and switch it to SCDP, ASAP?
6. George Costanza/Larry David: Seinfeld's George Costanza was famously modeled on the show's co-creator, Larry David, and an incident in which Costanza quit his job came straight from David's real life. Costanza returned to work as if it had never happened, just as David did when he quit Saturday Night Live in the mid-'80s.
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5. David Caruso: Caruso quit NYPD Blue early in its second season in pursuit of a movie career. The show went on for 10 more seasons while he found mixed success. He soon slinked back to TV, where he has anchored CSI: Miami since 2002.
4. McLean Stevenson: When Stevenson quit the role of Henry Blake on M*A*S*H, the show's writers pretty much ensured he wouldn't return: Blake died in a plane crash while heading home from the war. In one of the show's greatest scenes, Radar haltingly delivered the news as Blake's friends and colleagues were mid-operation.
3. Jack Paar: The host of The Tonight Show announced his resignation on the air to protest NBC cutting material it considered in bad taste. "There must be a better way to make a living than this, a way of entertaining people without being constantly involved in some form of controversy," he said. Paar returned weeks later with these lines: "As I was saying before I was interrupted... I believe the last thing I said was 'There must be a better way to make a living than this.' Well, I've looked... and there isn't."
2. Michael Scott: The Office's interferer-in-chief quit Dunder Mifflin because he felt unappreciated, only to start the quickly disintegrating Michael Scott Paper Company. Steve Carell took Scott's lead by announcing that this season will be his last on the show, though his post-Office career looks brighter than Michael's.
1. Dave Chappelle: The comedian walked away from his Comedy Central show and a $50 million contract because he was unhappy with the show's direction. Then he headed off to South Africa to do some soul searching. Was he crazy? Erratic? Or just true to himself?
Honorable Mention: William Petersen: The CSI star burned nary a bridge with his departure from the show. He remains an executive producer and has left open the possibility of occasionally returning.
Who is your favorite TV quitter?