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Alternative Reality TV

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Illustration by Christopher Sleboda  

... And 13 other shows

By J. R. Havlan, Steve Bodow, Rob Kutner, Tim Carvell, Jason Ross, Kevin Bleyer, Rachel Axler, Sam Means, Scott Jacobson, and Rich Blomquist, writers from The Daily Show

Lost
It turns out the island is actually a peninsula. Boy, are they embarrassed.

Heroes
The power to keep track of all the new heroes becomes way rarer than invisibility or time travel. Seeking to scrimp on budgets, NBC rolls out an entirely special-effects-free spinoff called Bystanders.

House
In order to prove a housewife’s flulike symptoms are actually a rare bronchial infection contracted from giraffe dung, House must kill and dissect the housewife. His colleagues protest this grave Hippocratic breach until—guess what? Turns out he was right about the giraffe-crap thing.

How I Met Your Mother
The show takes a dark and unexpected turn when Ted’s children are conceived, but then aborted.

Pushing Daisies
Attempting to revive his strike-threatened show, Ned decides to “touch himself.” Unfortunately, he enjoys it so much he touches himself again, killing the series for good.

Mad Men
Everyone on the show dies, just minutes before the surgeon general warns that a diet of martinis, Lucky Strikes, and hard-boiled eggs might not be the best idea.

CSI
In a case designed specifically to take advantage of the CSI unit’s skills, the cops must track down a serial killer who stabs his victims with knives made of frozen bodily fluids.

Cavemen
In a finale directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the Geico-ad spinoff abandons broad comedy; instead, the prehistoric buddies face existential oblivion when a Christian Evangelist denies they ever existed. The final confrontation, in a disused bowling alley, has much to teach us about life in 21st-century America. Eat that, critics!

American Gladiators
In an embarrassing mix-up, Simon, Randy, and Paula tell Militia he will not be going to Hollywood. He kills them.

Discovery Channel Planet Earth
Some crazy fish things eat these weird plankton-y guys. Plus: HD crab fight!

Man vs. Wild
Wild wins. Werner Herzog advises America not to watch the final episode.

Rachael Ray
Rachael wraps a pretzel in a piece of bologna and calls it a “healthy 30-second snack.” TV executives reward her with another multimillion-dollar contract.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, So You Think You Can Dance, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
The shows end with the answers “Me,” “Not really,” and “Yes.”


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