For die-hard fans of pop culture, TV shows aren't just about consuming content. They're also about analyzing and coming up with theories about beloved fictional universes. That's half the fun of watching a TV show in the first place. This is an age-old concept among people who love television, and fan theories have become a common occurrence all over the internet. If you happen to be the type of person who has an affinity for wearing tin foil hats, then fan theories should be right up your alley.
While certain fan theories seem downright bonkers, others have a tendency to add up if you look at the evidence. On that note, we have compiled a list of seven insanely compelling fan theories that completely change some of our favorite TV shows. Check out our list and let us know which ones you agree with in the comments section below. Now let's get started with a dark take on a classic kids show!
Rugrats: Angelica Imagines The Rest Of The Babies
One running theme within fan theories (particularly ones centered on kids shows) is the fact that they tend to get pretty dark. However, this Rugrats one takes the cake. The theory suggests the idea that Angelica Pickles is the only member of the central cast of babies that actually exists. Within this theory, Tommy died as a result of a miscarriage (which is why Stu obsessively continues to make children's toys), Chuckie died in the same car accident that killed his mother, and Phil and Lil were aborted before the DeVilles could learn the sex of their baby. It's a terrifyingly grim theory about a beloved Nickelodeon program, but it also paints Angelica in a much different light compared to what we know about her. Try watching Rugrats with a smile on your face now.
Breaking Bad & The Walking Dead: They Take Place In The Same Universe
Although nothing that ever occurs in Breaking Bad suggests the possibility that zombies will eventually take over the planet, The Walking Dead makes quite a few references to the world of Walter White. In particular, a Walking Dead episode in Season 2 specifically showed that Merle Dixon had a stash of blue meth in his bike's saddlebag, and Daryl Dixon at one point apparently came across a Jesse Pinkman-esque drug dealer with an affinity for the word "bitch" before the apocalypse. While it seems unlikely that anything will ever come of this theory, it's incredibly cool to imagine how someone such as Saul Goodman might currently be surviving in a world populated by the undead. Can you imagine how well Mike would be doing if he had survived Walter's reign of terror?
It's Always Sunny: Mac, Dee, and Dennis Don't Look Like The Actors Who Play Them
FXX's It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia already feels like it takes place in a warped version of reality, and this fan theory takes that idea one step further. It suggests that, while Charlie and Frank look exactly like Charlie Day and Danny DeVito, Dennis, Mac, and Dee look nothing like the characters we see in the series. This is because their respective egos are so inflated that we see them how they see themselves. In reality, Mac is a scrawny man, Dennis is incredibly ugly, and Dee is confined to a back brace due to her terrible scoliosis. It's a widely held belief that this theory will receive confirmation during the last episode of the series, but we will have to wait and see if it holds any water.
Seinfeld: Episodes Of Seinfeld Take Place Weeks Apart From Each Other
This fan theory admittedly doesn't change much about Seinfeld regarding the theme, tone, or characterization of the legendary sitcom, but it goes a long way towards rationalizing why the characters are always hanging out in Jerry's apartment and almost never at work. This hypothesis proposes the idea that Seinfeld doesn't actually take place week to week because Jerry is a successful comedian who spends the bulk of his time traveling the country to perform gigs and make TV show appearances. All we see during the sitcom is the time in between these extended periods of travel, which means that weeks (or even months) have taken place between each episode of the series. With 180 episodes taking place over nine years, the math is a bit complicated, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.
The Walking Dead: Rick And His Group Are Partially Deaf From Gunfire
Have you ever noticed how the walkers always manage to sneak up on our heroes in The Walking Dead? This fan theory suggests the distinct possibility that prolonged exposure to gunfire has caused severe deafness among Rick Grimes and his group of survivors, thus making them more susceptible to walker attacks. There's precedent for this, as Rick's decision to fire his gun in the enclosed space of a tank in Season 1 of the series undoubtedly caused some major ear damage. This theory also goes a long way towards explaining why characters like Daryl and Michonne are better at fending off zombies and spotting an attack -- they stick to a crossbow and sword, respectively, so they're around loud gunfire less frequently than their friends.
Friends & Parks and Recreation: They Take Place In The Same Universe
This fan theory blows the NBC comedy landscape wide open, but it's the result of an incredibly minor moment on Friends. During the Friends episode, "The One With All The Candy," it's revealed by Monica that Rachel dated a guy named Ben Wyatt at one point in her long relationship history. If that name sounds familiar, that's because Ben Wyatt is the name of Adam Scott's character on Parks and Recreation. What makes this theory so great is that it creates a connective tissue between two iconic NBC properties that could easily be expanded upon in the future. If Friends and Parks and Recreation exist in the same universe, then there's no reason why other single and multi-camera sitcoms can't also find themselves incorporated at some point -- thus creating an NBC Cinematic Universe.
Breaking Bad: Skyler's Smoking Gave Walt Cancer
Few television characters have ever received as much universal hatred as Anna Gunn's Skyler White, and this fan theory probably won't do her any favors in the long run. Throughout the run of Breaking Bad, Skyler's smoking is depicted as a nasty habit, but it ultimately doesn't have much influence on the overall plot. This idea suggests the distinct possibility that her tobacco use in the years leading up to the series caused Walter White's lung cancer -- which in turn makes her knee-jerk reaction to blame Gray Matter Labs for his diagnosis all the more ironic. While none of this justifies Walter's actions throughout the course of the series, it does feel somewhat poetic that it all could've been avoided if Skyler simply hadn't smoked. That would've saved a lot of people a lot of trouble.
Of course there are far wilder fan theories out there, but these are some of the ones that are most compelling. Are there any you totally wish would come true?
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Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.