April Fools' Day: 25 Twisted Plot Tricks from Alias, Arrow, Buffy, PLL & More

April Fools Day

In the real world, April Fools’ Day is that 24-hour period where it’s safe to assume everyone in your life is lying to you, tricking you, or otherwise attempting to destroy your sense of reality — but on TV, isn’t every day April Fools’ Day?

Just think of how many times we’ve been tricked into thinking someone is “A” on Pretty Little Liars, or how many beloved characters we’ve mourned, only to see them again a few episodes later?

Then there are shows like Newhart and How I Met Your Mother that choose to wait until the last possible moment to reveal that, basically, everything you’ve seen has been a complete lie.

While a majority of TV pranks are meant to trick the characters, it’s often the viewers who end up feeling foolish — yet we always come back for more.

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day, the TVLine staff has assembled a gallery of 25 of the most memorable TV pranks from yesterday and today. Flip through our picks below, then drop a comment with your own. Any we missed?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. kn1231 says:

    OMG, I remember very fondly cheering during Peyton’s speech during Lucas’ wedding! Thank goodness Lindsay ruined it herself. She was by far the worst character to ever be on that show!

    • Court says:

      Except for the fact that she was a nice person, good friend, understanding girlfriend, never did anything wrong, and there have been atleast 3 (Ian, Carrie, &Katie) psychos on the show, along with a whole bunch of other problematic characters… yeah, Lindsey was definitely the worst.

      • Azerty says:

        Who likes nice character anyway? You actually described exactly what the problem was with Lindsey she was ok. Didn’t dislike her, didn’t like her. She was just ok.

        • Court says:

          I definitely didn’t think she was super interesting or anything, I just had to comment when someone said “She was by far the worst character to ever be on that show!”. Like, really? Lmao. The show ran for 9 seasons & she was just a nice, simple character that appeared in one season (& a brief guest appearance in the next).

  2. omabin says:

    One that I really think should be in there: Prison Break revives Sara after killing her off in Season 3

  3. Cobra says:

    Pretty Little Liars has almost become a parody of itself. Anytime they hint that someone might be “A” (hell, they go beyond “hinting”), I can see a mile away that it’s a red herring.

  4. Steven says:

    I knew that South Park fake out would be on here.

  5. Kate says:

    St Elsewhere still ranks as one of the all time great series finales IMO.

  6. Drew says:

    A twist is great when it truly means something, like the one (of many) on Fringe. But I hate twists that are simply for shock value.
    I sinceriously hope that if I am ever stabbed through the chest and thrown off a cliff, my will to live will have be up and running around within a couple of weeks.
    I’m on the fence about the Buffy twist. Yeah, it was a great finale to possibly the best season of the series… But I’m not sure that the show ever recovered from the fallout of that death. Buffy was never the same, and everything around her kinda fell apart.

  7. Steven says:

    You may be able to add Happy Endings to this list if that countdown ends up being a fake.

    • Gern Blanston says:

      I’m pretty sure that all of you guys that are hoping for some kind of new show announcement are setting yourself up for disappointment. I forget who said it but, the countdown clock was not originally intended for what the speculation has morphed it into.

      • Steven says:

        Yeah that’s what Adam Pally said. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but I’m still disappointed. David Caspe just confirmed it was a joke.

  8. CM says:

    You’re the only ones relieved that Shaw was still alive.

    This robbed Chuck of the only worthwile dramatic moment from the misery arc and brought back a “better off dead” character.

  9. Babybop says:

    If only I could pretend that the HIMYM finale was an Aprils Fool’s prank… It’s been a year, but I’m still mad.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Absolutely about the new flash-forwards on Lost! Also when we find out about Flocke!

    Still not over Ted ending up with Robin on HIMYM. Seriously.

  11. betsym says:

    FAKE FRANCIE!!!! I miss Alias.

  12. murley says:

    The flash forward reveal on lost is still one of the most mind blowing things I have ever seen on television. Buffy, Veronica Mars, fringe and that first Katherine reveal on the Vampire Diaries would all rank on my list as well. HIMYM is on its own list called storytelling twists that were poorly executed and sucked hard. It is number one on that list.

  13. Azerty says:

    What about the fake (but in the end true?) “I love you” from Oliver to Felicity in the s2 finale to trick Deathstroke? The flash forward in Lost was the most surprising twist in the many series I have ever watched. Loved it.

  14. Angelstorm says:

    Well . . .that’s great ! SPOILED Pretty Little Liars for me :(

  15. Winnie says:

    Reno 911 Season 1 finale horrific massacre + Season 2 opener = Dangle/Kenny Rogers dream.

  16. Julie says:

    TV twists don’t get any better than Lost’s Flash forward in the S3 finale or realizing Olivia was on the “other side” in the S1 finale of Fringe. Can’t decide which of the two I want to go back and rewatch first.

  17. beck129 says:

    Chuck!!! I knew that even if Chuck had killed Shaw he did it because he loved Sarah, so I wasn’t going to be disappointed.