Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finales, NBC's Bent, HBO's Luck, Sopranos, Friends, More Google Bombing Words, and Seinfeld

IT has taken me a second day to re-evaluate my feelings about the end of Bent and Luck, my two favorite shows of the new TV schedule that are no more. They were gone without the closure of the series finale. As I slept, I realized that maybe, just maybe I preferred the unfulfilled potential to the possibility of the often unfulfilling series finale.

Most of the general public comes away disappointed when their show ends, not because it is over, but also because the series finale did not satisfy them. The classic example is Seinfeld. How could the cultural importance of Seinfeld be wrapped up in one episode? Many hate the episode with a ferocious fervor and hate when it is even mention in conversation. Most fans of the show tend to block it out all together as if it had never happened.

I've tried to understand the episode for what it was: a nostalgic act. It was designed to bring up all of our happy memories as our favorite characters over the year filed into the courtroom to attest to the immoral acts of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer. And so there they were the brilliant supporting cast having their final moments as those characters, despite the fact that any character in that show will never escape their role on Seinfeld. We were supposed to say, "O my God! Remember that episode? It was so good." But this didn't work for most.

For some reason, people feel that the last episode of a show should be the best, the pinnacle of a program's excellence. The idea is derived from movies, in which it is fantastic endings or bust, "Yeah, it was ok, but the ending was shit." However, with television shows, they've already had multiple endings in their season finales.

The problem with a series finale is there has to be something that is at once new and must break the structure of the show in order to finally end it. And this ending also has to be strong enough to "finish off" the program. These endings are almost always "out of left field" and irreversible, which leaves us angry and confused because it's not what we are accustomed to in our years of dedication to our fave show.

In the Seinfeld finale, being put in prison stops the gang's association and keeps them from Jerry's apartment. Life has changed forever. Or the friends of Friends leaving each other, even though we know that these people are connected forever and would never live that far away after all they had been through together. But when they leave they break the situational comedy of them being roommates. They break the cycle.

The other hoop that the finale episode has to hurdle is that it can't leave us wanting more. If we want more and never think the show should end, then we can't be happy with any ending. That's the problem Sopranos faced, the black out left us wanting more, wanting to know the answer to whether Tony was alive or dead, it left us with too many questions.

Now I believe the Sopranos finale is one of the best of all time, because it did exactly that it left us wanting more. I guess that's what's nice about Luck and Bent's premature endings, we don't have to endure finales that try to wrap everything up and try to be different from what the show's about. By ending in the heart of the show, we are left with the heart of the show, instead of watching the show's creators stop it from beating.


The Hollywood Defender



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