No Spoilers, at least for “The Big Bang Theory”. If you haven’t seen the finale of “The Big Bang Theory”, fear not, I won’t reveal anything beyond the fact that the finale was well-done and was fitting. Not all shows get a proper ending. Some get canceled after the cast and crew have gone home and started their hiatus while other lucky ones know they’re getting to do a finale and sometimes will have years to plan it, with varying results, unfortunately.
Even though we normally Gush About, we sometimes need to examine failures to show how truly difficult it is to get it right. It’s not for lack of talent or trying on these television shows. They overthink it, going down dubious paths because they feel pressure to make a major statement, losing sight of where the audience’ heart is. We love the characters, in most cases, and want the best for them. The worse sin is flash-forwarding into the characters’ future. Usually, it’s quite depressing. Plus awkward in case they want to revive the show later.
So, let’s examine the finales of “Seinfeld”, “Will & Grace”, and “How I Met Your Mother” (Spoilers–but I assume most of you have seen these, right?).
“Seinfeld”: The show is a classic through and through and leading up to the finale, we all thought they could do no wrong. And then, why? The characters we loved dearly despite their somewhat misanthropic tendencies and selfishness end up in jail? I think the creators thought the characters were villains and treated them as such, feeling this fate was justified. Or they felt guilty for making us love somewhat despicable people. A far funnier ending would have seen them getting out of jail and having learned absolutely nothing at all and continuing on with their boorish ways. Didn’t Jerry rant once about nobody ever changing nor learning anything?
“Will & Grace”: I was the biggest fan of this show from before it even started. My claim to fame is that I was an extra one day on Sean Hayes first film, “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss”, and if I point it out to you (you won’t know otherwise), you can see my back. I know, wow! Anyhow, at the premiere of the film, we heard that Sean had been cast in a sitcom. Once the promos began airing, I couldn’t wait for the Fall Season. The show didn’t disappoint, until the end. Once again, the characters we love so much are saddled with unhappy fates? Well, unhappy in that the friendship between Will and Grace ended and they didn’t see one another until the point where their kids happen to be moving into the same college dorm, forcing a tentative reunion. Plus Karen ends up broke while Jack inherits a fortune after Leslie Jordan’s character flies out a window? Yikes.
Luckily, the cast and creators knew that ending was not right and they revived the show in 2017, ignoring what happened in the finale. Yay! A bad finale corrected.
“How I Met Your Mother”: It took me a while to catch onto this show, but towards the end, I began watching it with more frequency and found the actors and their characters loveable and hilarious. Until the finale. From the very title, the whole series was built on the premise that by the end, we’ll see the main character, Ted (played by Josh Radnor), united with the “Mother” of the show’s title (Tracy McConnell played by Cristin Milioti); they would have kids and live happily ever. But no, they had to ruin it by going into the future and killing off Tracy whom we just met and got to like. So, after investing nine years in trying to find out who this Mother is, she dies. What? I’m still scratching my head over this.
But as “Will & Grace” demonstrated, you can just ignore what happened before and utilize a “Bobby stepping out of the shower” fix-all to set things right. And it looks like “Mad About You” starring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt will do the same with their revival later this year. Yay!