With the HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER finale coming up I decided to talk about finales, and what I think about them. So here it is, if you’re going to end my show, and take it off the air you better give me a good ending. You better tie up all of the loose ends, finish every story arc, and make sure all of my favorite characters get everything they want out of life. Am I asking for too much? I don’t think so! As an avid TV watcher I think I am well versed enough to say that a good finale can make or break a whole series. Usually, the show is ending because the ratings are sinking, or a cast member wants out. Only in rare cases the producer chooses to end the show for creative reasons, such as BREAKING BAD. (Which was a fantastic finale)
In my opinion a finale is supposed to put you at ease, or at least that’s what I look for in a finale. At the end of the episode when I see the Executive Producer title card come up I want to feel relieved, and emotional because of how moving it was and because everything I have ever wanted for the main characters has happened. Since the pilot episode we invest our time and emotion into these characters, we want good things to happen to them.
J.D. (Zach Braff) in the SCRUBS finale said “Endings are never easy, I always build them up so much in my head, they can’t possibly live up to my expectations and I just end up disappointed, I’m not even sure why it matters to me so much how things end.” Whether we realize it or not we do the same thing. From the first episode we map out these lives for our favorite characters and we realize what we want for them. Sure, there will probably will be some jaw dropping moments throughout the shows run that will make us change our minds a dozen times, but we still have that small hope that things turned out the way we always imagined. And when they don’t turn out how we hoped they would we freak out, boycott the show (even though it’s already over) we are so mad and don’t know what to do about it.
It matters, it does. THE OFFICE for example, I’ve never really watched the show before, but I watched the finale, and I sobbed, and I think that’s a prime example of how powerful finales are. I didn’t know their stories, where they’ve been, how far they’ve come, any of that. But I could see they were all happy, and they all got what they wanted, but at the end I knew I was crying. CHEERS, ROSEANNE, 30 ROCK, FRIENDS, DAWSON’S CREEK, ALIAS, WILL AND GRACE, and many more, all had strong finales. Finales that gave the viewer what they wanted.
The last thing J.D. says in the SCRUBS finale is “And even though it felt warm and safe, I knew it had to end” which is one hundred percent true. We start watching a show because it interests us, or because we like an actor in it. We stay with the show for the brilliant writing, impeccable acting, and because we truly enjoy it. It brings us joy and makes us feel safe and warm. A couple of years ago I saw an interview where someone said the phrase “inviting the characters into our homes.” That statement is so accurate it blows my mind. You do invite these characters into your homes, you watch episode after episode with your friends, family, and a bottle of wine. And you fall for it, you care about it and like having it in your life, you feel comfort in knowing it will always be there. But even though you hope that it will be there forever, you know it will end. Most producers call their shows their “baby” and I think that title fits. When the show starts out it’s new, fresh, doesn’t really know how it’s going to turn out, and is scared you wont like it, that’s how all of us are too, we grow, we don’t know what’s going to happen, or if anyone will like us. It’s so hard to say goodbye because it feels like that part of our self is gone, but really it just means a new part of us is beginning and a new show will fill it’s place. That’s why a finale is so difficult to produce and execute. They need to get every emotion that the viewers have felt in the course of the shows run into a 30-minute finale. They have to try and give almost every viewer what they want, while at the same time giving themselves the ending they pictured from day one.
Well now that you know I am the biggest TV nerd on the face of the planet, and that I probably look at TV in the weirdest way, I hope you keep watching that show “that totally used to be good but now kind of sucks.” Because someone probably said that about you but gave you a second chance, and just blamed it on a weird phase you were going through.
Photo Credit: The Series FInale Script of ‘HIMYM’ (Photo : twitter/Craig Thomas)
Victoria Nelli loves TV so much that she is paying $30,000 a year to learn about it in College. When she’s not learning about TV she enjoys writing about her favorite shows, interviewing anyone in the industry that will let her, and ranting about how underrated Parks and Recreation is. She is very much aware of her Netflix addiction, and no she will not be seeking help anytime soon. You can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaNelli