no Friend of mine

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Everybody, whatever you do, don’t tell Darcy in Chase, British Columbia about what happened in the final episode of Sex and the City, as he’s currently finding series finales from 2004 rather upsetting:

I stopped watching broadcast TV about a decade ago, so I didn’t know how Friends ended until I finished watching the DVDs today. I was so mad that Ross and Rachel got back together that I’m seriously tempted to run all 40 DVDs through the shredder. Their whole romance was unbelievable and annoying enough as it was, but Rachel not going to Paris because of her “big realization” that she loves Ross was beyond absurd!* Really!? She loves Ross? We had no idea! She had only realized it – and told Ross – about a thousand times over the course of the series!

I gather lots of people feel the same way about the way Seinfeld ended and can’t watch reruns of it. So answer me this: what shows’ endings sucked so bad that it completely ruined all your past, present, and future enjoyment of the whole show?

Evidently I am more forgiving than Darcy, able to concentrate on the tranches of series that were still good (Michelle Dessler) and excise the terrible bits from memory (Kim Bauer). That said, my second viewing of Twin Peaks was approximately 60% less good than the first because by then I knew that the thirteen episodes following the Big Reveal (the effective climax of the series) were, at best, moderately diverting, and at worst a very vortex of shittery. There, as in many other cases, it’s not the ending alone, but the lengthy inexorable decline that precedes it which ruins it for me – and, presumably, commissioners.

Readers, by all means comfort Darcy by telling him in the comments which series’ conclusions left you mentally cancelling out all their preceding credits; but better yet, advise him of completed series which he can watch without fearing that they will take a turn for the craptacular. I’d hold up Spaced, Arrested Development and My So Called Life as finite and fulfilled, and Blackadder actually manages to get even better right at the end. Then Darcy won’t break his shredder.

*Too right it was: he’s so neurotic, shrill and underwritten that he is essentially unlovable; while one-dimensional narcissist Rachel is incapable of any depth of feeling. When you look at it like that, they really are a perfect match, just like everybody thought in 1996.

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3 Responses to “no Friend of mine”

  1. jewbitesdog Says:

    Deadwood was another fine show axed way before time. The last episode wasn’t up there with the best, but it also wasn’t stupid or a deus ex machina (far from it, there were at least five major plotlines left unresolved, and the one story that was (sort of) wrapped up was far from neat). It’s not a satisfying conclusion, but I’d urge you to watch it anyway. At its best, it was poetically brilliant, and consistently gorgeous to look at. And Lovejoy gets to say ‘fuck’ an awful lot.

    Strongly agree on Six Feet Under, though the last season on the whole wasn’t as strong as the others, the finale was brilliant. Also, season 4’s That’s My Dog possibly the most affecting hour of tv I’ve ever seen.

  2. Chris Says:

    The West Wing has got to be one of the most satisfying TV shows based on your criteria (don’t underestimate how funny it is, if you’re looking for comedic shows). It’s some of the finest writing on TV ever, and runs for 7 excellent seasons wherein the quality never diminishes. Once finished, you can then watch the single season of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, also by Aaron Sorkin, which had the lucky fortune of being able to tie up the character arcs before being cancelled, even though it too was of a similarly high quality,

  3. Darcy Says:

    Ah, yes, the Blackadder ending! It still gets me every time.

    Funny you should mention Arrested Development – I’m about 20 DVDs away from watching it. (Yes, I own lots of DVDs I haven’t watched yet. I don’t want to risk things going out of print, so I buy them as soon as they come out even if it’s years before I watch them.)

    I hesitate to get My So Called Life, though. American teen drama? I watched Joan of Arcadia and barely made it through. Interesting premise and it started out good, but as the series went on, they increasingly replaced plot, character development, dialog, and yes, even the sets!, with crying. Are there more words than tears in My So Called Life?

    Six Feet Under gets my vote for the most satisfying ending. By far.

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