Friday, December 14, 2007

This Is Not An Exit

I'm moving on Monday. At the end of a delicious going away dinner my friends and I shared a joke about me possibly being on a program like The Truman Show. Maybe the new season was supposed to follow me in a new town with new people and crazy new hijinks, but the ratings plummeted and I had to go back home. Our dinner was the fall finale.

The whole thing made us chuckle, but it got me thinking about my favorite series finales. It's hard to sum up years of ups and downs, laughs, tears, horrible guest appearances and random subplots into 22 or 44 minutes. It's no wonder most of them are hideous and never true to form. Here are some that did their respective show justice:

  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Banks family packed up and moved to New York . Will stayed behind and promised to finish school and call every Sunday. But even better? Alfonso Ribiero gave the people what they wanted and did the Carlton dance one last time. And at the end, he ran down the stair case, hardly keeping his pants up after his family forgot him. Funny, heartwarming, perfect.
  • Dawson's Creek: Set 5 years in the future, the gang meets up for Dawson's mother's wedding. We find out Dougie's gay, Jack's a teacher, Joey lives in a really nice apartment and Pacey owns the Icehouse. Even better? Jen has a heart condition and a baby. She later collapses, goes into the hospital and dies. Unexpected but her funeral made for some interesting drama the show had been lacking for two seasons. Better still? Joey chose Pacey. No brainer there.
  • Roseanne: A lot of people didn't like this one, but I thought it was kind of creepy...and brilliant. In the episode, Darlene and David welcome home their new baby girl Harris Connor Healy, (still one of the best baby names on TV). The family laughs and hugs, it's really cute, etc. But then in the last 5 minutes you find out the entire last season of the show was a novel Roseanne was working on. They never won the lottery, and Dan died of a heart attack. You can read her entire monologue here.
  • Mad About You: Mabel, (Paul and Jamie's daughter) is all grown up and we see all of our favorite characters through the lense of her documentary examining her family history. It was an innovative approach. The final montage makes me smile every time. The ep also has one of my favorite jokes of all time. A teenage Mabel wants to change her name to Sonya. Her parents insist that her name was specially picked for her and that it's an acronym (Mothers Always Bring Extra Love) Sidenote: That episode was also wonderful by the way. I digress, Mabel responds very angrily. "Sonya is an acornym too. Some Other Name You A..." and the scene cuts off.
The worst part about series finales, and life I guess, is that when you leave, it feels like the characters you remember and loved are still having fun somewhere, you're just not around or uninvited. I think that's why my favorite ones are where you can see what happens in the future. It gives you a glimpse into what you're missing. At least with life, you can just call and ask.