I'm going to tip my hand right off the bat here. The reason I'm writing this article is because I just (finally) watched the end of How I Met Your Mother. I started watching this show when it first came out and it took me until 2 weeks ago to finally watch the final few episodes.
I think my problem when it comes to TV shows (particularly when it comes to comedies) is that I tend to get bored around season 5. It happened with HIMYM, it happened with Scrubs, (it also happened with Dexter but that sort of defeats my "particularly in comedies" argument.) It almost seems that around the 5 season mark, a lot of the best ideas are already used up and TV shows start jumping the shark to try and get some decent ideas. (For anybody who clicked that link, I would like to point out the season in which that happened. My comments on season 5 happened completely independently of looking that up...)
Anyway. I had heard that How I Met Your Mother ended seriously disappointingly but I felt I should get through it to form an opinion of my own. Well let's just say I, too, was disappointed.
So, in the interest of getting to complain more, I figured why not write my top-5 worst series finales of all-time. (In no particular order)
Incidentally: Spoiler alert. Just across the board. I can't do an article of TV finales without writing about them. So if you haven't seen the way these shows end yet, just read the headings and move along.
1) How I Met Your Mother
Obviously this was going to be first on the list. It's what instigated this whole article.
As I mentioned in my preamble, I watched this off and on for what was essentially a decade. I enjoyed it to and extent but never really was a loyal to it. But because I have issues finishing a whole TV series, I figured since this one was on Netflix, I'd watch it to the end.
What a let down.
So essentially the entire last season takes place on the one weekend leading up to Barney and Robin's wedding. When I first started watching this season, I thought "Well that's dumb. How can you get an entire season of a show to span over a weekend." But they managed to find a way. And to be perfectly honest? I didn't hate the season.
And then the final two episodes happened.
In the final two episodes we find out the following: Barney and Robin divorce, Ted marries his wife but low and behold, she DIES at a young age and then as the ultimate kick in the crotch, Ted ends up trying to hook up with Robin ANYWAY. Are you kidding me?
Ugh. 9 years to find out that Ted and Robin likely end up just doesn't seem worth it.
How did the writers think this was a good idea? Especially since this was the alternate ending:
This was a WAY better way to end it.
But I'm not the writer, so I don't have a say. I'm just going to pretend the above video clip is the actual way it ended.
Anyway. Now I'm done with the series and I don't have to watch the latter half anymore. I may go revisit the first few seasons but I don't have to watch the whole thing anymore. I've seen how he met their mother. It was a let down.
Entourage had a bounce-back season, in my opinion. Vince finally stopped dating porn star Sasha Grey, Turtle found his calling, Drama was in the process of getting Johnny Bananas made (we're still hoping for a spin off) and E was... well, E was still E. It was a good final season.
And then the finale happened.
I guess my biggest complaint about the way this show ended was that it's HBO. HBO does such a fine job of taking a series and turning it on its ear. In my inevitable Top-5 favourite series finales (trust me, it's already in the works) there will be at least one HBO series on there, I'm sure.
The best thing about an HBO series finale is that nobody is safe and there's always that possibility that you're going to end the episode feeling gutted, or uncomfortable, or unhappy.
None of that happened in this episode. Vince? Getting married. (After 7+ seasons of being a player, he just now decides to get married. What??) E? Well it looks like things are good with Sloan. (Who, in my opinion, is WAY too good for E.) Ari? Things are perfect for him too - he's not going to get divorced after all. Neat.
There was nothing controversial about it! I'm not saying they should have been gunned down caught in the middle of a gang war, but... man, it was just wrapped up SO neatly.
But I guess they had to keep things open-ended for the movie.
Not worth it, if you ask me...
3) Freaks and Geeks
I'll let this one slide a bit. I know the reason that they made it so... clean... of an ending was because Judd Apatow found out that the show was not being renewed. As a result, one of the best shows ever made (in this author's opinion) was only allowed to have one season.
I love the characters of this TV show. I think they're very well written and despite the series taking place in the 1980s, I think there are many relatable characters in every generation so this show was easily accessible. I really liked seeing the evolution of these guys throughout the season.
But then things started to derail. Because the show was getting cancelled, they had to force a final episode which wrapped things up so nicely. How do you do that with 2 different groups of people and only a limited amount of time?
Merge the characters, I guess. Desario ends up playing Dungeons and Dragons with Sam, Bill and Neil. Great, I guess. I mean; it's nice that Daniel finally was able to fit in somewhere, but it just seemed so forced.
Oh, you mean Nick really actually likes disco and also all of a sudden no longer has a crush on Lindsay? Come on. Please. What a magical turn of events to happen in a week
And then that last scene where Lindsay is going off to some academic summer school and bails to go with Kim to follow the Dead around on tour? I don't know. I just had a hard time with it. She's such a... good girl, despite all her best efforts, so it didn't make sense that she would intentionally disobey her parents. Surely they'd find out somehow. (Although, as somebody who has followed Pearl Jam around to countless cities, I get the allure. I can't blame her for that.(
The one thing this ending had going for it was the use of "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead, off their American Beauty album. Excellent song for the end.
Anyway. It's not the worst series finale, but it certainly isn't the best.
4) Clone High
1) Oddly enough, this was the toughest one to find any scenes on YouTube for.
2) I'm kind of cheating because technically this wasn't a planned series finale. It was just the season finale but the show never got a second season.
But I'm still counting it. Mostly because I seem to be struggling to round out my top-5. Either I haven't seen a lot of series finales or I really, really like a lot of them.
I actually really like this episode. It was terrific. And it ended on a cliffhanger. Who WOULDN'T be excited for a second season, am I right? Well crap. I guess we'll never know what Abe was going to say to Joan. Sigh.
As an aside; it's remarkable how many shows I really start to love than only last a season; Clone High, Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared to name a few. (Notice I don't have Firefly on there. I'm not even sorry.)
Are you at all surprised? I love this show and this ending was so lame. I may get some flack from a few people... Benny, I'm looking in your direction... But I honestly didn't love it.
It could have gone in so many different directions and they chose this.
The best part about it was seeing all the old characters come back, but at what cost? (actually, the best part was when they revisited this joke with this joke but that wasn't enough to save the episode.)
I guess after 9 seasons of nothing, it's hard to figure out how to end something like this. There wasn't really much character arc. Every episode was essentially a bottle episode (which is part of the charm of Seinfeld) but that makes for zero story on which to build. No story means you have no way to really get a good finale. I get the reason why it couldn't be as good as others (which, as I mentioned, I will eventually get into...) I just wish it could have been better.
Anyway. It's over (and has been for 17 years - how crazy is THAT to think about?) and there's no sense dwelling on it. I guess, when it all comes down to it, all these shows are over, so there's no sense complaining about any of them. And I wouldn't but Netflix just keeps sucking me in to shows to watch.
So really, all my complaining is Netflix' fault. If they didn't have How I Met Your Mother on there, I wouldn't have finished it and then I wouldn't have made this list.
But I feel like I'm rambling. Maybe that's because it's 1am on day 3 of tech week at Stage West.
So I'm going to take this opportunity to stop writing. At least it won't be mid-sentence like The Sopranos...