Friday, April 11, 2014

Some things die..A slow Horrible Death...and Others are Reborn Blessedly

So...I was reading EW's rather blase story on series finales this week...It struck me that there are so many shows we come to love (which is really to say that we come to love the characters)--yet the finales? I don't know so much. Murphy Brown? Roseanne? Brilliant series that I didn't see through to the end because they frankly overstayed their welcome. Much like How I Met Your Mother--which I don't think overstayed so much as it meandered into nothingness.

So here's how you wrap up a show--short-list style:

MASH (sort of)
Newhart 2.0
Lost (it stayed true to the core of the crazy)
Friends (wrapped up what we needed to be wrapped up, and made you forgive Monica's descent into shrill annoyance)
St. Elsewhere (say what you will, it set a template)

My still worst ending ever likely has to be Seinfeld...and oddly, HIMYM reminded me of this.

1) don't insert 20 minutes of depression (melancholy is ok--depression is not) for a sitcom finale.
2) divorce I can live with. A character who developed and grew emotionally over a few seasons suddenly regressing in fast-forward to "baby=love!" is a cop out. Daddies loving their babies is not "new." Daddies loving their babies of a woman we never see is retrograde.
3) Killing off the mom? REALLY?! You could have gone there if you'd led up to it sooner and more subtly. Don't give us a great actress and cool female character and then kill her off because you need to satisfy some fan quotient for a coupling. Let Robin stay single--AND HAPPY. Maybe Barney with the baby-momma in a couple would have been progressive and even "deep." I don't know--felt very "kill off the ladies" to me (both literally and symbolically)--which is weird for a show called How I Met Your MOTHER. Somebody has been watching too much Disney.

OK--on to more interesting TV items before my son's spring break starts...

1) I have watched Doll and Em. I enjoy Doll and Em. I am not blown away by Doll and Em.

2) Pilot of Silicon Valley?  LOVED IT! Remarkable cast, and curious to see what they'll do with the death of a lead actor. I could do without the tech gal who looks like she's shy of being a supermodel by a few inches--but I like the potential of her character. (Might be nice to see somehow Felicia Day--I know that's a different world, but still-there must have been some key women somewhere in this mix of SV...) I'll withhold final judgment though--I did like the hierarchies laid out and the dismantling of "I'm rich and uneducated" philanthropy at work.

3) Colbert as Letterman?  OK--I'm mixed. I love Stephen Colbert. He knows his pop culture and I want to see Fallon dump pennies on his head. But, I don't know him as anything but a character. Daily Show, Colbert Show--he's always been in some kind of character. Fallon was always Fallon, Kimmel was always Kimmel. And (not that I have any best replacements, but...) it might have been nice to see a lady. In 10 years, yet again, we''re looking at a lot of old hip but white men running the cool spot of late-night comedy...

4) Stray. For all that is holy, let's see what happens with Mad Men. Sopranos be damned, this show rocks my world better. And even more: WATCH ORPHAN BLACK!!! If you are inspired by either a) good acting for women, b) good roles for women, c)  messed up take on science and health and family...well, just watch it. Even if it only is good for one more season it will have been the best available to us in some time.

5) That being said, broadcast still rocks. The follow-up to The Good Wife rocked. And Brooklyn 99's season finale made me pee my pants pretty much. Andre Braugher is a god and any show that can end with warmth and hilarity and visual gags is going to make me take notice. It's like Community had a baby with Parks and Rec. WATCH IT!!!

OK-on to seeing what happens when my 5 year old and his buddy come to be guest speakers in my Nickelodeon class...