Dear Season Finales,
Well. We’ve come to the end of another rocky year. There have been ups, and downs, and highs and lows and all arounds…and no, I don’t watch Lost, so there won’t be any spoilers, and there also won’t be any analysis, and I’m very sorry for your loss (snicker. pun!)
I apologize for that. Anyway. I’m talking sitcoms. The Office. 30 Rock. Community. Probably Parks and Recreation but I don’t watch that show. Maybe Modern Family, but I also don’t watch that one (I know I know, I’m getting to it!)
The thing about finales is that there is so much darn pressure on them to do something fascinating and spectacular– but unless it’s a murder mystery or a soap opera, there aren’t a lot of dead bodies to bury (usually), not a lot of murderers to confront (usually), not a lot of brother-sister romantic pairings to reveal DNA to, etc. Sometimes, there’s not even a seal-the-deal-already romance to give viewers a last, dizzying kiss of the season.
Relationships, especially in the newer sitcoms– like 30 Rock— are about as expendable as Jonathan is to Jack. They disappear, they reappear, they crop up, they’re gone. Same in Community. Did anybody actually know that Annie was dating surfer-hair-hackey-sack-hippie (SHHSH) boy? I mean, there was that one episode, where she liked him…but he hasn’t been in the last six or so. Nor has she talked about him. Or maybe she has. But it wasn’t important! And now, come finale time….
and we have fabricated “emotionally-charged” situations. Annie is leaving with SHHSH, Jenna is breaking up with her me-boyfriend, yada yada yada.
The point is, sitcom season finales have all of the pressure to deliver high stakes drama and cliffhangers, and none of the build-up to wear like support hose when they get there. They lose track of what has made them funny all season long and chase after implausible storylines (ahem Jeff and Brita and Slater and Annie– have you ever seen pairings with less chemistry???) like nail polish after a run in said hose.
Ahem. So the metaphor maybe doesn’t work, but neither do the season finales.
….but yes, I’ll be back next year. I’m hoping Matt Damon makes (ir)regular appearances on 30 Rock for a long time to come (how awesome will that be?). And Community, instead of fighting it, should embrace the fact that it’s one of the first (is it the 2nd, after 30 Rock?) sitcoms without a major romantic storyline between two of its main characters (proven once and for all: just because people are attractive does not mean they have any chemistry whatsoever. Thanks, Community. The scientists can now rest). Just think, it won’t face the problem The Office now has: giving up the goods too early and losing a major source of interest for the show.
How DID Friends do it for so. many. years?