Are Finales a Thing of the Past
June 3, 2008
Generally speaking, season finales just aren’t what they used to be. When I was a kid, I got to see the most awesome cliffhanger of all time: “Dallas’” “Who Shot J.R.?” episode. It was the discussion at water coolers, TV talk shows, tabloid papers. And this was before the Internet! “Dallas” had people so foamed up all summer, the Queen of England and the Queen Mum ordered a video of the show to be Fed-Ex’d to them on same-day air. There aren’t any season finales that have people looking forward to Fall É or whenever the TV schedule resumes this year. The Writers’ Guild Strike has really thrown a monkey wrench into that dual back-to-school/but now my shows are back on feeling.
Some shows don’t even bother with a nail-biter season finale. “South Park” used to capitalize on the phenomenon — remember wondering who was Eric Cartman’s daddy? Then, to really tweak the audience, Eric Cartman’s father was revealed to be his mother! His mother is a hermaphrodite. “South Park” doesn’t mess with that stuff anymore. Due to advances in digital technology, the writers have the ability to crank out episodes in a timely manner – so they can jump on the latest news and satirize it. I think this ability makes a good show even better. The comedy is more sophisticated.
“30 Rock’s” season finale was weak. I like “30 Rock,” Tina Fey’s take on network broadcasting. It’s got interesting characters and the show is smart-ish. I say “smart-ish,” because I don’t need the heavy-handed political jibes É she’d be twice as effective if she were subtler. For the finale, Fey took out the suspense before the end of the episode. The main mystery, other than when is Jack returning to NBC, was Lemon’s pregnancy. At the end of the show, it was revealed that she was not really pregnant, but ate some tainted Mexican snacks made with bull semen (eww). I’ll watch the show when it returns, but I’m not hanging in some sort of suspense.
Does anyone even care who the next “American Idol” is? Not too many, according to the Nielsens. “AI” is suffering from the lowest ratings in years. The finale will probably be no different.
One show that did have an old school, wonderful season finale was “The Office.” Toby the HR guy left ... I will miss him, he was a low-key foil to Michael’s insanity. Jim was going to propose to Pam at Toby’s elaborate going away party but he put the ring away when Andy proposed to Angela! She accepted in a desultory manner and then, in the last seconds of the episode, she was caught screwing Dwight in the office by Phyllis. Did you hear me screaming at your house? They showed a lot of skin for that show, to really make the point clear. I wish, wish, wish that there could be the next episode right now. That’s a season finale.
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