Tag Archives: Series Finale

A Half-Hearted Defense of the HIMYM Finale

It wasn’t great, or more accurately, it wasn’t satisfying. But maybe the series finale of How I Met Your Mother made sense.

The show spent a great deal of time convincing us that the idea of a romantic relationship between Ted and Robin was toxic for them both. It seemed to hammer home the point that while Ted and Robin had a spark, or a connection, or something that continued to draw them back to each other, they would never truly fulfill each other’s needs, and they were, more often than not, only going to hurt each other in the attempt. Numerous episodes posited that there were simply fundamental differences between Ted and Robin that would keep them from working out over the long haul.

And yet much of the overall story of How I Met Your Mother is Ted and Robin having to relearn this lesson over and over again. Several times over the course of the series it seemed like they had figured that out; once and for all, only to come back to each other in moments of weakness or wanting and have to painfully learn it all over again.

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A Series of Endings Pt. 1: Introduction

 
When I really think about it, it’s sad.

The characters in our favorite books, movies, and television shows are not really our friends. Their journeys–the times that they’ve struggled, succeeded, tripped, and triumphed–are events that we have, at most, witnessed, rather than participated in. Those people and their adventures do not exist. They never did, they never can, and they never will. Our having experienced those events vicariously does not make them truly belong to us. No matter how genuine those stories feel to us, no matter how much time we may have “spent” with these individuals, they are all mere reflections, tricks of light and stage and pen that create the illusion of something real, even when that illusion is earnestly felt.

But we, or at least I, cannot help but feel that kind of connection to these characters and their stories. When critics talk about the world of a book feeling “lived in,” they’re underscoring that sense of truth that can pervade a work. When they talk about an emotional moment feeling “earned,” they mean that there’s been some build, some understanding between creator and audience that has been established over time, that makes a scene or a speech or a character feel real. That’s what the best works are able to do–make their audiences feel a connection to something that’s not really there.

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Would You Recommend Battlestar Galactica to a Friend? Reflecting on the Series Through the Lens of its Finale


Would you recommend Battlestar Galactica to a friend?

That depends. Would you encourage them to cheer for a sports team who you knew would succeed all season long, only to suffer a heartbreaking loss in the championship game? Would you tell them to eat a restaurant where most of the meal will be great, but the last course will be practically inedible? Would you have them vote for a candidate who’ll prove a dedicated public servant for most of their years in office, only to tarnish all of their past accomplishments at the very end of their term?

Such is the dilemma of the Battlestar Galactica fan. Rarely has a series produced such a strong, complex, and compelling body of work that results in such an ill-conceived, poorly thought out, and above all unsatisfying ending. How do you encourage someone to start a journey that will feature tremendous highs, exhilarating adventures, and gripping emotional moments, but that you know will end in severe disappointment?

The answer is – with serious reservations.

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How to End the Simpsons – Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind (s19e09)

Someday, The Simpsons is going to end.

As a diehard fan, even one who has some significant misgivings about the current state of the show, that’s a tough pill to swallow. The Simpsons has been on as long as I’ve been watching television. Even at its lowest lows, it’s been the small screen version of comfort food for me, and sooner or later our favorite family will sign off for the last time.

If show runner Al Jean is to be believed, that might not be for another twenty-five years. Still, the day is going to come, and I think it’s close on the horizon. With the recent contract negotiation, standoff, and finally renewal through Season 25, the end of the show appears to be on the minds of those who work on and produce it. Whether it’s threats to pull the plug in order to prompt salary cuts or requests for a share in the back end profits of the show, those involved seem to have a not-too-distant endpoint in mind.

This begs the question – how do you end a show that will have been on television for a quarter of a century and produced more than five-hundred episodes? How do you sum up, honor, and conclude twenty-five years worth of adventures? It’s a tall order to say the least.

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