The Amazing Adventures Of The Sofa Spudniks

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Curtain call: The final article from our TV junkies, the Sofa Spudniks

The Sofa Spudniks ponder endings.

There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story. – Frank Herbert

ALL good TV shows must come to an end. When a series you love ends, you hope for a nice send off, with loose ends tied up and a story arc that closes seamlessly.

Unfortunately, not all go out with satisfactory, let alone great, endings.

A case in point is How I Met Your Mother, the comedy about Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) search for love which, everyone presumed, would end with him finding the mother of his two children (to whom the story is narrated).

After nine seasons and many failed relationships, we finally find out who the “mother” is (Tracy, a bass player of a band he hired for Robin and Barney’s wedding) and how Ted meets and falls in love.

Unfortunately (spoiler alert), after what feels like just five minutes, we learn that Tracy (Cristin Milioti) is terminally ill and then, poof, she dies.

SHE DIES? Seriously? I mean, I think we all figured out pretty early in the series’ tenure that the show was really about Ted and his group of friends rather than this mysterious mother.

However, to introduce her right at the end and then kill her off immediately feels unceremonious.

And, to add insult to injury, six years after she dies (which is when Ted begins narrating the story to his kids), he realises he is in love with the now-divorced Robin (Cobie Smothers) and that she is the love of his life and the show ends with his two children urging him to go after her.

What? Everyone loves a happy ending, I know, but a convenient ending that felt really contrived... well, that feels really frustrating.

Admittedly, I stopped following the show so closely after Season Seven, but I felt a little betrayed that it had what seemed like slapdash ending.

Another series with a truly disappointing ending was Dexter. It was my favourite show for the longest time.

I stayed loyal through the show’s good times (Season Four with the Trinity killer (John Lithgow)) and the bad times (Season Six was a complete snooze as was Season Two – I just hated the character of Lila, played by Jaime Murray) and had really high hopes for Season Eight particularly since the build-up was pretty good.

It wasn’t good. It was shockingly bad and I was disappointed. I am disappointed still, and it’s been more than a year.

The show ends with Dexter sailing out into the hurricane that hit Miami and is presumed dead.

Already a weak ending for a serial killer who has for eight seasons left a “trail of blood and body parts” all over the city but wait, it gets worse. In the very last scene we learn he isn’t dead.

He ends up in Oregon where he works as a lumberjack.

What? And he has a really yucky beard. His punishment (self-administered) is that he will live the rest of his life alone.

His son, you ask? He leaves his son, Harrison, to be looked after by Hannah (Yvonne Stahovski), a serial killer herself – does he figure that consistency is key and though he can’t have Harrison, the boy should be brought up by another killer?

Jeez. So he’s free, she’s free and only Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) dies?

I mean I’m OK with her being a casualty of his dark, secret life, but surely he should not have been allowed to come out of it as a free man.

I was very disappointed. After the show ended and the credits had rolled, I felt myself staring at the blank screen of my TV in disbelief.

Eight years of my life spent on this show and this is the ending?

I even had the opportunity to speak to Michael C. Hall (who played Dexter) early in the year (I was thrilled and gushed like a total fan girl) and he assured me that he was happy with the way the show was ending. Really Michael? You were happy with that?

It’s not like I’m not against happy endings, really.

The sitcom Friends has a neat, happy ending with Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) together, Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) and their children living happily ever after, Joey (Mat LeBlanc) heading off to Hollywood and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) found her match in Mike (Paul Rudd) and are a happy married couple.

The ending fit the series. After all, despite the rocky relationships throughout the show’s ten-season run, it was a comedy that everyone knew would end well. And it did. – SI

HAVE there ever been finales that actually match fan expectations?

I have such a short attention span, I’ve never really stuck to any TV series all the way. After two (at best, three seasons) I usually give up and find something new that whets my appetite.

I think apart from Fringe and Battlestar Galactica, I never really sat through any series from start to finish.

Even with Friends, I may have caught the finale, and I loved the ensemble cast, but it’s not like I faithfully sat through every episode through all 10 seasons. The Last One (parts one and two) became just another one in a series of The Ones.

I was so hooked to Fringe through all its alternate dimensions, and faux characters. However, when Season Five came along, I started to lose interest.

Set in the future, in a time when the Observers had taken over and ruled quite coldly over humans, Fringe suddenly became very dystopian and lost its initial surprise appeal. Even Walter Bishop’s zany ways couldn’t save the day.

Ditto Six Feet Under. Fans the world over gave acclaim for the neat wrap up of the Fisher clan’s storied lives after 63 episodes, and were touched by the hauntingly emotional finale and remember fondly the segment featuring flash-forwards in the main characters’ lives and, ultimately, their deaths set to Sia Furler’s Breathe Me.

I think I need to rewatch Alan Ball’s incredible series because although it was one of my favourites, at some point I gave up on Brenda Chenowith and Nate Fisher’s drama.

With Battlestar Galactica, I was just so enamoured by Ronald D. Moore’s sci-fi adventure, with outer space, and the 12 colonies, and Starbuck and the Cylons et cetera, I loved everything about it.

Even if all the questions weren’t answered, I felt satisfied that the survivors found a place they could call home. Another series I’d like to revisit someday. More recently, the finales of Breaking Bad and How I Met Your Mother generated more than a fair share of interest among TV viewers.

Both series honoured their promises and premises. In the former, viewers had to bid Walter White farewell, and in the latter series Ted Moseby did indeed meet The Mother. I think they were right in ending before things just dragged on for too long.

When I was a little girl, I remember my folks and my older sisters watching the finale of M*A*S*H, a series that concluded after a good decade. I remember them religiously watching the series which followed a team of doctors and support staff stationed in South Korea during the war.

The finale of that series, titled Goodbye, Farewell And Amen was at the time the most watched TV episode of all time.

It was on May 24, 2011, that Indra and I began these Amazing Adventures as the Sofa Spudniks. We’ve had a whale of a time regaling you with our stories, reminiscing about TV programmes from yesteryear, as well as presenting brickbats and bouquets for today’s TV.

But, like Chaucer says, all good things must come to an end. And so we wish you the best television has to offer, and that your years ahead be blessed with comfortable couches and remote controls that never run out of batteries. Long live John Logie Baird! AMC

Tags / Keywords: Opinion , Lifestyle , Entertainment , Spudniks , Finale

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