In case you somehow missed it, The Office aired its series finale last week. Now, I’m on the record with my problems with that show, and fans seemed to like the finale a lot, so I won’t rain on their parade with my criticisms of it. But it brought to mind a problem I have with series finales in general: It really bothers me when characters in TV finales act like they know they’re in a TV finale.
This is a very common problem, especially with comedies. Plot-driven shows can spend their finales concluding whatever series-long arcs it has been developing: (Spoilers) The Sopranos settled Tony’s war with New York, Battlestar Galactica found “Earth,” Lost explained the Island (kind of), etc. But shows that are more character-driven end up filling the time with a lot of “finale talk.” Continue reading »
What we read while asking Bob Costas his thoughts on the fiscal cliff…
Most of the problems with HBO’s Girls come from the name. By titling her show so simply, Lena Dunham implied that she was speaking for an entire gender. Having her character announce in the pilot, “I think I might be the voice of my generation,” also didn’t help her.
Of course, this says far more about the current state of television (and society) than anything else. Shows created by, produced by, and starring women are so rare that when one appears, it is expected to make a statement about the entire gender. A show that was allegedly supposed to speak for so many couldn’t help but get criticized for being so narrowly targeted: There were no minorities, or people from poor backgrounds, or sympathetically portrayed men, etc.
But this is not a fair standard: Nobody expects Louie to speak on behalf of all men. Even someone like Tyler Perry, who is in a similar situation as one of the few African-Americans with complete creative control over his work, isn’t expected to speak on behalf of all black people. In fact, it would be seem phony and unrealistic if someone like Louis C.K. tried to tailor his vision to fit social conventions; it would ruin the show.
By the same token, it would feel phony and unrealistic for Dunham’s character on Girls, Hannah, to have a black best friend. Continue reading »
What we read while the Egyptian government REALLY cracked down on Tebowing…
Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose!
Well, Friday Night Lights has officially ended, and for good this time. FNL has had more shots at an ending than any show not named One Tree Hill. The show’s first and third season finales were both written as potential series finales before late renewals extended its life. And for those who watched the fifth season when it initially aired on DirecTV, the series ended back in February. Even the DVDs were released in April, but the show’s final run on NBC finished up last night. So, sadly, Friday Night Lights, one of the best series of the last decade, is over.
And for all the controversial endings to classic shows over the last few years—The Sopranos, The Wire, Lost, Battlestar Galactica—I’ve never been as upset watching a finale as I was watching the finale to Friday Night Lights.
The final image of the series was Eric and Tami Taylor walking off the football field. This was the perfect ending for the series… except that the football field was in Philadelphia, not Texas. Continue reading »
What we read while wondering if the winners of the Lingerie Bowl play the winners of the Puppy Bowl…
What we read while deleting our unfortunately phrased tweets…
5. “God,” Louie
One of the reasons the superlative in the title of this post is “memorable” and not “best” is to make room for episodes like “God.” It wasn’t the funniest episode of the first season of Louie—and it wasn’t even necessarily my favorite—but it was certainly the most distinct and memorable episode of a show that was consistently original. I remember watching the scene in which the creepy, nameless doctor tells a young Louie to stab Jesus Christ in the wrist and thinking, “It’s very unusual that this is on television.” The dark humor, the nuanced take on religion, and the controversial point of view are all things rarely seen on TV, and yet they were precisely the kinds of things that made Louie such an innovative and enjoyable show. Continue reading »
This whole time that I’ve been watching Pretty Little Liars–roughly four transcendent weeks by now*–I’ve been thinking, of course, a lot about Twin Peaks. The series, after all, are very similar. Both center on murdered girls from a small town with secrets. Both feature, for their time, attractive casts. Both involve the woods frequently. Both often hone in on marital problems. Both contain a character who rides a motorcycle and who was at least rumored to be romantically linked to the deceased while later becoming romantically linked to one of her friends. Both dead girls are very similar in personality, particularly their fondness for secrets.**
*In case you were wondering, I did find the time to finally go back and see the first three episodes.
**This is the time to overlook their very large differences, the main one I think being that Twin Peaks was a show essentially about small-town life with the mystery serving as an entrypoint whereas Pretty Little Liars doesn’t really care about developing Rosewood. And oh yeah, there are no owls in PLL.
Continue reading »