These are the Ends
The ends, my friends. The ends. Of the 2008 television season, that is. And due to the writers’ strike, they were spread out all over the early months of the year, from January through to the season finale of LOST in this, the last week of May. Some shows broke for the summer on a high note; others a low note—but all of them seemed to reach for the dramatic brass ring. And some, in doing so, fell off the damn carousel horse and landed on their faces. Here are five shows that might have some apologizing to do to their fans come the fall—or worse yet, pull a Bobby-in-the-Shower moment. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
CSI: Miami (CBS) Okay, so the secret is probably out, if you care about the secret at all. Yes, Horatio, he of the sarcasm and dramatic shades, is shot in the chest and left laying on the tarmac—and another CSI is implicated in his supposed murder. (And seriously, how cool might it have been if this was the series finale instead of just the season? Ah, if only network TV was brave enough to go out on a note like that…) Okay, very dramatic and all (though the lack of blood seems to suggest that Horatio was wearing a bulletproof vest…), but it owes Dallas big in terms of its “Who shot Horatio?” cliffhanger, which in turn ripped off every soap opera plot since old-time-radio. And anyway, it’s already been confirmed that David Caruso is back in the fall, so the question isn’t “is he dead?”, but “how does he survive, and wreak snarky vengeance on all who dare to oppose him and his sunglasses?”
The Office (NBC) Season enders didn’t used to be a thing for sitcoms, really. Oh, there might be a storyline that ended or something, but generally, it was just one more episode in a long string of more or less self-enclosed storylines. Things are different these days, and that shows in this hour-long Office season finale. The set-up is that Toby is moving to Costa Rica and leaving Dunder-Mifflin (and apparently his daughter…continuity police!) behind—but the real draw is that Jim plans to propose to Pam. He doesn’t, of course, because that would be too easy for The Office; Andy proposes to Angela and ruins it. There’s more to it—Amy Ryan has a great performance as Toby’s replacement, and Dwight finally gets Angela back (in a sense), but this episode was really about Jim and Pam not getting engaged. Fans were incensed, but this makes sense with the conceit of the show—that a camera crew is following these people around. Why would Jim choose to propose on film? Better that it happen off-screen, and we’re told about it later. But the show better make it up to the Jam-shippers quick.
Big Bang Theory (CBS) Uh oh. The romantic leads kissed, and admitted chemistry. Come on. Did we learn nothing from David and Maddie, people? Do Sam and Diane not ring a bell? Have we not internalized the lessons of Beauty and the Geek? Once we lose the romantic tension, it’s all over—and as a corollary, geeks and babes don’t mix well. Please! Take your TV lessons seriously, I implore you.
E.R. (NBC) Chicago’s County Hospital is an insanely dangerous place to work. Falling helicopters, massive floods, hostage situations, murderous mental patients, and exploding ambulances. These people should get danger pay. And seeing as how this was the end to the penultimate season, it makes sense that the show would go out on a “who’s coming back for the final shows?” question. Just don’t be surprised if the show ends its long run next season by having the hospital itself come alive and eat everybody, one by one, and then rampage through the streets of Chicago. And then Anthony Edwards wakes up from the bad dream he’s been having since Season Three.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Izzy, George, blah, blah, blah. They all did something in this season finale, but I didn’t care at all. What I did care about was Bailey (Chandra Wilson), who delivered one of the best, geekiest, and most Star-Warsy moments in modern TV history. She’s treating this kid buried in concrete (don’t ask), and he compares himself to Han Solo in carbonite. And she delivers this gem: "You need to be proud of the whole picture. Han Solo is not a loser. Yes, he got encased in carbonite, but that’s not what he’s remembered for. He’s remembered as the guy who made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. And who braved the subzero temperatures of the ice planet Hoth in order to save someone he cared about from the big ugly wampa. He is remembered as the guy who swooped down at the last minute and blasted Darth Vader out of the sky so that Luke could use the force and destroy the damn Death Star. Princess Leia saved him from the carbonite. And they fell in love, and they saved the universe, and had twin Jedi babies that went on to save the universe again. That’s the whole picture. The carbonite was just a piece." Maybe it’s just me, but that’s beautiful. And it’s going to be tough to top next season, unless Derek starts wearing a black vest and a blaster on his hip and telling George “Great kid. Don’t get cocky.”
So to sum up: shot, not engaged, kissing, exploding vehicles, Star Wars. Put that way, it sounds like an episode of LOST. -- Teague Bohlen
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