Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TV Meme: Day 22

"30 Days TV Meme"

Day 22 | Favorite series finale

Like a lot of people, be it because they are fans or they just can't avoid the constant reruns, I've seen every episode of Friends. And I was one of 52.5 million viewers who tuned in to watch the show end after ten years being on air and being a staple in NBC's lineup.

When it comes to series finales, I require a few things to be present or happen for it to be satisfying to me. First, it should more or less wrap up any dangling storylines. Second, it should just be a good episode in general. Third, it should have some callback to the pilot or the series as a whole. Finally and most importantly, it should focus on the characters. After all, they are the reasons why we watched all the way to the end of the series, right?

The series finale of Friends had all of that. There were only two dangling storylines that needed to be addressed in the episode: (1) the birth of Chandler & Monica's baby and (2) the resolution to Ross & Rachel's relationship drama. The episode was even structured with these in mind with the first half focusing on the babies and the second half focusing on Ross/Rachel.

The episode itself was one of the best episodes the series had to offer providing each of the main characters witty zingers and memorable lines. And while it was one of the longest episode of the show ever, it was also one of its more quickly paced episode with everything happening all at once.

Of course, my favorite parts of the episode were all of the callbacks and shout outs for the long-time fans. It was great seeing Gunther finally express his feelings for Rachel. It was fun that Joey gave the babies a duck and chick just as he and their father had when they were roommates. It was heartbreaking to see the Foosball table, a staple of the show since the first season, dismantled. It was neat seeing Phoebe's cab and her use of "phalange." It was all kinds of neat that when Ross & Rachel kissed in the end, they used the same music from when they first kissed. And of course there was Ross' line about "being on a break." Don't make jokes now!

As for the characters, the finale served all of them well, save for Joey. Chandler & Monica have their babies and are moving out. Ross & Rachel are finally together. Phoebe is happily married to Mike who changed his mind about starting a family. And Joey is about to go to Hollywood to star in a godawful spin-off. It was also quite nice that they structured the episode so that the last half hour only starred the original friends (minus the new babies of course) with Gunther, Mike, and Erica having their last scenes in the first half.

So the episode, entitled "The Last One," was just satisfying through and through. The fans could be happy where all the characters ended up by the final scene and had an enjoyable time watching it all unfold to boot with a few twists (twins!) and turns (wrong airport!) thrown in among the heartfelt moments such as all of them in the empty apartment placing their keys in the counter.

The final few seconds were also handled brilliantly with Rachel asking Monica and Chandler if they have time for a cup and coffee and Chandler ironically delivering the last line of dialogue "Sure. Where?" as they all made their way to Central Perk once more. Camera then pans across the the empty apartment, from the living room to the kitchen, and settles on the door. We see the picture frame around the peephole. Fade to black.

Just for the record, OF COURSE, I considered the season finales of Buffy, Angel, and Lost. That last one is still a bit fresh and I still need time to process, and much as I love the finales for both Buffy and Angel I still wished they were both supersized to two hours of awesomeness each with appearances from Oz and Tara (in Buffy) and Buffy, Faith, or Cordelia (in Angel). Plus others have already said it better. Case in point, my friend Bunny shares with us why Angel's series finale is her favorite while Andrew tells us why he chose Buffy's series finale to write about today.

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