Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Belated TV Finale Thoughts, Part 1

My overly ambitious plan was to write up a season finale post on most of the shows I watch regularly, but I was only really able to do that for How I Met Your Mother. Instead, just a few quick stray thoughts on a few season finales (and perhaps overall season thoughts). First up, the comedies...

THE OFFICE - This probably deserved its own post, but I stopped caring about the show way before its series finale, which was done as well as they could've done it. I still don't buy Dwight's character 180 in the last few episodes, but they had to rush his maturation for his wedding and his new status as branch manager. Also, putting focus on the documentary aspect of the show for its final season was a mixed bag in that while it provided a natural closure for the show, the reality of it just begs for too much analysis that doesn't hold up. For one, why were only those featured in the last year of the "documentary" invited for the reunion? The real answer is that the "people" who have been featured on it are played by actors who weren't available for the finale, but sure let's pretend people actually were clamoring for more Plop and mini-Dwight instead of Michael Scott. And yet dammit if I didn't cheer and cry when Steve Carrell did make his appearance or when Dwight called Pam his best friend or when Phyllis started crying because Stanley made her a bobble-head doll. It was certainly time to end it and they did it the best they could with what they were given. Finale: B+, Season: C

HAPPY ENDINGS - The season ended with the gang dancing together at a wedding reception and if that's the final image we'll have of this show ever, I'm at peace with it. Yes, even though ABC cancelled it there's a chance it'll find a new cable home. I'll be happy if it does come back, but I'm also okay if it doesn't. I still love the characters especially with how they interact with each other, but I would lie if I didn't say that some of their schtick were getting a bit tiresome. That said, this is the show I lovingly call "a piñata filled with candy and crack." Candy and crack is good, but getting them constantly is not that great for you. Finale: B, Season: B

NEW GIRL - I've been quite impressed at the strong sophomore season this show managed to put together. Most of it was realizing that the show works much better as an ensemble and less of a Zoey Deschanel platform. I'm not to say that she isn't great by herself, but they also learned to turned down her adorkableness that was such a feature of the first season, especially early on. This season also benefited from Jake Johnson (this season's MVP) absolutely blossoming as Nick Miller from his hilarious physical comedy to his unbelievable chemistry with Deschanel. I do wish the show would give Cece and Winston more to do though the latter has done the best he could all season with very little. Cece on the other hand was largely wasted on a wedding arc that ended the way everyone thought it would. And now they're seemingly creating a love triangle arc with her, Schmidt, and Elizabeth (played by the amazing Merrit Weaver). I'll reserve judgment on this depending on whether or not the show decides to keep Weaver around. Finale: B+, Season: B+

BIG BANG THEORY - This show has fallen down in my own rankings the past few years especially with some of the crass humor that has overtaken the show. With that said, there are still a few things that keep me coming back. For one thing, the show has been very open to expanding its cast, first with bringing in more girls (Amy and Bernadette) and then growing its world of wonderful recurring characters (the characters' parents, Stuart, Will Wheaton, and now Lucy). That latter character, Lucy, the woman with the severe social anxiety disorder that Raj is dating, can still go one way or another (and who knows if we'll actually see her again), but it at least provided some growth for the Raj character who can finally talk to girls without alcoholic influence. That development in the finale was a welcome change as was the gang saying goodbye momentarily to Leonard nicely book-ending the season when they welcomed Howard back from his expedition. Finale: B, Season B-

PARKS & RECREATION - My favorite comedy show didn't have the best season ender at least compared to the finales of past years especially since it didn't really leave things in a nice little bow. And yet there's a silver lining there in that the show must have known that they were a shoe-in for renewal (and they were renewed). While that's all and good, it also made the season finale feel like setting up for next season with many things were left up in the air like's Leslie fighting the recall, April going to vet school, Tom's business being bought by a mysterious person, and OH YEAH RON SWANSON BEING A DAD. The end of the second season had this same feeling and it gave us the nearly perfect third season so I'm going to remain hopeful that this show will deliver. It almost always does after all. Finale: B, Season: A-

COMMUNITY - Six seasons and a movie. These days to many disenchanted fans, that's starting to feel like a prison sentence especially as the show has been renewed yet again. I admit that it hasn't been the show's strongest season, but people bemoaning that the show has been ruined to the point of no return is just ridiculous. I guess most of this is due to many of the creatives that had made the show great being replaced this past year, but it's not as if the whole season was a bust. The Jim Rash-penned episode was superb as was seeing how the gang all decided to go to community college and the puppet-themed episode is right up there with the best Community episodes ever. One thing I would give to the naysayers is the finale going just a bit overboard. There were plenty of nice things in there, especially in the end with Jeff showing his appreciation for his friends and that place, but the Dark Timeline subplot, as cool as it might have been as an initial idea, overreached here and didn't make sense at all character-wise for Jeff. Why would Jeff be having such an Abed reaction to graduating? Still, I'm a believer of shows improving (see again my thoughts on How I Met Your Mother) so bring on two more seasons and a movie please! Finale: B-, Season: B

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