Nothing sets the Twitter world ablaze like the series finale of a television show. Series finales incite trending topics and create new hashtags more than political scandals do. Sadly, most of the tweets referencing finales aren’t positive. Fans expressed outrage at the finale of Dexter and, most recently, at How I Met Your Mother. Thank God Twitter wasn’t really a “thing” when LOST ended, AMIRITE? So why is it that people get so worked up over a TV show that they actually feel the need to take to social media to express their opinions?
Our parents’ generation remembers exactly where they were when they heard that President John F. Kennedy was shot. I remember exactly where I watched the series finale of Friends and Sex and the City. Those both ended in 2004. (That was a rough year for me.) The thing is, the finale episode isn’t just an episode. It’s the culmination of the amount of time that we’ve spent with these characters and as the characters have gone on their journeys, or arcs, we as audience members have as well.
Friends hit the airwaves when I was in middle school and ended in my sophomore year of college. (I’d appreciate it if you didn’t try to calculate my age.) I physically went from child to adult in those ten years, and throughout those ten years I always had Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey. They were always there for me on Thursday night.
The amount of time we invest in these characters and the changes that they go through (which sometimes mirror the changes we’re experiencing ourselves – life imitates art, right?) are why we’re so disappointed, or even angry, when we feel like the finale sucks. It’s can make us feel that all the time we’ve spent with them has been for nothing because we ‘re forced to question if we ever really knew them at all. It’s similar to realizing, post-breakup, that your ex was never really the person you thought he was, that you were loving and sleeping with an Eddie Meneuk when you thought he was a Chandler Bing. ( If you’re not familiar with Friends and you wish to fully appreciate the nature of that horror, queue up Season 2 in Netflix.)
I’m just praying that Shonda Rhimes has a good finale for Scandal up her sleeve when it wraps up in a few years or else there will be hell to pay- and a lot of mean “Olitz” tweets.
And as for the rest of the shows we’ve loved and lost – well, all I can say is thank God for reruns and broadcast syndication, and Netflix.