Now, I’ve been thinking a lot about endings recently – partly because another academic year is over (with only one left before “the real world” happens, whatever that includes – I am hoping for more wine and pizza), partly because all the TV finales just happened. Or, they happened a couple of weeks ago, but it’s a new blog. Please forgive my lateness.
As the idea of graduation next year is far too scary, I am just going to ignore it and complain about Glee.
To set the scene, Glee used to be my absolute favourite thing on earth. (Songs! Jokes! Gays!) However, as even its most die-hard fans acknowledge, quite soon it began to slowly self-destruct until it reached the point at which racism and domestic abuse became episode themes, just in the same way that Lady Gaga and Madonna had tribute episodes in the good old days. But, while Gaga songs continued to be covered long after we first saw Kurt in a “likes boys” t-shirt, these sensitive issues were rarely revisited, and everything was handled about as well as Rachel Berry handles rejection.
So when season 3 finally ended, I was actually relieved. I’d been threatening to quit for months, but Glee was like a drug which, no matter how depressed it made you, was somehow too addictive to ignore. There were still characters I cared about, the songs were still catchy, and when it occasionally gets things right, it can be pretty great. Besides, my bedroom is covered in Glee merch people bought me when the madness was at its peak; I had to see this through.
The thing is, overall, the finale wasn’t that bad. I mean, sure, it was bad, but not in comparison to all the awkward storytelling and outright offensive decisions that had been made beforehand (remember when that episode about not stereotyping Latin America also introduced a character who was most commonly referred to as “black Sue”?)
And okay, there were a few dubious decisions. Spoiler warning: Rachel choked her audition to NYADA, apparently the only theatre school in the US, but still got in; meanwhile Kurt, who I assume is the only reason there are any viewers left at all, did a perfect audition and was rejected with no explanation. Also, Mercedes randomly got a recording contract without even trying, and apparently every minor character was actually a year younger than everybody else the entire time, because CONTINUITY.
All in all, however, it was not as bad as it could have been. Yes, I refuse to watch it ever again because I just can’t take the skin-crawling agony any longer. But if a balance of emotions is what you’re after, there was enough bitterness in the finale to offset the sweetness – although I still threw up in my mouth a couple of times. It may not have made any logical sense, but if nothing else, it wasn’t just a long series of happy endings and people getting exactly what they want.
Unlike, for example, the train wreck that was the Desperate Housewives finale. (Spoilers.)
When the penultimate episode wrapped up an excellent season with mostly happy endings for all, I was convinced that the final episode would bring it all crashing down. After all, the show has never shied away from killing secondary characters, and now that it’s definitely not coming back, surely they would bump off at least one housewife in a freak accident? Right? The show’s popularity has come from its willingness to make those kinds of decisions.
Wrong. Everybody lived happily ever after, and went their separate ways. Who wants to watch that? What was the point of all the trauma that came before if everything ends up totally fine?
The thing is, dear readers, I’ve had a bit of a thing about killing off characters recently. Personally I blame Joss Whedon, and a conversation I had after watching Cabin in the Woods about how Toy Story 3 would have had a better ending if they’d all gone into that giant fire pit and then the credits had rolled.
(Just sit and think about that for a minute. What is the inevitable outcry that would have occurred in comparison to how absolutely fantastic an ending that would be?)
Thanks to Whedon and all the years I spent watching Buffy and Firefly, nothing is emotional any more unless your favourite character is senselessly murdered, just to remind you that happiness can only ever be temporary, and the world is a place of totally random needless violence.
After all, if you’re not being reminded of your own mortality in your downtime, what is even the point?
And that is why, people of the internet, I am going to start watching Game of Thrones instead.
Wish me luck.