The series finale is a tricky art, especially for sitcoms. Some are great: Newhart, Cheers, Frasier. Some are not so great, which is our focus today…the ALL-TIME WORST 10 SITCOM FINALES!
10. King of Queens
While I truly believe that King of Queens is one of the more underrated sitcoms of all-time, the entire final season was a disaster. The whole show became way too confusing and melodramatic. The finale was just bizarre, with Arthur’s wedding as well as Doug and Carrie racing to China to adopt a baby. The show does end on a pretty fitting note though, with the Heffernans living “happily” with two kids and Arthur returning home. Still, more bad than good.
9. Gilligan’s Island
One would expect that they might get off the island, no? Well, they freaking didn’t. Instead, we got some cheesy (even for Gilligan’s Island) island native plot. I can only stick up for Gilligan’s Island for so long…
8. The Brady Bunch
This was the Old Yeller of finales. The Brady Bunch was pretty much on its last legs when it stumbled towards its series finale. Fittingly, it should’ve been put out of its misery…and was, in one of the worst finales ever. We got some bizarre hair tonic gone awry storyline that put people to sleep faster than Ben Stein reading The English Patient.
To be fair, this wasn’t intended to be the series finale, as there was hope the show would be resurrected for future seasons or for a movie. So, the whole cliffhanger thing, with ALF caught be the government, probably wasn’t purposefully terrifying. With the show ending though, the thought of our fun-loving alien being dissected by the government is a little messed-up for a family sitcom. Thankfully (but unthankfully, as it was terrible), a TV-movie was made years later, where we find out that ALF is alive and well. In retrospect, after ALF’s short-lived talk show in mid-2000’s, killing him might have been the better option.
6. Everybody Loves Raymond
What I loved so much about Raymond episodes, was that they teased a preachy lesson…and then absolutely tore it apart. The finale was different though, with Ray nearly dying during surgery. The whole theme of the episode was mortality and appreciating your loved ones. To top it off, they didn’t even deconstruct the lesson. You’re just left there as viewer to feel real crappy and guilty that you enjoyed the dark humor of the series’ other episodes. Great, that’s exactly what you want out of a finale…to have the audience hate themselves for watching your show.
How do you end the greatest sitcom ever? With a pretty lackluster finale, apparently. I mean, I didn’t want hugs or tears, as that wouldn’t have gone with the show’s tone, but this was a mess. It really seemed like they didn’t know how to end the show at all, and may have even tried to leave it open for a return. Whatever the case, this was a pretty disappointing end to such a legendary show.
4. Night Court
Night Court is one of those series that seems to be largely forgotten. It’s a shame too, because throughout most of its run, it was really outstanding. That final season though…yuck! To top it all off, you had a miserable series finale, that included the much-loved Bull encountering aliens. Freaking aliens!!!!!
3. How I Met Your Mother
I’ll try not to spoil this one as much as the others, as the show just went off the air and peeps still might be catching-up on the final season. I will say this, to end a relatively light-hearted show with death and divorce is pretty terrible and cruel to the audience. It’s like these writers get a little too big for their britches at the end of series and want to make some profound statement on life or politics. This often ruins otherwise enjoyable shows.
I get that the show was a “realistic” look at suburban family life, but c’mon, that finale was something out of Requiem for a Dream. See, during the last season, we’re led to believe that the Connors win the lottery and can finally live happily ever after. (Lee Corso voice) Not so fast my friend! Well, Dan (John Goodman) is dead and the family didn’t win a scratch-off, much less the big lottery. Feel like you got punched in the gut? Yep, so did everybody who literally suffered through this horrifying finale.
For those who don’t remember, Dinosaurs was a family-friendly sitcom where dinosaurs behaved like humans. The show also had a bit of an edgy environmentalist bent to it as well (keep that in mind for later). Episodes would usually consist of some combination of slap-stick humor along with a Cosby-esque lesson at the end. The finale though, was one of the most macabre things I’ve ever seen. I don’t remember the entire plot, but somehow industrialists triggered the ice age. Our last look at the Sinclair family: all of them sitting in their house, freezing to death (literally) and waiting for their demise. How messed up is that? I get that there was a “lesson” to learn, but I’d venture to guess that a majority of the show’s audience was 12 years old or younger. That’s a great way to scar a kid for life. Thanks a bunch, ABC!
Tomorrow, the ALL-TIME WORST 10 KARAOKE CHOICES!