So, my girlfriend’s been rewatching Scrubs these past two months, and while I haven’t been watching it with her the whole time, I popped in from time to time. Naturally one of those times was yesterday when she watched the finale (or, at least my prefered finale, the end of season 8). I got to thinking of how difficult it must be to end something that people has been following for the past ten, eight, or even five years, and then I started to compare endings of different shows. It didn’t take me that long to find that this finale of Scrubs may well be one of the best representations of a successful series finale – ever.
With Lost, I was euphoric for the first 75 % of the finale, until I realised what was going on, and I found it both a little bit on the cowardly side, as well as a bit disappointing. The return of the many characters from the show’s past was great, as was their realizations of their connections. But still, not enough questions were answered and some new ones were added in the last couple of episodes – mainly I find it irritating that the deal with Desmond was never really explained.
Friends, on the other hand, did not really disappoint, but it also played it a bit safe, I think. Did anyone not see that ending coming?
Some shows have had endings that fit the tone and nature of the show without being epic or climactic. In The West Wing for instance (which I only recently watched and loved), you get the feeling that it’s not as much an ending as a new beginning, as it should be when the show is about a job that has an expiration date. This is also the reason that I found the tone to be perfect as it’s almost melancholy – we see Bartlet returning home after eight years that nothing can ever compare to, a little worse for wear and contemplating his actions. I found this ending to be almost perfect, but also ended up wishing that they had tied it to the season opener in a better way, where we got to see Bartlet and other characters a few years into the future.
So, Scrubs. It managed to tie beautifully into the show’s past both with tidbits nudged in the storyline (such as the Big Book of Rants that J.D gives Dr. Cox) and in a big way in the end when we see a big line of characters from the show’s many seasons. We also get some expected payoff, including a sincere letout of emotion from Dr. Cox.
All of these things would have made for a near perfect ending, especially the character line when J.D walks out, but then the writers decided to do something truly amazing – they use a character trait to show what could happen in the presumed future, during which we can’t watch the characters anymore. J.D has always fantazised about things, and here we get to see a couple of them put together like a home movie, telling us in a subtle way that they are a bit more than just one of his regular daydreams. The show then ends by J.D musing that maybe this time, his fantasies will come true.
I’ve rewatched the ending a couple of times since last night, and I can’t get over how darn perfect it is. That is, it was until ABC decided to unend the show by doing a ninth season/spinoff ant totally raped the perfect ending. I understand the desire to make more money after just recently getting the rights to the show, but still. If they had to do it, they should have left out all of the characters from the original Scrubs, instead of uprooting them and placing them in a new situation.
So, all in all, the ending of Scrubs serves as a great example of what an ending should be, as well as an example of how to ruin it. The ending I’m most excited about in the upcoming finale season is Smallville, and I’m having high hopes for it. With so much buildup and with access to maybe the most iconic character of our time (as well as the fantastic Michael Rosenbaum returning), they should be able to do wonders with the finale.
On the other hand, if they decide not to show us Superman, other than as a blue blur in the horizon, I’ll feel like I wasted ten years watching the show and will probably end up throwing something at the TV before I watch the finale of Scrubs again, pretending that there never was a ninth season.