Not every show can go out on a good note. Sure, some shows like Breaking Bad come up with a conclusion that feels right and true to most fans. But usually, when a show has been on the air for a while, finding a tidy way to wrap things up can be a chore.
Even if it's been planned out since the beginning, as was the case with the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, it's hard to make people who have invested time in the characters feel like they've said goodbye in a satisfying way. While the fury swells over the HIMYM's controversial ending, it's helpful to distract ourselves with other epic finale fails Ted and his stupid blue French horn are up against.
It's like the start of a joke… Tony Soprano walks into a diner.
That's how David Chase sets up the finale of his landmark HBO series. The Mafia boss made famous by the late James Gandolfini rifles through a jukebox at his table and picks out Journey's "Don’t Stop Believing." His wife Carmela (Edie Falco) joins him, soon followed by his son A.J. (Robert Iler). The diner is full. A guy in a hat sits at a nearby booth and may have eyed Tony when he was alone. Another guy in a Members Only jacket enters right before A.J. and seems kind of twitchy. Another pair of guys lingers near the counter. Tony's daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) is late because she can't parallel park. The jacket guy walks past the Soprano's table and goes into the bathroom. Meadow, finally out of the car, walks towards the door of the diner. She reaches out to open it, the bell rings above the door and… nothing. Cut to a black screen.
Millions of Americans reached for their remote, sure that their TV sets had just completely screwed them over and were poised to call their cable company... when suddenly the credits started to roll. The shock that the series ended with a cut to black set fans howling and looking for answers. Did we go black because a bullet just went through Tony's head? Did the bell mean something? Were the potential threats in the diner just a part of Tony's normal paranoia? What the heck does any of it mean? Chase has steadfastly refused to provide much in the way of explanation, leaving a large section of the fan base furious over the ambiguity.
The show about nothing decided to make the end about something. That's a problem. With Larry David back to write the final episode of the show that he created with his friend Jerry Seinfeld, the group is about to have some good fortune. The show-within-a-show created by Jerry and George (Jason Alexander) finds new life and the duo, along with Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Kramer (Michael Richards), are jetting off to Paris to celebrate in a private jet courtesy of NBC. But, some mechanical issues ground them and while they wait, they stand around making jokey comments about a car-jacking that they're witnessing. Next thing you know, we're in a court room with every ancillary character in the history of the show, each with his or her own story of how horrible Jerry and his friends are. The foursome is led to a single jail cell after being convicted under a Good Samaritan law and, essentially, starts having a conversation the same as they would at Monk's or Jerry's apartment.
As the credits role, Jerry, dressed in prison orange, performs a stand-up routine for the other inmates. The finale was bloated, lazy, and worst of all, not funny… with jokes falling flat left and right. Apparently most of the humor was supposed to come from the audience seeing the Soup Nazi or Newman one last time. For a show that had delivered consistent laughs throughout its entire run, not remaining true to the style of humor that had made it a cultural phenomenon was the ultimate sin.
The critically acclaimed '80s medical drama had a very loyal fan base that kept it on the air. It's hard to remember but the Boston-based show was the career launching pad for a number of actors, Denzel Washington and Mark Harmon chief amongst them, and was a major influence on later hospital series like ER and Grey's Anatomy. In the finale, a bearded Howie Mandel leaves after finishing his residency and David Morse's soulful Dr. Morrison collects his young son to depart as well. As the show's moral center Dr. Westphal (Ed Flanders) returns to his office, his autistic son (Chad Allen) stares out the window at the falling snow.
Cut to: Westphal now dressed as a construction worker entering an apartment where his son is on the floor staring at a snow globe. What's inside the globe? A replica of St. Eligius Hospital, or St. Elsewhere, as it's more commonly called. So, the whole show was just something that played out in the mind of an autistic boy? Is that it? Really? The whole "it was all fake" ending worked exactly once with the brilliant final reveal on Newhart, but that's it.
The closet serial killer played by Michael C. Hall is getting out of the game. With his girlfriend Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) and son Harrison (Evan and Luke Kruntchev) in tow, he's going to skip out to Argentina and lead a more peaceful life... then a criminal shoots Dex's sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter). Even though she seems fine, she suddenly lapses into a coma after a massive stroke. Dexter kind of matter-of-factly kills Saxon while he's in police custody, sends Hannah and Harrison off to Buenos Aires, and then takes Deb off life support. He steals her body and dumps it into the sea, before faking his own death. Except when we see Hannah and Harrison way down south, Dexter isn't with them and Hannah is reading a news story about his presumed watery demise.
We hear Dexter in a voice-over explaining how hard it is to be him. So, where is he? Well, why don't we let every fan of the Showtime hit take over from here: "A lumberjack?! He's a f**king lumberjack?! What do you mean he's a f**king lumberjack?!" Before that final scream-inducing reveal — seriously, how many TV sets were broken when remotes went sailing into them immediately after the shot of bearded Dexter? — the episode was pretty lifeless, moving from point A to B to C in a paint-by-numbers kind of way.
Just like with Seinfeld, the ending to Roseanne Barr's long-running sitcom felt like a cheat. Really it was a case where the show probably should've ended a couple of seasons before it actually did. The final season was an unmitigated disaster as the Connors won the lottery and the entire premise of the show changed, becoming a distorted rumination on the meaning of life. In the final episode, we see the cast of the show gathered around the kitchen table eating, laughing, and joking. Then a voice-over from Rosanne tells us that what we've been watching was a figment of her imagination. She's changed things from real life as she's written, including having Dan survive the heart attack that actually killed him two years prior. Worse, she calls into question what parts of the show going back before the heart attack were real (what do you mean David is really Becky's boyfriend?). Considering that the show became a ratings juggernaut with its funny portrayal of the real issues that face lower-middle class Americans, being told that it was just the main character's alternate reality was a slap in the face. And, while it's fine for a finale to be packed with emotion — plenty of fans cried at the end of M*A*S*H and The Mary Tyler Moore Show — the final shot of Roseanne sitting alone on her couch was unnecessarily depressing.
Man, women are the worst, aren't they? I mean, they should be the best, what with their boobs and their bodies and their vaginas and long hair and whatnot. Sometimes they even smell good! Women should be the greatest things on the planet — a real treat for the men who want them! But somewhere down the line, a f**k up occurred, giving women free will and brains controllable without the help of a dude! And now, thanks to these ladyjerks, a billion boners the world over have gone untouched.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more present than Los Angeles. Because apparently, all of the women in this town are withholding boobs and vaginas without permission. And for people like Pauly Shore! Like OMG WTF, right? It's not fair that these women are allowed to run around being all hot and attractive but not share their bodily wealth with the dudes that want them. Not only that, but most of the women in LA are coke fiends (and we don't mean soda) that refuse drink enough booze on dates. Sure, these ladies might cite things like "safety" and "the law" as reasons for not imbibing the right amount to get a guy laid (pish posh!), but we all know they're just trying to ruin men's lives for funsies. How are the men of LA supposed to get their d**ks wet if the vaginas they're after aren't drunk? Ugh, ladies be dumb, right?!
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How dare us females do that to the men of Los Angeles — don't we know better? Maybe we should all just move to the Valley — a mythical land made up completely of unf**kables (aka ugly and/or fat girls, because not even the men of L.A. would stoop so low) — and stop advertising that our bodies are open for business when clearly they're not. Prejudice!
Are you mad yet? Welcome to the world of the viral video atrocity "Women of L.A.," an ode to the exclusively-frigid females that populate the city of Angels. Angels like DJ Lubel, the comedian who spent a heck of a lot of time and money crafting the deeply-misogynistic clip below. If you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a real treat. Watch it without pulling your hair out, I dare you.
Lubel and his cast of guest-stars (including Jaleel White, Pauly Shore, and Mr. Belding himself, Dennis Haskins) regale us with their song of woe. Hot girls won't sleep with our hereos here, Internet! It's crazy, right? All these dumb hot ladies (don't you worry, ladies of the Valley: you're not worth anyone's time) only want monied men! Or some hot dude! Life's a b**ch, then you marry one, and then you die, amirite?
Luckily, the Internet (save for Ashton Kutcher, because of course) has made us proud over the past few days with its overwhelming disdain for the video. Comedians like Patton Oswalt, Christine Nangle, Ed Lee, and Tim Neenan have all voiced their dislike for the video's overwhelming misogyny passed off as comedy. Perhaps the most eloquently-stated of them all was a response from L.A.-based funyperson Erin Gibson, who wrote a fabulous blog post explaining frame-by-frame why the whole thing was just the worst.
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Now, Lubel might have created the video as a satire (one could only hope), perhaps in an attempt to skewer the very type of men who would say these sort of things. But the problem is that a lot of people see this sort of thing as truth-comedy: that women are nothing more than objects with heartbeats (and holes to put penises in!!!!!) put on Earth for male enjoyment. Whether Lubel sees that his rape joke-laced misogynistic complaint-rap as a joke or a commentary has yet to be proven, but that doesn't really matter. And this is where Gibson's thought-out analysis really hits the nail on the head; while she's "sure DJ Lubel didn’t set out to make something misogynistic or anti-women," he has, and that sort of unwitting naïveté is "what makes [the video] so horrifying." Lubel "doesn’t even know what he’s doing. It’s the attitude of 'I’m a guy, how dare these women reject me!?', implying that women are here to serve men, despite how women feel." And since Lubel is so "blind to what he is doing, he doesn’t realize the degree to which he is completely dehumanizing women to the point of denying that they have their own wants and desires and thoughts and opinions, all so he can promote a series of LA clichés that were sort of acceptable before 1985." Preach, Gibson!
In the end, there will always be a core group of fans for this sort of hackneyed, base style of humor, but it doesn't mean we have to put up with it when shoved in our faces. It warms the cockles of this woman of LA's heart to hear the Internet collectively stands up against something so offensive. YouTube commenters and Kutchers notwithstanding, of course.
What do you think of the 'Women of L.A.'? Do you find it funny or foolish? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: YouTube]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes.
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Watch out, Fox — Hell hath no fury like a Simon Cowell scorned. Tonight, yours truly was shocked when, at 5:40 p.m. PST, Fox began airing the latest episode of The X Factor, which was not supposed to air until its usual time, 8 p.m. I watched for about an hour or so, until, suddenly, contestant Jillian Jensen was replaced with a repeat of The Mindy Project. Say what? Well, Simon Cowell was confused, too:
Have no idea what is happening to the schedule tonight. Have heard the whole episode will be shown next Tuesday. Sorry.— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 18, 2012
As it turns out, Fox was attempting to air X Factor tonight as scheduled on the East Coast, despite a baseball rain delay that ran into primetime, Deadline reports. About an hour later, Fox received word that the National League Championship game would go on, so they switched over to The Mindy Project repeat in anticipation. Again — say what? The fact that I was able to watch it on the West Coast was a technical blunder of major league proportions, though Cowell, of course, summed it up best:
It what's known as a total f up.— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 18, 2012Exactly. The regularly scheduled West Coast broadcast of X Factor was pre-empted, with a repeat airing instead. Now we'll have to wait until next Tuesday to find out who else will go through to the live auditions, and Cowell and co. will have to face off against their NBC rival, The Voice, for the second time this season. To make matters worse, Fox's 9-10 p.m. comedies, New Girl and The Mindy Project, will now be delayed another week. Insert miserable Zooey Deschanel face here.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: FOX]
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Set in 1976 an arrogant doofus--who loves booze partying and women--buys an underdog professional basketball team and basically runs it into the ground until he is inspired to take his rag-tag team all the way to the NBA. Sound familiar? Semi-Pro is pretty much a mixture of every other Will Ferrell movie. He plays Jackie Moon a one-hit wonder who buys the Flint Michigan Tropics off the proceeds of his hit song “Love Me Sexy.” and tries to coach them even playing on the team. But he ends up dragging them down to last place with his promotional antics. And when the wild and crazy ABA basketball league--known for its slam dunk contests--is about to merge with the all-powerful NBA the Tropics only have one shot to make the cut. Can they pull themselves together in time? This is an underdog sports movie after all. It’s really the same old Will Ferrell shtick in Semi-Pro. Sometimes it’s hilarious but unfortunately after Anchorman Kicking & Screaming Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory much of it is rehash. Tiresome rehash. Nevertheless Ferrell has surrounded himself with another eclectic crew mixing some old favorites with new faces: old Ferrell cronies include David Koechner as the ABA commissioner and Will Arnett as a Tropics sports announcer while the newbies include Andre Benjamin as Clarence “Coffee” Black the Tropics star player and Woody Harrelson as Ed Monix a veteran player Moon brings in to help the team. Think of Monix as Bull Durham’s Crash Davis who once played in the show but has been demoted to the B leagues. Oddly enough Harrelson actually brings some dignity to the otherwise silly proceedings. Veteran executive producer Kent Alterman who has overseen such diverse films as Balls of Fury and Little Children helms his first feature film with Semi-Pro--and that’s basically how the film comes off: semi-professional. Alterman probably figured he only had to point and shoot which is mostly the case and doesn’t do anything above and beyond. The real effort comes from the script written by comedy veteran Scot Armstrong (Old School Starsky & Hutch). The first half of the film is pure Will Ferrell non sequitur fodder--beginning with Moon singing his hit “Love Me Sexy” (lyrics also included is “Lick Me Sexy” and “Hump Me Sexy”) and the obligatory scene of Moon sitting around with his buddies saying “nutty things because they’re not true.” Then there’s the bear wrestling scene. Ferrell must have a thing for the big furry animals (remember the bear pit in Anchorman?) Unfortunately the outrageousness lessens in the second half of the film becoming your straight forward underdog movie. If Semi-Pro is a huge hit Ferrell won't stop making these movies; but if it falls flat maybe he'll think of ways to reinvent himself. One can only hope.
He once portrayed an Iggy Pop-inspired rocker in "Velvet Goldmine," and it looks like Ewan McGregor is about to do the same with British pop pioneer Billy Fury. According to Reuters, the "Star Wars: Episode I" actor's next project will be a film biography about Billy Fury, the Liverpool, England, pop icon who dominated the rock scene in the early 1960s.
No title has been attached to the project. Reuters said that McGregor's uncle, Dennis Lawson, who had a minor part in "Episode I," will also be in the film.
INFIDELITY LANE: Cheating on someone such as Richard Gere ain't easy, but someone's got to do it. The Hollywood Reporter says that Diane Lane is in final talks to star opposite Gere in the thriller "Unfaithful." The film, a takeoff of the French classic "La Femme Infidele," is about the extramarital affair of a woman that leads to murder.
ANOTHER 'SOLIDER': The Reporter says that Scott Glenn is close to joining Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris and Anna Paquin in the war flick "Buffalo Soldiers." Casting of the film has been going in rapid-fire speed, and if you recall our other casting reports, the film is about the criminal ways of a group of young U.S. soldiers in West Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.