It’s that time of year… network shows are going off the air (some for good) and the cable summer season is about to premiere. We decided to take a look at all of the season finales that have aired thus far and here are more of our staff picks for the best and the worst for the 2011-2012 season. Here are picks made by BuzzFocus Associate Editor-Community Manager Ernie Estrella:
(Spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t seen these season finales!)
Best: Don’t Trust The B—- in Apartment 23
Wanna know why this show worked and 2 Broke Girls didn’t? We had rudeness from Chloe (Krystin Ritter) and the corruption and naïveté of June (Dreama Walker) is plenty fun, but the supporting characters prove to be something more than what they are on the surface. James Van Der Beek destroys playing a caricature of himself and as Chloe’s catty BFF, but her stalker (Liza Lapira) and peeping neighbor (Michael Blaiklock) were pleasant surprises.
The finale was a pop culture mish mash where the Beek and Dean Cain battle over Dancing With the Stars dressing room, meanwhile June reached Chloe on a personal level after appealing to her geeky side when she found out that Chloe’s the subject of an underground comic book. The Beek stole every episode and this last one was no different. His character on Don’t Trust the B—-, is everything we could ever hope for in a friendship with a celebrity. Not only am I encouraged by this show’s future, ABC comedy lineup got a lot tougher to beat as far as the networks go.
Guilty or not, Revenge was pure pleasure and it had it all–even a rough patch. But Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) finally returned to early season form and was proactive, aggressive, and resourceful. I tuned in to see her dish out revenge, not plan a wedding and get lectured by her Japanese sensei. She rescued Nolan (Gabriel Mann), kicked White Haired Man’s (James Morrison) ass and got him to work for her, and Conrad (Henry Czerny) killed both of his mistress (Amber Valletta) and his ex-wife (Madeleine Stowe) in a plane bombing. Killing off Stowe’s character is an immense risk given how good she was being evil on TV. But that was the point, she saw the light and was about to clear David Clarke’s name and become one of the good guys.
But wait, there was more sugar in the gas tank! Just as Emily was going to come clean to Jack (Nick Wechsler), Amanda (Margarita Levieva) intercepted him with an unsurprising reveal of a baby bump. Oh and Emily’s mother is still alive too? Can’t wait to see what they do to try and top Season 1. Now they could undermine this greatness and fall into outrageous soap box affair by revealing that both Victoria and Lydia survived the bombing; let’s hope not. Also, ABC, is it too late to drop the whole Declan Porter (Connor Paolo) character, pretty please?
Unclear whether they would be given the hook or a lifeline made of Red Vines licorice sticks, the last six or seven episodes of Fringe were crafted like each was their last. There were some serious “oh s—” moments in the two-part “Brave New World,” but it’s hard to think of greater moments this season than Rebecca Mader getting resurrected with a giant syringe needle stuck into her temple, or Walter shooting Olivia in the middle of her forehead to prevent the universe from imploding, fulfilling the The Observer’s (Michael Cerveris) prophecy, then using medieval methods to get the bullet out. That was intense TV! And there was lots of Leonard Nimoy acting eeeevil too. Obviously, Olivia would have remained dead had Fringe not been renewed for a final season, but the glimpse into the future episode, “Letters of Transit” gave us a point to build to in Season 5. Fight the future, indeed!
It was tough to determine what exactly was the season finale of Community since NBC packaged three new episodes on the final night of Season 3. Since NBC and Sony are in the business of booting off creators, then I’m taking the 3-pack as a whole, purely out of spite. Now the actual last episode, “Introduction to Finality” pitted Jeff (Joel McHale) went against an old co-worker at the law firm representing Pierce (Chevy Chase) to make sure that Shirley (Yvette Brown) gets her equal share of the sandwich shop in a deal with the school. Had that been the actual last episode of the series, it would have been anticlimactic.
But before that, aired the amusing “The First Chang Dynasty” caper, which also ended the war Troy (Donald Glover) had with the Air Conditioning Vocational School and the well-conceived/executed 8-bit battle for Pierce’s inheritance with guest-star Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), another one of the season’s high notes. Unlike other shows that front or back-load their seasons, Community’s best efforts are sprinkled all through the season. “Digital Estate Planning” is right there with the Ken Burns War spoof, “Pillows and Blankets,” Shirley and Jeff’s redemptive “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism,” and the Butterfly Effect spoof, “Remedial Chaos Theory.” Enjoy all of season three folks, next season will likely be very different.
Best: Modern Family
So who expected that ending? In one of the most gut-wrenching episodes, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) did not get the baby they had been trying to get all season long. While sad, the adoption process is full of highs and lows and MF reminded us this painfully well. Whoever didn’t get caught up in their whirlwind season has no beating heart inside of them. To have it play out like a Mexican soap opera though, well, that’s just the absurdity of life imitating art. Gloria’s (Sofia Vergara) pregnancy adds another crazy dynamic to the show–a great reveal! Jay (Ed O’Neil) hasn’t had a newborn of his own in over 30 years so he can’t possibly take the news well. As for Gloria, just think of her six months pregnant, still trying to fit into mini-dresses and having mood swings. The one thing I didn’t care for Haley (Sarah Hyland) and brain dead Dylan (Reid Ewing) part deux; I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of him. Claire (Julie Bowen) would probably agree.
Best and Worst: Happy Endings
The actual finale entitled, “Kickball 2: The Kickening” did air in the UK. I’m so glad to see it air here in the states, OH WAIT, IT DIDN’T! When I say, worst, it means, WHERE THE HELL IS IT ABC? I adored Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (see above) as much as the next person, but did it have to come at the expense of the Season 2 finale of Happy Endings? Who lops off finales of good TV shows? This just belongs in the bone head department of network decisions this year. As a lone straggler, how do they think they can air this after May sweeps and get ratings for it? Why hold it out in the first place? Was it just so that Apt. 23 ended before Memorial Day Weekend? That’s boooolsheet if it’s true. Why didn’t they plan out the airdates so that they could squeeze in another episode in December?
The Season 2 finale we settled for is “Four Weddings and a Funeral (Minus Three Weddings and One Funeral),” a fantastic episode that included Max (Adam Pally) reluctantly reuniting with his old band, a Madonna cover band to perform at Derrick and Eric’s big day, and Jane (Eliza Coupe) desperately trying to get into the wedding party, if just to have a better gift bag. If ABC wanted to end on a wedding, well then I guess they got their wish, and the Skype table is one of the funniest bits I’ve seen in a wedding show. I think it will start a real trend for people who cannot make the trip to a wedding. Even funnier was Penny (Casey Wilson) being stuck at it and meeting a potential keeper in Chris, played by Brian Austin Green. Despite the finale gaffe, Happy Endings was renewed for 22 episodes (23 if they want to save Kickball 2 for Season 3), so hopefully we’ll be able to see if Penny did find true love at the Skype Table.
Worst: New Girl
I don’t have any problem admitting that I liked New Girl from the start and as time went on, more would jump on the wagon. Making the show bigger than Zooey Deschanel (that’s Jess!) was a big part of that. Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece’s (Hannah Simone) slow growing relationship solidified that. That’s what made this finale even more disappointing. Everyone wants to look back at those last episodes and see their lasting effect on seasons that follow. So careful watchers had to roll their eyes at the first mention of Nick (Jake M. Johnson) moving out of the apartment. As if the show’s second biggest character was really going to leave. It belonged in the history of bad TV bluffs. Schmidt’s you-deserve-better-than-me act to Cece induced shouts of “LAME!” And Winston (Lamorne Morris) has a fear of the dark? C’mon! It was cute though seeing Jess say, “Beep-Beep” at the coyote but this was a subpar effort. Now, if I were giving grades out for seasons, New Girl would get a solid B– but that finale was an epic fail.
Worst: 2 Broke Girls
After having a blast with the first half, 2 Broke Girls got old, real fast. Maybe it was the undeveloped clichés used on as supporting characters, or Jennifer Coolidge’s “horrible-horrible” Russian accent as a mid-season casting power up. The finale’s big moment was a recycled situation where the girls are pimping their homemade cupcakes out of a bathroom. This time it was to Martha Stewart. Both times it was pretty disgusting if you think about it. Then again, so did having a horse eating and crapping less than 10 feet away from where Max cooked her cupcakes was repulsive too. And does anyone else find it ironic that hipsters were made fun of all the time, but is there anything more hipster than the deluxe cupcake rage?
The luster wore off on this CBS comedy at the midpoint and the girls have yet to save up $1000 for their business. A meeting with Stewart would have been more significant if they were in position to actually do something as a result of her approval but this show looks like it was spinning its wheels. Seeing Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) try to raise money in a variety of ways was the only interesting part of the show, well that and Caroline trying to reconnect with her incarcerated father. Unless you like shallow stereotypes in the diner or are engulfed by the floundering cupcake business–I’ve grown tired of both–there’s simply not much else to entice me back for another season.
The Worst: The Office
The Office is like the alley dog that can’t walk, can’t see and everyone is too kind to just put it out of its misery; actually, if you ask me it should’ve been taken out to the shed and shot three years ago. I didn’t cry at Steve Carrell’s departure last season; I would’ve liked to congratulate him for getting off this sinking ship, but wow, did I really missed him after a full season with James Spader’s Robert California. The finale saw Cali mercifully ousted as CEO, oh and Angela’s baby is probably Dwight’s and they’re sneaking around the office again to make out and have sex? It was a bad case of déjà vu.
NBC continues to drag this rotting corpse on TV year after year (The Office UK left on top at two seasons) but it’s proof that they are desperate for anything that gets ratings. A ninth season is in the works despite Paul Lieberstein (who also plays Toby) is leaving as showrunner, B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling are leaving for Fox, and Rainn Wilson (with Lieberstein) is likely to be gone to launch a Dwight Schrute “down on the farm” spinoff! 164 episodes and counting, folks. Lawd, when will it ever end?
Agree or disagree with these picks? Share your thoughts below as well as some of your best and worst season finales.