Sitcom finales are big business, and can be hugely successful. In the UK, the 4th most watched programme ever was the finale to Only Fools And Horses (the first finale of 4 finales. Bringing a whole new meaning to the meaning of ‘finale’). Excluding sporting events, the top 4 most watched programmes in US history are the last episodes of Mash, Cheers, Seinfeld and Friends. So, I’ve decided to take a look at some of the best sitcom finales of all time.
Everybody Loves Raymond
The family realises not only do they love Raymond, but they are in love with Raymond. They form a cult around him, turn the house into a compound, where Raymond starts preaching the End Times. The ATF burn it down, and the Barone family die in a hail of gunfire.
The Phil Silvers Show/ Sgt Bilko
In its last episode, during a scam on fake horse races, the rascally but lovable sergeant is hit on the head, and has a horrible dream sequence that his life will one day be remade as a lackluster Steve Martin vehicle. Weirdly, this was used separately as the end of the Inspector Clouseau movies.
The Big Bang Theory
In the hilarious series finale, Leonard rebels and sits in Sheldon’s space on the sofa! What larks! Sheldon (who somehow works in a university department full of scientists and yet no one has diagnosed him with severe Apsperger’s Syndrome) bites Leonard and refuses to let go until he gets down to the bone, because he never learnt to use his words properly to express rage. Sheldon is sectioned, and then the most pathetic character GOES INTO SPACE WITH HIS HOT WIFE BECAUSE THEY MADE HIM AN ACTUAL LITERAL ASTRONAUT.
In the final episode, everyday superhero Thermoman gets given a new head, despite being played by a different actor in a completely different manner for the last of its 6 seasons. Shockingly, I am not making any of this up
King Of Queens
Some final episodes stretch out their running times from half an hour to an hour. In the final episode of King Of Queens, we see King Doug die, and a brutal war of succession rage throughout Queens. To show this, the finale was 40 hours long and spans 10 years of alliances, betrayals and assassinations.
How I Met Your Mother
The finale they broadcast was complete bullshit, after spending 3 seasons setting up a load of stuff and then knocking it away in 10 minutes. The original scripted finale was better, where it is revealed Barney is a Patrick Bateman style serial killer, and that Future Ted was not only telling this story to his kids, but also down the phone to a hostage negotiator who was stalling for time.
Excerpt from the final script:
INT: Robin’s Apartment. 5 Dogs yapping
ROBIN: You ever try to play that thing?
TED PRESSES LIPS TO IT. PUCKERS UP. WEIRD STRANGULATED NOISES COME FROM FRENCH BLUE HORN
ROBIN: Huh, guess not
TED: There’s something in the end. HE REACHES INSIDE WITH A GOOFY SMILE
AND PULLS OUT A GUN
ROBIN: “Wait! Ted! Don’t do this!”
TED: “Come on Robin. This is how it ends. Our stories. this is how they were always going to end. The Universe was always going to end it like this”
NARRATOR: One neighbour called the cops after the first gunshot. Several others rang 911 when the shots reached seven. Cops reckoned he’d put one in each of the dogs, made her watch, crying. Put one right between her eyes. Then he’d reloaded, opened a bottle of scotch, and put the gun under his chin. Painted the ceiling with his brains. Cops never did work out what the blue horn was for.