TV Series Finales – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s that time of year again – season and series finales are going on and some long-running shows have come to an end. It started me thinking on what have been some of the best and worst series finales that I have seen over the years. Two things to keep in mind before you read this list: 1) I am only doing series that I watched, thus MASH, Dallas and Breaking Bad are not going to make the list, as I never watched them…so no need to tell me all about who shot J.R. or Walter White’s phenomenal acting in the comments. 2) Most of these shows have been off the air for years, but I will warn you: Spoilers are completely unavoidable, so if you see a show you haven’t watched, or someday plan to Netflix on a rainy weekend, STOP READING.

TV Series

The Good:

1. The Wire

It gets top billing from me because I think it is the best written and acted show of all time. All. Time. For those not familiar, The Wire is a crime drama and not for the faint of heart. It concentrates on the corruption in Baltimore – corruption in the school system, politics, police force, journalism, and shipyards. It takes a hard look at drug culture and poverty, following characters on paths of both destruction and redemption. The finale did what all good finales should – tied up loose ends, continued a high standard of storytelling and acting, as well as included a few shocking conclusions.

2. Dawson’s Creek

It was always going to be Joey and Dawson right?! Heck, it’s called Dawson’s Creek – he’s gotta get the girl right? Nope, sorry folks, but I’ve always been #teampacey so I was thrilled with this finale. Dawson does get to be a big shot TV producer so at least he gets that dream. And Jen’s dying message to her baby girl? “Be a dreamer…and remember, to love is to live…” It’s one of the best TV speeches I’ve ever seen and even my heart of stone was breaking.

3. Friends

She gets off the plane. Thus we get to see the Rachel and Ross saga continue – nothing was ever easy with them so it was an appropriate culmination for her to say goodbye and head off to Paris….and then come to her senses. And it all ends in the apartment – an apartment all of them at some point had lived in and where almost every big event in the show’s history happened…Well played.

The Bad:

4. Gilmore Girls

I needed more laughs, more tears and more of the quick-wit dialogue the show had been famous for in the finale. I also need to see a little flash forward…give me a hint about Luke and Lorelai, or even Rory and ….gasp… Jess. It has to be Jess. If there was ONE show that I would ever donate a dollar to Kickstarter (Veronica Mars-style) in order to make a movie, Gilmore Girls is it. I didn’t hate the finale, but I thought it could have been much better.

5. The Sopranos

I know, I know, some people loved it. And some people hated it. And that’s why it lands in the “Bad” and not the “Ugly”. The infamous fade to black was the ultimate in either artistic integrity or total cop-out. I lean towards the hate it crowd, as I like loose ends tied and a feeling of resolution when a fictional story is coming to an end.

And the Ugly:

6. Lost

I already wrote one rant featuring the hours I lost watching Lost, but I have to say it again: The ending was awful. It made everyone that said “They were all dead” seem like they were right and gave no explanation as to why they were wrong. Heads up: It was a sideways, alternate timeline at the end, and they were NOT in purgatory the entire show. The island was there, the beginning seasons happened, they were not dead the entire time. The finale refused to tie up loose ends/island mysteries and that left people confused and disappointed.

7. Seinfeld

Ugh, I hated this series finale. It was a smart show that was funny even though a lot of the characters weren’t very likeable. And the finale featured them on trial (for not stopping a crime) and it felt like they were just trying to find a vehicle to show 100 cameos. I’m not super sure how to make this finale better, but I know this is one of the worst conclusions of an amazing show I’ve ever seen.

8. How I Met Your Mother

If I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I am pretty sure I can hear my friend Hope, 150 miles away, STILL ranting about the injustice of this finale. Personally, I would never have put this in the “Ugly” if the final season hadn’t taken place. The show needed to end a few seasons ago, but since they dedicated the ENTIRE final season to Barney and Robin’s wedding…and then have them divorce in the first 16 minutes of the finale…that felt like a waste of time and really annoyed me. I don’t mind where the characters ended up, but I do mind how they got there.

HIMYM finale

And that’s my list! If you’re interested in purchasing any of the seasons of my favorite TV series finales…click on the DVD photo and it’ll take you straight to Amazon!

What are you some of your favorite TV series finales? Do you agree with my choices and/or the categories I put them in?

 

The Sound of Musical

TWHS

Last night Josh and I went to go see a local production of The Wizard of Oz (the tickets were a birthday gift) and the following conversation took place as we settled into seats:

Josh: “So…this is the one about Dorothy right? But the Wizard of Oz is a remake of something else right?”

Me: “Uhh..no sweetie, The Wizard of Oz is original. This is not a remake.”

Josh: “I don’t remember it at all. This is going to be a whole new experience for me.”

…Josh ponders The Wizard of Oz…

oz chick flick

Josh: “The lady at the box office told me center, balcony would be great for a musical and I’m just realizing now she said ‘musical’… THIS IS A MUSICAL?!”

Factual interlude: Josh is still slightly scarred by his viewing of Les Mis. … We saw it in the theater and an hour into the movie he whispered: “So they’re NEVER going to talk? They sing everything?! Oh boy.”

Me: “Yes, honey. They sing. “Over the Rainbow” …ring any bells?

Josh: “I thought that was from “The Sound of Musical.”

Me: “Everything about that sentence is wrong.”

lollipop guild

Moving Tips & Tricks

This week we moved for the second time in eight months. That’s right — I had just finished unpacking when it was time to pack up my entire house again. And as practice (and OCD organizational tendencies) makes perfect, I did everything I could to make my second move in less than a year stress-free and painless. All my hard work paid off when I overheard the movers (people who do this for a living y’all!) complimenting my process and organization. And thus this list was born. Here are my top 14 tips for an organized move:

1. Don’t start too early

Listen, all you’re going to do is be living in chaos with boxes everywhere and not being able to find anything if you start three months before your move date. Plus, as SOON as you pack up that waffle iron that you never use, the kids will beg for waffles and you’ll be diving back into sealed boxes on the hunt for waffle perfection. You don’t need that stress in your life.

2. Don’t start too late

If you start packing the weekend before your Monday move date, it’s not going to get done and you’re going to go into panic mode and lose/break things. Only you can decide what’s early enough based on the time you have to spend packing and the amount of junk going in your trunk. Start early enough to finish the night before without anything to do the next day but zip up the overnight bags and last minute box.

3. Buy mover’s packing tape

I wish someone had told me this in college when we moved all the time. Professional movers use this brown packing tape and it is SO much easier to both apply and remove. You don’t have to use scissors to cut it and when the time comes to open your boxes, you usually can peel it right back without using a box cutter or scissors. It is MUCH better and easier to work with than the packing tape you buy at a drugstore and ship packages with.

Moving Tape

4. Buy Smart Move tape

The movers from 8 months ago used this tape to organize and I thought it was so brilliant. I even bought more this move because I thought it made the unloading process so much easier for both the movers and me — no one had to ask me where anything went! Best invention ever and worth every penny.

Moving Labeled Tape

5. Labels

I was inspired by the Smart Move tape to make color-coded labels for all of the boxes. I used the colors of the tape to coincide with a package of Post-It flags I had bought and was able to stick to each of the labels. It worked really well and insured that I could just label one side of the box, Smart Move tape the top, and be able to know which room the box went into just by seeing any side of it. The labels are just mailing labels that I designed with the name of the room and three lines for contents. I used the Post-It flags to mark the furniture so it was color-coded by room as well.

Moving collage

6. Have a ‘Last Minute’ Box

There are going to be things that are not packed, but also don’t technically belong in your overnight bag – extension cords, nightlights, tape, household cleaners, paper towels, etc. All of these things need a home and having an empty box or tote ready on the morning of your move will help you not have anxiety about where to cram all the “extras.”

7. Have a system

Now, this is a “whatever works for you” situation… but my system includes this small screwdriver tool – I use it to keep from losing the end of the tape, and also use it to “cut” the tape after I have it stretched across the box. I basically just stab the center of the tape with the screwdriver. It breaks the tape pretty evenly, I don’t lose the end, and I don’t have to fuss with scissors. It is very efficient. Nothing makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with the scissors you keep misplacing more than losing the end of the tape every time you seal a box.

Moving System

8. Carry a packing basket

I used a basket to carry everything I need to pack with from room to room. You can pretty much see what was in mine, but it included: Tape, Screwdriver tool, scissors, labels, sharpie, Post-It flags, pen, gallon Ziplock bags, quart Ziplock bags.

Moving Basket

9. Have a ‘First Open’ Box

The First Open box features all of the things you might immediately need at your new home. It is useful to have all of these things in one place as soon as you arrive so you can start settling in with the essentials – toilet paper, trash bags, toiletries, power strips, tape, Sharpie, pen/paper, scissors.

First Open Box

10. Saran Wrap

I bought a roll of cheap Saran Wrap and wrapped anything we owned with drawers, with whatever was in the drawers still inside. I wouldn’t do this with your collection of paperweights, but it worked especially well for these plastic drawers (with my scarves, hats and gloves in them) as well as my crafting cabinets. Saran Wrap is much easier to cut off than tape, and it doesn’t leave behind any sticky residue.

Moving Saran Wrap

11. Trash Bags

Packing in trash bags is never classy, but sometimes it’s just necessary for the bulkier items. I wrapped the bottoms of our Shark mop/brooms/Swiffer in a trash bag and used painter’s tape to wrap the handles together. I also separated our hanging clothes with trash bags to both protect them and organize them.

Moving Trash Bags

12. Ziplock Bags

I used these for everything. I bought gallon and quart sizes and used them to wrangle my junk drawer, makeup, utensils, spices, measuring spoons/cups, liquid cleaning products, desk trays of office supplies, etc. I only used a box of each and it was the best $5 I ever spent.

Moving Ziplocks

13. Foam Plates

I used foam plates to help pack and protect my real plates and am happy to report it worked like a charm! I stacked a foam plate in between each real plate, did four at a time, and then wrapped all four in paper. All of my plates survived and I didn’t have to use a ton of paper. Plus, the leftover foam plates went into my ‘First Open’ box, which was very useful for having something to eat off of at the new house.

Moving Foam Plates

14. Designate rooms with signs

Because I had been so organized with packing (color coded, labeled), I was able to put signs on the door to each room so that the movers didn’t have to ask me which box or piece of furniture went where. The movers were able to call out “Green!” to each other and know that “green” meant whatever they were holding went into the Guest Bedroom, blue to Master, etc. This greatly expedited their process and they were very appreciative of the ease in which they unloaded the truck. And I was appreciative of not having to run around and shout orders as to where each bookshelf went.

Moving room label collage

Alright, there’s my list of moving tips that I think may help you to a stress-free move – Feel free to pin or post this list so that others can benefit from my numerous moves – someone ought to! Any moving tips or tricks you can add to my arsenal for the next move?

The Lost Hours

This List is brought to you by my recent haircut. I was watching the hairdresser blow dry my hair… twist, brush, dry, volumize, spritz, diffuse… and getting extremely annoyed. I don’t care about getting my hair blow dried. “Listen, I’m just going to put it in a pony tail when I leave here…can I skip this process? I am sure your arms are tired.” Well it turns out, my hair is the product of this lovely salon and they can’t send me on my merry way looking like a drowned rat. Bad for business and all. Sigh. FINE.

Anyways, all that got me thinking – what other minutes and hours of my life do I wish I could get back? Not the hours that everyone wishes for (standing in line, airport layovers, waiting in traffic, etc), but time you’ve spent, by choice, and now wish you could reclaim because it just wasn’t worth it or should never have been an important use of your time. Here’s what I came up with:

1.  Any time I’ve ever spent getting my hair blow dried after a haircut. Have I mentioned I feel that’s a waste of my time? Please see above.

2.  Every time I’ve stayed up late to watch an overtime or extra innings game and my team has lost. There is nothing like looking down at your watch after a four hour Red Sox game when the other team hits a walk off homerun and it’s 1 a.m. All that time invested and they lost? It’s just not right.

3.  Any of the time I spent worrying about homework or grades before 6th grade. I know, I know, homework sets up good school habits and grades are important to establish taking pride in your work – but I spent a lot of time looking for A’s in grade school when B’s would have been just fine.

Dear 4th Grade Cailyn: In the real world…you know, where you’ll spend most of your life…grades don’t matter. It’s the habits and perseverance that homework teaches you that will serve you in life… so if you can find that somewhere else, calm down and take the B. Now go outside and play. Oh! And take naps. You don’t get them as an adult and you’ll regret every single one you didn’t take as a kid.

4.  The entire 117 minutes I spent watching The Grey. Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills — but disturbing and depressing treks through the Alaskan wilderness is not one of them. That being said: Liam Neeson is awesome and I shall not fault him nor charge him the 117 minutes if they come out with Taken 3. UPDATE: Liam Neeson just started shooting Taken 3 in Georgia – all is forgiven.

liam neeson

5.  All the time I watched bad reality TV in the late 90s and early 2000s as the reality television genre exploded. The Real World had paved the way for such greats as Celebrity Fit Club, Temptation Island and The Swan. These shows were awful. The premise was awful, the “reality” was awful, and it was demeaning for everyone involved. But I tuned in to check them out and before I knew it I was arguing with my sister over who was the best at smizing on America’s Next Top Model. Now, don’t get me wrong – I still watch So You Think You Can Dance and The Biggest Loser and I understand why some junk TV (ahem, Kardashians) is necessary in life. I totally get it. But, personally, there are some long hours spent with Joe Millionaire and Tila Tequila that I’d like to get back.

6.  Speaking of television, I’d like to get back any time I have spent watching great television shows that were cancelled the first season or entirely too soon. I could make a list just of “cancelled too early shows”, but my point here is that the time investment is the reason why I often have an entire season of a new show taking up space on my DVR so I can wait to see if it’ll get renewed before I binge watch.

DVR

7.  All of the time I spent finishing books that I didn’t like. I used to push through and finish even the worst books because my OCD couldn’t handle “giving up.” Until a New Year’s Resolution a few years ago freed me from my chains: “I am a grown up now. I do not have to finish everything I start if I don’t like it.” We have this “Never give up” mantra that floats around in our society like it’s the only way. That’s absurd. Give it your best shot of course, but the reality is some things are meant to be given up. Like meth. And poorly written books. Actually, let’s all agree meth isn’t a “give it your best shot scenario.”

8.  And finally. The Lost Hours. The actual hours I spent watching Lost. I want to get them all back and have never watched it because the ending left me feeling sad, a little bit confused and very unfulfilled. The producers and writers played it fast and loose with a lot of the details and plot lines – an insult to me as a viewer and as a fan. Rude.

lost meme

What hours do you want back? Do you want your Lost hours returned to you? What’s your favorite bad reality television show from the past decade?

Ultimate Cat Lady

TWHS

Today, while shopping at Target… the cashier saw we were buying cat food and asked us about Mother’s Day, and proceeded to tell us all about how she was a “cat Mommy in the truest sense of the word” and “deserves a Mother’s Day celebration because if I could have a litter of cats I would.” When we both just looked at her, she clarified: “I would carry a litter of kittens in my stomach and be an official cat mother if I could. So I could be celebrated for Mother’s Day.” As we walked away, the following conversation took place:

Me: “Well, that was awkward.”

Josh: “You attract crazy people to you. Crazy people like talking to you. It happens all the time.”

Me: “Huh. You’re right – It DOES happen all the time.”

Josh: “The phrase ‘Takes one to know one’ comes to mind.”