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Memorable Sitcom Finales

Updated on October 29, 2012
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We all have our favorite shows, those that stay with us years later. We may quote their lines, love their characters, or remember the way they made us feel. When our favorite show ends it's like we lost a friend. We hope the characters get a good life afterwards but we are so sad to see them go. Here is my list of the most memorable series finales.

The Sopranos Final Scene

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The Sopranos

The Soprano's lasted six seasons on HBO from January 10, 1999 to June 10, 2007. The series was lauded as the most groundbreaking series of all time.

In the final scene of the final episode Tony walks into the restaraunt and is joined by his wife and son. Their daughter, Meadow, is running late because she was at the doctor and then had trouble parking her car. Tony notices that a gentleman at the counter keeps looking at him and his family. The man goes to the restroom. As Meadow finally walks towards the bar Tony looks up at the door dinging and the screen goes black.

Besides the fact that this show had a significant impact on the television industry, this finale is memorable for it's cliffhanger ending. We don't know what happened to Tony Soprano, his wife, and his son. Some made the assumption that they were killed in the restaraunt. Others assumed that just Tony was killed. Other's hoped that they lived. And, others speculated that Tony will always live his life in a paranoid state of mind. He will always be looking around the room at others to see if anyone is out to get him.

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St. Elsewhere

St. Elsewhere also ran for six seasons from October 26, 1982 to May 25, 1988. The show revolved around St. Eligius.The hospital was nicknamed St. Elsewhere because it was a decaying hospital that served patients that could not afford nicer hospitals. It is the kind of place that you wouldn't want to send your family. During its run, the series never ranked high in the charts but had a hard core audience that watched the series and kept it going for 137 episodes.

The series ending has been argued by fans. It ended with a replica of the hospital inside a snow globe in the hands of an autistic boy. Fans have wondered if the whole story was made up by the little boy.

The Last Scene

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Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls was one of my favorite television series. The finale may not be on anyone's list but mine. But, since it is my list it is going to make the cut.

At the end of the series Rory graduates from Yale. Logan proposes. She says she loves him but she can't marry him. She is not ready. She likes he idea of her life being undecided and wide open right now. Logan wants it to be all or nothing so they break up. She takes a job as a journalist riding the Obama Presidential Campaign Bus. But, before she leaves Luke throws Rory a going away party in the town square. It is going to rain on the day of the party so the night before Luke stays up to sew tarps together to make a tent to fit the 200 party guests.

When Lorelai finds out that Luke planned Rory's going away party she marches across the town square and kisses him. It was a long awaited resolution to the Luke and Lorelai story line.

Finally, the series ended in Luke's diner, just where it began, with Rory and Lorelai chatting away before Roy leaves for her new job.

Carrie breaks up with The Russian in the last episode - Best line of the episode

Sex in the City

Sex in the City ran for six seasons between June 6, 1998 and February 22, 2004. It was named to Time's list of the 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time and spawned three movies. The last of which is not set to come out until 2013.

The last episode starts out with Carrie in Paris with her boyfriend, "The Russian." He does not treat her well and she breaks up with only to run into Mr. Big in her hotel lobby immediately following the break up. Mr. Big tells her that she's the one for him and they go back to New York together. She is reunited with Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha and we finally find out that Mr. Big's name is actually John.

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M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H has always been one of my favorite shows. The series ran for eleven seasons from 1972-1983.

The finale is filled with sad and happy moments. The Korean War ended and the 4077th disbanded sending its occupants on their separate ways. The signpost showing the mileage to everyone's home town was dismantled all except for the signs Tokyo and Seoul. Everyone took their respective town's name and mileage sign with them. Colonel Potter left on his horse to visit a local orphanage. As he is leaving Hawkeye and Hunncutt salute him, a sign of respect that they did not often show anyone. Before Hunicutt leaves he tells Hawkeye that he left him a note. Hunnicut leaves and Hawkeye looks at the note. It is the word Goodbye spelled out in rocks.

NBC Final Tribute to the Cosby Series

The Cosby Show

The Cosby Show ran for eight seasons from September 20, 1984 to April 30, 1992. TV Guide named the show TV's biggest hit in the 1980's. Many other sitcoms would go on to follow the shows pattern including Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond.

In the final episode Theo graduates from college. He spends the episode trying to find enough tickets so his entire family can attend the event. It is a fitting end since the beginning of the series started with his father, Cliff Huxtable, giving him a lecture on doing better in school.

The finale scene of the final episode shows Cliff and Clare alone in their house. They dance across the living room.


The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years ran for six seasons from January 31, 1988 to May 12, 1993. It was a series about a boy in an American suburb from 1968 to 1973.

In the finale, Kevin and girlfriend, Winnie, fight, break up, and then get back together while stranded in a barn during a storm. They arrive back home just in time for the fourth of july parade. Everyone is there. Kevin's adult self narrates the end of the finale explaining what happens to the characters. Winnie goes to school in Paris while Kevin stays in the U.S. She is gone for eight years. Every week for eight years they would write to each other. When Winnie came home she was greeted at the airport by Kevin, his wife, and their new baby.

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Roseanne

Roseanne lasted for nine seasons with a total of 222 episodes from October 18, 1988 to May 20, 1997. It was the most watched show between 1989 and 1992.

In the end of the series we find out that Roseanne was a writer and she wrote the story based on her own life. She changed things she didn't like about her own life. In reality, when Dan had a heart attack he actually died. Darlene was actually with Mark and Becky was with David. And, they did not really win the lottery.

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Cheers

The final episode of Cheers was the 271st episode. The sitcom ran for eleven seasons from September 30, 1982 - May 20,1993

In the finale, Diane returned to prove that she may be Sam's true love but the relationship does not work out and Sam returns to his one true love, the bar. Other characters in the show are given good endings. Frasier gets a sitcom. Woody joins the Boston City council. Norm gets a new job. Clint gets a promotion. At the very end everyone has left but Sam. Someone enters the bar and Sam says, "Sorry, we're closed." The last thing you see is shot of the bar with the lights off and everyone is gone. It's a tear jerk-er.

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Seinfeld

Seinfeld ran for nine seasons from July 5,1989 through May 14, 1998. It was a cultural phenomenon. It was in one of the top two Nielsen ratings spots every year from 1994 to 1998. E! named it the number 1 reason the 90's ruled.

In the finale episode Jerry and George make a deal to produce their pilot in California. The group decides to go to Paris together before Jerry and George move to California. While on the plane Kramer jumps up and down trying to get water out of his ear. He stumbles in the cockpit causing the pilots to loose control. The plane nosedives and they think they are going to die. While they are going down Elaine tells Jerry that she has always loved him. The pilots are able to keep the plane from crashing and they land safely.

Later, they see a heavy man being carjacked. Rather than help him they make jokes and video tape the incident. The victim reports their behavior to a police officer and the group is arrested. All of their friends, family, and acquaintances from prior episodes are in the court room waiting to hear the verdict. They were charged with criminal indifference and found guilty. The court room went wild. The judge said, "I do not know how or under what circumstances the four of you found each other. But, your callus indifference and utter disregard for everything that is good and decent has rocked the very foundation upon which our society is built. I can think of nothing more fitting than for the four of you to spend a year removed from society so that you can contemplate the manner in which you have conducted yourselves. I know I will."

Order the Lost Series

Lost

Lost ran for six seasons from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010. Lost has been called one of the top ten series of all time.

The series finale, like most of the episodes, was very confusing. During the last episode the characters are in two places. They are on the island as well as in America living their lives as if the Oceanic flight never went down. While in America they run into each other. When they accidentally touch they get glimpses of their life on the island and remember. All the characters, even those that died before, come together at the church where Jack's father was to be buried. Jack's father, Christian Shepard, speaks to his son and let's him know that they are dead. Christian tells Jack, "There is no now, here... This is the place that you all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That's why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them and they needed you... To remember. To let go."


Ross & Rachel at the Airport

Friends

And, the final memorable series finale is Friends. Friends ran for ten seasons between September 1994 and May 2004. TV Guide ranked it number 21 in the "50 Greatest Shows of All Time."

The two part series finale resolved the characters story lines. Ross confesses his love to Rachel and they get back together after a dramatic airport scene. Chadler and Monica move to a subdivision and adopt twins. The last scene is the group leaving the apartment and going down to Central Perk for one last cup of coffee.

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    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
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      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Mhatter99:

      I'm so glad! I had really enjoyed putting this Hub together.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. We used to watch a lot of these. We weren't "glued" to the TV. You brought back the feelings of special family nights.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Suzie! I enjoyed writing it and revisting the finale episodes too.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Kimberly,

      I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane, which feature many shows I followed. I was a big fan of Friends, SITC, Cheers and Gilmore Girls. I knew the rest but did not watch continually. The list is well compiled and I like the way you described the final scenes as I had forgotten some until you outlined them!

      Great job, Voted up, Interesting and Shared :-)

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
      Author

      Kimberly Vaughn 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Jesse! Your right, that was very memorable. I think Lost fits in that category too because everyone was like "What just happened?"

    • Jesse Mugnier profile image

      Jesse Mugnier 5 years ago from Jersey

      The ending to 'The Sopranos' was probably the most memorable. I remember how angry people were, and how it is still brought up on occasion every time we hear Journey's "Don't Stop Believing". Still, one of the best shows to ever be on television, ever!

      This was a great hub, thank you for writing it!