Stay Tuned
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Series Finales: "The West Wing," "That 70s Show" and "Will & Grace"

So now let’s catch up on some series finales…

I never liked “The West Wing.” In fact, I used to make fun of it by doing an impersonation of Toby, Sam and Josh discussing the origin of floor tile with President Bartlett butting in with the final word. I just couldn’t handle all the talking. Which is funny because I’ve loved everything else Aaron Sorkin has ever done (“A Few Good Men,” “The American President,” “Sports Night”) and his characters always talk too much. But I have to agree that the show was never as good without him at the helm. Even this season’s solid storytelling didn’t compare and that includes the somewhat disappointing finale.

For me, a good series finale is one that ties up all the loose ends and shows us where these characters that we’ve learned to love are headed. But “Wing,” because it was so focused on the transition of power, left a lot of questions. We got the impression that Will was going to run for the congressional seat in Oregon, but was Kate going with him since she was replaced at NSA? And we presumed that Donna and Josh were going to try to make it work, but we couldn’t hear Josh tell her anything, like, I don’t know, I love you? Would that have been too much to ask? It just seemed like the Bartlett administration was an afterthought. And since they were the people we were saying goodbye to, a little more camera time would have been helpful.

I really hate when actors forget where they came from and I suspect that’s what happened to Topher Grace of “That 70s Show.” He didn’t show up to the farewell party and he didn’t appear in the retrospective. However, he did grace us with his presence in the finale, but only for about five minutes. But since that five minutes reunited Eric and Donna. I’m almost willing to forgive him. Almost…

I liked that Fez and Jackie ended up together since he had a thing for her from the first season. After all the time they made fun of him for not having a girlfriend, it was nice to see Fez happy. And, no surprise, it was the returning Ashton Kutcher (who apparently hasn’t forgotten where he came from) who got the most laughs.

On Friday, I had three people ask me how “Will & Grace” ended, and I had a really hard time telling them. But by the time I told the third person, it started to make a lot more sense. It didn’t make me like it any better. It just made more sense.

It reminded me a lot of the “Mad About You” finale—which I hated—with its time jumping. But I admit the thought of Will and Grace’s kids getting married was a good one and the way they tricked us into thinking those teenagers were Will and Grace in flashback was clever, but the whole thing still bothered me.

First of all, if I was Vince or Leo, I would have told Will and Grace to stop yapping about each other and get on with their lives. Why didn’t Will ever consider that his constant fussing about Grace breaking her promise may have hurt Vince’s feelings since it appeared that Vince was Will’s second choice? Didn’t Will realize that if Grace had kept her promise (to raise her baby with Will) that he would have never gotten together with Vince and had their own child? It was just terribly selfish—which probably fit in with the characters better than I think. I liked that Will got back together with Vince (Bobby Cannavale was so good in this role.) but I’m not sure about Leo and Grace.

If I can digress for a moment, if anyone can tell me what happened to Taye Diggs’ character that Grace married, I’d appreciate it…

I loved, however, the opening dream sequence with Karen and Rosario as a couple and Jack married to Kevin Bacon. And I loved Karen and Jack’s duet of “Unforgettable.” It had absolutely nothing to do with the story, but it was cool to hear Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes sing together. Did anyone else notice how Megan Mullally eased out of her Karen voice as the song went on?

And did anyone else get the feeling for just a second that Jack and Karen might actually get together? I know that a lot of people were hoping that the show would end with Will and Grace as a couple, but I was glad to see the show stick to the characters we knew.

By the way, if you missed the finale, you can view it online for a few more days at , or you can wait for the DVD which hits stores May 30th. You can also win the DVD in this week’s MyMovies contest. Go to for more details.