There are countless TV shows that have broken our hearts twice: once by simply ending and twice by how they ended.
It doesn’t matter which of these series comes to mind ― maybe “The Sopranos” or “Lost” or “How I Met Your Mother” ― there is a universal truth that if a series finale is bad, the overall story is tainted.
One Twitter user attempted to break down exactly why a bad ending destroys the goodwill we had for a show we’d stuck with for years and we think he may have just cracked the case.
Writer Zac Gorman embarked on his Twitter thread after reading another user’s thoughts on the “Parks and Recreation” series finale. Gorman said the “abysmal” ending drove him to skip the last season when he rewatched the show.
“It’s an ending that felt like a betrayal even though it was a ‘happy’ one,” he wrote in one tweet.
Even characters in beloved TV shows cannot all have happy endings, Gorman argued, because they haven’t necessarily earned those happy endings. He then broke down what exactly a real happy ending looks like. Read on below:
A TV series needs an appropriate ending, Gorman wrote, because of something he called the “Evergreen Ending principle.”
The Evergreen Ending principle means that no matter how a story finishes, the characters can theoretically go on with their fictional lives in their fictional universe in much the same manner they have previously.
Gorman wrapped up his thread by saying that “a real happy ending is knowing the characters are going to be okay.”
“That they’ve finally found a little bit of balance and ended up better than they started. That who they are is good enough and always has been. And that they can handle whatever comes next,” he wrote.