TV is an amazing medium. What else can come into our homes and almost become a part of our family the way our favorite programs have. The hardest thing a show can do is say goodbye. Sometimes it’s to a character when the actor has decided to move on. And other times it’s because the show has simply run its course and is ending.
Today I wanted to talk about five TV farewells so emotional that people still talk about it. They are shows or characters that left a permanent mark on culture, and when they had to say goodbye it was like a part of us was going with them.
This is hard to believe today, but when Shelly Long left Cheers EVERYONE knew about it. This show wasn’t quite a monster hit then but the Sam/Dian relationship was huge. It was said when she left the show would never survive. Thankfully the critics were wrong. She would come back for the series finale but I am saving that discussing for another day. The final scene between Diane and Sam is bittersweet and very sad. Lovely way to say goodbye.
#4.The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson & Jay Leno)
It was 1992 and several TV shows were saying goodbye. Cosby Show, Who’s The Boss, Night Court. But the one everyone was talking about was The Tonight Show. How could it possibly go on without Johnny Carson? He was king of late night for thirty years. No one could top him (or still can in fact). The final show was hyped up by the media, but the show itself was quiet and simple. In the end Johnny said a very sweet and honest goodbye. His words were so moving Jay Leno echoed them in his goodbye a few weeks ago in the clip I am sharing below. The end of an era indeed.
The final episode of this show was very good, with the wedding of Joanie and Chachi. But the best part came at the end when Howard gives a great toast. Then Tom Bosley breaks character to thank the audience for being part of their family. Beautiful! However, I could not find a clip! So instead, here is a clip from the episode where Richie said goodbye and left for California. The scene between Ron Howard and Henry Winkler is just….amazing. Those two had the best chemistry of almost anyone out there, then or now. One of the best goodbye moments ever
#2.Carol Burnett Show
I have said before that the one show that I regret not getting to see in its first run was The Carol Burnett Show. I know I would have loved every second of it. The show lasted on CBS for 11 years. How did it end? Carol quit the show before it got tired (though some would argue she was two years to late), and in the final scene she sits on a bare stage in that classic maid outfit. She spoke very honestly before singing “So Glad We Had This Time Together” one last time. When I watch that clip, I get the point of that song and it’s right up there with “Thanks for the Memories” as my favorite goodbye song.
MASH had a few goodbyes but I am talking about the series finale. Honestly I could nitpick this to death. I mean 2 1/2 hours? REALLY?? Did everyone need to have their own personal goodbye? From what I’ve heard that last season was less then stellar. But if I did that I would be a douche, so instead let’s talk about how amazing this final episode was. It set records that are still intact, and is one of those shows I could have seen but didn’t! And it still bugs me. That final scene is almost iconic, and for good reason. It’s one of the finest moments ever on TV. I don’t even have to describe it, if you haven’t seen it then you have never watched TV. It is iconic which is even more remarkable that I COULD NOT FIND ONE CLIP!! Well, I could sort of find clips but they were not good. Here is the best I found, I know it is not complete but it gets the message.
Honorable mentions? Oh hell yeah:
Cheers-I plan to talk about this in depth later
Mary Tyler Moore-Nice ending but I don’t think it has stood the test of time so well.
The Golden Girls-The final episode had a very teary eyed finale as Rose, Blanche, and Sopia said goodbye to Dorothy.
The Cosby Show-Nothing but class when Cliff and Clair dance off the set and into history
The Office-Even though I was hardly a fan I have to admit the final episode hit just about every note perfectly.
And about a million more that I am leaving out comedies, drama’s, talk shows, and everything else. It’s when we are sad to out favorite characters and/or entertainer goes we get reminded how much impact TV really has on our lives.
Finally I want to leave you guys with the final scene from ER. Yeah after 14 years the show was done but the finale was a very nice episode.Â I loved the note this series went out on even if the last year or two were BAD.
It’s never easy to say goodbye.