tv meme, day 22: favorite series finale
Though my all-time favorite show may’ve taken a little dip in creativity in its final season, leave it to the congenial writing staff of Friends to, at the very least, deliver the best series finale I’ve ever seen.
It contained all the perfect elements of a great series finale, in a completely un-rushed, non-bombastic way: a long-time-gone reconciliation (Ross and Rachel), a tearful goodbye (we’ll miss you, mysteriously low-rent dream apartment!), and a hopeful new beginning (Can we get a Jack and Erica Bing spinoff soon please? I mean, they can be the Geller siblings for a new generation!). With Rachel pressing to move to Europe for her career, and Ross unsure of his re-blossoming feelings for her, the finale culminates in what everyone’s been waiting for – a final, absolute end to the now-idiom “Ross and Rachel relationship” (is that perhaps the biggest cultural impact the show’s had – that now-constant reference to a back-and-forth relationship being a “Ross and Rachel thing?”). At last! Enough with the strange Rachel/Joey sequence and Ross’ inability to hang onto a wife for more than a few hours. These two kids were obviously made for each other from the blackout confession and the “With or Without You” U2 moments to the birth of their daughter.
Lest we forget, though, that this episode also brought the new Bing babies into the world (courtesy of the hysterical Anna Faris as the birth mother). To see Monica and Chandler finally becoming parents was a lovely way to end this series, which primarily was about young adults learning to become grown-ups in the backdrop of the city. And though Phoebe had a somewhat muted role in this episode (typically not a good sign for me), she did provide probably my favorite comedic moment with her reference to Jack Bing sounding like a ’40s reporter name. At least the writers had the sense to realize that those ending shots of various areas around the iconic apartment were necessary – it really was the seventh cast member.