By forcing real people to follow a script, market-tested for success, and turning the audience and media against anyone who dares defy that script, the puppet masters of reality TV have made us choose a thirst for entertainment over compassion for real lives at stake.
Sure, Walter White didn't wake up beside Suzanne Pleshette like the end of The Newhart Show, but the ending of Breaking Bad was completely satisfying because it was so neat -- as precise as Walt's nearly pure blue meth.
Applauding is a theatrical social contract of many, many years' practice, and appreciation denied is appreciation diminished. I'm not suggesting that every production should contrive a unique curtain call; to do so would then make them as boring as standing ovations have largely become.
It is very seldom when watching a TV show that you find yourself completely clicking with it. For me it's happened a handful of times over the last 10 years or so. One such time was when I watched House.
The episode where Tim visits the finalists at home is always one of my very favorites. I love seeing Tim traipsing around the Midwest or some other area where he looks completely out of place. I love it when he does things we never see him do ordinarily.
As she floated on to the set in her peach ensemble and perfectly coiffed hair, I braced myself for a star-studded extravaganza. But the Queen of Daytime had a more dazzling presentation in store: a tete-a-tete with me "and you and you and you too."
In a day when Lost can't wrap up their six-year run without negating everything that came before it, and even 24 can't end with a bang, it's nice to see a final episode, even just a season finale, go out with a little style.
The Lost finale was a tragedy, a genuinely uninvolving and downright dull botch that not only fails as a stand-alone episode and fails as a finale, but lessens the dramatic impact of the last six years.