A fond farewell to a trio of sitcoms

Browsing through the BBC iPlayer, I saw that the final episode of Miranda that aired over Christmas was about to time out. It reminded me that three of my fondly admired sitcoms came to their conclusion this festive period, and surprisingly, all three went out in style. It may be that LOST burned me and that I hold a grudge for too long, but it feels like most TV shows captivate their audiences and then end in disappointment. Not these three!

Miranda

As mentioned, Miranda bowed out with two episodes, separated by a week, telling the story of whether our hero picked from one of the two proposals she had received at the end of the third series. On the face of it, that should be an easy story to tell but Miranda is never that simple.

She picked one, she lost them, she tried to move on, she found them again. A happy ending all round. I thought some of the action was a bit frantic, lots of yelling from our main characters, rushing this way and that, and a huge amount of plot squeezed in. And whilst I whole-heartedly agreed with Miranda’s speech at the intervention, it did feel a bit shoe-horned in.

I’ve also realised that women like me can be sexy, it’s just the world might never affirm it so it just takes us a little longer to realise it.

Regardless, a top notch ending to what was a fabulous series. Miranda the show was always the kind you either loved or hated, and thankfully I loved it. I think it ended at exactly the right time, and in almost exactly the right way.

Cabin Pressure

Although it was always kind of obvious, the fact that John Finnemore’s radio sitcom came to its conclusion after 26(ish) episodes made me very sad. With each show featuring a destination starting with the next letter in the alphabet, it’s understandable that Z heralds the end. But it was such a good show, it really was painful to hear the final two-parter.

Not painful because it was bad, at all, but because these characters have really grown on me over the past year or so. I’ve re-listened to the show a couple of times over and really enjoy the journey they all go on.

Herc: Would you care to guess how many of my four wives and – as you are right to imagine – countless girlfriends have had white hair? I’ll give you a clue: it’s none. A preponderance of brunettes, some blondes, the odd redhead, but you are absolutely the first whitehead.

Carolyn: What a novel way you’ve chosen to end our relationship.

I’ve talked before about loving the show, so I won’t repeat myself. The only thing to add is that it was a great end to the series, and John’s blog post explaining his thought process behind the finale was an additional bonus that helped make it even more special.

Not Going Out

As far as I know, Not Going Out hasn’t officially ended, not in the way the other two have. But I do know that Lee Mack said he wanted to take a break, that writing the show took up such a large amount of time, he wanted to see what else life had to offer. Given the nature of the story and how it wound everything up, it seems likely it is the end, and it was probably the right time.

Not Going Out was one of the funniest things on TV. It’s star faded once Tim Vine left, and it definitely struggled through a couple of series with episodes that could have been better. But remaining loyal paid off, and I thought the final series was returning to its original form. The introduction of Hugh Dennis as a world-weary friend and neighbour was very refreshing.

Even though it’s disappointing that Dennis was only just getting into his stride, for our main characters, it made sense their living situation couldn’t last forever. I thought the marriage idea came a little bit out of nowhere – particularly after dragging it out for seven series(!) – but it was a lovely way to finish. Actually, the real finish was an additional episode of bloopers, geniusly called Not Going Outtakes. A great way to end the show, if it is the end.

Lee: I know what you think of me, but Lucy is good for me. Marrying her makes me want to be a better person, someone who achieves things.

Geoffrey: Then why are you slouching on your backside watching Eastenders eating cereal from a box?

Lee: Give me a chance, I haven’t married her yet.

It’s sad to know that these three won’t be gracing our screens or radios again in the forseeable future. Never say never, because comebacks are the in thing, but in comedy there’s often a feeling of going out on a high that sticks more than it does in, say, music. I’m just really impressed that three separate entities, that I have real affection for, all managed to end without ruining anything. TV and drama rarely delivers such a thing, so for it to happen three times in such quick succession meant it really was a good Christmas!