As much as it hurts, that comfort sitcom of yours has to come to an end. Don’t worry, it’s still there for you to go back and start from the pilot episode for the millionth time. That doesn’t mean you and the dedicated fan base aren’t worthy of a well-written sitcom finale.

Many sitcoms don’t even reach this desired state, with networks or streaming services prematurely ending their run. Other series live beyond their shelf life, and viewers lose interest over time.

So why do so many series that make it to a finale fail to stick the landing? We’ll outline some underlying patterns and see where your favorite sitcom might fit!

The Sitcom

It’s nearly impossible to please a whole fan base as the curtains close. Still, you’d rather be divisive closer to the 50/50 mark than nearly an entire community critiquing your show’s conclusion.

Let’s take a look at what defines the sitcom first. It’s a series that centers around a recurring cast constantly finding themselves in comedic circumstances. Sitcom= Situational comedy. They reflect daily life, making it easy for viewers to resonate with them. It’s not hard for you to see yourself in those groups of friends or situations on your television screen. These are some of the qualities that contribute to the longevity a sitcom can have. If you want to learn more about sitcoms’ history, check out this article written by TGON’s witchybop.

When screenwriters or executives throw these standards out the window, sitcom finales face problems. And it’s usually done in an effort to create an unforgettable episode when sitcoms often shined despite those shock factors.

The Finale Trap

Major spoilers ahead for Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, That 70’s Show

Even if a sitcom ends, it should still be treated like just another episode. Primarily if the series has found success with the established methods.

Is there a reason for your cast to go to jail and sacrifice the comedic elements to advance some plot? We’re talking to you, Seinfeld. Or how about How I Met Your Mother? The sitcom notoriously killed off the titular mother in the final minutes of the episode to attempt and teach a lesson about realistic endings. Remember how we mentioned being divisive earlier? Some 8,000 die-hard fans rallied to remake the final episode of HIMYM through an online petition. Ironic, isn’t it?

Hello Wisconsin!

Source: That 70’s Show, Fox Studios

That 70’s Show perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of less being more. You don’t have to go out with a bang to make an impactful conclusion. In this 20-something-minute run, no one dies. There isn’t some grand wedding, or another significant event, set to take place.

The gang gathered once again to celebrate the start of a new year. As turbulent as one might argue the final season was, the finale is the polar opposite. The series brings back some characters who were briefly written away and ties away loose ends wherever necessary.

On the contrary, this finale begins in the same fashion as the pilot episode did in previous seasons. The characters hang out being themselves in Eric Foreman’s basement. Hyde tells Donna, “We should be doing something awesome, man, something we’ve never done… or this.” If you’re familiar with the show, you know what the circle’s all about. Our favorite teenage burnouts are rolling (*hint hint*) into the new year.

It almost feels like the director of the episode is speaking through Hyde. So don’t expect any grand reveals or clichés, we’re just going right back where we started.


The funny thing about nostalgia is it can distort reflections of the past. But, here, it’s a good thing. The final season of That 70’s Show was weaker than others. However, by utilizing nostalgia-evoking themes of prior seasons, audiences are more likely to forgive and temporarily forget.

That 70’s Show finale uses a series of callbacks surrounding Red Foreman’s “My foot in your ass” quotes to ease viewers into their seats through comfort and familiarity. At that peak of this nostalgia is the return of Eric Foreman, who was gone the whole season. It’s a small but heartwarming reunion that doesn’t try to do too much. The gang and viewers are just happy to have him back. The scene is simultaneously a welcome back to Eric and a goodbye to a faithful audience.

Are there any series finales that fell short of your expectations? Let us know in the comments down below!