Remember at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when it seemed like the movie had ended and then it went on for another three hours? At least it seemed like three hours. Luckily, it was only about a half hour too long. With TV, when a show goes on too long, the lingering lasts for weeks or even years.
How I Met Your Mother was recently renewed for a ninth season. This is horrible news for fans of the show. Eventually, jokes run dry. As does the fact that Bob Saget has been narrating this story to his kids for over eight years. How I Met Your Mother is not alone, there have been slews of shows before it that stayed on the air well past their welcome.
Here is a list of shows that would have benefited from ending their run a season or two earlier:
1. How I Met Your Mother
The first two seasons of How I Met Your Mother are two of the best seasons a sitcom has ever produced. A show about a father telling his two children how he met their mother somehow straddled sappy romanticism, slapstick comedy, and inside jokes in a freshly written show that had you rooting for each of its lovable characters.
As the seasons went on and Ted failed again and again to introduce the mother, the amount of quality episodes dwindled. Of the 22-24 episodes per season, about half of the episodes were punchy or advanced the plot. At this point, the only real story left is to let the audience know who the mother is, and sadly we have to sit through one more season to find out.
We may never see anything like 24 again. And that's probably a good thing, because part of the greatness of 24 was it was like nothing we had ever seen before. Creating 24 one-hour episodes that encapsulated one day in real time was a fantastic idea. Granted, the feasibility of everything that happened actually happening in 24 hours was unfathomable, but that's what's great about fiction.
Eventually, 24 was no longer groundbreaking, and it's surprising moments in each episode were no longer surprising. Still, though, the heartbeat before each commercial break: chills. Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump.
3. The Office
The Office made awkward silences and awfulness acceptable forms of humor. Michael Scott is a dim-witted yet lovable boss who is clueless to the outside world. While Pam and Jim's love story may have been a big reason for the show's success, it was Michael Scott who was captain of the ship (or assistant to the captain, I forget). Once he left the show, it was a shell of its former self.
4. Two and a Half Men
In its tenth season now, Two and a Half Men has been on the air for ten seasons too many.
Scrubs was like the guy version of New Girl. Zach Braff's J.D. was the quirky, hilarious guy that showed you didn't have to be a "manly man" to be considered cool or meet girls. It's hard to say exactly when Scrubs should have called it quits (J.D.'s quirkiness turned from cute to annoying around season 5), but it is for certain that once J.D. was no longer the main character, the show was really dead. The Office should have learned that the show can't go on at as high a level once the main character is gone.
Lost was a groundbreaking show that mixed great sci-fi storytelling with human relationships and mythical undertones. It turned into a show with too many mysteries that were left unanswered and a finale that left much to be desired. It was a show that high expectations of what was to come before failing to live up to them.
I have never been a huge Glee fan, but the show was truly unique when it debuted in 2009. It also tackled subjects that many high schoolers face like sex, sexuality, and bullying better than many shows before it. As its characters were supposed to graduate and go on to college, however, they keep coming back and we wonder how many more pop songs can be covered in a cappella.
8. Gossip Girl
This show didn't end four years ago? Who married who? Did they ever tell us who the Gossip Girl was? While it was fun watching overly attractive and privileged rich kids dominate the Upper East Side for a season or two, it became a little overplayed once royalty and murder became plot points. XOXO.
BONUS **A Show That Needs To Be Careful**
9. Parks and Recreation
Here's the thing: Parks and Rec is my favorite sitcom on air right now. Here's the other thing: The show's creators have written a series final three times now. That's summing things up quite a few times. The Leslie and Ben wedding episode was near perfect. The show has come back stronger than ever after its first and second false-alarm-series-finales, it never upped the stakes as much as Leslie finding love and finally getting the park that started the show. I don't think it will be an issue as Parks and Rec closes out season 5 (and possibly season 6 thanks the NBC's putrid ratings), but just be forewarned, Parks and Rec writers, please don't let us down...not that you have before.