24 July 2009
One of the more painful of this season’s many painful losses (Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money, Privileged, Kings and Valentine), Samantha Who is most definitely an example of a good show being punished for network mistakes.
When the Christina Applegate sitcom premiered last season it was the highest rated comedy on the air and soon earned 2 Emmy nominations (including a win for supporting actress Jean Smart). A strike-shortened season, a lack of summer re-runs, an extended hiatus, time slot changes, another hiatus, casting changes, a lack of promotion and a large number of episodes run out of order (making the through-lines incredibly hard to follow) were just some of the obstacles thrown in front of the charming comedy.
News of the series’ cancellation left fans hoping for many things in the July 23rd finale: a resolution to Andrea’s loveless engagement storyline, good things for Dena, amusing and sweet hijinks from Sam’s parents, and (most importantly) a happily-ever-after for Sam and her epic love interest Todd.
The series wrapped tonight with a sweet and funny episode (after a very confusing batch of summer aired out of order installments) that wrapped up the love stories of all three central friends wonderfully. We were left with a satisfying, if a little ambiguous, ending for Andrea, her gay fiancee and the man who’s really in love with her. Dena was whisked off her feet by her long-time boyfriend and Sam and Todd finally found each other and completed their tale with one of the more unique proposal stories I’ve seen.
In fact, if you turn off your PVR as Todd carries Sam into the apartment and her voice over about fairy tale endings comes to a close, the episode will make a lovely series finale. Unfortunately, those fatal 30 seconds, if you choose to watch them, ruin the show by revealing that Sam’s mother has left her father, thus putting to rest one of the sweeter middle-aged marriages on TV.
Couldn’t the producers have just cut that and let the audience bask in a happy ending?
Mishandling by the network and a strange finale decision by the writers makes for an extremely bittersweet sendoff for Sam and Co. At least Ms. Applegate received a final Emmy nomination to remember the series by.