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Small But Touching Details In Sitcom Finales

June 11, 2021 2k votes 332 voters 56.3k views12 items

List RulesVote up the little details that made final episodes extra special.

The saddest sitcom finales don't always tug on our heartstrings with grandiose, over-the-top emotional moments. Sometimes, it's the little details that really get to us. These sitcom finale details could be anything from a running gag that came full circle, to a small piece of dialogue that serves as a reminder of how the characters have evolved over the course of the series.

Whatever they may be, these little moments are strictly for the fans, as a reward for sticking around for so long and getting invested emotionally. 

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  • Photo: NBC

    NBC's Parks and Recreation begins and ends with Leslie Knope and the parks department trying to make a difference in their local community, one small step at a time. In the pilot episode, Leslie is called to a small neighborhood park where she has to help a drunk man who is trapped in the slide. These are the kinds of acts that demonstrate who Leslie is as a character. Her job as deputy director doesn't require Leslie to get her hands dirty, but she offers to anyway. 

    In the two-part finale, "One Last Ride," it is revealed that Leslie eventually becomes the governor of Indiana (and possibly even the president of the United States) as a culmination of all her small acts of public service. As a reminder of the impact that Leslie has had on Pawnee, the drunk man from the pilot episode (played by the hilarious John Daly) returns to ask Leslie to fix a swing at his local park, except now he's all cleaned up. This becomes Leslie's final act of small government. 

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  • Photo: NBC

    Ross and Rachel's relationship was such an integral part of early Friends seasons, it only makes sense that the writers would bring them back together before coming to a close after 10 seasons. Although their relationship came to an official end in the show's third season, the two engaged in an extremely complicated on-again-off-again relationship that resulted in their daughter, Emma, and lasted until the series finale. 

    In the finale, "The Last One," Rachel and Ross finally stop fighting their feelings and accept that they should be together. Ross tries to stop Rachel from getting on a plane (the same way Rachel tried to stop Ross from boarding his plane to China back in Season 1), only to find out it's too late. Later, Rachel shows up on Ross's doorstep and they share a passionate kiss, set to the same music from their first-ever kiss in the show's second season. 

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  • Photo: NBC

    In Season 2 of The Office, Pam is set on following her dreams of becoming an artist. She displays her art at a local gallery and invites her co-workers to come out, but only Michael shows up and gives her the time of day. He notices a simple painting she made of Dunder Mifflin Scranton and purchases it from her, not because he wants to support Pam (which he clearly does), but because he finds the painting genuinely heartwarming. 

    Michael proudly hangs up the painting outside his office in the Scranton branch, where it remains until the series finale. After the group reminisces at the old office post-Dwight's wedding, Pam finally understands the allure of the painting and why Michael loved it so much, noting that beauty can often be found in ordinary things. Since Pam no longer works for Dunder Mifflin, she steals the painting to take it back with her and Jim to Austin, TX. 

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  • The first two characters we ever see interact on screen in the first episode of Community are Jeff and Abed. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense considering both Jeff and Abed are the two most important characters in Community, but in the pilot, we're led to believe that Abed is going to be nothing but a quirky side character who occasionally annoys Jeff. During their interaction, Jeff arrogantly says, "I see your value now," after Abed helps him get closer to Britta. 

    It's as obvious now as it was then that old Jeff didn't give a damn about Abed, or anyone else in the study group for that matter. All he cared about was getting through community college in order to get back to his harmful ways of manipulating people for money. But after six seasons (and unfortunately no movie), Jeff is quite clearly not the same person who stepped foot in Greendale many years ago. As he sees Abed off in the series finale, Jeff hugs Abed not once but twice as he finally sees Abed's true value as a kind, loyal friend who helped Jeff become a better person. 

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