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.
- 1Photo: CBS
M*A*S*H ran for 11 seasons on CBS from 1972-1983. Not only did it have a huge impact on American broadcast television as we know it, but it also had a huge impact on the actors' lives. Eleven years is a very long time to get to know a group of people, even if a lot of the cast didn't appear in every single season. They became as close as a real family and struggled with the idea of saying goodbye to each other.
One of the most touching goodbyes actually came from David Ogden Stiers and Loretta Swit, who played Charles Winchester and Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan respectively. In the series finale, Winchester apologizes to Houlihan for his poor treatment of her and offers her a book of poetry. Houlihan opens it up and notices a personal inscription by Winchester that leaves her flustered. As it was, Stiers was a very personal man and did not give out his personal phone number to any of the cast members during the filming of M*A*S*H, but during that scene, the inscription was Stiers's actual phone number, and Swit's reaction on camera was genuine.2305Nice detail?
- 2Photo: NBC
In 1990, NBC set out to make a silly comedy series about a hip teen who moves in with his rich family in Bel-Air. To make Will feel like even more of an alien for moving from West Philadelphia to one of the richest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the Banks family has a butler named Geoffrey who insists on calling Will "Master William," despite Will's instruction to be referred to as simply "Will."
Geoffrey uses the "master" title in every single episode until he's no longer employed by the Banks in the series finale, "I, Done." In the episode, Geoffrey decides to return to London to be with his son and says his farewells to the Banks family. When it comes to saying goodbye to Will, Geoffrey finally drops the master title and utters, "Goodbye... Will," before sharing an embrace with the Fresh Prince.1774Nice detail?
- 3Photo: NBC
The Cheers finale not only managed to perfectly close off 11 seasons of prime television, but also paid tribute to a fellow cast member, Nicholas Colasanto, who passed tragically of a heart attack during the show's third season. Colasanto played "Coach" Ernie Pantusso, Sam's old baseball coach turned bartender at Cheers. Colasanto left such a void in the show that Woody Harrelson was brought in to replace him from the fourth season on.
Cheers went on for eight more seasons after Colasanto's passing, but the cast and crew never forgot about him. In the series finale, Sam winds up back at the bar after going after Diane, only to realize that Cheers is his one true love. After closing for the night, Sam looks at the bar longingly before adjusting a crooked picture of Geronimo on the wall - a picture that used to hang in the late Nicholas Colasanto's dressing room.15812Nice detail?
- Photo: ABC
Watching Cory Matthews grow up on Boy Meets World was like experiencing adolescence all over again, but perhaps the most touching aspect to come out of the show was Cory's relationship with Mr. Feeny, Cory's teacher and next-door neighbor. Although Mr. Feeny is portrayed as a strict, authoritarian presence at first, he eventually gained the respect of Cory and his friends by showing his softer, more caring side, resulting in Mr. Feeny becoming a mentor to Cory.
Watching Cory and the group say goodbye to Feeny was heartbreaking, but it goes to show how close they had all become. In Cory and Feeny's final one-on-one talk, Feeny references a plant in his garden as a metaphor for Topanga's unwillingness to go out there in the world. That same flower was the small geranium plant Cory gave to Mr. Feeny in the hospital all the way back in Season 1, which has now blossomed into a healthy flower.12414Nice detail?