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11 Sitcom Finales That Came Full Circle

May 4, 2021 785 votes 165 voters 6.9k views11 items

List RulesVote up the sitcom finales that called back to the early seasons in a surprising and satisfying way.

Finales are a tricky thing to get right, specifically sitcom finales that are tasked with wrapping up seven or more seasons of whacky adventures, as in the case of Seinfeld or The Office. Through the use of foreshadowing, many of these finales were able to come full circle and close off their stories in a satisfying way. Sitcom foreshadowing can range from a random one-off joke in the first season to deliberately interconnected storylines that were set up in the very beginning, giving us a satisfying close to a long and worthwhile journey.

These 11 sitcoms managed to cap off their stories with full circle finales by reminding us why we fell in love with the show in the first place. 

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  • When it comes to the ending of Futurama, "full circle" is actually quite an understatement. Not only did the show manage to come full circle, but the series became an infinite loop that can be watched front to back endlessly. In the finale, Fry accidentally freezes time after breaking a time reset button, trapping him and Leela together in this time-frozen world. Without Professor Farnsworth, they are unable to fix the button and eventually grow old together. 

    Even though the circumstances weren't optimal, to say the least, Fry and Leela finally got to be together in the end. But since it is Futurama, after all, Professor Farnsworth eventually appears out of a wormhole, offering the couple a chance to return to the point in time before the creation of the time button - before the pilot episode of Futurama. Knowing they won't have any memory of the last 30 years, Fry and Leela share one last kiss before pressing the button and starting their lives (and the series) all over again. 

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  • Photo: ABC

    Modern Family ended almost exactly how it began, with one big, blended family trying to take a family photo. The difference between the pilot episode and the series finale is that of 11 years, but nothing had really changed at all if you really look at it. Modern Family was a show about the ordinary day to day of being a part of a huge family, and if you've ever really been a part of one, you would know that interacting with your family every day is enough action, drama, and conflict to fill an entire series. 

    Modern Family ran from 2009-2020 and gave us the distinct pleasure of watching their characters really grow up onscreen. By the time they reached the finale, the characters (and actors) had been through a lot but still remained the same family we know and love. The real growth can be felt by noticing the difference between the first and last episodes of the series. The pilot episode ends with the Dunphy/Prichett family struggling to take a reluctant family photo, while the series finale showed that same family struggling to leave each other after their final family portrait, bringing the series to a satisfying close. 

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  • Photo: NBC

    Seinfeld begins with an ordinary conversation between Jerry and George about how George's shirt is buttoned up too high. To some, this may come off as an anticlimactic way to begin a series, but it perfectly set the tone for the next nine seasons. For a show about "nothing," Seinfeld certainly knew how to harness the comedic potential from regular, mundane occurrences and turn it into something worth tuning in for every week for almost a decade. 

    Like all good things, Seinfeld eventually reached its endpoint with one of the most ridiculous (and divisive) finales of all time. In the series finale, Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer are apprehended under a small town's "Good Samaritan" law for failing to help a target of a carjacking. During their trial, familiar faces come and go to testify against the quartet, resulting in them getting sentenced to a year in prison. While in holding, Jerry notices George's button is placed too high and recommends he use the second button instead, to which George responds, "Haven't we had this conversation before?" 

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    Friends was able to build almost 10 seasons on will-they-won't-they tension between Ross and Rachel until, finally, the pair got together for good in the series finale, "The Last One." The writers teased the couple's fate throughout the series, having them get together and then break up continuously until the very last episode of the show, where we can safely assume the couple finally settled down and got married soon after. 

    Fans collectively let out a sigh of relief when Rachel showed up at Ross's apartment in the series finale, ready to begin their lives together. It was a touching moment some fans could've actually seen coming if they recall a little joke from the pilot episode. The first time we ever see Ross, he's complaining about his divorce and how he just wants to be married again, just as Rachel, his high school crush, walks in exactly on cue wearing a wedding dress. That's what they call a "sign."

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