Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Jimmy Gownley on how to end a series

“I think that when you are doing a long series like this, the most important thing you need to do at the end is confirm the premise. That’s why, even though the Seinfeld finale was perceived as a flop at the time, it never hurt the series in syndication. It actually works, because it confirms and affirms the world you just spent so much time in. Everyone says they love the Newhart finale, but they really don’t. It’s clever and cute for a one-off joke, but you notice that Newhart is rarely seen in syndication. Why would it be? Who would watch any of those episodes again? It was all just a dream. It’s actually the worst possible thing you could do to your audience. So my goal was to create a finale that was implied at the beginning. I think it works really well, and I love the point where we leave the characters.”

Jimmy Gownley on winding up his eight-volume series Amelia Rules

In the first volume of the series, Amelia has just left New York for a small town, where she and her mother will live with her Aunt Tanner following her parents’ divorce. Although Amelia adjusted to her new situations, these stories have never been static; unlike many comics characters, Amelia continued to grow and change as new challenges came up. So it’s appropriate that Gownley has created an actual finale to the series, rather than just stopping at the end of a volume. It does make me wonder how many creators have the ending of their story in mind as they write the first chapter—or whether the ending becomes obvious to them after the story has been going on for a little while.

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Newhart tanked in reruns because it was a pretty tired show by the end. That finale didn’t make things worse. Though I will admit that it probably made people long for the original Bob Newhart Show that much more.

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