Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Missing It Already


Tuesdays may be the longest day of my week, but it’s also my favorite—at least for now.  Why?  Because Tuesday is the day I get to come home and devote one completely unencumbered hour to my favorite show, White Collar.  It is the only program I watch all week without an open textbook in front of me, or a case that needs briefing.  Oh, that hour doesn’t always take place right at the moment of first airing, but it always happens before I go to bed Tuesday night.

Last summer, I gave you a top 5 list for the reasons I enjoy this particular show so much, but one of the many things that got left off the list was how much I really like their White Collar Get Glueseason finales.  And, really, it takes a lot for me to say that, for a couple of reasons.

First, I’m not a huge fan of the cable scheduling approach.  Short seasons that are broken up into even shorter half-seasons and spread throughout the year somehow make it more clear that there’s a whole lot more time without the show than there is with the show.  I mean, seriously, didn’t this season just begin?  But now it’s over.  The upside, though, is that it means there is usually something new on somewhere, filling in the holes left by the traditional network schedule.

The second thing I really don’t typically enjoy is a season-ending cliffhanger.  They’re so often overblown and have so little bearing on the normal cadence of the show, it can be distracting.  More than that, it can be annoying.  Let’s face it: with the vast majority of programs there is a status quo that will always be restored, even if it takes a while, so how much drama can really be created with a cliffhanger?  In most cases, the lead characters aren’t really going to die, or quit their jobs, or become a zombie, or whatever.  You know things are going to be just fine an hour after the show returns.

But, White Collar manages to make the most of the last few minutes of their season-enders, putting the characters into predicaments that are dramatic, and do leave us waiting for months to see the resolution.  Part of their secret, I think, is that they are a show that builds quite a lot of mythology throughout the seasons, with an underlying story arc that’s the bedrock of the case-of-the-week portion of the show.  So, a big cliffhanger to set up some sort of resolution for the current arc and move to the next one to continue to build the backstory seems part of a natural ebb and flow, more than it is in more typical episodic television.  Also, as an added bonus, the season finales of White Collar are often written by the creator of the program; who knows the characters better than the man who brought them to life to begin with?  It’s another thing that seems to really help with creating a gripping episode to end the season.

Which brings us to tonight, and the current WC season finale.   (**SPOILERS AHEAD**)

This time around, we’ve got a bit of a twist; it’s not Neal who’s in deep trouble with the law, but Peter, and we’ve got a fairly new guest-starring character who’s enough of a question mark that we’re not entirely sure how it will all play out.  Thankfully, we all know Peter isn’t a murderer, and we all know he isn’t really going to end up in prison for the rest of his life, even if we don’t know exactly what part his new boss is going to play in his prosecution.  And, if we’ve been watching at all these past few years, we also know that Neal will find a way to help his friend, even if he has to bend a few rules to do it.  The real fun will come in finding out exactly how everything falls into place.  So, we’ll spend a few months wondering about all the unanswered questions that inevitably pop up in a cliffhanger.  What will Neal have to do to exonerate his partner?  Will Neal’s dad really be a total sleaze ball, or is there some sort of redemption in store for him?  Is Calloway one of the good guys, or the bad?  And, if she is bad, now that Pratt’s dead, where does that leave her?  Oh, and let’s not forget the romance—is Sara really going to England, or might that too-close-to-real proposal prompt her to hang around New York just a little bit longer?  As they say, tune in next fall for the answers to these questions and many others.

I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, though, like most fans, I could certainly offer some opinions on what I would like to happen and what I expect to happen.  But not tonight.  Tonight, I’ll just say that I enjoyed the finale, and I will be waiting anxiously to see what happens next. 

Starting next week, I guess Tuesdays will just go back to being a long day.  All I can say is, come on, fall!

Tube Day Tuesday digitalart





                                                                                                                 Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net