If you watch every episode of a 100-episode sitcom, you've spend 2300 minutes, not including reruns. That's the equivalent of 19 feature-length movies or 11 novels (at the average adult reading speed).
If it was a 60-minute dramatic series, make that 38 feature length movies and 22 novels.
Then comes the series finale. There will be no more episodes.
You know the characters better than many of your real-life friends. Saying goodbye is going to be painful.
For years you've set aside a special part of your week for the program. You rarely missed it, and when you did, you taped it to watch later. You watched all of the summer reruns.There will be a hole in your life for quite some time.
So you sit down for the series finale, hoping for a warm, funny, memorable sendoff. But instead, you get garbage. Mind-destroying, depressing, confusing, WTF garbage.
But the series finale isn't even about that; it's about Laverne's singer/dancer/male prostitute friend Carmine going to New York to audition for Hair.
We don't find out if he got the role or not. And we don't see his nude scene.
But on May 21st, 1990, Bob wakes up in bed as Dr. Bob Hartley, the psychologist in his old series, and tells his old wife, Emily, "What a dream I had!" Way to destroy beloved characters, Bob!
How best to end the hearwarming series: how about with a eco-catastrophe that kills every dinosaur on the planet? Including the entire Sinclair family? Including the baby?
That's not the worst of it, though -- in the last episode, we are told that this has all been a story that Roseanne has written. The real people are all different. Dan is dead. Jackie is a lesbian, so her husband and child don't exist. But Mom isn't a lesbian. The daughters switch husbands. Everything we thought we knew about the show is wrong.
And everyone they've interacted with comes rushing to town to complain. Their honest attempts to help are recast as diabolical plots. Mistakes and accidents are recast as deliberate malice. Everything we thought we knew about the show is wrong. Oh, and they go to prison.
Do they change the world? Reveal the diabolical plot in a tell-all book? At least find a life far removed from their 12-year imprisonment? No -- they are shown living in a small apartment, eating pizza and riffing on bad movies.
At least they don't meet girls.
So how to handle the last season: end the department store, drop some of the characters, and give the others nonsensical new jobs at a new store. Oh, and have Drew and Mimi live together, raising a 10-year old boy who was a baby last season.
Whatever momentary glitch being gay caused in the cosmic order, it has been resolved with a man and a woman gazing into each other's eyes forever.
And Vincent the Dog dies.