Say what you will, but sitcoms always hit the right spot. They make you laugh, know how to comfort you, and leave you with emotional moments that you will always cherish.
While the journey is certainly as enjoyable (if not more) than the ending, you can’t really guarantee that even a great show will end on an equally good note. In fact—is there such a thing as a perfect ending, especially in sitcoms?
Well, I’ve come up with a list that explores this in detail. Here are the top 10 best sitcom endings of all time!
10I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy was a 1960s sitcom that ran for six lush seasons. It was a total classic and set the precedent for many sitcoms to come. Despite holding the number one ranking that year, the show came to a close in 1957 due to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s crumbling relationship.
Famously using physical comedy, Ball as Lucy would concoct hilarious schemes that would allow her to be a part of her husband Ricky’s (Arnaz) show business.
The series finale was memorable not because of its content, but because of its historic value. The show ended with Lucy up to another one of her antics (posing as a statue because she had broken one), which completely covered the troubles the show and the actors were facing behind the cameras.
Another classic from the 1990s, Frasier started off as a spinoff of Cheers and had an 11-season-long run. It follows Dr. Frasier Crane, who moves back to his hometown, Seattle, after ending his marriage. Here, he lives with his father and works as a radio psychiatrist, and of course, hilarity ensues.
The show ends with a happy conclusion for all of its characters, with Niles and Daphne having a baby, and Martin and Ronnie finally getting married. Most surprising of all is how the pragmatic Frasier makes a rather spontaneous move and chooses to go after someone who could be the love of his life. That does leave a smile on your face.
Running for six seasons, Community took over our screen between 2009 and 2014, and surprisingly aired its final season on Yahoo! Screen.
Community quintessentially felt like an exploration of what would happen if our adult selves went back to college, and thus even ends in that fashion. The characters speculate about their futures and then say one last goodbye, going their own ways.
Like a lot of people we went to school or college with, we remain vastly unaware of what happens to these characters next. Even though some fans still long for a movie, I feel that this ending is more rich and realistic.
Whether or not you thought Modern Family overstayed its visit with its 11-season run, there wasn’t a single episode that didn’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy by the end of it. The series finale is no different, as it had many waves of empty nests and nostalgic goodbyes going on in each of the families.
The show ends with the Dunphy and Pritchett houses finally turning off the lights, with Jay’s platitude following through:
“Life is full of change—some big, some small. I learned a long time ago you could fight it, or you can try to make the best of it. And that’s all a lot easier if you’ve got people who love you help you face whatever life throws at you. At least, that’s what helps me sleep at night.”Jay Pritchett, Modern Family
For a sitcom that claims itself to be a “show about nothing,” Seinfeld enjoyed a very successful run of nine seasons between 1989 to 1988. But Seinfeld’s ending was not really received that well since the plot involved putting the main characters on trial.
So, why does it make the list? Simply because of how meta it was. None of the characters were decent people, yet the show was so beloved. The episode’s trial was a bold move to roast the audience for their viewing choices and also give the show an unorthodox ending.
5The Big Bang Theory
Following brilliant but socially inept scientists and their misadventures, The Big Bang Theory is one of the longest-running sitcoms with 12 seasons. Longevity did not mean that its quality decreased with time, as it stirred up the same amount of laughter in its last season as it did in its first.
The best endings are perhaps the happiest ones, so we cannot skip on how The Big Bang Theory ended on a super delightful note. Sheldon finally received his Nobel Prize but ended up acknowledging on the stage what his friends have meant to him all these years.
M*A*S*H* is a sitcom set in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War. You wouldn’t expect such a setting to be conducive to comedy, but the show will pleasantly surprise you!
After airing for 11 seasons, M*A*S*H* finale oversees the end of the War as well. As with the last few seasons, this episode too took a more emotional turn given the historic events. It was becoming harder to ignore how cruel war can be, and Hawkeye, in particular, spends the episode dealing with the trauma.
As the 4077th crew said their goodbyes, this episode was a reminder of how crucial and comforting humor is when we’re dealing with truly dark times in our lives.
3Parks and Recreation
While most sitcom fans will rave about certain popular shows, you know you’ve met someone with real taste when they praise Parks and Rec.
One of the most underrated yet extremely hilarious shows, Parks and Rec went on for seven seasons, capturing bureaucratic and political satire through its setting of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana.
In the series finale, the various characters set off to complete one last task as a team, and we skip forward to each of their happily ever happy, where we see them live their best lives.
As an indispensable part of pop culture, Friends is the first go-to for any novice wanting to get into sitcoms. For ten seasons, this show captures the highs, lows, and everything comically in between five friends living in New York.
As it gained such a definitive cultural identity, its ending was sweet and satisfying, even if predictable. We leave behind Monica and Rachel’s iconic apartment, as the gang starts a new chapter of each of their lives—first, by drinking coffee, of course.
If there’s any show that trumps the popularity of Friends, it’s The Office. This is a beloved office mockumentary that ran for nine seasons and had some of television’s whackiest characters.
The Office, by far, has the best sitcom endings of all time. The show has built a legacy with its heartfelt ending that perfectly closes everyone’s character arcs. The ending is poetic—Dwangela gets married, Michael returns as Best Man, and Pam decides to support Jim’s career.
Plus, having one last interview really brought about a sense of conclusion and made you reach for the tissue box.