So... I know it's been a while, but tonight's South Park really got me thinking. I know I rarely talk about TV or anything, but I would wager the connection between comics and cartoons is pretty strong, or at the very least strong enough so I can do this.
Anyway, the episode tonight had what could easily be called an incredibly depressing ending. It was pretty sad, to say the least. I did some research (read: Wikipedia) and found out that this is actually the mid-season finale, so there isn't a conclusion. If this is a cliffhanger, it's going to be a while before any resolution is achieved. I suggest you check out the episode to see exactly what I mean.
Anyway, this got me thinking about the cartoon cliche that everything is always back to normal at the end. It's an old one, which had been mocked on a lot of shows. Family Guy comes to mind fairly often.
In cartoons, and comics, we all know things are going to be ok at the end. We suspend our notion that they aren't to develop the tension. Sure, our heroes may triumph, but at what cost? When they don't triumph at all, then we're really thrown off.
Consider All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison's masterpiece. It doesn't end happily. Superman dies. It moves us to the extreme, but often to tears (I cried, don't judge me). Its the same when a TV show ends on a note contrary to it's genre. Venture Brothers has done this a few times. I' sure the Simpsons has once in it's 9,000,000 seasons. However, at the vast majority of all episodes end, and then things are back to normal. For instance, I remember Ralph Wiggum being elected president.
So when tonight's South Park essentially destroyed the show and then abruptly ended, I was a bit shocked. It was unnerving and depressing. I don't exactly know where it's going, but I'm hooked. I would just like to see it get better.