Let's take ER for example. While I've never had a nice word to say about this show, I will admit ER improved after God killed Dr. Green with a brain tumor, and dropped a flaming helicopter on Dr. Romano. (Who says the Almighty isn't just?) However! I'm still convinced this show is written using a device known as the "Maniputer"; a computer that squirts out 100 crappy, manipulative scripts per minute.
This season ended with Drs. Pratt and Chen becoming victims of a gunfight/road rage attack. Will they survive? Not if I kill them first. But even worse was the Dr. Kerry Weaver storyline: First she was a crippled straight person; then she was a closeted crippled lesbian; then she was a crippled lesbian mother; and now she's a single crippled lesbian widow who's had her kid taken away! Look guys, if you manipulate me any harder, you're gonna make my underpants all sticky.
Then there's the West Wing season finale. Other than Donna being attacked by a Middle Eastern blood clot, I have absolutely no idea what happened. Something about the Israelis being mad at the Palestinians, and this one Palestinian guy wanting to overthrow this other Palestinian guy who's lying to this Israeli guy... and Jesus! If the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is even half this complicated, we might as well give Donald Rumsfeld a bag of nuclear weapons, and say, "Go to town!"
Meanwhile, I have only one question for the writers of the Alias season finale: Is it going to freaking kill you to put Sydney Bristow in a bathing suit?
Perhaps the saddest season finale came from my absolute FAVE show of the year, The O.C. This is one of those rare shows that makes me wriggle like a cheerleader sitting on a Crest SpinBrush. Even though most of the acting is God-awful, I'm in L-O-V-E with Sandy Cohen, Seth Cohen, and especially Summer Roberts. Nevertheless, The O.C. season finale ate butt-junk. Ryan went running after his pregnant ex-girlfriend (whom he porked only once!). Recovering drunkard Marissa jumped back on the booze wagon... which actually makes it much easier to rationalize her bad acting. ("Oh, her character has alcohol-induced brain damage.")
But worst of all? Poor jilted Seth Cohen gets dumped by Summer, packs a lunch, and takes a 12-foot catamaran to TAHITI. (FYI, Seth sailing a catamaran to Tahiti is about as believable as Richard Simmons driving an '82 Toyota Corolla to the moon.) See, if they really wanted a slam-bang season finale, the show should've ended with Summer and Sydney Bristow sitting together on the beach, wondering if Seth would return from Tahiti--and deciding to take their tops off and make out while they wait. (Whoa! Talk about manipulation!)