Listen, there are some shows so beloved that just about anyone can recite exactly how they ended, and when it comes to the final episodes of TV shows from the '90s, that's often the case. We all know that Big turns up in Paris to bring Carrie home in the Sex And The City finale, just like we all know that Ross stops Rachel from going to Paris in Friends because they have an epic love story (also, what was up with Paris in '90s shows?), but there are other finales which are less universally remembered. And that's a real shame, because for the most part, many of these finales from '90s TV shows are worth revisiting.
Some are a little humdrum, others totally tug at your heart strings, and the rest are so wonderfully weird and out of left field that they truly garner major respect. And as the final episodes of TV shows go, that's exactly what they should be delivering — an ultimate celebration of everything that made that show so great to watch for however long it aired.
The fact that some of these finales aren't quite as memorable as others doesn't immediately indicate that they're lacking in quality, either, but simply that it might have just been a while since we ever revisited the show in question. And with that in mind, here are 13 final TV show episodes from the '90s that you may have forgotten.
1. Seinfeld (1989-98)
The notorious finale, which many fans and critics found to be disappointing, actually saw Elaine, Jerry, Kramer, and George going to jail for failing to help a man being car jacked. A number of characters whom the Seinfeld gang had wronged over the years even testified against them in court. Because karma truly is to be feared, folks.
2. My So-Called Life (1994-95)
The proof that this eminent show was canceled long before its time can be found in My So-Called Life's spectacular final episode. Brian Krakow writes a love letter to Angela Chase on behalf of bumbling dreamboat Jordan Catalano, who wants to make things right with her. And it totally works, except that Angela finds out that it was actually Brian and oh-god-my-heart. That final shot where we see her staring out lovingly at him from Jordan's car? Killer.
3. Dinosaurs (1991-94)
For a show so full of fun and whimsy, the final ever episode of Dinosaurs was hella traumatic and depressing — with the Sinclair family, and the rest of their dino-friends, facing imminent extinction. When they realize that resistance to their fate is futile, the family agrees to basically die together as the final shot reveals the Sinclair home being completely engulfed by ice and snow.
4. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (1990-96)
The emotional Fresh Prince final episode saw Hilary and Ashley moving to New York together, Carlton leaving for Princeton to continue his education, Will finishing his studies in California and getting his own apartment, Geoffrey leaving to be with his son in London and Philip, and Vivian and Nicky heading back East. A final, moving shot shows Will turning out the lights on the sad, empty home of Banks family and welp — it destroys me.
5. Frasier (1993-2004)
With his father getting married, and Niles and Daphne bringing their first child into the world, Frasier realizes that he too is ready for the next phase of his life to begin. And with that, he leaves Seattle to accept a job in San Francisco, closing his final ever radio show with the words "goodnight, Seattle."
6. Roseanne (1988-97)
Basically remedying all of the weirdness that the ninth season of Roseanne offered viewers with a heartbreaking revelation: Nothing that happened that season actually happened. The Connors didn't become lottery winning millionaires and Dan, Roseanne's husband, didn't survive his heart attack. Instead, the finale revealed that the entirety of Season 9 was wish fulfillment on Roseanne's behalf — we were watching a fictionalized fantasy of her own life. The finale, then, made us witness her heartbreaking reality, just as she was facing up to it, too.
7. Dawson's Creek (1998-2003)
In a bid to give fans some sense of closure, the Dawson's Creek finale skipped five years ahead to offer a glimpse of the future of the Capeside gang. And it didn't look too great for everyone. Though Joey Potter finally realized that Dawson was her platonic soulmate and Pacey her romantic one (thank goodness), viewers had to suffer the emotional tumult of watching Jen Lindley die from complications due to a heart defect.
8. Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000)
Basically, Donna and David get married, Kelly and Dylan rekindle their love, Brandon Walsh sends his regards via videotape, and viewers got to say goodbye to the gang as they lay down some supremely awkward dance moves. Color me disappointed.
9. Clarissa Explains It All (1991-94)
Clarissa finished her final article for the school newspaper, dedicated to the future, and asks, "Where will everyone be in 20 years?" And I'm so upset that not one person thought that 2014 would have been a good time to revisit the show and finally answer that question for Clarissa and the show's viewers. I mean, come on.
10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Like many other BTVS finales to come before it, the final episode ever saw the Scooby Gang taking on a Big Bad and fighting against the evils spewing forth from Sunnydale's Hellmouth (possibly for the last ever time). The difference with this particular finale is that it ends with the empowering final note that there is no longer simply one slayer born to each generation, but multitudes of them. And with that, Buffy Summers realizes that she's no longer solely responsible for saving the world.
11. Blossom (1990-95)
Simple and understated, as much of the show could often be, Blossom concluded with an episode which saw the titular character finally accepting some big life changes. Blossom's dad sells their family home to start a life with a new family, and Blossom stops fighting him on it. It was a sweet and perfectly balanced ending.
12. 3rd Rock From The Sun (1996-2001)
The Solomon Family, having compromised their secret identities on Earth, return to their home planet — and have to endure some painful breakups by doing so. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, Tommy, ends up bawling in a kitchen and a bemused Elvis Costello helps to perform a rousing rendition of "Fly Me To The Moon," because of course.
13. Married With Children (1987-1997)
This long-airing sitcom ended rather unceremoniously with an episode just like any other. Al turns his shoe store into a barter shop and Kelly tries (and fails) to become a masseuse, something which Bud suffers the consequences of. And that's just about the lot of it. Suffice to say, it definitely deserved an episode with a little, if not a lot, more fanfare.
Having just rediscovered all of these final episodes of some of the best TV shows of the '90s, I feel instantly compelled to revisit nearly every single one of them. Like, I have so many feelings right now, it's unreal.
Images: 20th Television; Giphy (4)