Cliffhangers are rough. Cliffhangers that are never resolved, despite dozens more episodes before series’ end? Unacceptable.
The most egregious example of this is Mr. Turner’s Boy Meets World fate. While like any good ‘90s kid I was obsessed with Cory and Topanga and clung to every word Mr. Feeny said, one relationship that really stuck with me over the years was the one between cool, young, badass teacher Mr. Turner and troubled teen Shawn Hunter. Fans know where I’m going with this…
Despite seasons of investment watching Mr. Turner and Shawn grow closer – even culminating in Turner wrestling with whether to become Shawn’s actual legal guardian – Turner disappeared from the show with no satisfying conclusion during the run of the show. In the season 4 episode “Cult Fiction,” a directionless Shawn decides to join a cult (!), but is rattled when Mr. Turner gets into a motorcycle accident. The end of the episode shows a distraught Shawn holding a body-cast-covered Mr. Turner’s hand in the hospital…and then Turner’s never seen again.
I’ve spent the past 15 years wondering what happened to Mr. Turner. (And happily, it looks like I’m going to – finally – get some answers.) But Boy Meets World is far from the only show to cavalierly play with my heart – and unfortunately, I don’t think these other programs are going to get information-dispensing spin-offs anytime soon.
I have approximately 1 million questions about characters on The O.C. – How did Anna fare in Pittsburgh?! – but one plot thread in particular has always festered in my mind. Is Ryan the father of Theresa’s baby? I don’t know, because every time Ryan and Theresa were together on the show, I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to believe and how much I should be reading into their interactions. First viewers weren’t sure who the father of Theresa’s baby was, then we were led to believe it was Ryan. A season later, we were told it was Eddie’s child, but he still really looks like Ryan. And we know Theresa is an unreliable narrator because she’s already lied about the kid a few times to a few different people. She eventually ceased appearing on the show, but not before we got answers. Would a definitive statement have killed you, Josh Schwartz?
The O.C. is over, so I’m doomed to just re-watch the DVDs (story of my life!) searching for clues that don’t exist. I’ll also never stop searching for hidden information regarding Santiago’s disappearance on Friday Night Lights. When you invest in a show, you earn the right to find out what happens to characters. I made a vow to stick with programs through plots both goofy and serious, and in return, showrunners owe us resolutions; otherwise, I’ll just have to start writing my own chock-full-of-answers scripts.
Uh-oh. I think I just explained fanfiction to myself.