Top 5 TV: Welcome Back, ‘Transparent’ and Dubya!
2. Getting On goes out in flames… literally (HBO)
Unlike The Leftovers and Enlightened, which both developed some cult cachet in their second seasons, HBO’s “gray comedy” Getting On never built much buzz, even though it stayed consistently good throughout its 18-episode run. The series finale, “Reduced to Eating Boiled Magazines and Book Paste,” didn’t try too hard to wrap anything up, because this was never that kind of show. (Although it did end with nurse Dawn accidentally burning down her geriatric ward.) Instead, director Miguel Arteta and writers Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer mostly emphasized the slow decline of the daily routine at Billy Barnes Hospital, described by embittered elder-care physician Dr. Jenna James as “like a teen slumber party with dying.”
And yet, for a show mainly interested in finding grim humor in the drudgery and bureaucracy of the healthcare industry, Getting On could always be counted on to deliver the occasional out-of-the-blue moment of clarity. The finale was mostly about the very common, frustrating feeling that nothing about the way things end is ever fully in our control — not with our jobs, relationships, government, or lives. But as Dr. James prepared to give Dawn one of her kidneys, she comforted her friend by saying, “There is no justice, but there is mercy, because that’s what we can give to each other.” It was a rare, much-appreciated glimmer of hope … and a graceful goodbye.