#3. David the Gnome Hits Mandatory Death Age
If you grew up watching Nickelodeon around the early 90s, you probably have some vague memories of a cartoon from overseas centered around gnomes in colorful, pointy hats mingling with forest creatures.
"No! Not The Littl' Bits! They were pixies! Come on!"
For nearly eight years, The World of David the Gnome ran (and reran and reran) on Nickelodeon's then-new "Nick Jr." lineup. David, his wife, Lisa, and his best friend, Swift the fox, spent their days in the forest helping animals and other gnomes in need and avoiding the trouble-making trolls.
They were creepy douchebags.
In most episodes, there was a lesson for the youngsters about different types of animals or about treating the environment with respect. And, on the last episode, the young children got to learn that every living thing dies!
Apparently, gnomes can only live to be 400 years-old, and David and his wife were both 399 throughout the series. So, when they hit the big 4-0-0, it was time for them to trek all the way to the Mountains of Beyond with their fellow quad-centenarian, Casper, to die.
Faithful as usual, Swift comes with them, but once they reach the mountains, he is not allowed to climb up with them. They bid him a tearful farewell and Swift watches as they all die and turn into trees.
Swift, now alone, and horribly sad, walks back down the mountain. But just to make sure the proceedings don't end entirely on a down note, Swift immediately meets a female fox and it's made eminently clear Swift will be consoling himself by tapping that.
#2. Little House on the Prairie Goes Out with a Bang
Nothing can bring back memories of hanging out at your grandma's house more than stealing Nana's estrogen supplements and selling them to your friends (claiming the "E" stands for "Ecstasy") and Little House on the Prairie. The show centered on the Ingalls family and other residents of the small Minnesota town of Walnut Grove in the 1870s and 80s.
Every episode was absolutely bursting with wholesome messages about faith, community, family and love (in other words porn for Grandmas). The show aired for nine years and was pretty successful throughout most of its original run and remains popular in syndication.
When the show finally ended in 1984, the writers decided to make an unforgettable ending, by obliterating the entire town in a series of massive explosions.
The show ended with an hour-long special in which Nathan Lassiter, a scheming railroad tycoon, comes to town and, through a legal loophole, buys all the land in Walnut Grove out from under the residents, ordering their immediate evacuation. When they protest, Mr. Lassiter brings in a unit from the Union Army to force them out.
This causes one of the residents to get so upset she smashes out the windows to her house. This fit of violence inspires everybody else to follow her example and blow up the entire town. Because if there's one thing small-town folk are known for, it's their demolitions expertise.
Everyone gathers to take turns detonating their own buildings and saying, "Fuck you, Mr. Lassiter!" (metaphorically, of course).
In the end, only one little house remains. Did you guess it? Yup, the one on the prairie, and now that it's been abandoned; it's taken over by the rabbits they raised in the barn.
"The world's most adorable squatters."
#1. St. Elsewhere Kills a Kitten
Before was there was Grey's Anatomy or House, or any of the dozen medical shows currently on the air, St. Elsewhere was the medical drama. "St. Elsewhere" was a derogatory name given to St. Eligius Hospital, a rundown teaching hospital in Boston where the show took place.
Part of what made the show unique was frequent appearances by characters from other shows like Cheers, Mary Tyler Moore, and Chicago Hope as well as Elsewhere's characters showing up on other shows, even a decade after it's cancellation.
But part of what made St. Elsewhere so memorable was the last episode. The camera pans out from the hospital, showing snow beginning to fall. Then the scene switches to an autistic child playing with a toy in an apartment. One of doctors arrives wearing a construction worker's outfit, and talks to his father about how he wishes he knew what was going on in his son Tommy's head, "... he sits there all day long, in his own world, staring at that toy. What's he thinking about?"
That toy is actually a snow globe with a tiny St. Eligius inside, implying that the entire show (and all the shows referenced within) exist only in the imagination of child.
Wait, that's not very soul-crushing...Oh, and they also killed a kitten.
Beginning in 1968, Mimsie the cat was the logo for MTM Enterprises. In the standard version, he looks up and gives an adorable mew. Throughout the years, different shows had made their own variations of the original.
But, in 1988, when St. Elsewhere ended, they decided to take the cat down with them. As the final credits roll, Mimsie wasn't in his usual surgical mask and cap. Instead, an unconscious Mimsie is seen hooked up to a beeping heart monitor. And, at the very end of credits, he flat-lines, dying onscreen.
Now there's a lasting image for you. Also, are we the only ones who spent the entire 80s thinking that symbol up there was an ash tray?
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