Endings are always hard.  Not just in the “can’t say goodbye to yesterday boo hoo hoo love song” sense, but also in the sense that a great story can still end with the giant squid exploding in NYC and undermining the whole narrative.  More difficult than the bad ending, though, is the happy ending, where everything turns out great.  Bill & Ted got two such endings: The first one works, the second one fails, for reasons that aren’t easy to understand.  (Especially since, in many ways, it’s the exact same scene each time.)  A story that chooses to undermine the happy ending can be even more effective than wrapping everything up with a big happy bow, as Dante Hicks correctly remarked, as it resembles real life more, leading to today’s bittersweet query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) wonders whether the ending of ‘Doctor Horrible’ was a happy ending or not, and still can’t decide, asking: What’s your favorite tale that doesn’t have a happy ending?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Daniel Langsdale on

    12 Monkeys, showing the hard way that you can’t change the past, you can only learn from it to try and make a better future.

  2. Does my time with my late ex count? Because looking back on it, I swear it would make a great bittersweet geeky rom-com (with a little sci-fi thrown in because… Honestly, if it had not happened to me, I probably wouldn’t believe it).

    But for pop culture… It is a bit subjective to interpretation, but “Let the Right One In”. Most people I know think it is creepy and the cycle begins anew, but I thought it was kinda sweet that the kid and the vampire girl ran off together. But I’m a bit of a weird one, so I’m probably in the minority here.

    I also think any vampire movie where all the vampires are killed is kinda an unhappy ending. Not “Twilight” (I REALLY wanted that to be the ending when I was forced to watch those films), but more traditional vampires, not “sparkly diamond people who happen to drink blood”. Still love ’em, though (the vampire films, not Twilight, just so there is no confusion).

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