When I was little, maybe two or three, my favorite movie was the Land Before Time. I don't remember this at all, but my family tells a story about how every time the movie ended and the credits rolled, I'd start to cry. Apparently I was inconsolable. The fam finally figured out that if they turned the movie off before the credits appeared, I would be fine. No fuss, no muss. Who knows what three-year-old me was thinking, or how I justified in my tiny little mind that if the credits didn't roll, Littlefoot and Ducky would still be living out their adventures, free of an ending.
As I said before, I don't remember this at all. I've watched hundreds of movies since then, and my mother doesn't make a mad dash for the tissues every time I come to the end, but this particular quirk of mine has come out every now and then. I'm a television addict. I've said it before, I'll probably say it again. Movie endings don't faze me, but give me a T.V. series finale and you'll find me crying or curled up like the small child I used to be.
Let me justify myself and make it seem like I'm not such an infant by saying this only happens the FIRST time I watch a finale. Every other rewatch the crying only happens internally. Example?
I'm on a West Wing kick right now, and I've been watching it from start to finish.
I started two weeks ago, I've got a job and I'm writing a book. How far into it do you think I am? There are seven seasons, I'm on number five right now. Whoops? Good on me? Who knows at this point, but I digress.
Last night I got the urge to watch the last season, because there are a lot of things that I love about it. But with each new episode, and with each new disk, I found myself dreading the ending. Dread may not be the right word. Sadness was welling up inside me. My favorite characters and a world that I loved was quickly coming to the end of their era. I pulled the covers in more tightly and hugged my stuffed penguin to my side, hoping the end wouldn't come. It did, it always does, but as my feelings became more and more tumultuous, I decided to try a little trick. Before the last scene I ejected the disk. I've seen the ending, I know it still happens, but in this instance, out of sight out of mind really worked. My characters were still in office, the President wasn't ending his eight year term! If I didn't see it, the end didn't have to come!
As I sat there thinking about this awesome magic trick I'd played on myself, I realized that I've done this before. Many times, actually, without realizing it.
Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles (Don't judge me, you'd like it if you watched it):Took the last two disks of season two off my netflix list because I couldn't bear to see the bad ending.
The Tudors: stopped watching as soon as trouble with Henry and Anne was leading straight to the scaffold.
Alias, Battlestar Galactica, The Lord of the Rings (movie, I know), season five of NCIS, etc. etc.
Turn it off, the end doesn't have to come. No crying, inside or out. So what does this say about me? I don't know, but one thing's for sure, the three-year-old in me is grateful she doesn't have to watch the credits roll.