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CW's "Everybody Hates Chris" Deserves Reprieve for its "Sopranos" Cliffhanger
May 13, 2009  | By David Bianculli  | 6 comments

Several shows are "on the bubble" this season, still unsure of their fates as the broadcast networks finalize their fall schedules for next week's upfront presentations to advertisers. All they can do is sit and wait -- and present the best season finales possible, in hopes of earning a reprieve by inspiring confidence that the best may be yet to come.


In that regard, last Friday's season finale of CW's Everybody Hates Chris, which ended with a fabulous nod to the finale of The Sopranos, did everything you could ask of a clever comedy. On CW, or on sister network CBS, Chris should be granted a pardon based on the last few minutes alone...

Young Chris Rock, played by Tyler James Williams, had been threatened with having to repeat the tenth grade. He took the GEDs as a Plan B, and waited at a neighborhood diner for the rest of his family, and his test results, to arrive.

The first one there, he claimed a booth, flipped through the pages of the tabletop jukebox, and settled on Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer." He dropped a quarter into the slot, and the music began playing, offering a prominent soundtrack to the rest of the scene.

It was the same way, of course, that Tony Soprano had begun the infamous final scene of HBO's Sopranos, except that the song, in that case, was Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." But Chris' choice was equally apropos, because his GED results, like the sitcom's chances for renewal, are unknown, scary quantities. Livin' on a prayer, indeed.

Series creators Chris Rock (the real, grown-up one) and Ali LeRoi didn't stop there. Other Sopranos touches abounded. A menacing guy sat at the counter, looking over at their table. Chris' dad Julius (Terry Crews) had trouble parking his newspaper truck outside, just as Meadow had a problem with her parallel parking on The Sopranos.

And the whole family snacked prominently, almost reverently, on fried food, just as on HBO. Finally, Julius joined the rest of the family, slipping into the booth and delivering an envelope with Chris' GED results. He may as well have been delivering The News from the CW executives.

"What's it say?" Chris demands, as his mother opens the envelope and looks at the sheet of paper. Chris looks plaintively across the table, his expression a poignant mixture of hope and fear. And then, and then... the screen cuts to black.

If that ends up being the series finale, it's brilliant. But it's so smart, and so funny, either CW or CBS should reward Everybody Hates Chris by throwing it a lifeline. Next season, young Chris will be at the right age in this loose autobiography to begin his standup career.

And while the Sopranos salute was a fitting, funny comic "ending," having the series end with Rock's Saturday Night Live audition and introduction, where his life really changed, would be the best ending of all.

This series has been so good for so long, it deserves to go out that way, on its own terms.




Eileen said:

Kudos to you for your always positive remarks about "Everybody Hates Chris". I've been a viewer of the show since it began, and it's one of the funniest, smartest, family-oriented shows on tv. The parents are perfect, as are all the kids and the folks in the neighborhood.

It's too bad one of the other networks didn't throw it a lifeline like "Scrubs". There is so little in the way of comedy that you can actually watch with kids; not only is this show laugh out loud funny, but it always imparts a positive message.

I think part of the problem is the networks keep shuffling shows; you start to watch and the next thing you know the show has moved to a new night/new time. Unfortunately in this day of network money grab, good shows aren't allowed to stay in a timeslot and grow an audience. "Seinfeld" was no big ratings hit when it began, but it was given a chance. Can anyone say "Designing Women"?

I'm glad to be in such distinguished company in my feelings about "Chris". Hope the show stays put.

Comment posted on May 14, 2009 9:13 AM

Quincy said:

I think this show definitely deserves to go out on its own terms. I realize the show is catered more to black audiences close to Rock's age, but the story line in this series is amazing. Much like an urban version of Seinfeld, the story lines seem to allow each character to have something going on every episode and then some how tie all of them together towards the end of the show. The creativity for this show is currently unmatched by any comedy in my opinion. The only reason I think the ratings suffer is because 1) it's on Friday nights and 2) people outside of the demographic of black, 30 and older might not understand one or two jokes per episode.

Comment posted on May 18, 2009 3:35 PM

Lorraine said:

I can't beleive they ended the series leaving us hanging like that. Did he get his GED or not?

Comment posted on September 24, 2009 6:17 PM

gilly said:

All the way from the netherlands watching Everybody hates chris ever since the beginning of the show. I think the show is hilarious and it's not only because i'm a great fan of chris rock and his productions.
But also the show tells a story which contains very similar things to my childhood.

The last episode, "Everybody hates G.E.D.," Reminds me of the HBO special "bring the pain" where he tells he got dropped out of school and he got himself a G.E.D. A "good enough diploma" you can make up 4 years in six hours....

I sure hope that the show continues because i've been looking forward every week since the beginning when it airs on the UPN and later on the CW, so that i can download it the next morning to watch it at night.

[Sorry, but the series is done and gone, except in these reruns. So enjoy. -- David B.]

Comment posted on November 19, 2009 6:33 AM

lalala said:


Comment posted on January 22, 2010 6:50 PM

Luc Paz, expert template joomla said:

I love the photos lol :)

Comment posted on October 21, 2010 8:47 PM

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