A Show to End All Shows

How can you end one of the best series ever to air on television? It is simple: with a 2 ½ hours special episode, which will tie all the loose threads and end the war. And this is the best series finale ever, with an unprecedented marketing campaign and with a record-breaking number of viewers: it is estimated that 105 million Americans watched Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, which is almost half of the population of the US in 1983 (233 million people).

And with current shows such as Breaking Bad, keeping this kind of a record for so many years is an achievement!

But the show isn’t about the viewers it attracts. The show and this particular episode aren’t about all the records it made. The producers and the actors didn’t have this in mind. This was the perfect opportunity of imprinting once and for all the idea that war is not good, no matter on which side you end up.

A small quote from George Carlin comes now into mind: fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity. I really believe that this is what Goodbye, Farewell and Amen wanted to prove once again: war is not just the end of innocence, but it is the end of everything.

It didn’t matter that those were the final days of the Korean War, because all the killing and all the atrocities have already left an imprint on all the heroes/characters. They are completely changed, and not necessarily for the better. They are damaged and they will never forget how meaningless a good deed can prove to be in the grander scheme of things.

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen reminded me also about Erich Maria Remarque’s seminal All Quiet on the Western Front. The war is over – they have announced it on the radio, as it happens in this episode. However, the wounded are still coming and nobody can save them all.

The war is over, but its effects are long-lasting. It is over only on paper, because the powers that be never know what happens exactly on the front. Thousands of miles away, the sun is shining and the earth keeps spinning: the face of the enemy is clearly defined.

But on the frontline everything is blurred. There isn’t good and wrong, even if there is the desire of being good. On the frontline there are only men, and they are all the same.

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen – but you must know that we left our hearts in here.

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