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'Samantha Who?' series finale: We'll miss you

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Samantha-who_l The problem with networks taking shows off the air for months? Viewers realize they can live without it. The problem with Samantha Who? having a great final two episodes? Viewers realize just how much they’ll miss it. 

Melissa McCarthy (Dena), I’ll miss your breezy delivery of lines that we ourselves could never get through: After Chase (Rick Hoffman) said he should be allowed to accompany Dena to Andrea’s marrieds-only wedding because they are in a committed relationship, she answered, “Yes we are, unless I meet someone off my free-pass list, of course. Considering most of them are characters from Lord of the Rings, I think you’re pretty safe.” Priceless delivery. Love her. WHERE DENA ENDED UP: At the airport with Chase (and her dogs), destination unknown. He spiraled into an identity crisis after Dena finally let it slip that Samantha had suffered from amnesia, not a trip to rehab. If she could be the company’s top performer without her memory, what did that say about her job? His job? He wanted them to get away and find out what’s real.

Jennifer Esposito (Andrea), I don’t think I fully appreciated your all-in performance as the most likable shallow person on TV until last night. Fasting for her sham wedding to a gay basketball star — “I licked two stamps before I came in” — she was prone to passing out. I had to rewind when Samantha feared for her life, and Andrea offered a supportive, “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Uh-oh,” then dropped out of frame. What could’ve been a bad cliché totally worked. This show was so well cast. WHERE ANDREA ENDED UP:Spooning Seth the towel boy (Stephen Rannazzisi) after he showed up at the wedding. (She’d seen a tape of him saying that he’d really wanted her for himself when he’d set her up with her fiancé.) Anyone else sorta wish the ceremony had gotten a little farther along? I could’ve enjoyed more of the fake parents the cable network casted for Andrea since her real ones were stuck in traffic. (According to IMDB, “dad” wasn’t actually ever on Veronica Mars, which would’ve been genius.) addCredit(“Mitch Haddad/ABC”)

Christina Applegate (Samantha), I hope you get another show soon. There’s just a confidence about you that, again, somehow makes cliché sitcom moments — such as Samantha backing out of a room because someone (guest star Angie Harmon, as Funk’s ex-wife) just said “That’s the last time you should ever turn your back on me” — as hilarious as the first time we ever saw it. WHERE SAMANTHA ENDED UP: With Todd (Barry Watson)! I may have applauded. Quick recap: After Funk’s ex-Gigi (Harmon) confronted Samantha about old Samantha’s affair with Funk (Billy Zane), Sam intended to help reunite the couple. Only she found the romantic emails Gigi had told Sam Funk had sent her, and Sam finally pounced on Funk. Sam remembered that it was Gigi who’d run her over, but since Sam accidentally hit Gigi backing out of her space in the parking garage, she thought they were square. (Gigi didn’t, hence the above-mentioned threat. I would’ve loved some scenes between Harmon and Esposito had we had more episodes.) Andrea finally convinced Sam to invite Funk to the wedding, but oops!, Todd had flown back from London to be her escort. Sam and Todd fought (“The best time we ever had together was when you were in a coma”), he picked up the ring he’d hidden in the bookshelf and headed back to the airport. Wearing her heinous Little Bo Peep bridesmaid dress (pictured), Sam pieced together that Funk had offered Todd the photo editor job at a magazine in London to get him out of the picture — which Funk saw nothing wrong with. All he did was the dangle the job; Todd took it. Sam said she knew what she wanted, couldn’t stay for the wedding, and suddenly, she and Funk were in his helicopter, heading to the airport for a flight to the island he’d bought so Andrea could honeymoon on it. How did I not see it coming when Samantha thanked Funk for the ride? She manipulated him to get to the airport in time to stop Todd. How did he like it? Perhaps the sweetest use of heightened airport security measures followed: Todd, who’d now realized he wanted to stay and fight for Sam, got sent to security because he was about to send a bag on a plane he had no intention of boarding. Sam got sent to security because she was trying to buy a plane ticket that she had no intention of using. Sam spilled her heart out to her security officer and said she didn’t care if she and Todd were out of sync, as long as they were out of sync together. He overheard her. He got his nice security to hand him the ring, and Todd and Sam kissed, prairie-dogging over the cubicle partition that separated them. APPLAUSE! And that brings us to… 

Jean Smart (Regina), who was waiting in Sam’s apartment after Todd and Samantha had giddily announced their engagement to the stoic-as-always doorman Frank (Tim Russ) — and told them that she and Sam’s dad Howard (Kevin Dunn) were separating and she was moving in. You know, that’s a story line you don’t see that often: What does happen if a couple wants to spend their retirement differently? Howard wants to live in his RV and explore the past (i.e. Civil War sites); butterfly-tattooed Regina wants to fly into the future experiencing new city things (i.e. sushi). I would’ve loved a few episodes of Regina sharing the apartment with Sam and Todd, on the prowl. I’m not sure it’s possible for someone who was on Designing Women to be underrated, but smart is a gem. She can play drunk (“That dog has pedigree so get over there and sniff his butt”), she can play pain (when she broke down in front of Howard), and she can play everything in between. 

How did you like the Samantha Who? finale? What will you miss most?

More Samantha Who?:
Barry Watson looks back on his career
Melissa McCarthy takes the EW Pop Culture Personality Test