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TV series finales: Do your favorite characters need to hook up for you to feel satisfied?

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Image Credit: Eric Liebowitz/ABC; Art Streiber/FoxAfter spending weeks speculating over Betty Suarez’s romantic fate (will it be Gio? Henry? Matt? Daniel?), on last night’s Ugly Betty series finale (SPOILER ALERT!), we watched our bespeckled heroine end up with…no one. Kind of. Maybe. I think. Okay, here’s what we know: Daniel and Betty were going to go out for dinner in London. That’s it. No kiss, no lingering stare. (Well, maybe a little one courtesy of the former Mode editor.) If you ask me, the ending was pretty genius: Supporters of the Daniel-Betty union will choose to believe the duo were going on a date, while Daniel-Betty haters will simply believe the pair has an extremely co-dependent friendship.

But there’s another reason I loved the ambiguity: As passionate TV watchers, we get so caught up with the romantic entanglements of the heroes and heroines of our favorite TV shows, we insist that our favorite characters “end up” with a mate at the end of the series. We demand a finality. But, as we saw in last night’s Betty finale, it can be completely satisfying to watch our heroes and heroines finish their series with their lives and fates up in the air. (Other examples: Sam and Diane on Cheers, Rashida Jones and Stephen Moyer in NY-LON, Winnie and Kevin in The Wonder Years.) Of course, there are exceptions: If Booth and Brennan don’t pair up, it’s a television crime. But does Lost’s Kate need to end up with Jack or Sawyer? Does Benson need to end up with Stabler? Would we have all been heartbroken if all four of the Sex and the City ladies didn’t find a partner by the end of season 6? (No, instead, we were heartbroken when we discovered Samantha broke up with Smith and Steve cheated on Miranda in the Sex and the City movie.)

So I toss the question to you now, PopWatchers: Do your favorite TV characters need to be paired up with a mate for you to feel satisfied at the end of a series?