Credit: Danny Feld

Whether dismissed as sappy or elevated as transcendent family fare, 7th Heaven is undoubtedly the weirdest, most surreal show to survive for 10 seasons and still feature the Samuel Beckett-like opening-credit information that a dog named Happy plays a dog named Happy. But unless rumors of a CW-network resurrection prove true, the last hour airs on The WB May 8. The two-part finale — ”Goodbye” and ”And Thank You” — ties up some of the series’ incredibly tangled story lines. Verily I say unto you, one must look to the Bible itself for more densely populated and judgmental works, with Heaven creator-writer Brenda Hampton serving as the wackiest TV auteur since producer Paul Henning gave us Green Acres’ square chicken eggs.

Heaven told tales of the Camden family headed by the Protestant minister Eric Camden and his wife, Annie (the dimply, now wrinkly duo of Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks), and their seven children. The finale hinges on whether David Gallagher’s Simon will marry Rose (Sarah Thompson), whom the elder Camdens dislike because she’s rude and selfish, and whether Lucy (former brat hellion-turned-preacher girl, played by Beverley Mitchell) will reveal pregnancy test results to her family and hubby Kevin (George Stults, who always looks as though someone hit him with a two-by-four seconds before the director yelled, ”Action!”).

Thank goodness, after the May 1 episode, in which supercilious 16-year-old Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman) moaned about her period and sent Rev. Camden to fetch a box of tampons, the siblings we’re really interested in — long-gone big brother Matt (Barry Watson) and long, long-gone big sis Mary (Jessica Biel) — return to provide heartwarming I-can’t-believe-we-used-to-live-in-this-insane-asylum reaction shots.

Hampton once said she wanted ”to do a 1950s kind of morality play.” While Heaven remained true to Leave It to Beaver-style production values and school-pageant acting, the series entered a bad era with the 2001 story arc about Annie hitting menopause and becoming a raging gorgon. Soon, new characters were popping up or disappearing with surreal abandon. Story lines previously devoted to the dire consequences of premarital sex were supplanted by Simon panting over girls and Ruthie shaking her booty at any boy in sight. A WB Book of Revelation, the Camdens’ final chapters disclose secrets the family kept from each other over the years, such as Ruthie revealing that Matt eloped with Sarah (Sarah Danielle), after which the twosome enjoyed a formal wedding her parents paid for.

Heaven‘s finale features glimpses of the cast in younger years; unfortunately, it also features a flashback of the kids interrupting coitus between the reverend and his wife. Goodbye, thank ewwwww…. Grace be unto 7th Heaven and peace; herewith, a grade upon its full decade, now and forever, amen.

7th Heaven
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