What “Serial” Taught Me About Break Ups


Warning: I kind of talk about the end of “Serial”? So… don’t read this if you haven’t listened? 

So…the first season of podcast phenomenon “Serial” concluded yesterday. And it just…ended. There was no big twist or surprise “gotcha” moment. No shock factor. The ending was as much of a proverbial question mark as the beginning episode.

And this really, really bothered me (and many other listeners I’ve commiserated with!) People felt like they were strung along, only to be disappointed by the lack of finality. However, doesn’t it just come down to an entertainment factor?

We’re used to 22 minute moralisms. For foibles cleaned up and turned into fables with “made for TV” endings. Messy, unanswered, or open-ended questions are scary because…well…anything could be lurking in the unknown. Interacting with insecurities, ugly truths, answers we don’t really want to hear–in the silence, “there be the dragons.”

Real life answers are NOT entertaining, because for the most part, they’re anticlimactic, unsettling, or just sad.

Why do we crave closure so much?

Recently (also, hey, this is my first post in like 6 months, so recently refers to like anything from July onward, okay? Okay.), I went through a terribly un-fun breakup. The circumstances were sad, I was sad, everything was sad. However, I wanted more closure. I wanted a “bow ending.” A perfect, coherent speech that summed up my feelings and was pithy and smart–the ultimate Cool Girl finale speech. Of course, this didn’t happen, because I’m not living in a 2003 Reese Witherspoon movie. But I wanted that closure more than anything else.

Through that (and I guess “Serial” haha), I’ve realized though that sometimes answers come from lack. I’m learning to be okay with the mystery and dealing with the fact that finality doesn’t show up in ways we like sometimes.

The ending of “Serial” was just…real. We don’t get to have nice answers most of the times and really, bow endings are not real closure, but platitudes.

(And who knows, maybe Mail Chimp had something to do with it. My job is starting to use them now actually.)