Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

On Happy Endings

Well, there’s happy endings and happy endings.

When Robin Williams was making Mrs Doubtfire there was studio pressure to conclude the story with a reconciliation of the divorced parents and a restoration of the broken family unit.

Which probably would have prevailed (as the same reconciliation fantasy did in both versions of The Parent Trap) were it not for the star’s resistance and support for the argument that it offered a dishonest promise to any child in the same position.

It’s more truthful – and therefore better art – to point to the kind of happiness that you can credibly look for in any dramatic situation. Despite the stage being littered with bodies I think that Hamlet has a happy ending – thanks to the hero taking action, bad stuff gets put right.

Sacrifice of the hero for positive effect has a long and distinguished history.

Plays hell with the prospects for a sequel, though.


One response to “On Happy Endings”

  1. I’m surprised the Nanny State hasn’t made Happy Endings mandatory, to improve the nation’s mental health. Think how much happier we’d be if:

    In the Sopranos, Tony lives, sees the error of his ways and opens a family pizzeria.

    Macbeth didn’t see a dagger before him at all, but shadow puppets. How he and the Missus laugh.

    Bonnie and Clyde apologise for starting the run on banks which led directly to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and they not only repay their debt to society, but RPI it too.