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'A to Z' series finale recap: 'M Is for Meant to Be'

Season 1 | Episode 13 | “M Is for Meant to Be” | Aired Jan 22, 2015

I’ll admit, I had low expectations going into A to Z‘s finale, “M Is for Meant to Be.” The show has been yo-yoing in quality for weeks and, after last week’s surprisingly likable L episode, I was worried that M would disappoint and leave the series on a sour note. I’m not sure about the note the series ended on, but I didn’t hate “M Is for Meant to Be,” not even a little bit.

The premise sets Andrew up as an uncharacteristically bad boyfriend: His ex-girlfriend is coming to Los Angeles for a visit and wants to stay with him. He assures Zelda that even though his ex (Madeline) is very attractive, they ended years ago and she’s engaged to someone else now.

It’s the last bit that convinces the clearly conflicted Zelda to give her blessing to this baffling situation. Andrew is naive, but he’s not wholly inconsiderate or incapable of reading people. It’s obvious that Zelda isn’t comfortable with it, but alas, the show must go on (for the rest of this episode at least).
It’s worth noting that we, as the audience, know that this is going to become a next-level fight for Andrew and Zelda. The episode is framed as Zelda discussing a big promotion at her law firm with a boss at work (played by Rashida Jones, who pretty much kills it). She’s asking for more time to think, you know, due to the recent big events in her life.

Zelda meets Andrew’s ex and she’s gorgeous and über-flexible (played by the adorable Dreama Walker, of Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 fame). She’s also totally single. It takes all of two minutes for Andrew and Madeline to break the news to Zelda that Madeline’s engagement has been called off and she really needs Andrew for emotional support during this very tough time.

What follows are some of the most flagrant attempts at boyfriend-stealing ever committed to prime-time television. Andrew plays dumb (because I refuse to believe he was actually that dense), and an outraged and jealous Zelda stoops to his level: She parades around a hot ex-boyfriend of her own, under the guise of setting him up with newly single Madeline.

Everything backfires, as it’s prone to do in sitcoms. Madeline doesn’t go for Zelda’s ex. Madeline continues to flirt, harder and harder, with Andrew. Zelda is forced to confront the issue directly, pushing him to talk to Madeline about it.

Madeline denies being interested in Andrew because no one in their right mind would admit to actually trying to win back an ex who was happily coupled off— especially right after he gives a speech about needing to respect his new relationship. Zelda goes to apologize to her ex, who, it turns out, does want a second chance with Zelda. (He French kisses her and she proceeds to grossly overuse the word “Frenching” when confessing the mishap to Andrew, who is already angry because he believes Madeline really wasn’t trying anything.)

Zelda goes to apologize to Madeline, who confesses that she was definitely, 100 percent trying to get Andrew back, but decided to back off when it became obvious that it wasn’t going to work. Madeline and Zelda actually start to get in a little girl bonding time, which is when Madeline tells Zelda the eerily familiar story of how she fell for Andrew: Their eyes locked across a crowded, public place; they met up again a week later, and he told her that they were meant to be; romance ensued.

All of this culminates in Zelda confronting Andrew about his overuse of the term “meant to be” and Andrew angrily admitting that he can’t guarantee they’ll be together forever. Zelda tells Andrew about the promotion (which would require relocating to New York) and says she can’t pass it up for anything less than a sure thing—which she thought he was.

Rashida Jones, as Zelda’s boss, is appropriately on the edge of her seat during the story (she even makes popcorn), but concludes what Zelda and every sane member of the audience does: Zelda needs to move to New York and take the job. Zelda agrees and, for a second, it seems like the episode (and the series) is going to end with her choosing her job over Andrew.

It would have been kind of fitting if that had happened, since A to Z promised audiences a breakup at its onset, but it doesn’t. Zelda goes to New York to visit the office. She looks out the window and sees a hapless computer nerd who is not Andrew across the way.

Back in L.A., Andrew is leaving Zelda a showstoppingly romantic voicemail (which is small-scale, as far as grand romantic gestures go) when he interrupts the moment by waltzing into the bar wearing the silver dress she wore when Andrew first saw her and got that “meant to be” feeling in his gut.

And … that’s it. They kiss. They’re (presumably) back together and in it for the long haul, and that’s how A to Z ends.

The episode worked. It was fun and it felt dramatic enough for a series finale-by-cancellation. There’s some closure, but not as much as we want or maybe feel we deserve, given the lofty premise. It’s impossible to tell how the story would have gone if the show had made it all the way to Z, but A to M wasn’t a bad run.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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