People raging on the final episode of St. Elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with this early 80s medical drama you should really check it out (and stop reading this post because it contains spoilers for the final episode, obviously). Again today while reading an internet list of worsts, this one on plot twists that spoiled otherwise good films and TV series I again encountered the complaint that the reveal at the end of the final episode of St. Elsewhere was a tremendous insult to the series' devoted fans. Well, yes, perhaps it was, though not for the reason that most critics insist. What's more, it was a brilliant commentary on our modern media culture. Most viewers complain that by revealing that the entire show was (apparently) entirely a creation of the internal narrative of an autistic child that this somehow cheapened the narrative. I would argue that rather than cheapening the narrative, it was a brilliant commentary on all beloved television programs. Tommy Westphall, the autistic child, looking into his snow globe is clearly a metaphor for both the program's creators and its viewers. After all, the producers, directors, screenwriters, and actors who brought the stories to the screen, and those of us who had spent six years watching the program and becoming deeply involved in the stories of the characters' lives were, essentially, doing what Tommy was -- staring into a glass box (this was before the days of flat screen TVs) imagining lives that were not real. If this discomforts you, well, it should, as all art should "disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed." Great art accomplishes this -- and I would contend that St. Elsewhere's final scene did so. The fact that I am comforted by that final scene probably says as much about Fred as it does about those who are disturbed by it.