When a viewer, reader, or player finds the fiction they are perusing to be otherwise fine, but can't... quite... finish...
The reasons vary: maybe it has Pacing Problems after the first half or the first main villain in the Sorting Algorithm of Evil is defeated, or it's become deathly dull post-climax, or the effort needed to beat the Final Boss just doesn't seem worth it, or perhaps the author just didn't know how to end it, couldn't decide on an ending and just threw all of them in. In the end, there is no end. At least for the reader, who has decided it's not worth the minuscule effort needed to get to the end and that final "cathartic payoff."
Note that this isn't simply "the story is too long/goes too slowly," but it actually appears if it's going to end but doesn't several times. The effect of this, usually, is a frustrating and jarring experience which eventually has the viewer thinking something along the lines of "Just end already!" This is, for the most part, not a reaction you want to provoke in the reader, or the theater goer who badly wants to run to the restroom but doesn't want to miss the end of the movie that they paid good money to see.
Boring Return Journey is usually a deliberate attempt to defy this phenomenon. For a variant exclusive to Video Games in terms of gameplay, see Disappointing Last Level (though if the story falls under this, it still counts). For series that Executive Meddling forces to keep going, see Franchise Zombie. Some songs that employ Epic Rocking can lead to this, say, if the end is two minutes of instrumentals. If done well, Your Princess Is in Another Castle is a subversion of this trope.
Arc Fatigue is a small-scale version, where a single story-arc goes on longer than it should. Compare Epic Instrumental Opener, where the intro of a song seems neverending, and Leave the Camera Running.
Or... so you'd wish. Here's the whole rest.
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Anime and Manga
A common complaint about Death Note in manga form is that it drags through the second arc, largely because the author wanted there to be exactly 108 chapters. The anime, on the flip side, shoehorns as many as nine manga chapters into a single episode.
InuYasha was an odd case, in that it took much too long to reach the end (many found it to be a very bad case and that it could have reached a proper ending with at least 100 chapters less), but the actual ending (a one chapter Distant Finale) is quite brief compared to the storylines of the series.
There have been many discussion about this concerning the manga for Hellsing. Some of the most disillusioned have professed the opinion that they don't even care how it ends, so long as it involves someone shutting the Major up.
YuYu Hakusho was intended to end with the blatantly climactic Chapter Black arc, but editorial management forced Yoshihiro Togashi to extend the series to one more story arc, which starts out about an approaching war, suddenly turns into a short and rather uninteresting Tournament Arc, and then ends with several random stories that indicate that Togashi had practically stopped caring at this point. The anime somewhat fixes things by cutting the random stories at the end out and making a better, more emotional series ending overall.
The later chapters of The Wallflower betray the fact that the author doesn't know how to end the damn manga, with grindingly slow character development and pushing the Belligerent Sexual Tension beyond the point of the reader's endurance.
This actually tends to be a very common problem for manga, especially Shoujo. (Sometimes the author adds in a note somewhere, flat-out admitting they don't know how/when to end it!)
The final arc of Eyeshield 21 (the World Youth Cup) was just one too many for a lot of the fans because the Devil Bats had already won the big game they'd be working towards from the start of the series and this just felt like a needless Post Script Season. It was also comparatively poorly written. The creators seemed to agree, as they wrapped the arc very hastily. It segued surprisingly well into the series finale, though.
At the beginning of Bakugan: New Vestroia, the brawlers joined a resistance group that's trying to free the Bakugan enslaved by the Vestals. Then they had to stop the Vexos from destroying all the Bakugan on New Vestroia. Then they had to stop the Vexos from destroying the whole universe. By the time the brawlers are stopping Zenoheld's plan to end the whole universe, it feels like the climax had past a long time ago. This was so bad that New Vestroia doesn't really seem to end as much as transition into Gundalian Invaders by the way it was ended.
Umineko No Naku Koro Ni can fall into the trope on occasion, mostly because of the fact that every single episode has 2 epilogues after the conclusion of the main story, and the epilogues can go for a couple of hours sometimes.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5 hits the climax at the end of the final battle with King Crimson/ Diavolo... And then we get a four chapter long flashback centering around Spotlight Stealing character Buccelatti that does absolutely nothing for the plot, reveals nothing, and reduces Giorno's rise to the head of the mafia into a footnote.
Monster. 74 episodes. Shots sustained simply to reproduce the manga rather than narrative purpose. Repeatedly winding up suspense to yet another lack of climax.
Monster in general is a series that likes to take its sweet time in doing things. In general, it loved to do this thing where it would basically make the main protagonist, Tenma, disappear for a little while, introduce a side character or small set of side characters, give them A Day in the Limelight and sufficient Character Development to get the audience to like or remember them to some extent, and then much later reintroduce Tenma to clean up whatever the new characters were doing. The epitome of this would be the Bayern arc, for introducing about six new characters that went on with their own problems for, in the manga, about 15-20 chapters before Tenma even shows back up, and even then, the main plot is largely disconnected from this. All-in-all, the characters this arc focused on really didn't impact the plot in any huge way but was largely still compelling enough to read through to when it would.
In the Warrior Cats manga The Heart Of A Warrior, the main villains are defeated two thirds of the way through. The rest of the plot deals with Barley's brothers hanging around the barn, abusing Ravenpaw until Barley finally tells his brothers that they should get the hell off his property.
The TV anime adaptation of Fist of the North Star ended the story with the final battle between Kenshiro and Kaioh precisely to avoid this problem, as the manga had a Post Script Season set after the Kingdom of Shura arc that never truly went anywhere.
Eiji from Bakuman。 references and defies this trope in-universe. When he first got published, it was on the condition that upon reaching number one, he'd be able to end a series of his choice. He meant his own; he wanted to end his series at its peak rather than drawing it out for profit to the detriment of its quality.
The climax of Steamboy definitely gives the impression that the director was having too much fun piling one piece of epicness after another onto the battle and didn't want to stop. The worst bit is when the Steam Castle is brought down and we get the Patrick Stewart Speech decrying its hubris (which is even delivered by Stewart himself if you're watching the dub), and then it's revealed that the Castle will destroy London and they have to travel deep into its engine room to stop it.
MÄR falls into this in the anime, mainly due to excessive filler arcs but even without those the climax of the series is a whopping seven episodes long. This is in direct contrast to the manga ending which was considered rushed and anti-climatic.
A great number of rounds of Monopoly end up like this: once all the properties are bought, there's nothing really to do but keep going around the board waiting for those in last to run out of money, which they do at a slow rate as everyone still gets $200 for passing Go. Even if people are still trading properties etc., a roll of the dice can easily make for reintroducing a stalemate.
Risk does this frequently. The longer the game goes, the more reinforcements a player can get from cards, so failing to finish off an opponent during a long game can often lead to that opponent completely restocking his army on the next turn, extending the length of the game by another hour or so. Plus there's the fact that manipulation and diplomacy are half the fun. Once it's down to two players, this is all gone, leading to the long and boring fight (or quick Curb-Stomp Battle.)
Also has been known to happen with Trivial Pursuit, on account of having to reach the center space by exact die roll in order to receive the final question. If the die doesn't cooperate, or the final question is missed, this can go on for hours. Add to the fact that many editions of the game contain pretty antiquated trivia to people shy of their fifties.
Talisman: The highly random nature of the game and the many pitfalls that can befall a particular character (death, losing all items/followers, reductions in stats, and random teleportation), some games can run several hours long before a player wins. The game manual even suggests alternate rules for determining who the winner is at the end of a set time limit for players who want to avoid this.
The Dungeons & Dragons pre-written adventure The Red Hand Of Doom has the Fane of Tiamat, a rather uneventful, by the numbers, final dungeon to finish off the Big Bad after defeating the Red Hand itself. Guides written for Dungeon Masters running the adventure suggest scraping it entirely, and placing the Big Bad fight in the earlier Battle of Brindol, as the siege is considered a far worthier end the campaign
Trinity, DC Comics' paean to how special and awesome its three flagship characters are, was stretched out over an entire year because that seems to be how long they think Epic Series should last these days.
Recent Marvel Crisis Crossovers tend to fall into this, since apparently Joe Quesada's idea of a good crossover event is to have it go on for over a year, with every single title having a 6-issue tie-in. Not to mention, essentially having such crossovers back-to-back.
The "Cross-Time Caper" plotline in Excalibur began in issue 12◊ with the plotline's name and "Part 1 of 9" on the cover. It continued through issue 19, took a break for issue 20 to catch its breath, then picked back up for issue 21 ... through 24. That's 12 parts (of 9, remember) not including the skipped issue. Issue 25 still included the "Cross-Time Caper" logo, but the words "is still over!"◊ followed it.
The Clone Saga that ran for two years in Spider-Man has become a byword for overly long comic storylines. It was meant to end in less than a year, but editorial kept dragging it out because it was selling well. The catch, of course, is that fans weren't buying it because they enjoyed it, just because they were already committed to it. In fact, the extra length made the backlash worse — for instance, Ben Reilly "replacing" Peter Parker was always meant to be a fake-out, but the longer it went on, the more fans feared it was really permanent. Near the end, Marvel even released a self-mocking oneshot called 101 Ways to End the Clone Saga.
Another byword for too-long comic stories is "The Trial of The Flash". This ambitious storyline from longtime Flash writer Cary Bates put Barry Allen through hell for two years. It was meant to be long, but not to be Barry's last story; unfortunately, partway through, the order came down from editorial that Barry would die in Crisis on Infinite Earths. This hurts the Trial with readers, as does the false ending halfway through where Barry is nearly acquitted (mass amnesia erases this) and the many legal mistakes, including the need for a trial at all... not to mention the inherent story problems in keeping a hero known for battling villains with Super Speed inside a slow-paced courtroom environment. The second-last issue states boldly on the cover "IT'S OVER!"
"The Trial of the Flash" lasted as long as it did, due to the fact that DC was modernizing itself creatively and that Cary Bates and Carmin Infantino were basically given Flash to write/draw because none of the editors wanted to give them any big time assignments due to the fact that they represented the old "50s/60s era DC Comics" style that they were trying to run away from. The whole trial storyline was designed to get the editors to see that they could be hip and relevant as far as capable of producing the long-form storylines that DC editorial wanted at the time; and DC editorial, partly because they didn't want to seem like heartless bastards, let the story run and run and run and run as long as it did mainly because no one wanted to be the one who would have to fire the two from the book. "Crisis" solved this problem, but at the same time made it worse: it was decided to keep Flash being published until Crisis On Infinite Earths #8 was published to hide the big reveal that Barry was going to die. This meant that the storyline had to be dragged out even longer so as to do so.
Alienł has six or seven endings in quick succession, as if David Fincher couldn't decide on what closing shot would be coolest.
The ending of the film version of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is notorious because of this trope. The final film, which runs around three hours, features about 25 minutes of denouement. This is true to the original source material. Each character gets his farewell, resulting in a long sequence of "endings" (six of them!) that leaves some viewers restless. The makers approached the films as one long work divided into three sections (which, incidentally, is exactly how the book was originally written before being Divided For Publication). Therefore, the conclusion of Return of the King was actually the conclusion of a single, nine-hour film. The filmmakers also cut out the "Scouring of the Shire," a lengthy episode in the original book that takes place after the climax.
Godzilla Raids Again has Godzilla kill his opponent... 20 minutes before the film ends. Afterward, the viewer is treated to a still-running and boring romance subplot about the human characters, and then a long and dull scene (five minutes) of airplanes causing an avalanche to bury Godzilla.
Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice features some interesting ideas and good acting, but is so very, very drawn-out.
Back to the Future, while not wearing out its welcome, looks like it's going to end about twice before it actually does. Doc drops Marty off at his house before heading off to the future. Is it the end? Cut to Marty waking up the next day. Marty is reunited with Jennifer. Is it the end? Doc returns to bring Marty along on another adventure. Then it ends.
Forrest Gump just never seems to end, as you'd expect everything to wrap up once Forrest's life story caught up to the present and he reunited with Jenny, but it keeps going past that to cover their wedding and her eventual death via AIDS. It's kind of a surprise when the credits finally do roll.
In the James Bond reboot film Casino Royale, what seems to be the climax of the film, the resolution of the big poker game, is only the end of the second act. Some audience members were confused that the film kept going, following Bond as he retires and ultimately faces the tragedy that makes him the ruthless lothario we all know.
The Departed. Even after Frank Costello dies, the viewer has to sit through a good half hour of tying up loose ends.
The story goes that in directing Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas actually omitted a scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah to begin his exile, because the movie had enough endings already. You can see it on the deleted scenes of the DVD.
The one complaint about The Dark Knight seems to be that it goes on for too long and seems to be about to end three or four times before it finally actually does. Part of the problem might be that viewers became more emotionally attached to the Joker than Two-Face. The corruption of Harvey Dent is the masterstroke of Joker's plan, so the resolution with Two-Face is thematically the climax, but once the Joker himself has left the film, audiences started to lose interest.
This is mainly because the film's final script was put together with parts from two other screenplays. Two-Face was supposed to be in a completely different film, but once the producers understood the appeal, they wrote him into the film. The original film was supposed to end at the scene where The Joker gets taken into custody.
All other complaints aside, perhaps the biggest failing of Brazil was that the final part of the movie consists of one scene after another each of which looks like a climactic ending. Final count: about fourteen. Then it's all subverted with a monumental Twist Ending. The biggest problem with the Love Conquers All version is that it kept most of those endlessly rising endings and then cut the punchline/climax.
The hospital dream sequence in All That Jazz stretches on for about five separate songs and more than 20 minutes, just repeating the same message over and over again. No wonder the last song is the main character choosing to die.
The main plot in Mamma Mia! is wrapped up in the wedding scene, but there are three more musical numbers afterward anyway. "I Have a Dream" is how the show closes on stage, so that's understandable, but in between we have "When All Is Said and Done" and "Take a Chance on Me," the latter of which is merely a segment hooking up two supporting characters. And this isn't even counting the "Dancing Queen" reprise and "Waterloo" that makes up the first segment of the end credits. In the stage show, the cast basically keeps singing encores until the audiences starts to leave, so the lengthy denouement is an intentional reflection of this.
In The Wiz, after Evillene's defeat and the heroes discovering the Wiz's true identity, it takes three songs and a good deal of talk to get Dorothy home. Plus, they're relatively subdued compared to many of the songs that preceded them, which feels anti-climactic.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band defeats the villains during "Come Together" and then wastes four songs (two performed in one medley) as the town and Billy Shears deal with Strawberry Fields' demise... which becomes a Disney Death after all that, making all the moping pointless.
The Sound Of Music ends three times: once when Maria leaves the Von Trapp house, the second at the wedding, complete with soaring, triumphant choral music (even for SoM), and the actual ending of the film. The first would probably not be an ending in itself (due to its downer nature in a mostly uplifting musical) if the first disc/tape didn't end there. Originally, the German release of the film did have the wedding scene as the ending, since the entire third act was cut because of its focus on post-Anschluss Austria.
The plot of Hello, Dolly!! is really over with the reconciliation of Horace and Dolly to the strains of the title song, but this continues without interruption into the entire cast storming on stage with reprises of all major numbers. The movie drags this glorified curtain call out even longer.
The ending of Blazing Saddles upsets some audiences for completely dropping the Western facade in the middle of the climactic rumble. The film feels a little adrift as the characters begin running around Hollywood backlots and Los Angeles streets, though highlighting the artificiality of the genre is a running theme throughout the film.
The biofilm W. had an seemingly fitting ending where all the actors morph into their Real Life counterparts and it ends with news footage... then the movie continues for another 30 minutes.
A.I. seems like it will end twice: when David drops on the sea that engulfed New York, and when he is talking to a submerged statue of the Blue Fairy, begging to be turned into a real boy. Both would be Downer Endings of their own, but then the film cuts to a Distant Finale long after humanity has gone extinct, and some Sufficiently Advanced Robots turn the film into a real Tear Jerker.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park has its peculiar San Diego rampage epilogue, which seems more fit for a full-fledged sequel than the last half-hour of its predecessor.
Hook waffles repeatedly between whether the eponymous Captain is going to survive in shame or die by Peter's hand, and then finally decides neither will do. As Roger Ebert saw it, what happens after that is overextended too — Peter bidding farewell to the Lost Boys; the kids being reunited with Moira and Wendy; Peter bidding farewell to Tinkerbell; Peter reuniting with the kids, Moira, and Wendy; the resolution of the "lost marbles" business with Tootles...
Munich: After Avner returns to his family there are at least two to three scenes that feeling like the film is building up to its end, only to have it keep going.
Lincoln has a poignant shot of Honest Abe walking away after bidding his goodbyes before heading off to Ford's Theater. Does the movie end there? Nope. Instead it continues on to his assassination, or rather, psyching out the audience by depicting a simultaneous play, to Lincoln's deathbed, then to him giving his second inaugural address.
The last third of Casino seemed to involve a lot of padding.
Plenty of slasher movies do this by having the second half of the movie consist almost entirely of the killer chasing the Final Girl around, with no plot twists or anything to shake things up.
Chico Marx's piano performance in Animal Crackers was an in-film example.
Australia, which had an intermediate climax good enough for one movie on its own. It starts all over again halfway through.
A major criticism of Transformers is that the final battle dragged on far too long. For the sequel it's more that the final battle was actually too short, while the whole sequence of running-to-bring-Optimus-back-to-life was too long.
Japanese Film The Great Yokai War had a lengthy, exciting, and rather satisfying climax followed by an uncomfortable scene where all the colorfully-costumed youkai have left, without closure, leaving a young boy and a grown man alone in the ruins of Tokyo for several minutes in which they have an awkward conversation and the man begins to drink. With so little happening in what had been a pretty spontaneous movie up until then, all the audience has to think about are the resulting Unfortunate Implications.
For being an 87 minute film, Freddy Got Fingered at least flirts with this, but also puts a fourth-wall-breaking lampshade on it: After the movie threatens to end about three times, Gord and his father return home from Pakistan, and they're greeted by a crowd holding up signs, one of which reads "Is this fucking movie over yet?".
"Okay, so now we're off to rescue some queen we've never heard of...."
"Christ Almighty! This movie has more fakeouts than Return of the King!"
The Thumbelina section of the film Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. It was a standalone film originally, and was repackaged for this as a story that Santa Claus is telling some children after his sleigh gets stuck in the Florida sand. It starts with a girl who enters a theme park and visits the Thumbelina section of the park where she's told the story of Thumbelina, making it a story within a story within a story within a story. The actual film is absolutely awful, and when the story ends you're really glad. We then have footage of the girl leaving the park, and we're then treated to five minutes of clips of people enjoying the park until it finally finishes. Then you have to sit through the rest of the Santa Claus plotline! Just end already!
A common complaint of The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford is that the title event happens, and then the movie goes on for another hour. This is largely due to Billing Displacement and misgivings over the title. Jesse James isn't the main character, Robert Ford is and its the story of his legend compared to James's. This even extended to Casey Affleck bizarrely getting nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. In the as-yet unreleased director's cut it in fact goes on for another two hours after the assassination. This accounts somewhat for why the final third feels a bit more rushed than the previous two thirds. Whether this improves the film or not, YMMV.
Bad Boys II would seem to logically end around the time when the team captures Tapia's drug and money shipments, gaining enough evidence to have him convicted. Instead, Tapiya kidnaps Sid and flees to Cuba, causing the film to go on for another half-hour and leading to a climax where Mike, Marcus and a few other cops go to Cuba, hook up with local resistance fighters, and assault Tapia's heavily fortified mansion. Even this takes longer than it should with the gun battle leading to an extended car chase and ending with a standoff outside of Guantanamo Bay. However, one may feel MUCH more satisfied to see him get blown up by a mine rather than just getting arrested.
There are at least three points in The Box that would have been satisfactory endings to the film before the actual ending. One of these even follows the standard ending formula, with a huge climax and an obvious downward slope in the intensity afterwards, as if the film is winding down, only for it to pick up again. As a result the actual ending, which normally could have been a pretty powerful scene, ends up as kind of weak since at that point the viewer is just waiting for it to be over.
The Night Of The Hunter, otherwise a masterpiece of suspense, suffers from an ending that drags on for twenty minutes or so for little reason after the plot is resolved.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World subverts the trope. After a lengthy climax, Scott defeats the final villain and learns a lesson, but out of nowhere he's suddenly faced with his "evil doppelganger," making it look like there's a whole additional action scene about to take place. Instead, we cut to after their confrontation, in which they apparently just chatted and parted on good terms. The film ends quickly afterwards.
Happy Feet had multiple false endings, including a deliciously AnviliciousAesop about the importance of environmental conservation. Wait, I thought this was a movie about cute little penguins?
Psycho. Modern audiences are often frustrated that the chilling finale in the cellar is followed by several minutes of exposition by the psychiatrist, who explains everything that happened in the film. Audiences at the time did not appreciate Left Hanging endings.
Ironically, the original film The Dinner Game avoids this by running just 80 minutes and focusing solely on the main story (the subplots were added for the remake as films under 90 minutes seem to be unfashionable in the US). The final result is considered by many one of the best French films of the 1990's.
The Ringappears to suffer from this. The whole curse thing is resolved and we get a few scenes of the characters returning to their... hey, what's with Noah's TV? Ultimately subverted in that this fake-out ending is probably the best-remembered thing about the film.
Braveheart. Several points where one might reasonably expect to see credits roll and be able to get on with something else.
Limitless has a more mild example of this trope as only about 15 minutes remain in the film after the climax. However quite a bit is crammed into that 15 minutes, giving the impression that it might've been rushed to avoid this trope.
The Beastmaster: Dar defeats the evil wizard who screwed up his life and took over his rightful kingdom, and announces that he's going to become the new king. Then it turns out the wizard's army is still out there and about to attack the kingdom, so we have a whole other climax on top of it. See this movie for a textbook example of why the Scouring of the Shire was cut from the Lord of the Rings films.
Nollywood movies often have this, because they are usually very long (so long that they are on two DVD's).
The film version of the Tyler Perry play I Can Do Bad All By Myself not only runs 20-30 minutes longer than it should but has two false endings. The first occurs after the actual ending, after a fade to black. You get ready to leave the theatre but instead of credits, you get a random musical number that has nothing to do with the plot. After that, you get your second false ending. After another fade to black, you get outtakes (on a movie that wasn't even a comedy, no less). By then, most people would have just given up and gone to their car.
Jill: This is how it's gonna be, Sid? The ending of the movie was supposed to be at the house; I mean this is just silly.
Though this is Fridge Brilliance. The characters talk about false endings and how the Stabathon party was the false ending. But the party in the original Scream was the false ending with the film ending at the house so this time the house was the false ending and the film ended at the hospital.
The Wild World Of Batwoman previously gave us the page quote, from MST3K. In the film itself, the plot has been resolved, the villain defeated, everything is wrapped up...and yet the movie continues, treating inflicting more on the viewer, up until the cast evidently decides to indulge in a disco dance party (really badly), causing Servo to just lose it and start screaming at the screen.
Soultaker has that hospital climax that just drags on and on. Most annoyingly, it keeps cutting to a shot of a clock long after the story's Cosmic Deadline has passed and it no longer matters what time it is.
In the short "A Case of Spring Fever" the main character wishes that there was no such thing as springs (long story). Coily the Spring Sprite appears and grants his wish. Turns out life sucks without springs and the man soon relents. Lesson learned, right? Nope, turns out there's an entire third act to the short with the man explaining the wonder that is Springs to his increasingly annoyed buddies.
Tom Servo: Shouldn't this be over?
Time of the Apes. Has to be seen to be believed (warning: not for first-time MST3K viewers). The first time the writing staff watched it, they had been misinformed about the running time, so the multiple false endings — a side effect of the film being a Compilation Movie — drove them nuts.
In The Great Escape, after much build-up and planning, the actual escape starts an hour and forty-five minutes into the movie and is over fifteen minutes later. Then theres another forty-five minutes left in the movie.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Like the book, Blomkvist's legal troubles bookend the central mystery plot. After the mystery is resolved, we still spend some time resolving how Blomkvist and Lisbeth get back at Blomkvist's nemesis.
Funny enough, the Swedish version knows when to shut up. After the plot is resolved, we get a short scene of Blomkvist in jail, the news report of his nemesis dead, and Lisbeth in Granada.
Men In Black II- Serleena's defeated, the Light of Zartha's on its way home, and then ... a locker room/obligatory mind screw scene.
The Help feels like it should end as Skeeter achieves success with her book and helps the maids out financially as they all begin to have success but the movie aimlessly wanders for about a half-hour too long after before Aibileen leaves to start a new life.
Savages has what seems to be a big climatic finale that would end the story...oh wait it was just an Imagine Spot by the narrator. Now HERE'S the real ending!
Air Force One. First there's the final showdown with the lead terrorist Ivan Korshunov, which should have ended the movie, along with the death of Radek... But then there's the dogfight with the Mi Gs, followed by the escape sequence, in which Agent Gibbs attempts to kill the protagonists in a Post-Climax Confrontation.
Deliberately invoked in Hot Fuzz. After a long climactic battle where it seems all the villains have been dealt with, Big BadFrank Butterman escapes and takes Danny hostage. Nicholas is just as exasperated by this as the audience, and shouts "Pack it in, Frank, you silly bastard!"
The Bollywood film Arth is about a couple having a divorce, the story centered around the woman's emotional struggles. The two finally meet up again, both having gone through hardships. When the woman asks her ex-husband if they'd like to get back together again, the husband answers back, "No," and the second half of the film begins. This next half has a totally unrelated plot, where the last 30 minutes of the film consist of roughly seven sequences, each tying up a loose thread and each edited as if they would cut to credits.
The originally-planned ending to Aladdin - a reprise of "Arabian Nights" where the Peddler from the beginning of the movie revealed himself to be the Genie - may have been cut in order to avoid this trope. It came after the quick reprise of "A Whole New World" and viewers from test screenings reportedly left their seats as the heroes flew off into the night and thus missed this sequence. This may have inspired the finished film's "Made you look!" ending, as it assumes the viewer is already leaving the theater at that moment.
Reefer Madness The Musicalcould have ended with Mary's death. It could have ended with the group number when Jimmy is pardoned on death row. Instead, it goes on for about five more minutes, including another song.
Averted with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The movie ended before the climax!
In the 1942 adaptation of the Jungle Book, the film continues even after Mowgli kills Shere Khan in their Final Battle, which is how the original book ended, with three villagers pursuing a treasure that they kill each other over until the survivor goes insane and burns both the jungle and the village to the ground, with the film ending after everyone escaped the fire. Especially since every other adaptation ends with the battle between Mowgli and Shere Khan. The similiar 1994 film even deliberately averts this by having the treasure plot resolved before Mowgli's final confrontation with Shere Khan.
Jurassic Park: Tim has successfully improvised himself through Jurassic Park's computers to finally restore the main power, thus securing the survivors and being able to call for help. The end, right? Nope, Grant insists that they have to find all the dinosaur nests and count the eggs. They only find one nest before the Costa Rican military arrives, muscles the survivors off the island and then firebomb it.
K.A. Applegate's Animorphs has the three-year Human-Yeerk War ending. Then we get into Visser One's trial and Jake's Heroic BSOD. Then we get into Ax's kidnapping. Then we get into the new war that's about to start...
Stephen King is prone to this trope. The Shining, for instance, could have ended at the destruction of the Overlook Hotel. But instead, we get another chapter set the following summer, for no particularly good reason.
Also by King, The Stand, featuring an endless epilogue about how someone gets back home after the climax.
Although she apparently deserves the Nobel prize, some books by Joyce Carol Oates show that she is quite unable to write proper endings.
Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the best American novel right up until Tom Sawyer shows up. Ernest Hemingway famously said, "If you read it you must stop where... Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating."
The last several books of the Left Behind series suffered from this problem. After the Antichrist came back from the dead, killed people with fiery pillars from the sky, and desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, there just wasn't anything more evil for him to do. And that was Book Eight of a 13 book series (not counting the three prequels). It doesn't help that anyone who will read that particular series through Book Eight (or, arguably, through Book Two) already knows the ending (spoiler: Satan loses) and is just slogging along to see exactly how they're going to get there.
While their quality remains consistent throughout, Harry Turtledove's Darkness Series are of an incredible length. The series probably does go one book too many, but it's based on World War II, which did extend three years past the "climax" (Stalingrad, El Alamein, and Midway) to resolve.
His various series may fall here, though. One particular novel may look as if it's coming to the conclusion of a particular world's story, with a trilogy just about to be wrapped up... but nope, it's still going, and a new trilogy is about to start, so you still have to keep reading...
Unfortunately, the sequels to Ender's Game do suffer from this. There are at least a half-dozen places where Card could have satisfactorily ended the series, but he just kept right on going.
Even stranger, Ender's Game (the novel) wasn't even conceived until after Speaker for the Dead (its sequel). Card decided he couldn't satisfactorily write Speaker as a stand-alone novel, so he asked his publisher if he could instead make Ender's Game (the story) into Ender's Game (the novel) and end it with a sequel hook for Speaker (which Card blames for the long ending). They okayed it, and then turned the tables later on by mistakenly marketing "The Ender Trilogy" before Card had even decided to write a third book.
Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
Dean Koontz's Phantoms. While a very good book overall, the battle against the Ancient Enemy is clearly the climax. Following that, the fight at the hospital feels completely tacked on. It is only tangentially related the main plot and doesn't count as a Twist Ending or Shocking Swerve because it doesn't actually change anything. It just feels like an attempt to cram one last dramatic moment into the final chapter, and it falls flat because the main plot of the story has already been soundly resolved.
Diana Wynne Jones's later children's books. Readers used to complain that she finished her plots too abruptly and without sufficient explanation (the original book of Howl's Moving Castle and Fire And Hemlock are cases in point). Clearly her editor has got on to her about this, because from The Merlin Conspiracy onward, every single book seems to have a satisfying conclusion, and then at least one or two chapters explaining what happened to all the characters after that. Conrad's Fate tells you what happens in the next ten years or so.
Neal Stephenson inverts this trope in his usual meta-fashion in Cryptonomicon. Rather than the reader losing interest in the plot, the POV character does. The result is several months' worth of action crammed into eight pages.
Pamela. You'd think it would end after she resists and reforms her boss and they get married, plunking down An Aesop in the process. No, there are still 200 pages. It reaches the happily-ever-after and, instead of rolling credits, just keeps on going.At least one fictional character is on record as saying he wished the book were even longer. Then again, as he is Jamie Frasier, living in a cave hiding from post-Culloden vengeful evil English forces for ten years, he wanted his reading material to last him as long as possible.
As well as being a lampshading of this trope, this is a reference to the famous commentary of England's victory over Germany in the World Cup of 1966, which went into extra time after finishing level after 90 minutes, but which eventually led to England's victory. Which possibly makes the game itself an example of this trope.
Also to an extent, but unlampshaded, in Hogfather. Susan's saved the Hogfather and defeated the Auditors. Then she still has to deal with Teatime. Fair enough, it's just that Your Princess Is in Another Castle. But then, with the main story definitely concluded, Pterry remembers the subplots and resolves them all one after the other: the raven's quest for carrion; the Cheerful Fairy and other manifestations of belief; Albert and the rocking horse; Ridcully's bathroom; and finally, the Canting Crew and their unexpected Hogswatch dinner, previously referred to about halfway through the book.
Just about all of Terry Pratchett's books have this, though he writes it well enough and the books are short enough that the extended endings are not unpleasant to read.
This Body. It's about a middle-aged mom named Katherine who dies unexpectedly and finds herself a year in the future in the body of a 20-something named Thisby (yes, A Midsummer Night's Dream is a recurring theme), who died of a drug overdose. Most of the book is about Katherine getting Thisby's life together and finding ways to reconnect with her original family. The book is interesting, but it soon becomes clear that the author didn't know how to finish it, and there's some three-month flash-forward before the book wanders into its ending.
Battlefield Earth. The climactic battle against the aliens actually occurs at about 300 pages into the 1,050 page paperweight of a book. Once the humans have kicked the evil aliens off Earth, the rest of the book deals with the surviving villians fighting over the scraps of their empire, and some kind of legal battle over the real estate ownership status of the planet.
The Lord of the Rings: The climax of the story takes place little over the halfway point of Return Of The King, with the return journeys home being just as important as the journey to mordor in the first place, practically making it read like a Post Script Season.
In The Poisonwood Bible, the epilogue is actually a sizable portion of the book. It details the lives of all of the main characters over the next thirty years. The book really ends almost 37 years later.
Anna Karenina: The eponymous character commits suicide and the plot essentially ends at the end of book seven. There's a whole other hundred page book dealing with the spiritual awakening of secondary character Levin. It's referred to even in academic circles as somewhat masturbatory; Tolstoy had recently gone through a similar spiritual experience and wanted to spread the word.
War and Peace gets dinged for this as well; after the war ends and we find out the fates of all the main characters, Tolstoy gives us a long dissertation on history and the forces that decide the fates of nations. Fascinating stuff, if a bit dry.
The endings of many of Joe Haldeman's novels feel incredibly forced. Oddly enough, however, he uses this trope to good effect in The Forever War, as he's set the story up such that the only way to end it is to force an ending, which reinforces the point that the war has been going on for so many centuries that, at least on the part of the humans, no one knows any longer why they're fighting or what they hope to accomplish.
Atlas Shrugged, more specifically John Galt's speech. Actually, you could skip the entire novel and just read that speech, and you'd get the gist of Ayn Rand's rant anyway.
The Fountainhead as well. Around page 350, when Howard Roark gets his grand-standing speech in court describing his motives and his view on humanity (pretty much dropping Rand's anvil, if you haven't been awake long enough to get what she was aiming at the whole book). It seems when you've got your character in a position to monologue for three pages about everything that he did since the beginning of the book to society at a whole, this is a good place to say, "climax! Now for the denouement!" Apparently, Rand knew that her personal philosophy wouldn't go down quite as easy, so Roark ends up in prison and he doesn't get his moment as "revolutionary genius" until another 350 pages.
The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown: We hit the climax of the book with a good 2 or 3 chapters in hand, which are then spent tying up loose ends and discussing Christianity.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair seems to find something of an ending when Jurgis joins the socialist labor union cause... and then the book goes on for another 20 pages to outline some arguments important to the socialist cause at the time. Even if you're familiar with Marxism and know what they're talking about, it's hard to read.
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, one of her Vorkosigan Saga novels, has three endings. First, the main detective plot wraps up; then, Miles makes a decision about whether to take up Gregor's offer; and then he goes off to sort things out with Quinn. The two later endings are necessary to the continuing story, though, so if they hadn't been wrapped up in this one they would have needed to be explained in the next book.
Fantastically averted by Edgar Rice Burroughs' self-crossover Tarzan of Pellucidar, in which the entire book has been spent starting various plots of people getting lost, chasing women, fighting monsters and so forth. Eventually, with just two pages left, our heroes remember they came to the inner world to save a prisoner, that the natives are barely out of the stone age and that they are in an airship. With Science. They threaten to carpet-bomb the Korsar city unless the prisoner is returned; happy endings all around! All the unresolved matters, Von Horst, everyone else who got lost, etc., can just wait until the next book. Two pages.
The Deltora Quest series has this problem. First, Lief has to find the seven gems for the Belt of Deltora, the only tool capable of defeating the Shadow Lord. Then collect and assemble the three pieces of the Pirran Pipe, the only tool capable of rescuing the people captured by the Shadow Lord. Then wake up the last seven dragons in Deltora, the only creatures capable of destroying the Four Sisters, evil objects slowly killing Deltora and created by the Shadow Lord. Lastly, said dragons must destroy an explosion of grey poison capable of destroying Deltora, and by doing so, defeating the Shadow Lord.
Bats Fly At Dusk by Erle Stanley Gardner plays with it. While most of this series are first person narratives from Donald Lam, this book is a third person narrative centering around his partner, Bertha Cool while Donald is in the navy during World War II. Donald sends several telegrams suggesting lines of inquiry and pointing out facts about her case, but Bertha finally washes her hands of the case and goes fishing. The next day she comes back to the office to find Donald got a military pass, came to town, solved the case, and left her a note explaining it and pointing out her mistakes.
Clive Barker's Coldheart Canyon — the tiled room's power is broken, and from there the forces that kept the villain safe are destroyed. The villain gets a satisfying comeuppance...and then the two survivors deal with a police investigation and a book based on their experiences, along with getting on with their lives. Then they learn that the male lead's soul hasn't crossed over yet, and try to save him from the inevitable before everyone realizes that there's no need to fight fate. This takes about 100 pages. To make matters worse, had this material been trimmed or dropped, the 75-or-so pages that set up the minor subplot points resolved in it could have been cut too!
Live Action TV
Similar to Lord of The Rings, the Season 2 finale of LOST has at least 3 perfectly viable endings, and has an unnecessary scene with Claire and Charlie between them, creating some ending fatigue. The endings are Desmond turning the key, Jack having the bag put over his head and the ending with Penny answering the phone.
Babylon 5 lasted for five seasons. However, the main arc of the show (the Shadow War) was wrapped up in the fourth season's sixth episode. Its secondary arc (the Earth Civil War) was resolved at the end of the fourth season (it would've been by the fifth season's sixth episode or so but was compressed due to events beyond control). The fifth season was a Postscript Season which mostly consisted of "what comes after" stories, which at the end resolved the arc regarding Londo and the Centauri as well as letting all the characters slowly depart the station and move on.
The Earth Civil War arc itself is seen by some, though by no means all, members of the fandom as this. On the one hand, Earth is clearly much less of a threat than the Shadows, so it makes sense to deal with the Shadows first and save Earth for later. On the other hand, the end to the Shadow War feels like much more of a natural climax, and once that's out of the way handling Earth just feels like wrapping up a loose end.
The DVD commentary of the Christmas episode of Father Ted has one of the show's creators and writer of the episode complaining that the plot has petered out, even exclaiming at one point "End! END!!"
The farewell scene in the otherwise-good Doctor Who serial The Daleks.
The episode "The Family of Blood" certainly has a drawn-out ending. First the Doctor dealing with the Family, then saying goodbye to Nurse Redfern, then saying goodbye to Latimer, then attending a memorial. Whether this fatigues you is personal variation.
The End of Time. After absorbing a fatal dose of radiation, the tenth Doctor takes his time paying his respects to every single one of his companions apart from the ones in the Christmas and Autumn specials, (and a few people who weren't, such as the great-granddaughter of the aforementioned Nurse Redfern), then he staggers around in the snow while the Ood sing him off, then he staggers around some more in the TARDIS, and then finally — finally! — he regenerates.
After they finally find the real Earth (or rather our Earth, which is not the first Earth but merely named after it) in Battlestar Galactica, the show spends a good 45 minutes on what all the characters plan to do with the rest of their lives.
And even that, having what could be considered a poignant ending during said stretch (Adama sitting on the patch of land he plans to build he and Roslin's cabin on), it continues to keep going.
Also the end of Season 2, when they colonize New Caprica. Especially fatiguing is the fact that the episode is actually 90 minutes long, rather than the normal hour. If you don't know this going in, you may start to wonder just when the episode is going to end.
Noticeably averted in Star Trek: Voyager, when the series ended when the ship arrives at Earth, much to the disappointment of many fans. This may have been the reason for the overly-long ending of Battlestar Galactica, given Ronald D. Moore's desire to make an 'improved' Voyager with that series.
Kamen Rider Kabuto had it set in about episode 30. After that, expect to be facepalming as they try and fail to tie up all the loose ends.
For several seasons Smallville was only nominally about the whole superheroic destiny thing and was vastly more concerned with Clark and Lana's off-again/off-again relationship, leading every single episode to wrap up its Monster of the Week plot around the 45-minute mark to allow Clark, Lana, Lex and sometimes Chloe to each have a little epilogue where they ruminated about their feelings. You know how when you watch most shows you look at your watch and think "They've gotta wrap this thing up in the next five minutes or it's gonna be 'to be continued'"? With Smallville you'd say that when there were 20 minutes left!
Subverted in Flashforward in the episode "The Gift". The episode plays out like all the other episodes of the series, following a different aspect of Mark's investigation wall with a different police plot. Indeed, it is one of the more prevalent plot threads in the first part of the season. However the culprit is locked away, and everything seems to be finished by about 30 minutes in. Ending Fatigue should set in for the remaining 12. However, it uses this time to create a brilliant Twist Ending that plays on the emotional undercurrents of one of the characters in the episode.
Averted quite noticeably in late-70s/early-80s British TV show The Professionals, where the credits often ran straight after the scene in which the bad guy was caught or shot (or the objective achieved). In such cases there were just a few seconds of terse post-action dialogue or banter before things finished. Where epilogue scenes did exist, they were still fairly short and no-nonsense.
It was particularly tedious because the entire last season was a rushed mini-season with less than half the number of episodes a regular season had.
The season four finale of True Blood. The season's Big Bad is defeated halfway through, which is followed by half an hour of character stuff that ranges from moving to "Shouldn't this be over?" But the last few minutes make up for it with a mind-boggling number of character deaths and cliffhangers.
The fifth season is much worse. Even viewers who didn't suffer Arc Fatigue from The Vampire Authority's plotline were ready for a conclusion of some sort. Instead, the whole season ends right at the climax.
Parodied in an episode of Frasier when he is reading a novel that an old friend of his wrote, based on a story he told him. Fraiser notices the end ludicrously overuses metaphors, and skips to the end.
The series finale is also a case of this, as the writers wanted to have an ending for as many characters as possible.
American Horror Story, after ending climatically and pretty definitively, covers twenty minutes of the Ramos family buying the house and being scared off by the recently deceased Harmon family, ends dramatically again, and then has an arguably pointless 3 year time skip to reveal beyond a doubt that Tate's baby really was the anti-Christ.
One could argue that the entire episode is pointless. The climax happens in the previous episode, and the episode that follows adds nothing to the entire arc.
Even worse in Asylum. Bloodyface is killed in the fourth last episode, and the viewer has to sit through three and a half episodes full of nothing but loose-end tying.
Sometimes, not only is a song unusually long, but it will reach a point that seems like it's supposed to be the end but then keeps going. Sometimes a song will even have a fake-out ending intentionally. In one of his humorous music-snarkery books, Tom Reynolds referred to this phenomenon as "Rasputin Syndrome" (after the Russian monk who famously survived numerous attempts at assassination).
Half of the premise of this old Dudley Moore pastiche of a Beethoven piano sonata. Even the pianist eventually can't hide his frustration.
Beethoven's works in general use this trope a lot. Just take a listen to the end of some of his symphonies...
In Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, there's a musically-played-out argument between Bailey and the orchestra about which party gets the final notes of the performance. The orchestra plays different endings ŕ la Dudley Moore.
CDs vs. LPs. They both have their advantages and disadvantages as far as sound quality goes, but CDs can hold 80 minutes of music, while it's difficult to find an LP that can hold more than 50. Musicians feel compelled to fill up the entire CD so the listener can get their money's worth, which leads to lots and lots of filler.
Several tracks by Godspeed You! Black Emperor don't really end as much as disintegrate; once the crescendo of the song has been reached, the band will prolong the aftermath in ambiance or noise for minutes on end. Examples: "East Hastings" and "Static". Then there are tracks like "Storm" and "9-15-00", which will spend 15 minutes building on one idea only to shift into a completely separate-sounding coda.
F# A# Infinity's vinyl edition ends on a locked groove. Thus, the lasf song literally goes on forever with two notes unless the listener finally takes the clue and removes the needle. Fridge Brilliance, natch.
Pendulum's albums usually have final tracks that contain false endings, one of which is used incredibly well in "The Tempest" which ends their 2008 album In Silico with an Epic Rocking part that goes on for 2 minutes. However, one particularly odd case is "Encoder", which ends 2010's Immersion. There's a fade-in cymbal which you think marks the end of the song, then a Coldplayish part fades in that musically is out of place completely with the rest of the song. then once you think it's over, we are subject to a full minute of water splashing and heavy breathing, then the song finally ends as a wham noise begins to fade in but cuts ot. It's a good song, but it's annoying the first couple times you hear it.
Brighter Than A Thousand Suns on A Matter Of Life And Death definitely qualifies, going on for 9 minutes, with plenty of false endings and repeated sections. This coupled with the production means it seems to go on for even longer.
Unearth's "Grave of Opportunity" ends with a very long guitar note. The guitarist then plays a quick riff and abruptly stops. What's worse is that this song is featured as a bonus song in Guitar Hero World Tour. It's a very fun song to play, but that last note is always annoying.
Manowar's "Blood of the Kings" has no less than three almost-endings, and still ends up fading out.
Their 28-minute epic "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts" ends with the same riff on repeat for several minutes while slowly fading out.
Averted in Blind Guardian's "And Then There Was Silence". The song has three such points, but they're all rather short and are used more like act breaks to shift points of view in the story. The song "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight", however, does this at the end. The music and singing reach a crescendo, then start to trail off, then five seconds of silence and the music and singing come back, full force.
DragonForce's "Valley of the Damned" is at least a minute longer than it needs to be. As cool as Through the Fire and The Flames is, a solo that lasts two and a half minutes is pushing it. Especially on Guitar Hero. Just... end... dammit!
The drum solo of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" is quite good at first. Then it goes on and on and when you finally think it is over, another part of the same solo comes along. In live recordings, the solo runs past 10 minute mark.
10 minutes? Hell, the recording of it on the companion album for The Song Remains the Same is just under half an hour long.
Or the live version of "Stairway to Heaven" from "The Song Remains the Same:" the instrumental goes on and on... going right through the credits and even into several minutes of blank screen afterward. Led Zep are multiple offenders here.
Cream. "Toad" is a manageable 5:11 of drum solo (Led's was shorter by one minute). On "Wheels of Fire" they put a 16-minute live version. note The reason for doing such long songs was that people were always shouting for more, but during the first tour, they had only a couple of songs. How do you solve it? Make it longer of course! They then got famous for it and people came to see Cream to see long jams.
Rush has made a little industry out of drum solos that last forever, to the point it was a gag in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. "YYZ" has the most famous one: usually it's at the end of the song, but it gets dropped right into the middle of the live version on Exit Stage Left... (Imagine if they'd put it into the Guitar Hero version!)
Including the live version of "Whipping Post", which goes into jam after jam for 20 minutes... and never once does he sing the one line (that's the climax of the song) properly.
"Mountain Jam" is over thirty minutes long. Did we really need solos from every single one of the band members?
Live Grateful Dead recordings from many concerts really never get around to ending, they often just peter out and roll into the next song. This is most true where they wandered into free-form jazz-like pieces.
Any number of The Rolling Stones songs are about a minute and a half longer than they need to be, the band apparently having eschewed ending their songs in favor of endless repetition of the main riff while Mick Jagger hollers random phrases into the microphone.
Two words: "Goin' Home".
Anyone who has ever played Rock Band would agree that "Green Grass and High Tides" just goes on too long, a problem greatly exacerbated for the guitarist, since their fingers are usually ready to fall off with several minutes of solo left.
Throw Your Arms Around Me is exactly this, especially its live version.
"I'd Do Anything for Love" is a particularly outstanding case , especially because it's twelve minutes long. To the point at which there are no less than three versions of I'd Do Anything for Love, pared down to various lengths (the radio version, the music video version, and the aforementioned full-length version). Hilariously, he apparently pitched a fit because the radio wouldn't play the original version. You know, all twelve minutes of it.
The best example is "Bat out of Hell": It's supposed to be "the greatest car crash song ever". So, Steinman has reached the seven minute mark, everyone's asking him to finish the song already and the answer is: "the crash hasn't happened yet." Cue the final three minutes.
Aerosmith tends to this sometimes (a particular case is "Amazing", which has a "vintage radio announcement" after what should be the ending).
The ending of Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City" goes on way longer than it needs to. That's probably why it hasn't turned up in Guitar Hero yet.
Later Jethro Tull songs seemed to go on forever, especially the second half of the Roots to Branches album.
The studio version of "No Lullaby", from Heavy Horses. The song could have easily faded out around the five minute mark, but the band decides to repeat the song.
"Piborch (Cap In Hand)", from Songs From The Wood, mostly due to the repetition of the opening riff throughout the piece.
"Hey Jude." Four solid minutes of nothing but the exact same verse which consists mostly of the word "Na."
The habit of playing this at the end of shows (including the 2012 Olympic ceremony) means that whole events now seem to go on much too long.
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)." Four minute of nothing but a repeating guitar riff. Ironically ends abruptly, as if even the Beatles themselves were getting tired of it.
"Hey Jude" started a whole trend of songs with drawn-out, repetitive endings ("Suspicious Minds" by Elvis, "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Atlantis" by Donovan, "Hot Love" by T. Rex)
"Helter Skelter". There are actually two intentional fake endings (which was also done for the single "Strawberry Fields Forever"), but there supposedly exists a version that goes on for about a half hour... which very much justifies Ringo's exclamation of "I got blisters on ma' fingers!!".
Appropriately enough, "It's All Too Much" begins to run out of steam about three minutes into its six-minute playing time.
The live version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" has about four different points when it sounds like it's going to end right there, only for it to keep going.
Seemingly just to screw with the listener, The Flaming Lips' "Scratching The Door" starts fading out where you'd expect the song to end, only to fade back in. Then it happens again. And a third time. Then it finally ends. This takes up two minutes of the song.
Mew's "Comforting Sounds". The song is done and dusted after four minutes; the remaining five minutes are spent repeating one theme about ten times. Granted, it gets some embellishments, and is more epic as it goes along, but by the seventh time around the loop you're forced to wonder how much more they can do with it. And there's still an acoustic outro after what Guitar Hero might have called the End Wankery section.
The Irish band Hothouse Flowers had one huge hit in the '80s, a song called "Don't Go". They now milk this for all it's worth with a live version of the song that lasts for at least 20 minutes.
Yes actually enjoys toying with this trope at times. Homeworld (The Ladder) runs just over nine-and-a-half minutes in length, and switches tempo at least four times, which are timed in such a way as to subvert this trope.
Yes bassist Chris Squire reveled in this on his lone solo album. "Safe (Canon Song)" is fifteen minutes and the final word occurs right at the five-minute mark. After this point, the song has three separate points where the ending could have come, but another lengthy orchestral passage follows. After the final choral flourish, there's an epilogue.
Dream Theater's Stream of Consciousness is an eleven minute instrumental that ends on a huge climactic chord... and then a lone guitar picks the main melody once or twice more, then cuts out mid-riff.
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence ends with a single chord on the keyboard which slowly fades out for about 2 minutes. After 40 minutes of Epic Rocking. Thankfully, the live version on Score shortens it to no longer than 30 seconds.
Their 24-minute epic "Octavarium" subverts this; The song almost sounds like it's about to end after "Intervals", but then the orchestra kicks in and the song goes into the final movement "Razor's Edge". This is a subversion because "Razor's Edge" is so epic that the listener definitely won't get ending fatigue.
"Our Truths" by Lacuna Coil. Doubly annoying because it fades into radio static, then breaks back in for another four seconds of guitar and drums that aren't even necessary.
Also "Suspicious Minds" of Elvis Presley. And in fades back in just to repeat, for one more minute and a half, what was already looping every twelve seconds before.
This appears in two AC/DC songs: 1976's "Problem Child" and 1978's "Gone Shootin'." Doubly frustrating in that these songs would be exceptionally good otherwise, and are still pretty good as it is. Triply frustrating in that AC/DC are beloved precisely because they hardly ever do this kind of thing.
The Eight Steps by Joe Satriani, fading back in to continue the end solo that was going on before the fade out.
Futurama has a bit of a Take That Me in Beck's guest star episode. While singing a song, a standard time-cut is shown, and Beck ends the song, then says:
Beck: Wow. That song usually doesn't last for three hours, but we kinda got into a thing... and then I forgot how it ended....
The first live version of the Blue Öyster Cult's ME-262 suffers badly from ending fatigue. It rocks on long past what should have been its natural ending and goes on. And on. And on. As if none of the band have a clear idea of when to call it a night. It is interesting that the second live version is still long, but sounds less forced and less desperate, as if growing stage confidence has given the guys a clearer idea of the natural life of a live perfomance.
Caďna's second album Mourner suffered from this a little bit.
"To Live is to Die" is much worse in this regard. The song is 9 minutes 48 seconds long but has an almost perfect would-be fadeout ending at 7:31, and up until then the song had a clear beginning, middle, climax (ironically the quietest part of the song, but it was a hell of an emotional climax), and ending. But surprise, the song starts up again and just repeats the beginning of the song for over two minutes, completely ruining the ending. The song is greatly improved by simply cutting out everything after 7:31.
A good chunk of ...And Justice For All was like this, actually— lead guitarist Kirk Hammett even recalls some shows where the audience was getting bored three-quarters of the way into the title track, which is almost as long as "To Live Is To Die." Master Of Puppets also has "Disposable Heroes," which could have easily been chopped down from eight minutes and change to about six.
Let's not forget Better Than You, which has what's clearly a deliberate fake ending before unnecessarily repeating the "Better Than You!!!" chorus for another minute.
St. Anger in its 79 minute entirety.
Similar to To Live Is To Die, Machine Head's "Kick You When You're Down" could end a couple minutes early, with the emotional ending of the third chorus. Instead, there's what seems like forever of the cliched "Trust in yourself, Follow your heart" section repeated.
Anton Bruckner's symphonies go on for hours pretending to end.
He jams for about 2 minutes at the end of "Somebody Like You", and does some lesser jamming on "Better Life".
"Once in a Lifetime" also shed about 2 minutes (out of a possible 6) between album version and radio edit.
"Stupid Boy" is possibly the worst offender, as it's one of the only ballads he's done that's gotten this treatment. The song is 6:12 on the album, but only 3:46 for the radio edit.
"Everybody" also has a lot of vamping, but with an orchestra instead.
"Fallin' Again" and "My Home's in Alabama" by Alabama, both of which have multiple solos to push themselves past the seven minute mark. The latter has a fairly slow tempo as well.
"I Can't Love You Back" by Easton Corbin repeats the ending riff for a very long time. The song is 4:05, and Easton stops singing at 2:42.
Some of Nightwish's longer and more epic songs suffer from this: "The Poet and the Pendulum" in particular, which could've cut off the last two or three minutes and had a great ending to the song. Specifically, the song has a beautiful crescendo leading up to the climax, which ends with the desperate words "Save me" and the sound of an axe descending and abruptly cutting off the music. Given the tone of the song (never mind the title), this seems like it should be the most appropriate place to end. For some reason, it does not.
Even YouTube users seem to get mixed up with the ending, as at least 80% of the song-only videos of the song end at least three minutes before it really does end.
Coheed and Cambria's "The Black Rainbow". "It's ooooover" is repeated for two whole minutes, then there's an abrupt cutoff... Only for a pointless minute of synth and evil laughter to occur.
Every single song on The Afterman albums. They may be useful to the story, but doesn't mean they need their long pointless codas.
Subverted with "Everything Evil", as the two minute final part is considered to be the best part of the song by many.
"21:13" ends 5 freaking times.
Elbow's epic "One Day Like This" has made its point by four minutes in. The song is six and a half minutes long, the final three of which consisting entirely of two lines repeated over and over and over and over and over and over again ("Throw those curtains wide / One day like this a year would see me right").
A really serious offender is (the original with Peter Green) Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well, which is a really cool blues-rock song and then goes into a slow, acoustic instrumental that has nothing to do with the rest of the song. There's a good reason this part is skipped live. They just put it in there as a favor to their other guitarist who did it.
Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" definitely qualifies. The bloody song goes on for 23 minutes with several returns to the instrumental chorus.
From the same album, the song "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfest" gets tiring pretty quickly but still goes on for over eleven minutes.
Anything to do with Roger Waters tends to take an eternity to begin. See "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" or "Time".
"Echoes" is perhaps the best example, since not only does it take forever to begin, it also takes forever to end.
The radio cut, which is about four and a half minutes shorter than the album version, is only slightly too long.
"The End" and "When The Music's Over": both are over the eleven-minute mark and not very neatly divided into separate sub-songs like "Light My Fire." They're both misguided closers to their respective albums, aimlessly plugging along the entire time.
The radio cut of The Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" is much better than the album version with the orchestral sequence followed by the poetry reading with the pretentiousness knob dialed to 11 and hot-glued in place.
Woven Hand's "Animalitos (Ain't No Sunshine)" is 14 minutes long, with at least four fakeout endings.
The song "Everything Right Is Wrong Again" by They Might Be Giants is not especially long or boring. In fact, it's rather short and enjoyable. It is still very confusing to hear "And now this song is over now and now this song is over now and now this song is over now, this song is over now," and then have the song keep going for another minute or so. Oh TMBG, you amuse me so.
Several songs on 1996's Factory Showroom went on about a minute longer than they really needed to.
Oasis had a tendency to put out perfectly good three-minute pop songs with another two minutes of repeated chorus.
"All Around The World" is the worst offender. It's nine minutes long, and at least one or two could be chopped. The almost-8 minutes "D'You Know What I Mean" also has this, but Noel Gallagher expected the label to request it to be shortened (they didn't). "Magic Pie" from the same album as the previous two also has a seemingly endless coda, which results in a drum fill that seems to suggest the song going back into the track until someone (presumably Noel) shouts "shut up!" and the music stops. The song still goes on for another 30 seconds with random music snippets after that.
Trying to end one of Beethoven's symphonies is a very tedious process. For example, pointing to any phrase on the last two pages of the Seventh Symphony will give you a satisfactorily epic ending. BUT NO.
The Fifth Symphony is also a big offender here. The Presto section at the end (beginning at bar 364 of 446), which is scored for full orchestra throughout, goes on for over six pages (out of just over fifty) and could achieve an epic ending almost anywhere after the second page, but instead it goes on and on and on. The last 29 bars of the symphony consist entirely of C major triads repeated over and over, until at last the orchestra plays a final-sounding C major chord... and then another... and then another... and then three more... and another... and finally a unison C. One has the impression Beethoven couldn't decide which ending to use, so he decided to use them all, one after the other.
The finale of the Ninth Symphony builds toward a fast, loud climax, but gets interrupted several times by abrupt slowdowns. By this point the lyrics of the "Ode to Joy" have been exhausted, so the words from previous sections are reused.
The Jesus Lizard's "Panic in Cicero". The song stops. The drums don't. For, like, two minutes. The majority of the song is the never-ending ending.
Motörhead's "Overkill" has two false endings, before the double kick starts up again and the song continues. Though this was obviously intentional, given the song title.
Adiemus' "Cu Challain" from their fourth album, The Eternal Knot. The song pauses twice where it could and should end. As such, it feels like three songs Frankensteined together.
Handel's Messiah. After two hours, the final chorus has three distinct sections to it. The third of these sections consists of ten pages of 'Amen' sung fugal style, which was written as an afterthought.
And the iconic "Hallelujah!" segment that everyone remembers isn't even the end of the piece. It's just the end of the second part of three.
"Next Year" by Foo Fighters cadences twice before hitting a final chord and fading out. After four seconds the drums start up again and we listen to the words "I'll be coming home next year" four or five times before the fade out
Knights of the 21st Century by HammerFall ends, then has about a minute and a half of silence before briefly reprising the opening, which consists of a few seconds of groaning followed by "Hell fuckin' yeah! The Prophecy!"
The lyrics of Milliontown by Frost* end around 17 minutes into the song. The song continues with an instrumental section, which itself has a bit of a false outro, until around 25 minutes, where it apparently ends. After about 30 seconds of silence, a short piano section is played and the song ends at about 26 and a half minutes.
"A Pleasant Shade of Gray" by Fates Warning has a bit of this. At the very end of the song, there is a short pause followed by the sound of an alarm clock ringing for about 15 seconds.
Lady Gaga does this at the very end of "Poker Face". You think she's stop singing, but she repeats the lines over and over.
Korpiklaani: The title track of Korven Kuningas, which is also the final track, ends with a repetitive bit of booming percussion. This repeats for 15 minutes, three times the length of the actual song.
"Even Rats" by The Slip has a rather long, repetitive wordless vocal coda.
Megadeth, "Return to Hangar" and "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" from The World Needs A Hero.
Video game music example: The "Castle" music in the Turbo Grafx CD version of Monster Lair (which used Redbook audio) has a really long violin solo that seems to go on forever before finally fading out (you'll only hear it all on a CD player). The boss music is also rather long, with half-a-dozen guitar solos and a Truck Driver's Gear Change near the end; in-game, the Boss Battle will time-out before you hear the whole thing.
Relient K's song, Deathbed suffers from this. Several times throughout the song it starts to wind down or appear to be ending, only to suddenly start into another verse. After several times of this, one starts wishing the guy on his deathbed wold just die already.
Also, "I'm Your Captain" by Grand Funk Railroad. The song isn't that bad is pretty fantastic. Then you get to the halfway point and the singer keeps saying "I'm getting closer to my home." over and over again.
"Everybody Hates My Guitar Sound" by Beat Crusaders (best known for the fourth opening ofBleach. Only its ending consists of a really long and bad guitar solo. They end up getting booed into shutting up.
ABBA's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" seems to go on for an awkward amount of time after starting to fade out.There's also an extended version which has a disco-inspired breakdown in the middle.
The end of the song "Assassins" by Nachtmystium fits this trope. Who REALLY wants to hear an entire minute of the same synth buzzing noise over and over again?
The song "...Before I Leave!" by Czech metal band Root. It clocks in at 19:36, but the last two-thirds of it consist of singing the final stanza repeatedly after the rest of the instruments have left.
Yo La Tengo has a tendency to tack on 10-20 minutes of repetitive, anxiety-enducing noise-symphonies to the end of albums that in no way enhance the tone of the album, possibly in an effort to never make a perfect album. Most notorious examples: "I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One" and "Popular Songs."
"Trapped In The Closet" Trapped In the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet Trapped in the Closet
Done deliberately in the Monty Python song "I'm So Worried". Ending of third to last verse: "I'm so worried about whether I should go on, or whether I should just stop." Beginning of second to last verse: "I'm so worried about whether I ought to have stopped. And I'm so worried 'cause it's the sort of thing I ought to know." Beginning of final verse: "I'm so worried about whether I should have stopped then. I'm so worried that I'm driving everyone round the bend."
Note that when the final verse starts, you hear the backing chorus come back into the room, as though even they thought it was over.
Alice in Chains' "Rain When I Die" has a long fade-out... followed by a long fade in as the song keeps going, then ends abruptly.
"Hotel California", the last line of the song comes between 4:14 and 4:20 but the whole song is six and a half minutes long. The rest is a long (but epic) guitar solo.
Chicago's "Fancy Colours." It's a good song, but at the end, all you get is extremely loud obnoxious long notes repeated over and over.
"Pretend We're Dead" by L7. "We're deeeeaaaaaaaaaad" about 12 times, with the only variation being a very short, simple guitar solo towards the end.
Opeth seem to suffer from this trope a lot. Almost every song has a riff that seems to be cut short before being repeated with a remarkably machinelike(and monotonous)accuracy over and over again...and over again.
The tracks from Captain Beefheart's Mirror Man album. "25th Century Quaker" and "Kandy Korn" make up for it with their shorter lengths and neat ideas (the former showing off an Eastern, proto-Krautrock dirge; the latter containing a hilarious jingle for candy corn), while the title track and "Tarotplane" just go on and on with no variation.
Potentially subverted with "Desolation Row" and "Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again", both by Bob Dylan. While the songs basically contain the same verse sections with no bridges, the phantasmagorical lyrics have the listener wanting to find out what happens next. Still, it might be played straight for those not into Dylan's voice or lyrics.
"Like A Rolling Stone" started out as this. Dylan had about 10 to 20 pages worth of verses and considering the average length of a verse was about a minute and a half, that version probably would've taken up an entire LP. Fortunately, Dylan picked the best parts and put them together in the form we know today.
Syd Barrett's "Gigolo Aunt" is this to some fans. While the main part of the song is considered good, the ending jam just meanders.
"Starship" from the MC5's Kick Out The Jams. Had it just had the first two minutes and fifty seconds of the song, it would've made a creepy conclusion to a classic album. Instead, we get five more minutes of noodling sound effects.
Invoked by Paul And Storm as an Overly Long Gag at the end of "Shake Machine" (as the separate track "Shake Machine, Part II"). The track consists of eighty-eight seconds worth of fake-out endings (and one final ending)...after Part I's already lengthy ending.
The Barenaked Ladies song "Grade 9" has great fun with this trope, building up to two false endings before the real one.
Autechre's drone ambient piece "Perlence Subrange 6-36" is 58 minutes, and the second half is mostly a repeat of the first half.
The several-minute-long harpsichord solo towards the end of the first movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 5. It keeps sounding like it's going to end and the rest of the orchestra is going to come in, but no, the solo just keeps going.
The finale of Joseph Haydn's String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2, aka "The Joke", sounds like a normal rondo until the end of the piece, when there's a grand pause. Then he starts the piece over with the four-phrase main theme, with two measures of silence between each phrase - and then four measures of silence, followed by the first phrase again, at which point the piece ends, in the musical equivalent of the middle of a sentence. Audiences had no idea when to applaud, as the piece just kept going.
Pulp's "The Day After the Revolution", the final track from their album This is Hardcore, comes to a natural halt at around the five-minute mark; but a held strings chord continues for the next nine minutes, at which point lead singer Jarvis Cocker helpfully bids us goodbye.
The harpsichord flourish ending a recitative (the second movement) of the PDQ Bach cantata Iphigenia in Brooklyn (it starts around 2:35 in the video and lasts a little over a minute). P.D.Q. Bach has so much of this. Notes held for incredibly long amounts of time, little things that are four or five times as long as they "should" be... it's one of his most common gags, behind blatantly ridiculous instruments. A prime example is the Schleptet in E-Flat Major, which opens with two insanely long-held chords, separated by the wind players taking a deep, loud, comical breath. (And these are not fermatas — IIRC, the opening is scored in a ridiculous time signature, something like 72/4.) In live performances, the usual schtick has the horn player black out from holding the second note, falling off the chair and taking the music stand to the floor with a crash. (Which, for a musician untrained in physical slapstick, can be hazardous, and has sometimes resulted in a damaged horn, or a damaged horn player!) He would also end pieces on unresolved chords
Allan Sherman has "The End of a Symphony," which directly addresses the tendency in classical music for long, drawn out endings. In the piece (which runs over eight minutes) he complains about this while offering multiple parodic examples.
The dance remix of "Where You Are" by Jessica Simpson is 11 minutes, but mostly repeats the final refrain over and over for the last 5 minutes, preceded by a fake ending.
"Child in Time" by Deep Purple has a guitar solo, ending with all the music stopping at the 6 minute mark, then the song restarts from the very beginning, but instead of the solo has Ian Gillan screaming for 2 minutes until the song ends at 10:20. Live versions of "The Mule", turning an excellent five or so minute guitar/organ instrumental into a tedious nine or ten minute drum solo showcase.
These can be painful to listen to live. Any song with a Fake-Out Fade-Out and a not perfectly knowledgeable fanbase is going to end up with a lot of people applauding in the wrong place and then being very annoyed and/or confused when the song keeps going.
Dinosaur Jr.'s "Said The People" has what feels like a natural Solo Out conclusion, until it comes back for another verse, another chorus and another solo.
Last Call, the closer from The College Dropout, lasts 12 minutes, starting with an excellent 4 minute track and spending the last 8 minutes in a monologue of Kanye's career up to that point,
We Major, from Late Registration, which goes on for a good two more minutes than it should,
and the more recent Runaway, from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, where a Subdued Section about 6 minutes in leads into what can best be described as "three minutes of vocoder wankery."
The music video version of "All of the Lights". It almost has beginning fatigue in the music video with the string orchestra intro, then goes on for instrumentals and repeats the chorus for almost a minute after where the radio and album versions end.
Alan Jackson's "Long Way to Go" is a reasonable four-minute song, but it seems to go on forever because he repeats the chorus again and again and again…
"I Still Like Bologna" also has a third verse that basically spins its wheels and only drags the four-verse song down some.
The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" has a keyboard break that goes on for half a minute, and you'd think that's when the song ends. Nope. After about half a minute, the break ends, then the rest of the band joins in.
The album version of "Who Are You" is 6:27, and the single is only marginally better: 5:06. The US radio edit cuts it down to 3:27, slicing three whole minutes.
"You Better You Bet" clocks in at 5:36, most of the second half of which is the chorus ("When I say I love you, you say you better / You better, you better, you bet!")
Live versions of Who songs tend to get lengthened, even short ones like "Magic Bus", which becomes a ten-minute jam (though the fatigue is generally averted here).
Art Blakey's legendary rendition of A Night in Tunisia last for about 11 minutes... of which, about 2 and half minutes consists of them winding down to ending. Just take a listen for yourself.
Arlo Guthrie's hilarious song "Alice's Restaurant" clocks in at a little over 18 minutes. It could easily have ended with the resolution of the littering plot...but then he reveals he came to talk about the draft, which is only somewhat connected to the littering plot, then starts talking about walking into a therapist's office singing "Alice's Restaurant", then gets the audience to sing it with him twice, which have to wait for the right spot to come around in the melody...
In some versions, Guthrie lampshades it during the Audience Participation part: "I've been playing this song for 15 minutes. I can play it for another 15 minutes. I'm not proud... or tired..."
The Proclaimers' album track "Oh Jean" ends with four minutes of a repeated riff accompanied by singing of the title, both getting louder and louder, suggesting that any time soon they're going to launch into another rousing rendition of the chorus - but it never happens. Eventually the riffing just stops and the track ends there.
Catatonia's "Karaoke Queen" proclaims in the chorus that "it's just a three minute song, it doesn't last very long". Uh-huh. It's a five minute song because the outro ("ooh sha la la, ooh sha la la" repeat) goes on forever.
"Sylvie" by Saint Etiennehas to be lampshading this, with "Over and over and over and over again" about eleven times in a row - each one carefully timed to overlap the previous on the -gain of "again", resulting in "over and over and over and over a/over and over and over and over a/over and over..." etc.
Spoofed by Radio Active in their Status Quo parody "Boring Song (by Status Quid)". Each time the "final" guitar chord starts to fade away, the song starts up again, with lyrics lampshading the song's apparent refusal to end.
"Moonchild", by King Crimson. Basically a two and a half minute song with a ten minute long improv piece tacked at the end that goes nowhere.
"Adonai", by Hurt. The song ends... and then a quiet recording of someone chanting a prayer plays for a while (at least a minute) before finally Fading into the Next Song.
"Sinner Man" by Nina Simone seems to be ending at the eight minute mark, only to continue for another two minutes with some a cappella scatting and a drum solo.
Devo has been known, in concert, to play a thirty minute version of Jocko Homo, in Mark Motherbaughs words, "until people were actually fighting with us, trying to make us stop playing the song. We'd just keep going, "Are we not men? We are Devo!" for like 25 minutes, directed at people in an aggressive enough manner that even the most peace-lovin' hippie wanted to throw fists."
Magazine intentionally invoke this trope at the end of 'I Wanted Your Heart', a song Nick Kent of the New Musical Express picked out as a masterpiece, which it is, right up until the last minute, when the band seemingly find themselves having some sort of vaguely Captain Beefheart style jam that seems completely out of place in the context of both the song and the album.
The music tracks in Out Run loop their final section until you complete the race, which is especially annoying with "Magical Sound Shower", where it sounds like a broken record.
Dance remixes and dance songs in general will sometimes have false leads outs, often containing little more than the beat, mid-way through the track to give DJ's a option to mix out. Often if you kept playing the track, you might get a repeat of the first part, a reprise that repeats or sometimes instrumentation. Worse case scenario is when the 'true' ending to the track will be a fade out or a cold stop (with no beat-only outro) making the DJ's wish he would have taken the mid-track lead out instead to get a cleaner mix.
Donald Fagen, and Steely Dan in general. The outros to his songs tend to start at about the halfway mark of the track and just. keep. going. Notable examples: "West of Hollywood" and "Tomorrow's Girls".
Ravel's famous Bolero goes on for about 15 minutes, which is probably five times as long as it needs to be. It's like Ravel knew he was on to a good thing and didn't want to let go.
Michael Jackson became prone to this post-Thriller. Like Meat Loaf, he also has bad cases of starting fatigue.
"Man in the Mirror" hits this at the "I'm gonna make that change/It's gonna feel real good!" part, since the previous chorus capped off with the na-na-nas was a perfectly fine way to end the song.
The full-length version of the "Black or White" video has the notorious "panther dance" epilogue, which goes on for several minutes after the actual song has long since ended, and doesn't seem to logically/thematically follow on with what previously happened in the clip. The quick payoff with Homer and Bart Simpson really isn't worth it. (The album version has starting fatigue thanks to a superfluous Slash solo and a skit with the kid and the dad who wants him to turn his music down.)
"Will You Be There" has two choral preludes, the first of which is nicked from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (which initially went uncredited). Then, after he stops singing, he offers a spoken-word prayer to God. The single edit drops all this...and is thus slightly less than half the length of the album edit.
The Brazillian favela version of the "They Don't Care About Us" Music Video goes on for almost two-and-a-half minutes after the song itself ends; the time is filled by an extended drum solo for the Olodum troupe, as Michael prances, mugs, and occassionally shouts non-words along to the beat. Not surprisingly, there's an official edit that cuts out most of this.
"HIStory" could have cut at least a minute off its 6:46 running time if they'd dropped all the soundbites and recitations of famous dates in history from the beginning and especially the end. To make matters worse, while this would have been an appropriate closer for the HIStory album with its upbeat tempo and attitude, there's still two more tracks to go afterward: the Glurge-laden "Little Susie" and the Cover Version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile", which itself has trouble ending.
Sibelius' Fifth Symphony has a unique ending. The symphony builds to its conclusion in several waves of sound and at just the point where you might think there's nothing more to say... everything ends and there are six sudden explosions of whole-orchestra noise, like hammer blows, at two or three second intervals - six false endings, in fact.
Colbie Caillat was guilty of this with "Breaking At the Cracks". Roughly a minute and a half or so of her repeating "Love, I need you back" ad nauseam.
John Mayer's "Say (What You Need To Say)" ends with so many repetitions of the title phrase that one gets the feeling that she'd like to say what she needs to say, but he won't shut up long enough to let her do so.
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds song Babe I'm on Fire without the Music video. Fourteen minutes of repeating fairly similar lyrics with each increasingly silly variation on who says the titular phrase being ending with the same musical sting that could be the ending.
Tristan's entire third act is about the tenor dying and waiting for the soprano to arrive... and waiting... and waiting... and when she arrives and he finally dies, she also sings a (quite short) 7-minute monologue before the curtain falls. If the tenor is bad — and he often is — this act will make you wish he would Just Die Already. Has naturally been parodied to death.
Die Walküre has Wotan's endless farewell and the Magic Fire Music.
Siegfried's finale — let's say it begins when Siegfried finds the sleeping Brünnhilde —- lasts for about 35-40 minutes.
Götterdämmerung. Brünnhilde's Immolation is the basis of the "Fat Lady Sings" joke. 'Nuff said.
Can we just say the entire Ring Cycle here?
In a way they are also subversions, as the finales, especially "Wotan's Farewell and Fire Magic" and Brünhilde's Immolation scene are so good that the audience looks forward to them and they are also frequently performed on their own in concerts. While it probably is true to say that where the audience gets really restless is long scenes of expositional dialogue like in the second act of Die Walküre and the Norns' prologue in Götterdämmerung.
And then, Meistersinger's third act seems like it never ends, and at the end, it has Sachs drooling over how great German art is. At this point, singers are usually NOT in the right condition for a 10-minute monologue, after having had the longest role in opera history...
Death in Venice. The whole thing is about an aging tenor angsting over a bishounen, while nothing happens, and it ain't over till he lives. Only a great tenor can make it interesting, because it's really an one-man show.
Turandot can get a bit boring after Liu's death. It's practically Calaf and Turandot making a "who can yell louder" contest for about 20 minutes. See Siegfried above. (Well, it's not Puccini's fault, poor man died and a colleague finished it.)
Puccini did pay mind to this problem with Madama Butterfly by shortening its final aria and postlude.
Don Carlos's final act. Elisabeth sings a massive aria, then an endless duet with Carlos. All while the best characters are either dead, exiled, or not present. Then thank God King Philip and the Spanish Inquisition appear and it ends very, very quickly.
The Marriage of Figaro. The third act wraps up so many story lines, the fourth act can just seem unnecessary. It's when Basilio sings an aria telling an irrelevant story about when he was a younger man that the fatigue really sets in.
Don Giovanni. A great opera, truly, but the whole thing could really have been wrapped up after the title character is dragged to Hell, with the curtain falling on Leporello's terror-stricken form. Instead we get another three arias about just desserts, and how everyone intends to get on with their lives - while the audience wishes they could.
Ross Noble is a huge fan of this and a good sign of Tropes Are Not Bad. He'll start one topic of discussion or at least mention a story but then never actually finish it or tell the story until the very end of his routine (roughly an hour or two after the first mention) because he'll get distracted by something completely off topic and then loads of other discussions will come up. Except they all get tidied up at the end. He lampshades this constantly:
"WHAT HAPPENED AT LIVE 8 ROSS?!"
Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare in general. The fifth act of many of his plays is simply Shakespeare rushing to tie up all the loose ends and give a resolution to every character. There are several exceptions, of course, ranging from Macbeth to King Lear. However, the worst offender has to be Antony and Cleopatra, where there are at least half a dozen points where Shakespeare could have ended the story, if he wasn't so obsessed with killing every minor and major character save Octavian and his entourage. The final ending of the play, when Cleopatra commits suicide, is suitably awesome, however.
Paint Your Wagon: The big ensemble reprise of "Wand'rin' Star" sounds like a finale, but the show drags on for one more scene which does little else but bring the principal couple back together.
Love Never Dies: Christine once again making her choice between lovers would seem to ensure a quick wrap-up, as the loser graciously decides I Want My Beloved to Be Happy — but then we find out her son has been kidnapped. The final scene on the pier, which is over fourteen minutes long, starts with a lengthy explanation of the villain's motivations, after which Christine is fatally shot. She manages to reveal Gustave's parentage to the boy, and bid her farewell to him, and then share a final moment with the Phantom. Then Gustave accepts him as his father, they go off together, and the show ends.
A number of fans have expressed such complaints regarding BIONICLE, though in this case, the trope is largely justified, as the writer, Greg Farshtey did intend to continue telling the story. But thing is, the main story was pretty much wrapped up mid-2010, the Big Bad killed, the planet restored, a new civilization has been formed, The Hero delivered his final enlightening speech... as for the side stories, those hadn't been tied up yet back then. However since the new story serials tried to tell completely new stories instead of attempting to give closure to the ongoing plots, some would rather see the whole thing end, fearing all the story threads would just degrade into a similar mess that some previous serials have become, especially since the writer is going through a horrendous Schedule Slip. The main story's famous closing lines ironically foretold the situation:
"NEVER... THE END"note At least as long as uncle LEGO allows Greg to continue playing in this world of his.
Discworld is a game where most people think that they have finally completed it, only to find out that they've only completed act one... of four.
Dragon Quest VIII is an egregious example. It could easily have ended 15-20 hours before it did and lost almost nothing of the plot (and that would still leave it with over 50 hours of gameplay.) However, it's still generally agreed that one sequence during the ending fatigue Marcello's rise to power, and the conclusion of the subplot to him and his half brother, Angelo was still worth it.
It has nothing on Dragon Quest VII, which takes most players well over 100 hours to clear.
Metal Gear Solid 4 could be one of the kings of this trope. From the final battle with Revolver Ocelot to the post-credits sequence, the ending runs for an hour... and it still keeps going in a conversation sequence played during the rest of the credits.
One part in particular shows this has to be at least a bit self-referential. After the last scene of the epilogue, it cuts to the cast voice credits, only to pause moments later as the voice actor for Big Boss, who up to now had shown up only as a vegetable and in the flashbacks to MGS3, comes up, and is highlighted in the center of the screen, as if to say, "Oh, wait, we forgot this one," before going into the really final scene. And even this scene drags on, as Big Boss is supposedly dying from FoxDie, but he still manages up to 20 minutes of explanations. Indeed, MGS4 is this trope incarnate.
This trailer for the game demonstrates the trope nicely. It ends nicely around the 4:45 mark, with an action scene flashing to the title and a plot-teasing voiceover about Outer Haven. Then it continues for 90 more seconds with two more stinger-endings, a poop gag, and finally a monkey scene.
Metal Gear Solid 3 isn't off the hook here, either. You defeat the Big Bad and ride off into the sunset, only to face a long Rail Shooter sequence. You then fight the Big Bad three more times, followed by anotherRail Shooter sequence, an Escort Mission, and another boss. You finally get away... only for another character to climb onto the escape vehicle for one last showdown, followed by some long ending cutscenes.
Also done in MGS3 sequel Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker; like the other games in the series, Snake (Big Boss in this instance) saves the day, stops the villain, several lengthy cutscenes run, and the game even wraps up some loose ends involving The Boss and MGS3 before the credits roll... until a post credits scene plays. And then the plot continues further up until another boss fight, another set of plot reveals, and then a second set of credits runs... followed by a second post credits scene.
Golden Sun: The Lost Age. Make no mistake! The ending is great, very climactic and satisfying. But what is the one thing you want to do above all after defeating that nasty Boss? That's right! Save your progress! However, while you sit around with your Game Boy in your sweaty hands, shaking uncontrollably with the unquenchable desire to save, the ending drags on and on and on....
The Tales Series plays with this trope. In Symphonia and Abyss, the Big Bad seemingly dies, but many parts of the storyline have yet to be resolved. Suddenly, the Big Bad returns and the world is thrown into an even more dire situation than the one it was just saved from, and the heroes head to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon for one last throw down with the final boss. It's actually much grander than it sounds.
Legendia in particular is rather bad about this. You enter the Big Bad's fortress, defeat all of his major subordinates, defeat the Big Bad himself, and finally main character gets closure on his childhood love interest, complete with a nice cutscene. But then Your Princess Is in Another Castle and the game goes on. Later, you enter the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, fight the Very Definitely Final Boss, save the damsel in distress for the umpteenth time, the credits roll... and then the second half of the game starts. However, it does get better from there, at least.
.hack//G.U. Vol. 3: Redemption. After a battle with shiny lights, faux computer abilities and screams (lots of them), Ovan's Avatar finally finishes its mission to reset The World and save his little sister, by sacrificing his own life, and all people who went comatose do wake up, one by one. That should be the end of the game, huh? Well, not really. All of a sudden Yata reveals that Cubia, a Big Bad from the previous series of games, suddenly resurrected (under pretty vague circumstances) and now he is threatening to destroy The World. Now you have some more 6 hours of gameplay on doing almost nothing interesting to stop it.
All of Volume 3 really has this problem. Before you fight Ovan you have to deal with Sakaki making a random return to....basically act evil, kick you out of your guild and host a tournament that does nothing really but waste time before you kick his ass again and he's finally removed from the story. The staff was banking on the Ovan reveal being a massively shocking plot twist that was the climax of the game. The director even mentioned they were expecting Evangelion level backlash, death threats and all. They didn't get it as most saw it coming and the others than didn't it wasn't that big a deal to. To make matters worse they had to reveal Ovan in Volume 2, so that people following Roots and people who played the game in Japan would get the reveal at roughly the same time (they tried to do the same in the US, but the US practices of changing timeslots and preempting episodes quickly ruined that plan) so Volume 3 is mostly wasting time before the fight with Ovan, and then Cubia as an epic final threat.
The Longest Journey became a bit too long in the tooth at the end. The developers actually seems to be aware of this, as April (the protagonist) is around midway outright given a Plot Coupon, instead of having to do the usual fulfilling of ancient prophecy ballyhoo (April lampshades this).
A common problem in 4X games such as Civilization, where an successful empire will usually reach a tipping point of being so much more powerful than its rivals that it cannot possibly lose to them, well before even the most generous victory conditions are met.
Similarly, in most RTS game levels with 'Destroy the enemy' victory conditions, you get your well-deserved victory only by sending your entire, world-crushing army scouting round the entire, huge map, trying to find the last enemy tank that wandered off on its own. It's called "The last enemy syndrome". More recent games tend to judge defeat by having no buildings left, which lowers this, unless they manage to smuggle a peasant out.
This is especially bad in Achron since not only do you have to wipeout every unit from which it is possible to recover (which includes many common military units since there are no dedicated builder units), but you have to wait until said defeat reaches the immutable past, which usually takes several minutes of real time. (Until defeat reaches the immutable past, it is theoretically possible to paradox yourself back into existence thanks to Time Travel).
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The Shadow of Chernobyl has the same thing twice. You can go straight to the Monolith and have one of four false endings, or if you know where to go, you can have half an hour more of gameplay and yet another false ending, and then, you choose right, you'll have yet ANOTHER hour or so of gameplay and THEN have the real ending. Especially annoying if you don't realize that you are approaching the abrupt end of the game, as you can as much as triple the length of time you spend on the last section as you juggle the half a ton of absurdly valuable weapons and equipment the Monolith goons drop.
Yggdra Union. The game should have ended after Gulcasa died and the dragon threat thing was over, but the game goes some chapters after just to explain what was Nessiah's purpose all along. While Nessiah is a cool character and a good enemy, that still doesn't change the whole "The game is over... NOT!" effect it makes.
Guitar Hero 5. Do You Feel Like We Do. It is by far the longest song in the game at 13 minutes and 40 seconds, more than double the next longest song. There is an achievement just for getting 95% of the way through, whether you then successfully complete the song or not.
And while you're at it, everything under the Music folder that has been on Guitar Hero or Rock Band also fits here. Which makes the Rock Band 2 edit version of Prequel to the Sequel the odd one out - the entire second half of the song is removed, and the fans HATED Harmonix for that.
The Playable Epilogue "The Answer" is pretty bad too. The end is five boss fights in a row (thankfully you can save in between them) and long cutscenes.
Revealing the identity of the villain in the final episode of Ace Attorney Investigations is a relatively simple task. Actually getting said villain to fess up is a different story entirely. The fact that the dramatic tension of the Villainous Breakdown pales in comparison to both The Reveal and the accomplice's earlier breakdown really doesn't help matters.
Ultima VII Part II. After visiting the entire map with numerous roundabouts and mandatory sidequests, you finally face down with Batlin, the Big Bad whom you were chasing and why you were on Serpent Isle in the first place. Turns out this is about the half-way point in the game.
Many games of Football Manager suffer this as a season draws to a close. Players heading towards the end of the season, especially if they stay up late and into the early morning, can often start pushing towards the end of the season and not paying as much attention to their team, lineups, tactics and various non-match related aspects like scouting new transfer targets for the off-season. This can lead to extremely frustrating losses and situations which can cause that entire season to go up in smoke. This is arguably not the games fault as each season has as many games as it would in real life.
The first Wild ARMs was notorious for feeling like it was going to end at many points throughout the game.
The second in the series fares better, but the end sequence itself feels longer than than the entire game.
Lux Pain is a visual novel-type game, with about 21 episodes which take about an hour each to complete. This can cause the game to feel eerily like a book.
All Pokemon games in general suffer from this after completing the league. You're left with simply grinding up your Pokémon to level 100 and entering those Pokémon in high level PvP battles with other players. Later games at least try to rectify this with closed off Routes you can only explore after completing the league and the introduction of the Battle Frontier for those that have done some INSANE grinding.
Pokémon Generation I, didn't affect people as much due to being the first of the franchise, but the endgame grind after the league is still pretty fatiguing. Especially since there was a lot less move diversity in the first generation.
Pokémon Generation II. Sadly, the remake of Kanto after completing the league falls victim to this if you're not clouded by the nostalgia factor in seeing an updated Kanto from Generation I. The main flaw here was that the Kanto remake felt incomplete due to the Game Boy Color cartridge format lacking the room to portray Kanto as it was in Gen. I; this caused many points of interest such as the Safari Zone, Pewter City Museum, etc. to be closed off to save room on the cartridge. In addition, there was nothing close to a plot in the entire region other then a Side Story regarding a last-remaining Rocket member sabotaging the Power Plant.
The Generation IV remake mostly rectified this other than there still being no major plot after completing the league.
Pokémon Generation III. The humongous water routes after setting off from Lilycove City, spanning as much as the last two Badges and the League fatigued A LOT of people.
The water routes in Emerald, even with the increased surf speed, can still be considered fatiguing, but the good news is that the well-liked endgame Battle Frontier was introduced here. Finally giving another reason outside PvP battles to grind up your Pokémon. Just a shame it takes FOREVER to grind levels in this generation.
Arguably, Pokémon Generation IV. The battle against Cyrus and Team Galactic is extremely interesting, at least for a main series Pokémon plot. But once you've defeated him and captured Palkia, Dialga, or Giratina, you've still got another Badge and the Elite Four to go before you see the credits roll. Did we mention that Cynthia may be a rare occasion where the Final Boss qualifies for That One Boss? Even with your godlike friend from the Spear Pillar (or the Distortion World), you're gonna have to grind big time.
The Heatran island mission after clearing the league isn't any better. Just a bunch of high level trainers, some new Pokémon to catch and having no plotline. Platinum tries to make it more plot-relevant with a return of what's left of Team Galactic, but still comes off pretty weak.
Pokémon Generation V had Ending Fatigue AFTER clearing the Plasma-controlled Pokémon league. Not only is there no relevant plot to follow in the now accessable Eastern portion of Unova, but the trainers rise to being 10 to 15 levels higher than what your Pokémon would be currently at after beating the league if you didn't grind a considerable amount beforehand.
Not only that, but if you want to fight the league again and beat the champion, like you probably originally intended to do before having to deal with N you have to grind up to the mid-70's because they all gained 23 levels and 2 new Pokemon since the last time. Luckily, grinding was made a bit less annoying in these games.
Ōkami can get quite tiring near the end, but it all depends on how many stray beads you missed. If you forgot about half the stray beads but still want your Infinity Plus One Accessory, you're going to have fun looking for those tiny, unimportant, final beads. There are also a multitude of other side quests in the game, some of which are unlocked quite late, which all add up to Ending Fatigue. The problem is only worsened by the fact that once you enter the Ark of Yamato the game assumes that you have everything and you aren't allowed to leave (there's an in-story reason but still). Then of course you have to fightallof the bosses you already fought in the game before you can face the final boss....
The Lord of the Rings Online: Volume I of the Epic story has a short Epilogue, tying up some loose ends left after the climax of the story. Volume II that followed it, however, has as many as twelve different Epilogues, enough to form another Book or even Two.
Doom 3 seemed to go on forever... you go to hell, kill the boss, a great stopping point, then come back to Mars for hours of more gameplay, but it's the best part of the game!
The story and gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics remain fine for the final chapter, but the translation, already more than a little awkward, falls completely to little tiny pieces at this time.
Super Meat Boy has five full chapters and a short finale chapter consisting of five levels and a boss. The end? Escape Sequence time! Your reward? A Smash to Black as a block is about to land on Meat Boy. The end? Brownie to the rescue! Now it's just Meat Boy and Bandage Girl watching the Floating Continent blow up. The end? Dr. Fetus attacks Bandage Girl! And it actually ends right there unless you beat the Dark World version of the boss level, in which case Bandage Girl turns out to be unfazed by Dr. Fetus's punches, and stomps on him.
The Binding of Isaac, by the same developer, has a Disc One Final Boss which, when you defeat it, unlocks two more floors. Defeating the new final boss nine times unlocks an alternate version of that boss, as well as another floor with a new final boss. And if you have the Wrath of the Lamb DLC, you also unlock an alternate choice of floor with its own boss. Beating that floor six times, acquiring a trinket unlocked by doing so, and beating the alternate final boss with it unlocks yet another floor, which contains the (currently) Really Final Boss and a Mind Screwdriver ending.
The sequel to the otherwise famously excellent Game ModBrotherhood of Shadow for Knights of the Old Republic, Solomon's Revenge has this. What appears to be a fairly straightforward final battle in a climactic location ends up in an extremely long scene littered with flashbacks, self-findings and whatnot and most importantly, neither the heroes nor the villains JUST.STAY.DEAD.EVER. Whenever it seems like one side has finally been dealt a lethal blow, they still somehow manage to get up again and everything begins once more. This actually culminates in a scene where the player character has to beat down the Shadow around a dozen consecutive times under exactly the same conditions in different environments until they finally give up.
In BioShock, the Rapture Central Control level appears to be the end of the game, complete with a climatic confrontation with the main villain. However, then Disappointing Last Level sets in, and you have to slog through another five or six hours of the game.
Chrono Cross. Gnrgh. The entire second disc just feels like one Big Bad fight after another, and it can get very wearing. First, you fight Lynx/Dark Serge/FATE, who has been built up as the Big Bad for the entire game. But then he goes down, and the Dragon Gods do a Fusion Dance and become the Dragon God, who promises to ravage the world now that FATE, the thing sealing it away, is dead. Then, you go through the Marathon Level to end all Marathon Levels, kill the Dragon God, and that's it, right? Nope, now you have to kill the Time Devourer. And if you don't jump through a couple of Guide Dang It laden hoops, then you literally do not get an ending, just a little card saying 'Fin'.
The renowned hack Super Metroid Redesign has the same plot and bosses as the original game, but stretched out much, much longer. How much longer? The final escape countdown starts at 25:00.
Metal Slug 3, the final mission. First you go through a long, hard dogfight with Morden's forces, then you fight Morden himself... But it turns out to be a Martian. The Mars People then abduct the character you're using, forcing another character to go after them, you storm the mothership, you battle the Mars People from inside, rescuing Morden and your captured comrade in the process... Then comes a Free Fall Fight with the leader of the Mars People, Rootmars.
Averted in Star Craft II; in a standard "comp stomp" the computer will actually request to surrender if you're kicking it's butt too much. In StarCraft, players would often say "GG" and quit when they knew they were losing. The trope can be played straight, however. If you're losing, you can draw the game out in a desperate attempt to claw back to victory, though that virtually never works. You can also tell the computer it can't quit when it wants to.
Case 3-5 in Ace Attorney. It feels like you finally got the murderer captured and have the proof, but then Godot and Phoenix drag it out by an hour or so. It's also invoked in case 2-4, due to an in-game crisis. Ironically, however, it avoids this feeling for the player by making it exciting.
Sluggy Freelance's 4U City arc. Started in the middle of 2009 and reached its climax in april 2011.
Late in Aoi House, the story transforms into little more than disjointed scenes with minimal context. This manages to create the whole "Just end already!" feeling while simultaneously getting a kind of "What the hell is going on now?" It doesn't so much end, it just ceases to produce any more scenes.
The main fight in Sugar Bits takes virtually half the comic to get through and took four years to finally reach it's conclusion and move on with the story.
Tom And Jerry: Jerry uses literal ending fatigue against Tom in "The Cat Concerto."
A Family Guy spoof of the theme song to the TV series Maude drags out its opening by adding more and more verses about famous women. Peter keeps expecting it to get to the "And then there's Maude" part, but it goes on and on — and the verses get lyrically lazier each time: "Amelia Earhart flew a whole bunch of airplanes/'Cept for that one time when she didn't come back". When it finally progresses, he's nearly incoherent with frustration.