Monday, May 4, 2015

Left Hanging: "Benson"

The TV show Benson was a spinoff from the parody Soap. Robert Guillaume had become a standout as a wisecracking butler and ABC was eager to get him his own show. The show Benson took place in the Governor's Mansion. Governor Gatling needed a new household manager to manage his staff, so he hires Benson DuBois who came highly recommended by the Governor's cousin Jessica Tate.

Through the run of the show, Benson made the improbable rise from glorified butler to Gatling Administration Budget Director to candidate for Governor. In its final season, Governor Gatling, faced with term limits, encourages Benson to run for Governor. He quickly begins to fear what might happen after he retires and discovers that term limits only prevent him from running again if he remains in his current party. He can run again as an independent. 

This leads to animosity as Benson and Gatling face off. With Benson on shaky ground ratings-wise, the show's producers chose to end with a cliff-hanger. After the pair rekindle their friendship, they choose to accept the election results and remain friends regardless of what happens. The episode ended with them awaiting their fate.

 Surely ABC wouldn't be willing to anger its viewers by canceling the show, leaving them without a way to know what happened, right? Not really. The show was canceled, leaving Benson viewers hanging without an answer for almost thirty years.