This is the Story About How I Feel About the HIMYM Finale

*Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers about the How I Met Your Mother Finale. If you don\’t want me to ruin it, stop reading and let the finale ruin it for itself.*

Back when I was in middle school and was involved in community theatre, I remember discussing the possibility of making our very last performance of a play a sort of gag show. You know, missing cues, improvising lines, coming in with strange costumes: each person trying to outdo the next in terms of utter ridiculousness and, what we thought at the time, comedic genius. Obviously, we had to wait until our very last performance because only then were we invincible. It made no difference if we did it correctly or not in terms of future ticket sales and what could the director have done to us? Nothing, really. We had power. We could shape the last performance to be whatever it is we wanted it to be and nobody could really do anything about it. The fate of the audience was in our hands.
We never did it.

When I was a senior in college, I went to the UT vs OU football game. I had amazingly good seats (like second row) and when it became clear we were going to be winning this particular game, there was lots of murmuring about how we should storm the field when the clock ran out to show our pride and just generally be annoying college students.

We never did it.

You want to know why I think we never did those things? Because deep down we knew that the people watching us expected better of us. These people bought tickets to support our play and watch it done right. In the case of the football game, we felt the eyes of Texas upon us and storming the field isn\’t exactly a classy or upstanding move (I\’m looking at you Texas Tech). Ultimately, we respected our audience enough to follow the rules. We cared what they thought because you never know how bad impressions might impact you later on. 

I wonder how the actors feel about the finale? 

That\’s what makes me so angry about the How I Met Your Mother series finale. To me, it was the equivalent of doing either of those things. Ruining the end of something that would otherwise have been great, superb even, just because you feel like it and can without any real consequences. It\’s over. Pack your bags and go. So what if everyone around is teeming with contempt. I\’ll pick up my million-dollar paycheck and laugh all the way to the bank, because I\’ve just duped them all.

For nearly a decade we have been waiting for all of the plot holes and story arcs to be tied up. To get to the \”point\” of the story in the first place. To me, why I\’ve always thought this show was ingenious was because the defined end-point actually gave the show a legitimate point (unlike most television shows) and really allowed the creators of the show a lot of flexibility in their story-telling. It didn\’t always have to be 100% accurate or in the right chronological order, because that\’s the nature of telling a story. You get side-tracked. You go off on tangents. You forget to mention that everyone smoked cigarettes. You exaggerate certain points and diminish others. But, from the very beginning, there was always a point. The one driving point. The Mother.

I know a lot of people who got really tired of the waiting. Personally, I didn\’t. On an economic level, I know that they will drag the story out as long as possible and I don\’t really hate \”fluffer\” episodes (or in this case, off-topic tangents). Those happen in story-telling all the time. I\’ll gladly go along with that. I defended the show, truly believing that it was one of the best written and most creative shows of our time. I would compare it to a much more mainstream version of Arrested Development. It rewarded you for your loyalty and gave clues along the way that you could \”get\” jokes like eating sandwiches or the infamous slapbet. I was able to look past some of the minor flaws of the series because I always had hope that in the end it would all be worth it. These trials and tribulations were all meant to lead somewhere amazing. Ted would be rewarded and this confusing twisting story of his life would lead him to the exact place he needed to be.

I think that was a major draw. As we live our lives we will sometimes ask the question: How would my life be different if (insert life event) happened differently? If I had never moved to Texas, my life would be unrecognizable. I never would have met my husband, for example, or any of my current friends. I would have a completely different group of people to interact with and who knows how this could have possibly influenced my interests or dreams. I think that everybody, especially everyone who is searching for something, can relate to Ted\’s predicament. He wants it so badly and it isn\’t the right time yet. However, what he has been doing does make a difference. He has been planting his own seeds of happiness this whole time, even in, no, ​especially in times of trial. I think that\’s what we all hope for.

​So, you can imagine my frustration and disappointment, nay, my anger when I watched the finale which only served to undo basically everything HIMYM succeeded at doing and managed to turn one of the best shows ever made into such a major letdown it leads me to believe that maybe this finale was conceived by M. Night Shyamalan himself.

Really, just when we thought things couldn\’t possibly get worse.
After 9 years, everyone is in basically the same position they were in previously. In some cases (Ted and Robin) exactly and literally where they were in the pilot. All the character growth that happened is basically erased in the last hour of the series. They didn\’t even erase character development over time to make us just uninterested in the series anymore. I guess it is more fun to screw with everyone instead and bring us back to the very old and tired story arc of Ted and Robin\’s \”relationship\”. Barney has a little bit of development, because he accidentally impregnated a random girl, not at all because of anything that happened in the entire series. Seriously, he could have impregnated 200 girls by the time the show was over. Marshall and Lily are growing, professionally and family-wise I suppose, but they have always been pretty stable. So, in the end, it all kind of goes back to the beginning, and while in some series that would be a sweet nostalgic homage, in this it\’s just unbelievable and upsetting.
The whole \”How I Met Your Mother\” story is actually about Robin the whole time. Picture this, you sit down to tell your kids about how you met their mother and the entire time you are focusing on how, while the mother is \”great and everything\” that the REAL love of your life came much earlier and was apparently \”the one\” the entire time. This completely turns Ted from being the underdog you are rooting for to kind of a jerk who basically used the Mother for her ovaries. Thankfully, she dies, so that you don\’t have to feel conflicted when Ted decides to be with his real true love of his life. Not only is it not original, but it completely changes the point and the moral of the story (that your life leads you to your destiny). The mother really is just another plot point and isn\’t really necessary to the story anymore. But hey, now Ted can have kids AND be with Robin without anyone getting in the way. Living the dream.
Also, the finale was really a clustercrap of stuff. They spent an entire season on 1 weekend and then, in 1 hour decided to throw Barney and Robin\’s divorce, saying goodbye to the apartment, Barney\’s a dad, Ted meets the Mother, the Mother dies, AND Ted goes off to woo Robin again at us all in one session. If this was a dish on Top Chef, they would get elimated based on the number of ingredients alone. I watched an entire episode about Mandy Patinkin, but I have to take all this major, plot-altering stuff in one sitting? It was way too cluttered and was just too much to take in and really absorb. Instead of enjoying the last episode, I was just trying to keep up with it. No wonder it takes people a while to figure out how they feel about it. You have to sort through a million things just to figure out what happened. So from a purely television standpoint it was a weak episode anyways. I mean we literally just watched Barney and Robin get married. Now they\’re getting divorced. These creators really don\’t want us to get involved with these characters anymore. It only leads to pain. Kind of like liking characters from Game of Thrones. It\’s just better not to get attached.
You killed the mother. Prepare to die!
*How Tragic*

A message to the creators: If you know the ending of the series (which they did since season 2), do not put your main love interest girl (Robin) in a serious relationship with the most popular character on the show. Playing up the romance between Barney and Robin served as a major distraction, so \”we would never see this coming\”. But in reality, Barney is a much better character than Ted in most ways. He is weirdly complex and his sweet moments are some of the best in the series. Yes, Barney is sleazy and a total womanizer, but he has this softness to him that makes him much more likeable and far more interesting than Ted. Honestly, why would we even want to see Robin with Ted anymore? After the millionth time of him desperately pining over her, like the Playbook at 40, it\’s just really sad. 

Also, this completely ruins the whole concept of \”letting go of Robin\” or really any of their conversations about why they wouldn\’t work. Robin explicitly says several times she is not in love with Ted in that way and they even took their \”single at 40 bet\” off the table because of it. Which, sidenote, I really liked that scene a lot because I felt like it was a pretty realistic conversation when people finally realize that it just won\’t work out between them. The finale basically totally discounts all their conversations and means, in the end, Ted settles, not for true, soulmate love like what he had with the Mother, but for Robin, the girl who is ambivalent about him at best.

But, probably the most upsetting thing about this entire thing and the one fact that makes this all completely unforgivable is that there is absolutely no excuse at all for this poor work. The creators were married to this \”Ted and Robin\” idea from the beginning and despite the fact the story clearly went in a different, and more legendary direction. They couldn\’t just let that go. No, it had to come back to this because the only way to have a \”good love story\” in their eyes is the most obvious and boring one. The problem here though, is that I don\’t think that most people really wanted Ted and Robin to end up together in the first place. Not when The Mother is really \”the one\”. So while the creators were trying to go for a Ross Rachel thing, what they ended up making was more of a Jack Liz thing. 

At least this finale was a fulfillment of dreams.
No one really wants to see this.

And there is no excuse. They had 9 seasons. They didn\’t have to make this up on the fly because they were about to get canceled. They didn\’t have to pull something together quickly. This is ultimately what they chose to do. This is what they wanted to do. This ending was their Plan A. What could have been original, fresh and a brilliant ending to a brilliant show turned out to merely be predictable, boring, annoying and above completely detrimental to the entire series. I expected better from these creators, not a gag performance reminiscent of middle school theatre.

4 thoughts on “This is the Story About How I Feel About the HIMYM Finale”

  1. I agree with everything you said. I was just so disappointed by the episode. I mean it's no Sopranos or Angel ending, but it's up there as the worst. At first, I was just blah about the ending and then I started to think about it and got angry. I just don't see why they did that to us as fans. It almost felt like yes, Tracy was the baby maker so he can have his babies and then be with Robin in the end. UGH!

  2. The future doesn't make sense either: what are they going to do together? Robin never wanted kids and instead wanted to travel the world – she ended up doing exactly that. Is she going to drop that life she always wanted for Ted and the kids? Or are Ted and the kids going to pick up their lives and go? This is not a situation that is realistically going to work.

  3. Pingback: My Favorite Television Characters – Living My Imagined Life

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