I’m only going to say this once, I’m talking about the end of “How I Met Your Mother”, so please don’t read on unless you’ve seen the series finale.
Previously on this blog, I talked about how much I loved ”How I Met Your Mother” and it’s bittersweet ending. Based on the first reviews I saw, I figured most agreed with me. But now it’s come to my attention that some fans are very angry about how this show came to a close. So let’s talk about it.
The main point that many people are making is “They spend last 3 seasons of the show setting up Barney and Robin’s wedding; they get divorced in the finale. They spend 9 seasons setting up for Ted to meet the Mother; she dies in the finale.” That would be a fair point, except that I kind of think it’s a miss-interpretation of the over arcing story. Let me explain; Ted’s story begins with him meeting Robin (he even tricks the kids into believing she’s the mother). He then goes on to detail his year long relationship with her and continues to bring her up as someone he never let go. I remember being confused by this when I was watching the series. I kept feeling that it was a mistake on the writer’s part to continue implying that Ted still had feelings for Robin. I now understand why.
So let’s specifically address the Barney and Robin story. Yes it’s true that the entire last season (and portions of seasons 7 and 8) takes place at their wedding. But was the show really setting up for an “happy-ever-after” with those two? It didn’t feel like it to me. Much of that story revolves around Ted trying to find Robin’s locket, as a gesture of love. Where as both Robin and Barney try to get out of it just hours before the ceremony. Robin even tells Ted that she’s choosing the wrong guy. Now, I believe that Robin and Barney loved each other. That’s not the point I’m making. I’m simply trying to illustrate that the show was planting seeds of doubt. In fact, I clearly remember fans theorizing that Barney and Robin are divorced in the future.
Now let’s talk about The Mother. Many of us crossed our fingers and prayed that she wouldn’t be a disappointment… When finally met her, she couldn’t have been more perfect. Cristin Milioti was wonderful and so easy to fall in love with, she had a great chemistry with the cast. Best of all, she was a consistent character on the show in the last season, so we got to know her pretty well. If you were like me, and wanted that perfect “and kids, that’s how i met you’re mother’ moment, then you got it.
Of course in the finale, our suspicions were confirmed that she was sick, and has passed away. I understand that some fans felt betrayed by this, but consider how beautiful the story is with that new perspective. Ted’s story to his children is optimistic and hopeful. He encourages his kids to believe in love even in the face of heartache. Ted’s story proves he hasn’t become bitter or syndical. He’s grateful for the years he had with their mother. Even now, six years after her death, he’s still believes that he can find love again. Yes, it’s sad, but it also makes the whole story more beautiful.
The finale also gave a lot of closure to other other characters. Lilly and Marshall stories were pretty much wrapped up by this point anyway, but Barney has a little girl, and for the first time, he has a relationship with a girl that isn’t based on sex (a play on “daddy’s home”). And of course Robin ends up with Ted at the end (thus completing “The Ted & Robin Pact”)
The main point I am trying to get across is that the show actually makes more sense with this ending, than if it had all gone the other way. All of these plot points were obviously set in place. In fact, this has been the planned ending since season 2. They even filmed part of it back in 2007, because Ted’s kids were going to get too old to reprise their rolls. So there really was no backing out. This is the story the writers set out to tell, and they were committed to it.
The last thing I want to say is how happy I was that the ending was bittersweet. So many finales try so hard to make everything perfect, that they end up feeling lukewarm and insignificant. The writers here had the balls to tell a story with a little heartache and tragedy, along with the same humor and heart the show was known for. Life is crazy, and it doesn’t always go the way we think. I feel this was the point the writers were trying to make. People meet, they fall in love, they get divorced, and they die. Know one knows how long we’ll have with the ones we love. We can only be grateful for the time we have.
Hopefully (like the finale of “The Sopranos”) the HIMYM finale will gain in popularity over the years. Those of us who loved it, really loved it. I’m just hoping others will come around at some point.
- Joshua McQuilkin