I know the majority of the Internet has been in a complete hissy for the past few days, and every person is entitled to their own opinion, but I’m here to tell you why the series finale of How I Met Your Mother wasn’t as outrageously bad as everyone believes. And I’m writing this post and publishing it days later yes, but I wanted to be able to think about the show, think about the ending and really mull over what they did with it. Hopefully you will read all of this post before you post any hate comments at the bottom.
I’ve been watching HIMYM since the very start, I was front row and center when creators and writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas gave us what was seemingly our first bait and switch on September 19, 2005. I was a wee 15 year old, who was the perfect target demographic. I loved sitcoms, I was a teenager, and I was a girl (by the way, I’m still a female, just a woman now). Since then, I’ve watched the show almost religiously, although when I went off to college in 2008 (right around the season 4-5 lull) I fell behind watching the show live, but don’t worry right around the end of season 6 I was caught up and watching live again. Also I’ve seen every episode of seasons 1-7 at least 4 times each, and season 8 twice. So I know my HIMYM, and I’m looking at the end of the series as a whole, not just one double-episode, not just the wedding weekend from hell that may seem possibly pointless now with the divorce of Barney and Robin, and especially not just the last 10 minutes of the show.
So reader, you may read on, knowing you are in good hands with a person who not only just “consumed” the show, but knows the story arc and can analyze the series and the show with in-depth knowledge of Ted, Robin, Lilly, Marshall, and Barney. And be aware, I’m not here to lecture you, yell at you, or even vent at the creators Bays and Thomas, I’m writing this post so that you may better understand what Bays and Thomas did, and how they didn’t end the show with just mindless entertainment, they ended the show with heart, soul, and bravery, delivering a series finale different from anything else on television, but something we should have seen coming a mile a way.
To the people complaining about how ALL THAT Character Development went out the door in the last episode,
I say NAY! to you, NAY! my good sir, and here is why. Barney grew so much in the last few seasons, he went from a womanizing misogynistic male who slept with one different woman each night of the week, to a man who radically changed so much that he was worthy of one of the most BAMFs on television. But then after three years Robin gave him an out, after the wedding weekend from hell, they called it quits. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Actually I can. Have you ever heard the saying that people don’t really change? It takes something huge to change a person, and usually, sometimes a new significant other can maybe change you for a bit, but really what changes a person (and a character for that matter) is a new life or a sudden death. And Barney was never really going to change until he had a child of his own, which as we all know could not happen with Robin. Trust me, I was heartbroken when we found out that Barney and Robin got a divorce three years later, it was the last thing I tweeted about, but it was real.
A life changing experience
The show has always prided itself on having story lines that dealt with real life scenarios. Of course there were the filler episodes, but the show always had heavier plots because HIMYM was about real life and a couple of young “kids” transitioning into adults. We saw it when Marshall’s dad suddenly died of a heart attack, when Robin found out she couldn’t get pregnant, and how even the best of people can end up cheating on someone they care about. And what? You’re upset that Barney reverted back to his playboy ways after he couldn’t make it work with the woman he loved with all of his heart? Sometimes, even though you love someone SO much, but you want different things, or you’re at different parts of you’re life and no matter how hard you both work at it, you’re now unhappy, and you don’t see it getting better, you decide to end it. It happens, it’s real life, and it’s happen to me, but I’m not here to talk about me. I’m here to say that Barney reverting back and the marriage not working, is a representation of real life. What would you do after the person you cared about more than yourself no longer gave you what you needed? That you’ve both talked it out and it just makes sense to end things? I wasn’t happy about it either, but don’t you dare say all that character development went out the door, because it didn’t. Not really, because you’re not Barney, put yourself in his shoes, wouldn’t you react the same and go back to what you knew best? What didn’t hurt you? The only thing that would ever change Barney Stinson would be having a baby girl. And deep down, you know that, and you’re just angry that a show was real and that it didn’t tack on the happy ending for everyone because it was expected of them in a series finale.
You’re upset about the Mother dying?
Tough shit man. Yeah, another shitty thing to do by the writers, but guess what, it’s been coming since at least season 7 and if you didn’t realize in season 8 than you’re blind, but it’s forgivable. In all honesty they probably had it worked out since the first season. But do you remember that one episode, which I believe was in season 8 (I’ll update after I find it) where Ted told the kids that he would go back in time and spend that extra week or so with their mother even if her current boyfriend would beat the shit out of him? At first you might of thought it was just some general romantic notion by the classically romantic Ted Mosby right? No, look at it now, look at it then! He wanted that extra week with her because she probably developed cancer and died in 2024. I did the math, the show started in 2030 (25 years in the future), Penny (the daughter) said it had been 6 years since their mother died, Ted and Tracey married in 2020, had been together for 7 years (since 2013) and were together for a total of 11 years. That means that Penny was 16 in 2030 and lost her mother at the age of 10, with her brother being what, 8 or 9? Now with all that maths set aside, what Bays and Thomas gave us (in part) was a love story. Actually numerous love stories, and with each love story there is tragedy. Let’s be accurate, if Tracey never became ill we would have had the prefect love story, Ted and Tracey were absolutely prefect for each other, that scene under the T.M. umbrella? It was beautiful, and the minute that monologue began I balled, both times, I’ve watched the double-episode series finale twice now. And the two of them could have lived happily ever after into old age and Robin would have been a sad old dog lady, living in her same apartment (which is the one bit I found least plausible about the series finale) hopefully satisfied that she made it in her career and that she picked her career over love. Because that’s what Robin always did right? She wanted to travel the world and she got to.
Yes Cristin Milioti deserved more screen time and a happier ending, but that’s real life. People lose the love of their life’s because of terminal illness, and I myself know that it’s real, it’s not just some shitty writing ploy. Bays and Thomas tried to deliver a sitcom that held real life lessons with heartbreak and friendship. They delivered on their end, and I’m sorry that you’re taking that so poorly, that you’re not willing to accept that life has hardships and sometimes, when we’re lucky art will imitate life. Maybe someday you’ll realize what Bays and Thomas did, and how wonderful it really was, but maybe the only way you can see that is when you lose someone close to you, your best friend, your own parent, your loved one. And I hope to God, that it won’t happen to you, but everyone dies. Everyone is just a small bit of biology breathing in oxygen until our expiration date. I know it’s difficult to think about, and we don’t want our entertainment to force such terrible thoughts upon us while we look for an escape. But we still got a happy ending. The one everyone knew would happen, so I don’t understand if…..
You’re mad about Robin.
Do you feel cheated that all this time the show was called “How I Met Your Mother,” not “How I Wanted Your Permission to Ask Out Your Aunt Robin Who I’ve Been Pining for for Years”? Yeah I do too, but that latter title just isn’t catchy is it? But the whole story was about Robin. Remember at the beginning of this post, I stated the first bate and switch where we thought it was about meeting the mother, it was really about Aunt Robin? We should have known in the very beginning that this series finale would be like this. And you know what, it’s beautiful. Don’t tell me that Ted isn’t following the bro code with Barney now because Barney broke the bro code first. Don’t tell me you feel cheated, because if you didn’t realize this would happen after we got three episodes into the final season, without hardly seeing the mother, than you were blind. How I Met Your Mother wasn’t about just one silly love story. It was about life, for five very close friends, how they grew together, how they faltered with one another and grew apart. How I Met Your Mother gave us a real representation of life, of searching for “the one,” and some people get more than just one “the one.” Because why should Ted spend the rest of his life alone after the Mother died? But maybe your upset because……
We Never Saw Ted Mourn his Wife’s Death.
Speaking as a daughter who just lost her own father after a rapid declaration of brain cancer, life deterioration and death, who will never be walked down the aisle by her father, I can speak for Ted Mosby. Why in the hell would he spend time on his wife’s death and his mourning period while telling his kids (who also went through her illness and death) about their love story? Not only would it bring up terrible memories but it would detract from meaning of the story. Not to mention it would be totally out of character for Ted, who has always had a difficult time with accepting loss and failure (which could be seen when he found out about his parents divorce, losing Stella, and Marshall and Barney “employing” him after the GNB building failed the first time). Why would the writers spend time on that portion of the story? It’s incredibly difficult to live through it the first time, let alone repeat it to your own children who went through it once already. That’s bullocks! I didn’t expect them to spend time on that, seeing the Mother in the hospital bed was difficult enough for me. But maybe for you, you’re just too upset about how much….
How I Met Your Mother actually imitated real life.
If you haven’t caught on to why I think what HIMYM was pure brilliance I don’t know how else to beat it across your head. It had been 6 years since the Mother’s death, the kids were actually perfectly fine with Ted asking Robin out after all these years, and when you hold a flame that burned that brightly, and for that long for somebody, why is it wrong for him to let the flame come back to life and light the way out of darkness?
Bays and Thomas did something incredibly brave on March 31, 2014. They ended a sitcom, that for many of us, was like a best friend, they created something genuine and they ended with originality. Every time now, and in the future, that I watch the final 10 minutes of HIMYM, I will ball, and for a minute there, I’ll stop crying while Ted is talking to his kids, but the minute the song Heaven by The Walkman plays, and I see that blue horn, tears will be streaming down my face. Not because it was bad, not because I felt cheated or because the ride was ending, but because after all this time, when you think about everything that happened to Ted Evelyn Mosby, it’s just right for him to end up with Robin years later. I’m thankful for the ride I got to take with the cast and crew of How I Met Your Mother, it may have been a bit bumpy sometimes, but in the end Bays and Thomas delivered. It was beautiful, emotional, and incredibly brave of them to end a show with guts like that, and although they are getting major slack from the fans, this is one fan that can honestly say “I respect what you did, I understand why you did it, I think it was beautiful regardless of the heartbreak.”
Thank you so much for a decade of great television and giving me a reason to enjoy Mondays.