Spoiler Alert, I guess. Who cares.
Well, I did it again guys. I let the world of TV infect my personal life, only to be broken up with in a horrible manner. Like Ted from seasons past, I was left at the alter, but with no alternate plan.
The thing is, I’m not going to complain about the specific twist decisions that the show runners made. I’m not going to let my blood boil over the the “point” of the series. What I am going to lose my mind about is story telling.
How I Met Your Mother has always been about moments and story telling. How accurately do you actually remember the past? Is it about the specific details or the feelings that stick with you after a certain experience? Do you remember the events or the people? Do the events make the people or the people make the events? It employed a wonderful framing device that always entertained, even if you disliked how they used it at times (ala Robin’s “future kids”).
So, if story telling was more or less always the strong suit of a team that gave us some of the best sitcom episodes in recent memory, how in the world do you mess up, not only an hour finale, but an entire season of story telling? We were left with a sped up hour of emotion and personally progression of characters that, despite recent seasons, still were dedicated to in our TV lives. I don’t care that the mother died or that Robin was still the lingering thread in his life. I was offended by how all of this was conveyed.
We’d been force fed this Barney/Robin/Ted triangle for years, most of it not working at all. Regardless of these three actors’ chemistry, the continuous nature of the ‘will they, won’t they’- ‘who will it be’ was never gripping enough to sustain through the ups and downs of this show. So, after an entire dreadful season of spending an entire weekend at Robin and Barney’s wedding, you’re going to essentially sparknote some incredible material in 45 minutes only to apathetically kill off the mother? We should have cared more. You had a wealth if possibility with Tracy that you threw away. Why didn’t we get to learn how she became one of the group over the years, so when she was taken away, we understood the true pain of it all. A pain that only Robin could help to chase away.
Listen, I understand that you can’t have Robin in and out of the season as a whole, as she is one of the regulars. You also can argue that the kids know most of the stories told in the last hour, as they were alive for most of them. The strongest aspect of the finale was the actual meet and umbrella conversation. How beautifully would that have worked editing gracefully together with her passing away in the hospital? Maybe her last conversation with Ted is re-enacting that Umbrella scene? There is so much to be done with what they had given themselves.
This ending was devised years ago. They filmed Ted’s kids’ reaction sometime near the start of season 2, as proof. They based this ending on how we as an audience felt about Robin and Ted at that point in time, but characters, stories, and audience emotions change. In a TV landscape that is always changing, the writers need to adapt too. I am very impressed they stuck with their guns in one sense, but sometimes thinking that you’re the most clever person in the room is a bad thing. I think I see where some of Ted’s narcissism came from.
Before I conclude, I have some other thoughts:
- Nothing like spending over 20 episodes at a wedding that is made obsolete within the first 10 minutes of a finale. If anything, that’s the plot point I believed the most.
- I just wasn’t okay with Barney’s transformation barely being discussed. I thought it was a beautiful moment when he sees his daughter, but how much would you have liked to see the baby’s mama and see that situation dealt with in the fullest? I get that the point is that it doesn’t matter who the mother is in that situation, but still… don’t half ass one story line when the rest are pretty lame too.
- Marshall and lily had very little to do in the finale. While they didn’t need much wrap up, I think more could have been spent on what they are going through, especially with giving the apartment away for good.
- Does anybody else feel like the show treated the mother, due to her usage, as only a ‘baby carrier’? How I Met The Woman Who Carried My Children. They essentially gave her the same purpose of Barney’s mystery woman.
- The french horn ending was cheap, but only because it wasn’t set up well. That scene in another context would have KILLED!
- Who the HELL does Ted think he is leaving in the middle of their wedding to get ready to go to Chicago? That’s just a RUDE best man.
- So, I guess Bob Saget only had a contract for ‘everything but the finale’.
- I enjoyed the concept of Ted not needing to get married right away because, essentially, he found his soul mate, and no ceremony was needed to truly covey that personal achievement.
Now, as I mentioned before, this show is about the moments and what you remember about the moments. In a few years, I may not remember all of the details or the episodes or the plot points, but I will remember how I felt. I will remember how much I enjoyed these people and how that enjoyment dwindled over the years. I will be grateful that I had them every Monday night to either laugh, cry, or feel frustrated. I will remember what a slap bet is, who Robin Sparkles is, how Marshall began to get over Lily with pancakes, and the wonderful and pleasing platform introduction of Ted and Tracy. However, this ending was so ill conceived that I will also remember how betrayed as a viewer I felt. How I was let down from a story aspect. There’s a beginning, middle, and end. All three parts have an affect on how I feel regardless of how much I enjoyed one or the other.
It’s like a meal. I may not remember what I ate, but I will always remember how I felt after eating. In this case, this 9 year meal had incredible apps, a decent entree, and a piss poor dessert that I tried to stop eating. Maybe the last bit would taste like the appetizer?! Alas, I fell for it again, this time with a sitcom. I was left unsatisfied, hungry, and emotionally drained. Well, at least Vince Gilligan still knows how to end things.
Keep on Watchin’!