Tabz Reacts to The Finale of How I Met Your Mother….

Last Forever Part One

“Endings are hard. Any chap-assed monkey with a keyboard can tap out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch, there’s always going to be holes, and since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the ass.” – Supernatural

Much has been said about the finale of “How I Met Your Mother” people are angry/not angry/sad/whatever emotion they’re feeling. For you to understand my reactions (and for me to understand them to be fair), I need to take you back to the beginning.

I hate sitcoms.
Hate them with a passion. I resisted watching them for a long time because they all follow the “characters don’t change from episode to episode” and the same lesson that character A learns in episode 1, is still the same lesson he or she is learning in episode 100. Character development? Jokes are more important!

So when my best friends were telling me to watch How I Met Your Mother, I resisted strongly. Despite my new obsession with Buffy. Somewhere while they were airing season 2, I jumped in and watched.

I fell in love. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!

To say that How I Met Your Mother has been a big part of my life is kind of weird, but it’s true. It’s one of the primary fictional worlds that I communicated in for a very long time. Despite falling in and out of love with it recently, my world was full of loving yellow umbrellas, talking about pineapples, suiting up and being generally awesome. Lines and story elements from the show became ways I talked with my best friends. In a Facebook game I collected yellow umbrellas… because of reasons. I quoted the Bro Code, I sang Barney Stinson – that guy’s awesome. I told one of my best friends to don’t “Ted out.”

Quickly the gang became a set of friends like any fictional friend group I’ve had over the years. I wanted to see them grow up, I wanted to see them together, I wanted to see their friendships work (or not work and then work).

I totally forgot about “The Mother.”

Then she came on the scene and showed us what was wrong with every other woman Ted had ever been in love with. She got Ted. She loved Ted. She loved the Renaissance fair, stupid fact checking, and she laughed at his jokes. She loved Star Wars, played the bass, and all the things Ted was looking for. And, best of all, she put up with all the things about Ted that even his friends (Robin included) couldn’t stand. Let’s be honest, his friends? Not the nicest about his crazy.

So, the great lesson was learned, you can’t just rush finding “the one.” And, despite my misgivings, I fell in love with Tracy too. I wanted to see her join the gang and find her place (which I felt they did beautifully with the “beautiful name is it French?” line).

And here’s where my problem is with the storytelling. I get that this was a framed story. I get that they felt it had this beautiful connection with the pilot when Ted holds up that blue french horn and Robin and her five dogs are looking down at him. But they did not earn this moment with the past couple of seasons. In fact, they put up every red flag that it was a dumb idea.

And yes, I get the “he’s had kids and married life” and she’s “had her career” so now they can be together right?

Not right. They never worked as a couple even if you remove the “I want kids and you don’t obstacle” and throwing Tracy into the story just proves how not-compatible they are. Ted and Robin’s relationship before was mostly off camera (we came back to them having spent a summer together between seasons), but what we did see was a lot of petty arguments. No amount of sitting in the rain can undo how terrible they were together.

Also, using The Mother as a mcguffin is just terrible writing in general. If this was indeed a story about how life twists and turns and you can’t expect everything to tie up nicely, then sell that in the last season (not in the last fifteen minutes).

Maybe the writers were moving toward something with the finale (which we know they were because they recorded the kids at the ending back in season 2), but they missed the development in between to get them to that place. If, indeed, Ted and Robin were meant to be together later as a second chance at love (which I totally buy those kinds of stories about the second half of your life love) then we should have seen their relationship work better or even their friendship work better (seriously, go back and count the numbers of times Robin slams Ted… it’s a lot). We should have seen a lot more chemistry. We should have seen the “this would work, if only” from their friends (oh wait, everyone told him it was stupid to still be hung up on Robin).

I haven’t even touched on the character development jenga that they built, broke and built again… only to ruin it in the last episode. This pretty much sums that up.

And I get it, it’s a sitcom. In the end, I should just be really happy that for 9 seasons it made me laugh. And I am, despite my hatred of the finale, it had me crying and emoting because these are characters I’ve lived with for so long and I had to say goodbye to them.

That said, I expect a lot from my TV. TV means a lot to me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that this has dominated my thoughts all last night and this morning. I don’t think I or any other fan who is angry is being unreasonable or overly dramatic. I think, in the end, it’s a tribute to how much the show has meant to me. And, in the end, I’m just going to accept that this is how the finale ended:

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  1. Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I love sitcoms, so my reaction compared to yours was … pretty much the same.

    And let’s not forget that the entire last season was all about the wedding of Barney and Robin, who ended up divorced just three years later. Overall I had very mixed feelings about the final episode, but I think they’d have done better if they pitched those final scenes with the kids and went a different direction.

  2. Posted April 4, 2014 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with much of what you said. I enjoyed that the happily ever after was real and bitter sweet. I saw the mother’s death coming from a few episodes back when they flash forward to a conversation between Ted and Tracy and she says, “What mother would ever miss her daughters wedding?” Ted immediately had a look of utter anguish on his face (kudos to Josh for portraying that so well). So there was a sadness on the horizon. Something terrible was going to temper the happy ending. I knew it was coming and I was okay with it. I was okay with it because I knew that, if well written, it would convey such an important lesson: You have to appreciate what you have while you have it. Sometimes things don’t work out perfectly but you have to focus on the good times and all those blessings and accept the bad with the good.

    The last few minutes kind of knocked all that over. Not to mention that it felt very much like fan service.

    Please excuse any typos and auto corrects… This was a phone post.

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