How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Series Finale

4 Apr
Photo credit: eonline.com

Photo credit: eonline.com

March 31, 2014 12.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the HIMYM finale, and many were left disappointed. To be honest, I was one of them.

As the credits rolled out, several questions ran through my head, ‘Why did they kill off The Mother?’, ‘Why did they spend the entire season building up to Barney and Robin’s wedding and then made them get divorced?’, ‘How come Ted got together with Robin again? and ‘Wait, what about the pineapple?’ I felt what many people felt: I felt I was cheated on.  I was totally pissed.

I also have to confess: I could not help crying. Crying over a sitcom, really? Not many movies or books can make you cry, not to say alone a TV show. But it was a sign of something done right.

The next day I was still thinking about it, and the day afterwards (and yes, I was getting misty). Weird, right? I had to do something about it, and I did. I re-watched the finale and the pilot – and it all started making sense to me.

What did we all expect the finale to be? Ted finally meets The Mother and they live happily ever after. A fairy-tale ending. But let’s be honest: does it always happen in life? Not at all.

Me and many other devoted HIMYM fans got pissed because they wanted to see something nice and sweet, something they can only dream about but they ended up getting something bittersweet they know first hand: LIFE.

Barney and Robin get divorced after the entire final season being set over their wedding weekend. Now tell me: don’t know that one couple (or maybe a few) spending weeks, months and years and a fortune planning a legen – wait for it! – dary! wedding just to find out the marriage is not working.  It happens.

The Mother (I still prefer to refer to her as The Mother despite we now know her name) gets sick and dies. Very sad indeed, but it happens – people go too soon no matter how much they love and are loved.

Ted goes back to Robin. Yes, it might be a mistake but don’t we all make mistakes? Who said your favorite sitcom characters are supposed to do everything right even if it is the series finale?

The pilot and the finale form a frame, but it doesn’t matter as much as those 9 years in between, all the pain and love the characters went through, all the things they did and did not. Ted in the finale might be holding the same French horn but he is not the same pilot Ted. He is a man who accomplished what he wished for: he met the one and started a family. The same with Robin. That successful globetrotter journalist might have 5 dogs again but it is not the same Robin who just moved to NYC from Canada hoping for a big career break. Can it work now? We don’t know, and we are not supposed to because it is another story. The story of how Ted met the mother of his kids is over, and we did learn about it.

But it is not the main thing. By the finale we pretty much know how Ted met The Mother, we just haven’t seen it yet. The finale sums up many life lessons we learned from the show:

Life is unpredictable, and anything can happen.

Friendship is beautiful but people do grow apart.

You can’t live in the past and have the same life over and over again.

Sometimes you just need to say ‘Good bye’ and let people go.

Love doesn’t always make sense and comes in many forms.

Good things come to you when you are ready for them.

Never stop believing. 

Life is about making choices – and not always we make the right one. 

People live and learn, and get older, and still make mistakes. 

Don’t be afraid to open your heart and love, even if you risk to get hurt. 

Cherish every moment of your life – big or small – and be thankful for what you had, have and will have.

Do you want me to tell you the finale scene that made me  emotional the most? It was not Barney meeting the true love of his life – his daughter. It was not Lily and Ted’s E.T. goodbye. It was Ted and The Mother wedding and the snapshots from their life together.

I could totally refer to all those stupid fights for nothing, those 5 am Christmas mornings, those lazy Sunday afternoons and those happy and sad moments our life consists of. Don’t we all have it? We do, and how often we forget about the ones we love and our feelings for them, how often we get buried under meaningless things we spend our time and energy on and forget to love and cherish what life gave us.

HIMYM had its ups and downs, and Season 9 was the worst with several episodes being just a waste but, after reflecting on the finale and the entire 9-year run, I can only applaud the cast and the crew. They managed to create something very special: a sitcom that is bigger than a sitcom, a show and characters you grow to love and care about, and, most important, a show that makes you reflect on your own life and come to peace with it. A bigger than life show is the one that brings real life to the screen, even if it makes no sense at first.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Series Finale”

  1. Leonardo April 5, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    nice review, but i still think the finale was very good for everybody, except for Ted… throughout 9 seasons we learned that Robin wasn’t good enough for him, that he surely deserved better and what we found out is that the whole show was about the worst of the main characters (imo).. she fucked up with Ted and then with Barney, she had many nonsense boyfriends during the show, and at the end she separates from the gang because of her selfish reasons and then Ted runs back to her?? come on, we deserved better, and TED deserved MUCH BETTER… he would be much better off alone… just hated this.. imagine how it is to spend the rest of your life with your best friend’s ex… that just will make me remember Ted as the greatest loser ever

    • Sylvers April 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      @Leonardo I have to disagree with you there. Not about Ted getting the worst of it, but about him being the “only” one who gets screwed. I think Barney is a good contender for the “most screwed” title next to Ted.

      Consider.. the man plays out most of his life as a loveless womanizer with little to no substance. As he gets older he begins to mature and grow out of that phase. Enter Nora, the potential love of his life, they’re compatible they work great together.. then he cheats on her with, yes, you know it, Robin, whom not long after betrays him and refuses to dump her boyfriend for him as he did his girlfriend. Tragic right? Well apparently his heart is big enough to forgive her completely for that betrayal. And as he moves on he eventually decides that he still loves Robin, and as luck would have it Robin feels the same way and is presented as Barney’s ultimate conclusion to his journey of “growth”. He abandons most of his old ways, he makes a lot of sacrifices and promises, and he’s genuinely happy to do it.

      Three years down the road.. yup, like clockwork, Robin gets selfish again and puts her career before the man who practically became a new person for her and they decide to call it quits. The result? Barney regresses about 2 seasons worth, and he’s back to the ol’ playboy character, except now, he’s truly and completely broken thanks to Robin. And if one can venture a guess, he’d never allow himself to fall in love again.

      Where as she would be happy to marry Ted now that his lovely wife snuffs it in a 10s scene. Noting that IF they do get married. Barney would undoubtedly cease to be either of their friends. Because the reason Barney and her broke up, was because she wouldn’t settle down for him, except should would do it for Ted, if she marries him as he has children. And that is unforgivable.

      All in all, robin is the devil. Yeah and Ted and Barney both get royally screwed.

  2. Daniel Sillitto April 7, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    See this is exactly were the defenders are getting it wrong.
    The whole “this is life, it’s realistic” discussion has no place when it comes to a TV show. A TV show is fictional it is not real life it and is not bound by it’s rules. Especially not a TV show where everyone has a twin walking around, where cockamouses exist and guys dress up in all sorts of weird costume where to bed women.
    It’s the whole point we watch TV – escape-ism.

    But let’s just run with this angle for a second.
    Does everyone die in their 30s?
    Does every marriage fail?
    Does everyone wind up with their first love after several failed attempts and marriages and kids?
    The answer to all this is no. So to say “oh but this is more real”, when in fact the opposite is far more common in real life, is utter nonsense.
    Also, most importantly and this is what all of the shippers of this Ted/Robin thing don’t get – this IS the cookie cutter fairy tail ending, this is the unrealistic, corny and cliché TV ending everyone claims it would have been if he had been with the mother.

    This is Ross and Rachel all over again. Putting two characters together just for the sake of it, despite having seen over and over again how it doesn’t work. The couple that against all odds and implausibility ends up together simply because the writers like the idea.
    Realistic would have been if Ted would have realized that the girl he obsessed about all those years wasn’t for him, that they tried and just didn’t work out. That there are other women out there he can be happy with.
    Sorry but the – my real love married someone else and your mum just happened t walk by that minute” doesn’t really cut it here.

    There was nothing real or true to life to this finale.

  3. Rob SoLF April 7, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    “What did we all expect the finale to be? Ted finally meets The Mother and they live happily ever after. A fairy-tale ending. But let’s be honest: does it always happen in life? Not at all.”

    But from a writing standpoint, the fairy tale IS what happened. The writers built the story to manipulate viewers to pine for the Ted/Robin coupling right from the pilot. But they had a built in foil: “Robin is not the Mom, but you want these her and Ted to get together”. They created this “metashow conflict”(yes, I assure you, this was created on purpose) where the viewer wants Ted/Robin, but the show flat out promises that that’s not how it will end, by creating the whole “Mother” premise.

    The fairy tale is that the true love of your life is the FIRST love, not some upstart that pops in at the last minute and scoops him up. The latter person, in fairy tales and romcoms, is ALWAYS the foil. The villain. The monkey wrench that builds the tension that the original coupling might not happen.

    This is almost ALWAYS the way it goes, with some clever exceptions in movies and shows like, “My Best Friend’s Wedding”, or the Wonder Years finale. They were SO MUCH BETTER for it.

    Anyhoo, back to HIMYM. They then introduce the mother, and to their credit, they write her not as a foil, a villain, or a monkey wrench. They write her as the perfect person for Ted, and Millioti knocks it out of the park.

    So a person begins to think: “hey, maybe these folks are trying to break the mold, here. They spend 8 years trying to get people to root for Robin, then introduce the “upstart”, who could truly give Ted(and the audience!) the means to stop pining and walk away from a thrice failed relationship to be with someone that can truly love him.

    But nope. Ted, from a writing standpoint, has his cake and eats it, too. He gets the wife and family, they take what should be the most devastating and emotional event in his life(her death), probably what should be the MOST IMPORTANT SCENE IN TED’s LIFE AND THE SHOW, and play it offscreen. No way you do that unless you want the Mom chucked out the window to get to the “important” relationship…

    Then they reveal that Ted never really stopped pining over Robin, indicating that he hasn’t grown as a character since season 1. This is completely contrary to what we’re expected to believe when he gives the locket to Barney.

    Robin and Barney divorce and also regress right back to season 1

    9 years of character development completely gone in a matter of minutes of screen time.

    As many others have said, it would have been an acceptable ending around season 5 or 6 from a character development standpoint, but even then, still a typical fairy tale ending. Robin was “the one” and the Mom was the foil, with little else to add other than to solve “Ted has kids, but Robin can’t have kids” artificial problem introduced to throw off the audience.

  4. Rob SoLF April 7, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I hope I don’t come off as trashing your blog, because I get what you mean, and I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’d like to comment on a couple things, here.

    “You can’t live in the past and have the same life over and over again.”

    Yet that’s what he does when he keeps going back to Robin over and over. This is the opportunity the finale totally blew, IMO: That Ted finally closed that door in his life and moved on to better things.

    “Sometimes you just need to say ‘Good bye’ and let people go.”

    Again, totally ruined by the fact that he went back to Robin.

    “Love doesn’t always make sense and comes in many forms.”

    Can’t disagree with that! :)

    I think so much of my irritation about the finale is how it completely and abruptly ran counter to nearly every ounce of character development that has occurred in the past 4 seasons. It seems pretty clear, IMO, that it was 90% written by the second season. So much growth was written into the characters since then, and so much had happened, yet the finale seems to ignore the bulk of it. Then it goes and turns the mother into a McGuffin.

    In terms of a comedy, I still love the show. Endearingly funny. But the finale completely destroyed the romantic side of it for me. It just comes across as fanfic written 3-4 years ago.

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