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.