April 1, 2014
I’m really, really conflicted about the finale of HIMYM.
I started watching the show back when I was 24. At the time, I thought that Ted — who is 27 in the pilot — was super old, WAY too old not to have his shit together and still be drinking with his friends every night. Of course I was wrong, and that’s something of the beauty of the show; unlike a lot of shows around it (especially at the time of its premiere), it portrayed the 20s (and then the early 30s) as a long, winding road, full of realistic wins and losses and relationships and new jobs and bad drunk choices. Nothing squarely worked out for the friends, but they kept plugging along and occasionally hitting gold, always ending up back in each other’s arms (there’s lots of hugging on the show). Much like in life.
But the point, always, was supposed to be Ted and his search for a partner. For the mother of his children. For the love of his life.
Now that we know everything we’ll ever know, I’m not sure how to feel. I feel cheated, in some ways, and in other ways fulfilled. I’m annoyed at the writers and I also get why they did what they did.
So, with a spoiler alert right here and out of the way, let’s break it down.
First, The Dumb Stuff
Killing the Mother off
As soon as Ted mentioned that she was sick, I drew in a sharp, angry breath. Was she really going to DIE?
Yes, she was going to die — it turns out that the long-sought after mother was just a pawn in a bigger game. That doesn’t seem fair to us, as we spent so many years wondering where she was and if we’d ever find her. I know that, you know, LIFE isn’t fair, but come on!
Barney and Robin’s divorce
This was some real bullshit. Why drag us through the mud like that? If this was the first time they were together and then they broke up, I could handle it, but it’s the millionth time, and they didn’t even seem to TRY to stay married. I also didn’t buy Barney going back to his old ways so quickly, despite his “this is who I am” speech. People DO grow up, especially after going through a divorce… right?
The Yellow Umbrella
The fact that the yellow umbrella panned out as an important, meaningful prop, only to then turn out to mean nothing to us, felt like a real slap in the face. Many of us have traced that umbrella’s whereabouts for the last ten years, knowing that it would lead to something BIG. So then we find out that it was only a stepping stone to the big thing, and that its owner died? Fuck you, umbrella.
But now, the stuff that I guess DOES make sense
Would anyone have been satisfied if Ted ended up with the Mother?
After all, who is this Mother (whose name is apparently Tracy) to us? She’s not anyone, really. We don’t know her — we JUST met her. Sure, she seems to blend in with the group, but that doesn’t mean we understand her and know her history. She could be anyone, so would it have felt like a real finale if Ted had just walked off into the sunset with this stranger?
Maybe we should have known
It wouldn’t have felt right for Ted to end up with this new character, which maybe we should have known. After all, it was right there in the pilot: Ted was going to marry Robin someday. Even though they dropped about a million “Aunt Robins” to throw us off the trail, maybe we should have been smarter about this.
Robin and Ted WILL be good together
They are best friends and they do like banging, we know that. They broke up the first time because they wanted different things — he wanted kids and she wanted to travel the world. Now, he has kids, and she has traveled the world. To see Ted return to her apartment carrying the blue french horn at a time in their lives when things are finally lining up is actually pretty beautiful.
I guess, begrudgingly, that it’s a realistic ending
Because life does behave in unpredictable ways. People who you love do die, and new love does appear. In that sense, the finale was very true to the spirit of the show.
I’ve always said that HIMYM, for all its flaws, was at its core realistically messy. So with that in mind, I think this was a good way to go.
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