I got into How I Met Your Mother a little late, probably sometime around 2010. My time at university included a lot of me sitting alone in my room at 3am surrounded by 16th century novels on the plague, and a little twenty minute per episode sitcom was just the thing I needed to, errr, ‘reward’ myself for managing to read a chapter. I’ve never really been a fan of the sitcom format. I don’t usually like my comedy to seem forced or unrealistic, and I haven’t really been a big fan of a sitcom since Friends. Something about HIMYM seemed different to me though, it actually had emotion and character development behind the jokes and the surreality. I even began liking things such as the Cockamouse. But all good things must come to and end, and for the last few months I’ve been nervously awaiting the final episode. Where they going to ruin this show that I’ve invested so much time in? Will I feel that all those hours I marathoned the episodes were wasted? Finally, the episode arrived. I watched it, I cried, I thought about it a little bit, but I still can’t decide whether I liked it or not.
Series finales are always bittersweet for me. On the one hand it means that a show I’m emotionally invested in is ending, on the other it usually means that all the loose ends that have been bugging me for years will get wrapped up. HIMYM actually delivered on the second one. One of the things that’s annoyed me for years about this show has been what was Ted sitting on whilst telling the story? The last episode finally revealed that to me (a desk, not what I was expecting for some reason), and I know it seems a trivial and minute thing to focus on in the grand scheme of things, but I’m glad I know. I’m also happy that it told us that Marshall finally fulfilled his dream of becoming a judge, but we never find out what the other characters ended up doing with their lives. Does Robin travel with all those dogs? Does Barney actually have any transferable skills? Is Lily a stay at home mom after living her dream in Rome? I’m emotionally attached to these characters, I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE.
That being said, there were a lot of things that I liked about the finale. The most major of these was Barney and Robin’s divorce, because I really don’t think that they ever made any sense as a couple anyway. I’m not sure Barney is actually capable of romantic love. The flashback they used was perfect too, as we saw part of the scene earlier in the season, and had no idea that it is what would lead to their divorce in the future. Another thing I loved was Barney becoming a dad. Although I groaned when they initially revealed it, as soon as he held her I was turned. Barney is like the King of Daddy Issues, so I’m pretty sure he’s going to be the best dad ever to Ellie. If not a little sexist and degrading, but maybe her birth will show him the light a little bit. I especially loved how they didn’t make Barney have a fairytale love with Number 31, because like I said, I’m not sure he will ever be capable of having a serious committed adult relationship. Lily and Marshall continue to be perfect, and I kind of wish that they had more focus in the finale. They were Ted’s original friends, long before Barney and Robin came on the scene.
But now we get to the negatives. But really there is only one. Ted and Robin, really? Why didn’t the show just end after the first episode then? I feel so cheated. I never liked Ted and Robin as a couple, Ted was clearly more into the idea of starting a family than she was. I also find it highly unlikely that Robin would be willing to take on two nearly-adult stepchildren, as she’s never really shown any maternal instinct before. I know that the ending set it up that they were soul mates and that Ted and Robin would spend the rest of their lives together, but I give it three years maximum. They’ll split up and Ted will find someone nice again. Not too nice though, because he really did find the perfect woman in Tracy.
Waiting until the end of the series to introduce The Mother was always going to be a risky move because people have had nine years longer to get attached to the other characters and to want the best for them. But I thought that HIMYM executed it perfectly, and I was pretty much instantly a fan of The Mother. It really did seem like Ted and Tracy were supposed to be together. The umbrella, the Economics lecture, the fact he dated her roommate. They even have the same initials! The show really spent a lot of time pursuing the whole ‘so close, yet so far’ theme. And then they just ripped it away. She dies. Fantastic. I kind of saw the death coming though, thanks to the hints throughout the last season. Most notably the talk about attending your children’s wedding, but also showing that Tracy had a previous partner that died. It was as if they were letting the audience know that it’s okay to move on so that we wouldn’t hate Ted for dating someone new. I also hated Robin’s hair when Ted brings her the Blue French Horn. Where they trying to make her look older or like an alien posing as a human?
I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad that the ending was planned from the beginning. I could have maybe forgiven Ted ending up with Robin if it looked like it was something the writers threw together out of desperation at the last minute, but the inclusion of the children’s dialogue shows that it was always planned. I probably should have seen it coming, it is a bit weird that Ted started the story of how he met his children’s mother with how he met some random Canadian lady in a bar, nine years before he even knew his mother existed. Robin was clearly a huge part of Ted’s life, but I’m still not convinced that they’re soul mates. Ted always was a huge romantic, Lily and Marshall said it themselves in the last episode. I can imagine the rest of the gang finding out about Robin and Ted and being all ‘uggggh, not again’.
Overall, I think that I liked it. It’s a lot better than other series finales that I’ve seen. The first half of the episode was perfect, it was mainly the last one I had the problems with. The flashforwards are what really made it worthwhile for me, it was great to get a glimpse at what the characters would do in the future, which is a lot more than other TV shows give when they end. Much like I do when I say Poltergeist is my favourite horror film, I’ll just pretend that the last five minutes didn’t happen. That Ted never confessed his love to Robin. That, or I’ll imagine that they went on a few dates but decided to just stay friends. Can I have a spinoff about the adventures of Goth Lily in college now please?