Did The How I Met Your Mother Finale Fail?

Full disclosure: I stopped watching How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) after the end of its 6th season. I was a fan for the first 5 seasons but my interest for the show waned afterwards. Something was… off. I really couldn’t put my finger on it for a while but I just figured I either grew out of it or the show wasn’t that funny anymore. So when the 7th and 8th season rolled in, I didn’t bother watching it.

However, when it was announced HIMYM was going to close with a “satisfying” ending on its 9th season, that piqued my interest and got me to binge watch Seasons 7 and 8 in quick succession. I then watched each episode of their final season as soon as it was released in the States so that I could be ready to see how, after nine years, Ted Mosby would finally meet the mother.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one who was curious how it would all end. As soon as the final episode aired, the Internet blew up at how people hated… no, detested the final episode of How I Met Your Mother! But a solid minority liked how everything all wrapped up. Me personally, I’m… torn I guess is the word. A part of me loved it and a part of me hated it. So, just to get these feelings off my chest, let me try to address some specific things the Internet has focused and give my views on them.

First off, the biggest complaint I’ve read about is the fate of The Mother, oh, I’m sorry. Her name is Tracy, apparently. During the last few minutes of the finale, it’s revealed that she gets sick and dies. That’s it. No specifics were given regarding what was her exact illness or anything like that. Nope, she gets sick and passes away.

This took up less than 20 seconds of screen time. Really.

This took up less than 20 seconds of screen time. Really.

Not that most of the viewers didn’t see it coming. The show has dropped hints cluing in viewers to brace themselves for this. In the 20th episode of the 8th season (The Time Travelers), Ted has a fantasy sequence where he runs to the then unknown Mother and wishes he had met her earlier so they could spend more time together. In Vesuvius, the 19th episode of the final season, The Mother asks what kind of mother would miss her own daughter’s wedding and Ted starts to tear up in sadness. These were clues given by the producers to ready ourselves for the heartbreaking tragedy (that we never really saw).

I was actually fine with the revelation of The Mother’s death. Yes, viewers like me were intrigued with all of the clues regarding who the mother is (yellow umbrella, took a class in college, etc.) which all took an extreme amount of foresight to put in. I guess it’s just a bitter pill to swallow since, for one, it was too brief an explanation and, two, the actress who played her (Cristin Milioti) was just too darn charming, you didn’t want to see her end up with such a depressing fate. Maybe if they just added a “farewell” scene or something to give her a better send off or put in a few more minutes focusing on this, more people would be fine with it.

Look at those adorably huge eyes!

Look at those adorably huge eyes!

The second point people are so upset is Barney Stinson “reverting” back to his womanizing ways. Ever since the 6th season of the show, Barney has slowly been turning a new leaf and the transformation seemed to be complete during the 9th season with Barney finally marrying Robin Scherbatsky. But all of that becomes undone during the hour long finale. Barney and Robin divorce after 3 years and he decides to become the guy he was before.

Now, here’s the thing: one of the reasons why I stopped watching How I Met Your Mother was because Barney was changing! He wasn’t the same catchphrase-spewing lothario he was during the earlier seasons! When he started to change, well, I thought they were messing with something that made the show so enjoyable in the first place! So, when he started to go back to his old ways, I liked it.

Of course, they had to make him a more responsible person somehow. So they made him a father of a little girl named Ellie. Was this a good decision? Well, in my opinion, yes and no. It’s a very realistic way to get a guy like Barney to reform now since he himself knows the dangers of having a daughter and how men will try to take advantage of her. But they never did explain what is his current relation to his baby-mama.

I'm not a dad but I can sorta   see this happening to a guy like Barney in real life.

I’m not a dad but I can sorta see this happening to a guy like Barney in real life.

The third issue people have is Ted actually getting back together with Robin. People were happy to see Robin and Barney together as they seemed to be a perfect match personality-wise. Ted will eventually find The Mother and he would be happy, right? In fact, there was an entire episode in the 9th season, Sunrise, all about Ted letting go of his feelings for Robin. So, to see them end up together seemed like the worst thing to happen to them.

I’m actually one of those people who wanted to see Barney and Robin together. Robin could keep Barney in check at all times and Barney would be able to be happy with someone who’s essentially a female version of himself. I also wanted to see Ted and The Mother end up in an old folks home together but that didn’t happen, obviously.

But is Ted going back to Robin the worst thing? I could think of worst things easily. The ending, where Ted shows Robin the blue french horn, is a great tribute to fans who stuck with the season from the start nine years ago. The producers even said that they had the ending all planned out way back when they started the show so I’m impressed they stuck by their original vision.

This is from the very first episode, not the finale.

This is from the very first episode, not the finale.

Should they have changed their ending based on fan expectation? I don’t think so. It may be a popular show because of the fans but they have to stick with what they thought was best for the show. Because they knew how it was all going to pan out early on, they already knew how to write each character and all of the scenarios. If they just got suggestions from fans, then I don’t think How I Met Your Mother would be the show it was. It would’ve been dumbed down and pretty bad. It’s because they took creative chances that made the show so endearing to millions of viewers.

One final point: I don’t think people realized that the premise is a huge MacGuffin! The show is actually about five friends: Ted Mosby, Marshall Eriksen, Lily Aldrin, Robin Scherbatsky and Barney Stinson having different adventures. It was never about Ted’s search for his soul mate! It was just these five people living their lives and getting into funny situations. It was never about The Mother! Way back in the first episode of the first season, it was obvious to me it was just a way to drive the story but they were never going to focus on it too much. So I just wanted to see what happened to this band of five people. Not how Ted met The Mother.

Would you watch a show called "Five Friends Who Go Through Stuff"? I didn't think so.

Would you watch a show called “Five Friends Who Go Through Stuff”? I didn’t think so.

I’m fine with the ending. I did wish it was longer or they had a couple of extra episodes to flesh things out since it came off as rushed. But I was satisfied with how they tried to tie things in a neat little package. Sure, the result was a little messy and not to everyone’s liking. But to say the finale “destroyed” nine seasons worth of  entertainment is a disservice to it. The finale was a bit disappointing but it was still a satisfying conclusion to what is essentially a huge snipe hunt.

I was pissed that they never revealed where Ted got that pineapple, though. I thought Marshall and Lily owed Ted that much!

Web series idea: How I Got That Pineapple.

Web series idea: How I Got That Pineapple.

What was your reaction to the HIMYM finale? Did you like it or did you hate it? Whatever your thoughts, leave them in the comments section below.

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