Since I just posted my favorite How I Met Your Mother episodes I feel it is appropriate to post my reaction the finale. Well friends…
Way back in season 5 episode 2 they had a conceit that Marshall couldn’t look at other women without having a Lilly death fantasy. Lilly gets sick, he grieves, and then he can move on to whatever hot woman he is currently looking at. Tell me that this isn’t the finale but in non-fantasy form?
Part of the reason it isn’t just a bad episode is the narrative structure of the show. A TV show like Seinfeld could get away with a sucky finale because there wasn’t a strong narrative to the stories. They didn’t really connect and could stand on their own in humor, jokes, storyline. HIMYM was built on it’s narration. That was the entire gimmick.
Here is this man telling us and his kids how he met their mother. It’s a specific narrative where we expect specific results. It’s like someone telling you a knock-knock joke- you expect the knock and the who’s there.
It really does hurt the entire show for me- not ruin but hurt. Endings are important in a narrative. I want to see the ring destroyed at the end of Lord of the Rings. I want to see Jane and Rochester get together. I want to see Harry beat Voldermort. The writers promised us the viewers an ending that we didn’t get.
It was supposed to be Ted’s great journey of how he met the mother and how that changed everything. Instead we got the alternate love story tagged on. Not the one we were promised all along but the one the writers had literally been spending 7 years convincing us was a bad idea. How is that satisfying? Just end with the mother at the train with the umbrella. That would have been perfect…
Ted and Robin dated in season 2 of the show. At the end of the season they break up because they realize ‘we have an expiration date’. While being right for each other in some ways, they want different things out of life. Robin wants to travel, focus on her career, and lead an exciting life. Ted, on the other hand, wants a house in the suburbs, kids, family, marriage.
So, are we supposed to assume that the expiration date really didn’t exist and that all these reasons they weren’t a match simply went away because he had kids with another woman? (Also, did it fit with Ted’s character in the show to have him drag out his wedding for 7 years? Are you kidding me? And we don’t even get to see the actual wedding!) Like I said, it’s like Marshall with the death fantasy- still get to be the great husband and father but also have his desire for Robin fulfilled. So lame.
So let’s assume the expiration date does go away and Robin and Ted were to really get together. Why writers do you spend an entire season on a weekend wedding only to spend the finale covering 15 years with divorce, death, and reuniting? Why not spend the final season getting to know the mother, seeing their relationship and then at the end of the season you could have the mother die if you wanted to go that way? Badly done!
So in conclusion Ted learned nothing in 9 years…
Ever since his emmy nomination in 2007 (season 2) the show has been practically carried by Neil Patrick Harris- sometimes to a fault. The episodes in seasons 5-7 were very Barney-centric with the playbook and Barney’s womanizing behavior featuring in almost every episode. But we also saw the character grow and learn things about his selfish life. He even tells Robin ‘I don’t always want to be that guy’. Well, evidently the writers disagree.
In one scene Barney and Robin fight in Argentina about his blog (if Barney is a lifestyle blogger how is that not the perfect companionship to Robin’s traveling and career? There are thousands of people who make a living doing that type of blogging?). Then they break up (again whole season devoted to their wedding weekend and it dissolves in a minute…). Next we are shown him having the ‘perfect month’ of sexual conquests, a new playbook and a baby with girl #31 (that is literally her name. We never see her or learn her name).
There was one nice moment with Barney and his daughter but why not have Barney and Robin adopt a girl in their travels or maybe he is an especially great uncle or anything but an illegitimate love child with a woman we haven’t been introduced to or known?
So in conclusion, Barney learned nothing from 9 years…
The person they turned Robin into also was so disappointing. She doesn’t even leave the show as a good friend. She has clearly broken Lilly’s heart time and again. Isn’t there for the ‘big moments’ and honestly in today’s modern communication is there any excuse for not being there in the big moments? Does Skype not exist for these people?
They even say in the finale that Ted has a ‘rare Scherbatsky sighting’. That’s not how I want to leave my friend of 9 years. As a cold, aloof, divorced woman who never communicates with her friends any more?
So in conclusion Robin learned nothing from 9 years…
And then we have Marshall, my favorite character. In season 2 there is an episode called ‘the best burger in New York’ where Marshall is debating about getting a job at GNB when he really wanted to be an environmental lawyer. He tries to find the right job and the right burger but nothing is as good as he had imagined it being 8 years ago, so he settles for the corporate job.
Then in the 3rd season he is so unhappy that in an episode called The Chain of Screaming he can’t take it any more and he quits. Nothing is worth feeling that way. This actually meant a lot to me at the time as it aired in Feb 2008 and I had just quit my job in December 2007, was unemployed and Marshall’s work journey felt very personal to me.
So, what do we get in the finale? Oh Marshall goes back to a lame corporate law job for who knows how many years! What! Yes, he then becomes a judge, but I couldn’t believe they had him go back to corporate law. After how unhappy he was would Lilly ever allow him to go back there? No way.
So in conclusion Marshall learned nothing from 9 years…
And then we’ve got Lilly left. She was in many ways the mother of the show- the warm nurturing presence for the cast. What does she end up like? Well, she is left crying a lot. We don’t really get a satisfying end for her character just a lot of crying. Why not show her happy as a mother and her kids happy? Something other than 15 years of crying.
So in conclusion Lilly…who knows what she learned in 9 years…
What did I learn in 9 years? Well, I had a lot of laughs with characters that were my same age and that I related to. In many ways their journey was my 20s. Not in the sense of what happens to them happened to me but that we became a grown up together. So for the characters to have gone on that journey with me and then end up not learning anything is very disappointing.
Nevertheless, I am going to chose to focus on the journey. It’s been a crazy 9 years.
So in conclusion Rachel learned something…
(I recognize this post is not my greatest writing but it was honestly kind of emotional for me to see things end the way they did. Like I said when I quit my job in 2007 this show meant a lot to me. I’ve stuck with it for 9 years, 3-4 of it that weren’t very good just so I could get this ending and it sucked. It really sucked)