Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Like many of you, the fiance and I sat down last night with snacks and beer, ready to absorb a moment in television history: the finale of the much-loved TV comedy, How I Met Your Mother. And, much like many of you, by 9 o’clock I was staring blankly at the screen, trying to figure out what just happened. After spending the entire season dissecting Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend, the writers flew through 16 years in 45 minutes. From Barney and Robin’s divorce (don’t even get me started- they belonged together), to the proverbial moving out of the apartment (a classic sitcom ending), to Fudge Supreme and Barney’s baby, the finale took viewers on an emotional roller coaster ride that really couldn’t get any worse. Right? Surely, they wouldn’t do anything else terrible to these characters. Wrong (and don’t call me Shirley). After years of speculation, conspiracy theorists achieved a bitter-sweet victory- Tracey (the mother) was dead all along). And the story wasn’t so much a ridiculous, loving, and touching story about how the gang navigated their 30s and met the mother. Oh no- it was a long-winded attempt by Ted to get his children’s permission to date Robin. The women who rejected him. Multiple times. For years. The blue french horn doesn’t deserve such a disservice.
No matter your reaction to the #HIMYMFinale, moments like this show how important these long running shows are in our culture. We all saw a little bit of ourselves in these characters and have developed a connection to this show or another. In a world where we are increasingly disconnected from each other, it’s become easier to develop that connection with fictional characters. And that’s not bad- we’ve been doing that for centuries through books and stories and plays. Media is meant to evoke an emotional response. And this finale definitely did.
Life these days is hard. I know a lot of people who have had a sucky year, myself included. And while I love realism in my movies, I have to admit that I prefer my TV comedies to have a softer side. I would have loved for the #HIMYMFinale to have a happy ending- Ted and Tracey, Robin and Barney, & Marshall and Lily all on that front porch, drinking scotch and making jokes. But in the end, it wasn’t my story and isn’t my art. The writers don’t owe us anything beyond what they’ve given us, no matter how much we wish it was different. However, the writers should take notice- How I Met Your Dad is already surrounded by negative speculation and the negativity surrounding this finale won’t help. But, as we learned over the past 9 years, only time will tell.
Judge Fudge Ruling: Case Dismissed. Let’s go to the mall.
Photo Credit: FlowTV