Like many, I have grown to love How I Met Your Mother over the years, and managed to avoid spoilers for 5 days before finally watching the series finale. Finally after watching it, I can understand why fans were so enraged.
During this final season, everything has been built up to Barney and Robin‘s wedding, only for their marriage to be dashed 10 minutes in. Poor Marshall broke down to his wife’s whim and went to Italy, settling his dream to have hers come true, when years after he still desperately wanted to be a judge and delt with a shit job for years waiting for the phone to ring for a second chance.
Ted‘s wife, whom we finally learn is named Tracy dies of some mysterious illness that is never mentioned in the finale. Barney‘s 9 years of character development disappears after his divorce, only for him to knock up some random sexual conquest and find love in being a father to his new born daughter. And the worst part is Robin in the end getting together with Ted, even though throughout the series, the storytelling displayed how bad of a fit Robin and Ted would be together.
Despite what I have said above, I don’t disagree with the official ending. I do believe however that it was poorly executed.
Barney and Robin:
Why make Barney and Robin a thing and have fans fall in love if it was never really going to be? I recall Barney‘s final play, “The Robin” one of the best How I Met Your Mother episodes I have ever seen. My heart aches for their characters because they both changed so much and developed not only individually, but as a couple. The fact that their marriage didn’t work out, makes me sad. I understand that not everyone has a happy ending, but these are fictional characters fans have loved together and to marry them, then tear them apart so suddenly is just darn right cruel. Barney denying romantic love because if it wouldn’t happen with Robin, it wouldn’t happen with anyone, broke my heart.
Above all characters on this show, Barney deserves love. I understand deep down, Barney really wanted children but was willing to let that go because he loved Robin. But having a random child heal all his wounds is NOT the answer. A baby takes and does not give, having Barney love a child that can’t necessarily consciously love him back is a poor ending to his otherwise wonderful character. Loneliness and emptiness in one’s life should not try being filled by having a child. I just feel Barney Stinson as a character was so much more than that.
Lily and Marshall:
These two were pillars of strength for Ted. I have never really disagreed with their characters until Lily wanted to move to Italy. Lily had already ran off, broken up with Marshall and decided to pursue a career to be an artist. That failed. That put both Marshall and Ted through a world of pain. Not only that, but Lily was pregnant. At what point is it financially, logically and emotionally viable to pack up and move overseas to Italy when your husband has been offered to be a judge? Something he has worked up to for years and has always wanted. Lily has already had her dream! Why is it that Marshall had to give up his, then wait for years for a second chance, all the while working in a job that he was clearly openly miserable about when all of this could have been avoided if they DIDN’T go to Italy? Just thinking about it enrages me!
When you are a couple, you are one unit and your dreams should be entwined. Clearly the relationship between these two characters clearly wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, but because it was Ted that was narrating the story, perhaps he was too blinded by his own relationship to truly see the cracks in theirs? Ever since the characters decided to go towards Italy in that crossroad, I have been unpleasant about their relationship ever since. And I’m hoping that it’s not just me that feels this way.
Ted and Robin:
Whilst I am aware Ted could have started his story at any moment, he started it when he first met Robin signifies I must have missed many extremely subtle hints of these two characters ending up together in the very end. But then why were viewers shown how bad these characters were together? If the fans reactions are that severe and against Ted and Robin being together, it is obviously because the writers initially led fans to that conclusion. There would not be a backlash if this was not the case. Life is not blue-printed. Nothing is set in stone. Growth is never controlled. Whilst I am aware the reaction from Ted’s children was filmed back in 2005, things can and do eventually change.
As a writer, I understand that you can’t really start a story without having an ending, but that does not mean the ending is not re-worked or changed after developing a storyline. And all of this is not an excuse for the extremely poor execution of this finale. Perhaps the writers did want everything to come “full circle”, but how often in life do you come full circle to conclusions like this? I also never felt any vibrant chemistry between these two characters compared to Robin‘s relationship with Barney.
And all this time having these characters try let each other go, only to still come back to each other years later, as much as it sounds romantic still doesn’t sit right with me. Robin can’t have kids, but can now magically have kids because Ted already has kids because the wife died. How convenient. I can’t get over the fact that Ted was in love with Robin, but Robin always seemed to use Ted as a back-up plan. I believe she loves Ted but was never in-love with Ted. Why anyone would want that kind of awful relationship is beyond me.
Her first relationship that she felt was perfect ended when her partner Max died. After that, she found love in Ted. Then Tracy dies early and Ted finds another love. Considering the show has been titled “How I Met Your Mother” and only introducing the actual mother around near the end of the series, makes this series feel dishonest and misleading. If the show had been titled anything else, having this character killed off probably would not have pisses off so many fans off as it did. All the pieces come together and finally add up, leading up to them meeting. And then the writers kill her.
Apart from the series finale and the above things I disagree with, I can’t deny that How I Met Your Mother has been an AMAZING series. I have grown to love Ted Mosby, Barney Stinson, Marshall Eriksen, Lily Aldren and Robin Scherbatsky as friends, even though they are fictional characters. And I will miss seeing Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris on screen together.
I guess that all good things can come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the end is necessarily as good as the journey. The best part of the series is not Ted or Barney’s sexual conquests and love life dilemmas, but the interaction and friendship between the characters.
Despite these things, How I Met Your Mother taught me that love can make people change; like Robin and Barney. But in just this one finale episode, the writers destroyed that when they got divorced and in a split second Barney went back to chasing girls and Robin back to her stubborn independent ways, living by herself with her multiple dogs. 9 years of character development, all for nothing. I don’t care what people say, there is no such thing as “right person, wrong time”.
Sure, this is the ending that was planned from the start. Doesn’t mean it was the right one. And that doesn’t make it not awful. Disappointed is an understatement. WORST ENDING EVER.