Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saying goodbye to "How I Met Your Mother"


Did anyone else watch the series finale of "How I Met Your Mother" last night? What did you think?

Overall, I was disappointed -- although it had its moments. I liked the points it made about the ebb and flow of friendship and how life changes -- HAS to change -- as you and your friends marry and have kids, focus on careers, and move further away from each other. But that you can still show up for the big moments and remember why you all loved being together so much. : ) 

But there was that ending...! 

Like many, I found myself yelling at the TV set when I realized that we had just spent nine years building up to Ted FINALLY meeting The Mother -- only to kill her off within minutes and have Ted wind up with Robin -- again!!  I know some people felt that Ted & Robin belonged together & should somehow end up that way. And while the two did have chemistry, so did Ted & The Mother. But it all just seemed too pat, too contrary to where the plot had been leading us. (Although I will admit -- I did love it when Ted produced the blue French horn at the very end.) 

And I was disappointed as a childless woman, too. Robin was one of the few childfree-by-choice female characters on television; the episode dealing with her subsequent discovery that she could not have children even if she did want them was so well done (for the most part) that I wound up writing two posts about it (here and here).

Last night, I felt a pang of recognition as Robin ranted to a very pregnant (for the third time!) Lily about why she found it hard to be around her friends: "The gang is a married couple who I never see anymore about to have a third kid, it’s my ex-husband hitting on slutty cops right in front of me and it’s the guy I probably should have ended up with with the beautiful mother of his child."  Even if she didn't want kids, she was feeling unloved and lonely and left out as her friends paired off, started families and turned their attention elsewhere. I think many of us in the ALI community, who have watched as friends effortlessly popped out one kid after another & then gradually drifted away, could relate. 

Robin could never be a mother (biologically, anyway) -- let alone THE Mother (and we knew that, since Future Ted & the kids referred to her as "Aunt Robin" throughout the series).  But, as I noted in my original post about the Robin/infertility episode, referring to viewer comments I read about the episode: 
I got a rueful chuckle out of how many were trying to figure out how Robin might wind up being a mother after all, even if she doesn't have biological kids (adoption? stepkids?)(She just HAS to be a MOM!!! Somehow!!! Right???)
Well, knock me over with a feather -- in the end, she did wind up as the stepmother to Ted's kids. We just can't have a woman on TV, especially the series' main love interest, go completely without children all her life, now, can we??!

Not only that, but Barney (of all people!!), winds up with a baby as well.  And while the scene was nicely played (I adore Neil Patrick Harris), and it was nice to see Barney finally become the guy we knew he could be (having seen glimpses of that guy when he was with Robin) -- the idea that Barney could only truly grow up and be redeemed through fatherhood -- that a baby is the ultimate answer to every problem -- is deeply disappointing. (Although, as one commenter I read pointed out, it was kind of funny -- karmic justice of sorts -- that the supreme womanizer wound up, not just as a doting dad but the doting dad of a baby GIRL.)

Did you watch? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with anything I've written above?


  1. I missed the entire show -- I mean, I haven't seen one episode -- even though it was something I think I would have loved watching. But for some reason, I'm really drawn to these recap posts, even though I don't know the characters or storyline.

    I always wonder how much of the plot was decided beforehand, and how much of the plot was decided after feedback. Maybe that is why I like to write books over television. There is guidance from the editor, but overall, you don't start getting feedback from the general public until the book is out there and done.

    So did they know this is where the series would ultimately land? How all their relationships would be? Or was there public pressure?

  2. @Mel/Lollipop: Apparently the ending was filmed back around the time the show began -- the narrator is telling the story to his kids, and I guess it dawned on the producers that if the show went on for a long time (it lasted nine years! -- and probably a few more than anyone expected), the kids were going to start growing up (lol), so they filmed their segments in advance.

    So they knew the mother was going to die (after all that buildup...) and that Ted & Robin would end up together. Although I am guessing that the details of how they reached that point were not all pre-determined. There were certainly many people who felt Ted & Robin belonged together (much as some people thought Harry Potter & Hermione should have wound up married)... while others felt that killing off the mother after all that buildup was a real "wtf??" moment. The actress who played her was very appealing in the part, too, and I think alot of people grew to like her a lot, even though she just appeared in some episodes this season.

  3. This story summarizes a lot of the issues I had with the finale:


  4. I agree with pretty much everything you said, although I thought the moment that Barney fell in love with his baby girl was the highlight of the episode. It was disappointing that they made him go back to his old debauched ways after the breakup with Robyn, though. But not nearly as disappointing as having Ted end up with Robyn after ALL THAT. To me, it felt like Tracy was just settling for him when she was supposed to be the great love of his life.

  5. Like Mel, I haven't watched the show at all (except for snippets here and there) but think I'd like it, and I'm seriously considering renting the DVDs and watching from the beginning.

    "We just can't have a woman on TV, especially the series' main love interest, go completely without children all her life, now, can we??!" Yes. Exactly. Enormously frustrating.

  6. THIS is the ending I think many of us would have preferred to see:


  7. I agree with so much of what you said here! The whole ending kind of left a bad taste in my mouth for various reasons, and you've definitely put your finger on something with Robin - the adamently childfree - becoming a stepmother so easily.

    I have to admit, I didn't take Barney's fatherhood as particularly humorous - both my husband and I just sighed the whole "oops pregnancy" thing - though I hadn't thought about him becoming dad to a baby girl, yes definitely some sort of poetic justice there! I found it a bit upsetting because I felt like it played so strongly to the trope that becoming a parent somehow makes one a 'better' human being. I mean, Barney had gone through so much change and self-reflection and in the end, went right back to his old ways...until becoming a parent finally became the ultimate redemption for his character.

  8. This article I found on FB summarizes my feelings about the finale beautifully: