Kids, let me tell you the story of How I Wasted 9 Seasons To Settle For Mediocrity.
First I will speak on the good parts, because despite the grade, there were some... which only amplifies how bad the bad was.
Barney Stinson does end up with someone he can love unconditionally. But its not Robin. Its a daughter that he ends up having with a random woman who we never even see. Its something Robin was never going to be able to give him...and while I was livid & bitter at the idea they broke Robin & Barney up after 2 seasons of building up this incredible story, seeing him with his daughter took some of that sting away. It was a eye moistening scene.
We see Ted & Tracy (the mother) finally meet, and it was 1 of those "this is destined to happen" moments that we all knew was coming, but the conversation that made it happen was magical. The interactions we saw with them post-meeting, was magical. THIS should have been the shows final end game, seeing them together happy.
Lily & Marshall were perhaps the only regular characters in the finale that I felt little to no fault with. They were their typically amazing selves. Marshall got his dream job. Lily seems happy. They are the couple in this show that I expect most, if not all, couples strive to be. Even when they had rough moments over the years, they found ways to endure them & move on from them & grow from them. They seem perfectly pleased with where they are in life.
For how little screen time Cristin Milioti had in the finale, an episode that you WOULD have thought would be very central on her, since this 9 year moment was supposed to be about Ted meeting her, was exceptional with the limited time she got. Tracy grew on even the most hardened Ted/Robin fans this year & in the end, I think everyone was happy with Teds dream girl. Who didn't sit there watching the train station speech between them with a huge smile & maybe a couple tears? I doubt anyone.
Now, for the not so good..... excuse me if I rant at times & go a tad off topic. Still angry about it.
Barney & Robin get married, and divorced in the same decade? No, this doesn't sound realistic or plausible. Did the writers not watch the last 2 years? Did they not see all the hoops Barney jumped through to make Robin fall for him & keep Robin happy? Ted never tried 1/3 that much for Robin. Yet Ted ends up with her while Barney ends up with no romantic partner (that we are aware of). After 9 years of character development. Making Barney from the most entertaining womanizer of all time into a man who realized if he found the right woman, that could be all he needs. This was the 1st sign to me, the finale was in trouble. There might have been signs before that, but they were subtle. This was the first Marshall Eriksen slap to the face sized reality check.
Robin. Its all about...Robin? Barney wants Robin, gets her, loses her. Ted wants Robin, gets, loses, gets, loses, gets etc etc. Lily wants Robin to be her best friend. Robin wants a career. Robin doesn't want kids. HOLY CRAP! The show isn't about ANYONE but Robin. She used to be my favorite character after Barney, but in more recent years she's become my 2nd least favorite after Ted. In the finale, her unloving coldness of anyone but herself shows through more than ever before. The scenes where her & Barney are fighting & realizing things aren't working. Barney tried, he went with her, he didn't go with her, he TRIED to make it work. Did she ever try for him? No. Her job was 1st 2nd & 3rd. When Robin was sneaking out of the goodbye apartment party, she again made it about her. While she had some valid points (ex-husband & ex-bf) she endured being around them for the past several years with no problems. Why now? Because she wasn't the centre of 1 or both of their attention anymore? Who knows. All that I do know, is it was another selfish moment in the characters rapid disintegration from fun & lovable, to callous, selfish & unlovable. Then there is Ted. This flaw isn't so much on her as Ted, but its still a damaged situation. She never wanted kids. Now she has 2. Both of them are settling. This isn't a love story for the ages. This is settling for what you are familiar with. Even when Ted showed up at her door with the ridiculous blue french horn, she didn't glow with the look of "OMG he finally came for me". It was more of "thats nice". That couple is breaking up again before either of the kids even gets out of college or into college.
This brings me to Ted. The man this show has, in theory, been centred around for 9 seasons. I get that Tracy dies. I get that. I understand eventually moving on. His kids understood it. But ROBIN??? The woman you have failed with more times than anyone can count? In 6 years on HIMYM he dated several other women, some were even great. You are telling me in 6 years after his wifes death he didn't find another 1 or 2 or 3 great women to pursue who there isn't a cancerous, failure riddled history with? He had the perfect love story. But it ended prematurely. Its sad. But, it would have been a greater ending than seeing him settle for 3rd best (2nd best would be anyone else, 1st was Tracy). I always disliked Ted. Which is funny since he's like me in some ways. But I really was happy for Ted & Tracy. Their chemistry sparkled from their 1st on s screen performance to their last. I don't understand how a man who tried so hard to find perfection, then did, would now settle for mediocrity that he already knows. This made no sense.
The final 4 minutes of this entire 9 year run ruined the legacy. Its like a hall of fame athlete, with multiple awards & championships ending his career in a big game by having an up and down final game & ending it by flipping off his hometown fans & peeing on the teams logo. If the final few minutes did not exist, the finale would have been MUCH better. It would have been passing grade good, maybe even a B or B-.. But the creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas filmed a scene 7 years ago. Not knowing all the things that would unfold after that, they stupidly stuck to their guns & decided the finale they envisioned 7 years prior was going to be IT, despite it no longer fitting. I am not sure if any greater sign of stubborn stupidity has ever been shown publicly on television.
This is a lesson to all show creators for the rest of time. It is OK to change your story if it fits. You might start the journey with 1 goal, but, decisions & experiences along the way can make you change that goal. This show made us believe in Robin & Barney, in Tracy & Ted, and in the end, to force a piece of footage from 7 years prior when they had no clue how long this would last in to a place it no longer fit, the writers ruin their own creation & these amazing stories they built. Someone with CBS should have said to them. Its ok, you don't HAVE to use that scene from 7 years ago. We'll find a way to get the kids reactions another way. In hindsight, they should have had the kids film 3 or 4 or 5 potential ending scenes then. You know, just incase fate were to deal you opportunities down the line that you could not have yet envisioned. A lesson for the next writer who finds them self in that unique position. Too bad How I Met Your Mother didn't have someone before them make the mistake, so they could have avoided it.
So ends a show that before the finale, I had ranked as my 5th favorite show of all time (although I do admit I should have revised that rating earlier...I think it was down to 7th or 8th even before the finale). Where I will re-rank it after that train wreck of a finale. I don't know. But I cant in good conscience leave it in the top 10. That finale was just too brutal to look past. I rarely buy DVDs of shows. I have maybe 20 seasons of TV on DVD between Dead Like Me, Arrow, Sherlock, Corner Gas, Robson Arms, Fringe , Stargate Universe & How I Met Your Mother. I have HIMYM up to season 5. I wont be buying anymore. Despite still liking seasons 6 thru 8 and most of season 9, my bitterness towards it wont let me in good conscience give money to the producers.
Good news is, I was already sold on not watching How I Met Your Dad before they even filmed 1 scene. The HIMYM finale assured I never even foolishly give it a chance. I bet CBS regrets giving them that show now, after seeing how this one ended.
Good bye How I Met Your Mother. Most of your run, will be missed.
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