Warning: spoilers abound!
How I Met Your Mother ended its legendary 9 year run last night, and the majority of people are reacting as though they just saw the Lost finale — or even worse, Dexter.
I liked the How I Met Your Mother finale. And here’s why.
The biggest complaint I’m seeing is that people are saying the whole show is “all for nothing” because although Ted found his true love (“The Mother”, whose name we learned was Tracy), she dies, and he winds up with Robin, who we met in the pilot.
First of all, it wasn’t “all for nothing” just because he winds up with Robin. Because the thing is, he let Robin go. Remember when we saw her float away like a horribly CGI’d balloon? It was only because he let her go that he could accept love, and from Tracy, who became the mother of his children.
That’s very important. He was happy with Tracy.
And then Tracy died.
And that’s life. People die sometimes. Is it fair? No. But it doesn’t diminish the time they had together. Those times were very real and very meaningful for Ted. He wasn’t secretly in love with Robin the entire time. He let her go and he started his life. And Tracy dying doesn’t mean that none of it happened. Death is not a reset button, and it’s insulting to someone’s memory to say that it is.
Six years later, he’s telling his kids the story of how he met their mother, which his kids cheekily point out seems more like the story of “how you have the hots for Aunt Robin.” But his kids aren’t mad, because 1. they want their dad to be happy and 2 they can obviously see how much love he had for their mom, which he did. And we shouldn’t be mad either, because we want Ted to be happy, too.
The whole show wasn’t about how Ted met the mother — we learn this at the end of the very first episode (“like I said, it’s a long story). And it is a long story. About how he learned to love, and move on. And just because, six years later, he has the hots for Aunt Robin doesn’t mean he’d trade her for Tracy. He begged for 45 more days with Tracy, remember?
But in life, to quote Tracy, “you have to move forward.” She would want him to move forward.
So he does, with someone who knows him so well — Aunt Robin.
The next biggest complaint I see is people bemoaning Robin and Ted together because they haven’t worked in the past, so why would they work now? How about because they’re in different places now? They’re in their 40’s now. When they met, they were in their 20’s. Do you have any idea what a different person you’ll be when you’re 40 compared to when you’re 27? I’m not saying you’re going to change completely. I’m saying that people grow up. What didn’t work then could easily work now. Robin’s career is in a different place. She’s settled down (we can see that because she has approximately a thousand dogs again). She’s ready.
And Ted is ready. And they’re not crashing in the same car, they’re getting in a new car on a new road. I hope to God I’m a different person at 40 than I am in my 20’s. I hope I’m more secure, more confident, more embracing of the world and all it has to offer. I hope that there will be someone for me outside my window with a blue french horn.
And why is it such a surprise that they wind up together? The show ended how it began, with Ted holding up the stolen blue french horn (must be a great restaurant, it’s been open forever). The difference is that now it can work.
I liked Barney and Robin together until it became pretty clear that Barney didn’t want to get married; he kept making his same stupid sexist jokes throughout their entire engagement. At their wedding, he promised he would never lie to Robin, then immediately lied to her about having a gorilla flower girl. There were signs it wasn’t going to work.
And that’s why I’m not mad about their divorce. Divorce is real, and it happens. Sometimes you don’t even see it coming. That’s life.
In the end, everybody got what they wanted, and what they needed. I’m happy that Robin and Ted are together. He made it rain for her, you guys. He made it rain.
My only problem with the finale? The pacing. By the time Barney found out he was going to be a dad, I couldn’t help but say, “This is weird” out loud. But how good a payoff was that scene when he was saying hello to his baby daughter for the first time? And it changed him in ways marrying Robin couldn’t. Instead of hitting on 2 young women at the bar, he tells them to go home, change their outfits, and call their parents.
There were a lot of years crammed into that 1 hour (technically 40 something minutes, minus commercials) and it made my head spin but then I realized — that’s kind of how life is. And I liked seeing the flash forwards. I liked knowing where they wound up, and technically, they’re not really flashforwards but flashbacks, as Ted has been telling this story to his kids since day 1 and everything that happened on the show was a flashback.
The finale gave me hope that life will always provide for us in ways we may not expect. I wish the show hadn’t spent an entire season on one wedding and that the finale didn’t spend years in an hour, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
“I really hope you get her someday,” Victoria, Ted’s ex, told him, of Robin.
Ted did it, you guys. He’s happy. Let’s be happy for him.