In Defense Of The How I Met Your Mother Finale

how i met your mother finale

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.


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9 thoughts on “In Defense Of The How I Met Your Mother Finale

  1. Cherie

    I agree with most of what you said. I like that the show is supporting of the idea that you can have more than one “true love” in life. That is realistic, and I dig that.

    I really hated the pacing. And I feel like the very few moments we got to see Ted happy kind of cheapened it. When he met Tracy under the yellow umbrella, I had goosebumps. Just like I did during many other “big moments” in the show. I just hate that it seemed like about 45 seconds after seeing them get married that we got one scene of her in a hospital bed and then learned she’d been dead for 6 years.

    I think we could have avoided that by not stretching out the whole wedding weekend for 20 episodes. I would have been down with a double episode at the beginning of the season dedicated to the wedding and Ted meeting Tracy. It would have been nice to kind of ease us into the idea that she died. I feel like the creators screwed us out of processing the ending just to get a shock out of us.

    I also feel like it was a waste to spend 20 episodes on what ended up being a 3 year marriage. Makes it seem kind of pointless, even though there were other issues we got worked out during the season.

    Another gripe I have is that Barney reverted back into a womanizer in his forties. Not only is that kind of pathetic, it discounts the growth we’ve seen from his character over the past few seasons.

    I do think that Robin and Ted could finally be in the place where they could be together, but I hate that we never saw any change in Robin’s character. She’s always been a selfish person, and I don’t think we have any evidence that she’s changed. I guess whether or not they last as a couple is up to viewer interpretation, but I wish we’d been given a little time with future Ted and Robin that would make us believe they can finally live in harmony.

    Sorry that was so long. It’s been on my mind since it ended last night and I have a lot of feelings.

  2. Simone

    I actually liked the finale. I rarely ever cry over TV and movies but I cried throughout the last ten minutes because…well, it felt like life. Whereas it would have been easy to have a picture perfect ending for everyone, that’s not realistic. Although I feel like the pacing was a bit off, I like that the writers took a risk and didn’t sugar coat the ending. Now that I’m my 30’s I’m already seeing a lot of this stuff play out. People get married, they get divorced and sadly, some people aren’t with us as long as we’d like them to be (including TV characters – I fell in love with Tracy’s character and I would have loved to see more of her) but sprinkled throughout the messy stuff is some really amazing stuff. Whether the execution was perfect or not, I think the ending was ballsy & tried to capture as much of this as possible.

    Also, is it just me or did you guess a few episodes ago that Tracy dies? I did.

    Dexter though….THAT was the worst.

  3. Fatima

    I totally and completely agree with you! I think everyone is getting furious and mad just because they’ve already imagine the final episode in their minds or something… It wasn’t a fairy tale, it was NEVER about a fairy tale. It’s about the real life, guys. It always was. I understand that it wasn’t what we had been thinking about, but what’s the deal? I loved it. I prefer to apreciatte aaaaaaaaaall the thousand good things the show had than to harshly criticized it for a few different things we didn’t see it coming!
    I support you and everyone who loved this end. HIMYM: WE WILL MISS YOU, GUYS ♥
    Warm regards from Argentina 😀

    P.S.: Argentina IS NOT like the show picture it and we definitely DON’T speak like that!! Hahaha

  4. Joseph

    Yes, yes, and yes. I 100% agree. The only thing I want to point out is that Ted and Robin are at least 50 years old by the year 2030! That strengthens your point even more.

  5. Lisa Ortega

    Ok, hate me because I disagree. What was the point of telling your story of how your met the mom of your kids to your kids that include all your exploits, senseless craps, stupidities in love and life, etc and only give the details of how the meeting happened at the very last minute? Because was just the stepping stone of Ted’s pursuit for Robin and all those storytelling was just to ask for the blessing of the kids to get back with someone who never really liked having kids (that’s why she only lives with dogs in her 40s) and never really loved Ted (dissed Ted to marry Barney but when they got divorced, since she had no one fall back on so he will get back with Ted as insinuated in the last scene). I could go on and on but the series wasted 9 years of my life for nothing.

  6. EJ

    I think pacing really was the issue. If the creators/writers had’ve spent less time on the wedding (seriously, a whole season spent on one wedding?!) and more time on the future years (future to us), I think people would’ve been more satisfied. The twists and turns would have been more natural and believable instead of an abrupt whirlwind of events (although abrupt, unexpected events can be good/essential). Nonetheless, series finale are always tricky things. And there are a lot of people with high hopes and expectations to please…but you can’t (and won’t) please them all.

  7. cantaloupe

    I liked the finale! I think the best lesson of the series is that timing is everything. Robin and Ted could only work after he’d had his ridiculous ideals about romance met and came to terms with the other beautiful sides of romance. And Robin needed to achieve on her own and prove herself to herself (or maybe to her father, who knows, but she needed to prove it either way.)

    Although ironically, I do think the finale was more like an epilogue in terms of its pacing, i.e. they don’t get that timing is everything, haha. So I guess I didn’t necessarily like the episode. But I liked the story and the realism, definitely.

    It’s not the story of how he met their birth mother, it’s the story of how he met their new mother.

  8. Megly Mc

    I agree wholeheartedly. The show was life. He was madly in love with the mother…that was obvious. She was taken away from him, and he spent YEARS (apparently) alone afterward, which bespeaks the fact that he properly mourned her passing.

    Anyone who believed that marriage was going to be enough to change Barney’s ways is still clinging to emotionally distant men…thinking they’re special enough to get those leopards to change their spots. Ain’t happenin’.

    And, fuck, I really want to try that restaurant, because no one stays open that long in Manhattan without succumbing to the times, the mob, or the health department.

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