Why I Didn't Hate the ‘How I Met Your Mother' FinaleLaura Donovan

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers, so if you’re not up to date on the How I Met Your Mother conclusion, you might not want to continue reading. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

After nearly a decade on the air, How I Met Your Mother came to an end last night, and while the series kept viewers intrigued, grounded and hopeful all along, the finale left many dedicated fans feeling cheated and robbed.

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I didn’t watch HIMYM until summer 2008, when I was temporarily living at American University in D.C. for a summer internship program. I was too young to accompany my hallmates to bars on the weekends, so I befriended a nice group of people on my floor that really liked HIMYM. I wasn’t quick to warm up to the show, but it was easy to watch, refreshingly optimistic and endearing. Unlike the numerous Barney Stinsons around him, Ted wanted so badly to find the right girl, and though I thought that had to be Robin, my new pals assured me she wasn’t The Mother because Ted referred to her as “Aunt Robin” in narrations to his kids. It turns out the writers knew Robin and Ted were meant for each other from the very beginning, and calling her “Aunt Robin” was just a way of throwing us all off.

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To give you a brief recap, the finale implies Ted lives happily ever after with Robin… that is, six years following the unforeseen death of his terminally wife Tracy McConnell (portrayed by Cristin Milioti). Ted and Tracy get together after Barney and Robin’s wedding, and next thing you know, they’re engaged and planning a grand ceremony. Then he hears Tracy is pregnant and doesn’t want to tie the knot until she can fit into her wedding gown. After three years of commitment and a whole lot of traveling for Robin’s job, Robin and Barney divorce, and he immediately jumps back into the dating game and fathers a baby girl with someone else. His marriage to Robin couldn’t tame him after all, but sweet little Ellie does, and he realizes this when he holds her for the first time ever. Though too exhausted to fully hit on attractive women anymore, Barney still has “the gang.” Robin, on the other hand, has drifted away from the group following her split from Barney.

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“Seven years and two kids” later, The Mother and Ted finally make it official. Ted sees her in her dress before the actual wedding, noting it’s “bad luck”, and sure enough, she dies before her time, thus inspiring Ted to tell his offspring how he met their mother.

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Ted tells the story and provides an anecdote about his first conversation with Tracy, an adorable, serendipitous interaction on a train platform. Then it’s over and Ted’s daughter brings up a glaring point that’s been on our minds all nine seasons: “That’s it?”

The kids realize the point of his story – to gauge their reaction of his interest in “Aunt Robin” – and encourage Ted to make a move on her, and he does in the last scene. After nearly ten years of investment in this show, the finale was bound to be heavy, but lots of fans felt outraged rather than understandably bittersweet:

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I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a few times during the last episode, not just because the final moment is emotional whether you love it or hate it, but because we’ve seen the characters go through so much over the past ten years. We may not have liked some of the things the gang went through, but doesn’t mean the last decade has been a waste. It just means they all had to grow up.

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  1. My problems with it wasn’t what happened but how it was laid out to the audience. I would have much preferred Robin and Barney’s nupitals to be the midseason finale and then have the second half of the season lay out this extra information. It was just too much happening in the final 40 minutes. It felt silly to spend a season building up to something that you are going to ultimately destroy in five minutes the next episode. And while i don’t hate what they did with the Mother and Robin switch I think it was so rushed in the last five minutes of the show that they didn’t give us the audience time to get on board with Ted and get behind Robin and Ted again.

    I hope in the alternate ending for the DVD, they end with all six of them old on the porch like Lilly talks about. But that’s just because I’m sappy like that.

  2. I think that for the Grand Finale Marshal should give the money that Lily lost in that bet that they made about years ago, that would put the viewer in other position, I think that it would make a small diference in the end.

    My opinion is in between, it should have more mother, but the end is real and speed my heart, but something was missing.

  3. I didn’t hate the finale either, but I must admit that it lost the “feels” that it used to give me. I was more like “Aww, I’m sad there won’t be any new episodes” but that was it.

  4. Love it. It was complicated and messy and heartbreaking and wonderful… that’s life. That’s how it goes. The only surprise to me is that there are so many brainless people out there that were actually surprised by the finale. I mean, really? You didn’t see that coming or at least leave any possibility open?

  5. Im sorry, but I cant really understand how so many people wanted Ted and Robin together. I used to ship this couple, but over the seasons it was really clear Robin couldnt love him in that way. They were two different people to the core, they only worked as friends. Ted always loved her and went big for her, only to get hurt. If a friend was in that situation, I would tell him that he is in an unhealthy relationship and needs to move on. And finally, he does. Even if 20 years later they have lived the lives they wanted, they still wouldnt work as a couple.
    But what bothers me the most is the fact that Ted was telling his kids the story of how he met his wfie. This is a woman that Ted and his kids loved dearly. I get that 6 years is enough to move on, but seriously, if your dad was talking about how much he loved your mother, would you roll your eyes the whole time? Would you be bored? Wouldnt you be emotional while hearing about your mom and her life, sad or happy? And if you were Ted, would you just talk about it like it was nothing? I mean, when he finished his story he was totally fine, and all of them were like “cute story, now go for robin”. I mean, wtf?

  6. This is 100% how I feel. I also knew Robin and Ted would end up together in the end. From early on in the series I knew the Mom was most likely dead, and I feel completely satisfied with the moments they gave us between her and Ted. Many people are upset with Robin and Barney breaking up. While I think they were good together for a time, Barney really needed a daughter, and Robin couldn’t and wouldn’t give that to him. My biggest fear was that the finale would feel rushed and discombobulated, but it didn’t at all. It felt as though the writers knew exactly how they wanted to end the series early on, and they were finally allowing the pieces to fall into place. I could not be more pleased with the ending. HIMYM had an amazing run and it will forever be one of my favorite series.

  7. I just wish the show would continue, as a sitcom about the characters and their families.

  8. I didn’t hate it.
    I understand why some people did. but it was an honest, natural ending for these characters.
    Like you said, Ted and Robin couldn’t be together because he wanted kids.
    It did feel that Robin only wanted Ted when she couldn’t have him. That was a pattern. And I love that the Mother loved the way Ted loved. She loved big, she loved sweetly and she was his match. I don’t think him ending up with Robin takes away from that. I would’ve loved to see more of it, but I get it.
    Any other ending wouldn’t have made as much sense.
    They said they had to cut out the scene where Marshall finally collects on the bet with Lily. I would’ve loved to see that.

  9. I loved the finale! And I have a few thoughts on the final season/s:

    1. I felt that Barney ending up with Robin was too out of character for him. Sure, eventually I came to root for them because they both deserve to be happy but ultimately (and somewhat selfishly) I always wanted her to end up with Ted.

    2. People who are pissed about the ending, clearly missed the entire premise of the show. Like you said, it was about the relationships Ted had along the way with the people around him. The concept of how he eventually came to meet the Mother was merely a tool to get us to the end. I never saw the show as his relationship with the mother, because if it was, they would’ve brought her in a long time ago.

    3. It took me a few seasons but eventually I started to think that the Mother would die and Ted and Robin would end up together (look who was right). That may seem malicious of me to think that but after about season 5 or 6, it became more evident to me that Ted would never end up with the Mother. Especially since she never even made a sound or was mentioned as still living in any of the scenes with the kids.

    4. Finally, I think Ted and Robin NOT ending up together, would’ve felt more untrue to the show, even though it’s made a lot of fans pissed off. Watch the first episode. Ted always said he wanted kids and Robin said that she wanted a career, that’s why they couldn’t work. But eventually they both got what they wanted, including to be with each other. And I’m sorry, but he was always clearly in love with Robin, even after 9 seasons of him denying that he wasn’t.

  10. At first about midway through, I was upset with the story and the divorce, but then, the fast flow of events leading up to the twisty ending captivated my attention again. Yes, it was sad that the Mother died, but Ted had a good marriage however short and 2 great kids. How amazing that now Ted gets a second chance at love with the woman he was always dear friends with through thick and thin….along with the blue horn ! Thanks to the writers, and the wonderful cast that I loved all these years………..you brought such fun moments and memorable lines to quote over and over !

  11. Life is awful… that’s why we fell in love with this kind of stories but then they gave us this ending and we’re back in reality. That’s why we all have this feeling of betrayal.

  12. After about an hour I was fine with the finale. After all, the show was HOW I met your mother, not, How I met your mother-dated her-had kids with her-married her-watched her die and lived sad for the rest of my life. We found out HOW he met her.
    I feel like Ted really began telling his kids the story about their Mother and midway through Ted and his kids realized how lonely he was and that is why the kids gave him permission to go after ‘Aunt Robin’.
    Also, people complain about the entire season being the wedding weekend. Here are my views on that. Ted met the love of his life that weekend, so to him, the weekend did seem extra long, as he was also moving afterwards.
    Lastly, Let’s remember, ’40 and single, will you be my backup wife” A deal is a deal.

  13. After some thought, I have come up with five small tweaks to the final episode that could have been made without the writers needing to sacrifice their original (albeit flawed) vision:

    1. Barney and Robin divorcing could have certainly stayed as part of the plot. I mean, I don’t like it, but shit happens and people who love each other get divorced every day. But instead of it happening after 3 years — given everything they had been through together and how close they were — it should have happened perhaps after 10-15 years, amicably. It was unrealistic, given their personalities, that Robin traveling too much would be the sole reason for their divorce after only 3 years of marriage. Coming from someone whose husband travels a lot, and who knows couples where one spouse travels constantly and they are still strong, having them divorce after 3 years was a discredit to who they were and their love for one another. They are stronger than that — individually and together. Why spend an ENTIRE season gearing up for a wedding and selling the Barney/Robin relationship, if you’re just going to flush it down the toilet in the last 20 minutes? That’s bullshit.

    2. Given the amicable divorce, it would have then been unnecessary for Robin to remove herself from the gang. While it is natural for adults to drift in their friendships because life happens, I think it was super important to the overall story AND the ending that Robin still have close ties with everyone.

    3. Barney could still wind up having a kiddo with a baby-mama after his divorce from Robin, but him going back to his “old ways” would not have been the reason behind it — since it is an absolute discredit to his character growth the last decade, AND discredits his love and marriage to Robin. It’s downright cruel and insulting that they did that to his character, AND to Robin by proxy. I think he honestly would have wound up re-marrying. Just sayin’.

    4, Having the mother die is fine. I’ve thought she was dead since the beginning of the show and Ted’s long-ass story. It would have made ZERO sense for him to start rambling about every minute detail otherwise. That said, given that Robin would no longer be ostracized from the gang, she would be there for Ted and the kiddos after Tracy died, allowing for a very natural growth to what became the ending. After the death of Tracy, she served as somewhat of a surrogate mother, and Ted’s feelings for her began to come back over the span of a few years. As it was, it seemed like Ted was not only lying to Robin, but to himself (and therefore his wife), that he wasn’t still in love with Robin the whole time. I know that wasn’t the intention. I know the intention was to tell the world that your soul-mate and the love of your life aren’t always the same person. I get it. But it was poorly executed, and it came across as though Ted got EVERYTHING HE EVER WANTED — a wife who wanted kids AND then also Robin — and we weren’t supposed to be kind of disturbed by it.

    5. In actuality, they shouldn’t have condensed the whole finale into one episode. Meaning, that was a lot of story to tell in the last 20 minutes, especially given how long the journey had been thus far. I think what happened in the last 20 minutes should have been the entire last season — with all of the other tweaks I had thrown in. So the last season would have taken place when everyone was getting older, and The Mother could have been more of a character and less of a plot device.

    My biggest beef is that Tracey was reduced to nothing more than a means to get Robin and Ted together in the end. She was literally nothing more than a plot device and glorified egg donor. The Mother of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER was a fleeting concept. That’s HORRIBLE. How did they not realize how messed up that was when writing it?!

    It was a bad, poorly written finale. And that sucks.

    • I agree with you. There’s a really great tumblr post (http://rromanova.tumblr.com/post/81356037619/why-the-how-i-met-your-mother-finale-is-an-outrage) summing up my feelings on the finale, but one of the biggest disappointments to me was the slighting of Marshall & Lily, probably one of the best parts of the show. Especially in recent episodes, their bet that “Robin & Ted will not end up together” and Marshall sticking to his guns before, during, and after Ted’s engagement to Stella was very poignant and there was that quick second shown at the bar after Ted & Tracy’s wedding where Marshall hands cash to Lily, but then what? That’s it? Having Marshall get off the phone with Ted, telling him that he and Robin are back together, and rubbing it in Lily’s face would’ve made the finale feel more like the rest of the series.

      Oh and on the subject of Marshall and Lily, not only do we get SHAFTED on knowing Baby #3′s name, WE DON’T EVEN KNOW THE BABY’S GENDER. That is some bullshit if I ever heard some.

      • Barney could have remarried QUINN!!! I too felt slighted by the return to the playbook. Even if he didn’t go all traditional, he didn’t have to go full dog either. I could totally see some kind of “practical arrangement” type of open relationship which had some stability and trust at its core, even if it was not monogamous, that would have complemented his personal growth and his devotion to his new daughter.

        But I really never got the whole Ted/Robin vibe. Why are they good for each other? It just seems like they would have each other because no one else would have them .

  14. I agree with you completely! Since the second season I thought the mother was dead so I was emotionally prepared for that part of the story. I’m a diehard fan of this show and I loved how it ended. Ted got his happy ending with the love of his life, which seemed like a whirlwind romance that he will never forget and he also ended up with Robin who was his true love. I think at different points in our lives there are different “the ones.” When I was 18 I had a “the one” (he and I dated for four years). The writers of this show knew comedic timing and they also knew when to be serious. They also knew and showed that life doesn’t always have a happy ending and you have to make the best of it. I think that’s partially why people are upset too. They really wanted Ted to find the wife because he was a sweet hopeless romantic. The ending did feel a bit rushed and I wouldn’t have minded if there were one more episode to show Ted and Robin’s relationship or more of him with the mother. I wouldn’t have minded if it were two hours long either!
    I grew up with this show and many of the things they went through, I went through. It has been one of my favorite shows ever and I will miss it dearly.

  15. You do realize they will be doing a prequel spinoff starring Cristin Milioti called “How I Met Your Father”, right? I think that’s why they didn’t try harder to incorporate Tracy into more of the storylines, nor in the finale. Maybe because I knew about that. I wasn’t in the least disappointed. I was only surprised that Barney and Robin got divorced and stayed divorced. When they said they divorced without warning, I fully expected them to be back together by the end of the episode. But then Tracy died. Tracy died. Tracy… died. It didn’t anger me, it didn’t disappoint me, it just made me very, very sad for Ted, a guy who never met an emotion he didn’t take way overboard. I expect having two young kids to care for was the only reason he didn’t go off the deep end. No, I think everything about the finale was actually pitch perfect, even what was for me a surprise ending. Ted and Robin? Finally? Finally!

    By the way, I also loved that they thought ahead to the finale right from day one, and had the actors playing Ted’s kids record that dialog. All these years, I’ve been looking forward to seeing them as adults, expecting them to say something like, “Geez, Dad, you’ve been telling us this story for nine years. Can you wrap it up already?” Of course, I also expected such a scene to take place with The Mother present, perhaps at one of their weddings, or when her and Ted just celebrated the birth of their first grandchild. I’m glad I was wrong. I mean, I was really heartbroken when I realized Tracy died, especially while the kids were only 8 and 9 years old, but I like that they surprised me. That almost never happens in TV writing these days. So ultimately, I have to give the HIMYM finale a 10 out of 10.

    The only weird thing for me: why the heck did Bob Saget do older Ted’s voice???

  16. I have mixed feelings. I totally love Tracy and I was expecting a happy ever after ending with Ted, but we all knew there was something unfinished between him and Robin. The shocking part for me was Barney and Robin divorce and how he became a father, that was totally unexpected. Saying this, I think it was a good finale, I cried a lot, but I have no complaints.
    Wait! What about the pineapple incident?

  17. I agree with you a 100%. I thought the series finale was both intense and unexpected and if you ask me that’s what I expect from a TV show. I’m grateful for the fact that the writers sticked to their original plan outlined nine years ago and they didn’t follow the fans’ wishes or tweets. I’m tired of writers asking fans what they wish to see on their TV shows. It’s their job to entertain us and surprise us with their ideas. I for one did not see this ending coming and I loved the fact that just as in real life there was comedy and tragedy, and love. :)

  18. I’m still processing it for the most part. For me, and maybe others, the fact that a show I’ve loved and watched for so long was ending at all was a little disheartening, so that might be playing into things.

    While I know it was an ending it still felt… abrupt would be the word, I guess. The whole last season was focused on Barney and Robin’s wedding, so all along I think we were expecting the last episode would end with the wedding and Ted would finally meet The Mother. After the penultimate episode I was scratching my head a bit that they actually showed the wedding, and was wondering what to expect from last night’s finale. I’m glad they went beyond the wedding, since I wasn’t expecting that, but it was a lot of ground to cover and pretty jarring.

    The jarring part isn’t a surprise from this show (remember Marshall’s father’s passing, for example), but to have Barney and Robin’s divorce, The Mother’s death, and Ted and Robin getting back together virtually all at once? That’s a lot to take in at one time, and knowing there’s no more episodes left to explore the aftermath of any of these huge events, well, it sucks.

    Also, the whole red herring aspect of Ted getting together with Robin at the end does smart a bit. HIMYM isn’t the first show/movie to do something like that of course but on top of the above mentioned reasons it feels like insult to injury, like, ‘haha, didn’t see that coming did you? TRICKED YOU!’ Which I’m sure wasn’t the creators’ intent, but I can see why some people are disappointed.

    Right now I’m feeling more ‘mreh’ about it. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, and it’s probably going to take a while before I come up with a final opinion.

  19. It wasn’t about him ending up with Robin. It was how they portrayed it. In less than a minute they go from the Mother being sick and dying to “Go for Aunt Robin!” with a tiny quip of her being gone for six years. It was rushed, and because the end of the mother being such a small moment and we never saw him that upset about it, it looks like he was always holding out for Robin, when the show was about him FINALLY meeting his one true love. The one true love seemed to turn into a side point in the episode, when we had been waiting NINE years for it to happen! I love Robin, but she treated Ted horribly and always left him in the dust once he got attached again. The ending was executed all wrong, and THAT is what the issue is.

  20. I wasn’t in quite as much emotional turmoil after the finale as my husband was, but I did feel a bit overwhelmed. With everything that happened in the finale, many details were missing. It made the whole thing feel discombobulated. Instead of saving all of it for the finale, they should have showed bits of it in other episodes that were otherwise filled with pointless plot lines. I think less fans would have been disappointed if we could have had those missing details (e.i., what happened to the mother of Barney’s child, how did Ted and Robin become close again, etc.).