“It was like they wrote that just to punch you in the face,” my friend said after the HIMYM finale. “That’s what you get for letting Bob Saget tell you a story for nine years.”
Yesterday, I wrote a love letter to the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, before its season finale aired. This was a challenging, difficult and hilarious show, I wrote. There would be no simple Ross & Rachel-esque neat-little-bow ending, and the mother would not die.
Wow. Was I wrong.
(Was it actually the perfect ending? Read Globe reporter Josh O'Kane's take on the finale.)
I wasn’t alone in my disappointment. “The writers gave me a puppy nine years ago, fed it and kept it happy and it grew. Tonight they came back and lit it on fire,” tweeted @jules_n_gems, so aptly.
But if you need proof, here are 4 ways the HIMYM finale was just the worst (and yes, spoiler alert):
Ross and Rachel, Meet Robin & Ted The show’s final 60 minutes undid nine years of wonderful storytelling. I would’ve taken the “It was all a dream” scenario before “Your mom died and Robin settled for me.” I watched in horror as my TV best friend ended up with the wrong person. After he finds and marries the mother, a character we’ve spent nine years waiting for, and this year getting to know and love – she’s killed off in about 10 seconds of air time. She’s dead – but we don’t see how or really why. The kids tell present day Ted to “just call Aunt Robin’ and ask her on a date – because clearly, this story’s been about her.
I need to believe that decision was a result of the show taping the final scene during the first year of production – a move I called brilliant, yesterday. And I can see how, nine years ago, the writers have Ted and Robin together at the end. Hey, I wanted Ted and Robin to be together then, too. But then nine years happened, where Ted drifted back to Robin as she continually broke his heart. We went on this journey of self-discovery with him for nine years, watching as he evolved away from the boy who dropped the L-word on a first date, and into a man ready for real, beautiful love. A love that had to be infinitely better than his relationship with Robin, who had led him on and “kept him on the hook,” in HIMYM terms.
Barney Barney has a daughter, and this transforms him into a man who cares about women. This too was overly simplistic and the character deserved more depth. While Neil Patrick Harris killed the scene where Barney sees his baby for the first time, not knowing who the baby mama is makes it hard to care about this new chapter in Barney’s life, and believe in his transformation into a kind-hearted, woman-respecting father.
Lily and Marshall Not a single scene of their life in Italy? Marshall hates his life as corporate lawyer, becomes a judge then a Supreme Court judge? The end? And Lily – not a single mention of her passion for art? She’s a mother of three children now, and that’s nice. But hey writers – Lily is a very complicated character, with family aspirations but also a deep desire for a career as a curator. Did you forget? Why did you abandon the tradition of pushing the envelope, taking risks, making these characters believable and three-dimensional?
The proof is in the writing For nine seasons, Bob Saget was the show’s present day Ted, telling his story. But in the finale, present Ted is still past Ted, played by Josh Radnor. For a show beloved for its continuity and attention to detail, this was a huge flap. The finale sped through the 20-odd years of then and now, watching the gang grow apart, careers developing, people having kids. Each of these moments deserved an episode, if the writers wanted us to care. It felt rushed, simplistic and boring. The show’s unforgivable final scene – present day Ted showing up with a blue French horn as Robin smiles from her apartment window – was a pure betrayal.
I want to say this show is so much better than its ending – but the sad truth is, the show will now forever be defined by this horrific, simple, train wreck. “That, kids, is how I met your mother, and oh by the way she’s dead and is it cool if I date your aunt Robin?”
Not cool, Ted. Not cool.