I had to re-watch it.
Like everyone I watched the How I Met Your Mother series finale last night. The thing that was different, though, is I watched a big portion of it on silent. The members of my family are big Voice fans (myself included) and the second round of the battles took audio precedence. With every Voice commercial break I switched the sound to HIMYM and reveled in the last moments of a show that existed for the majority of my twenties. And, like everyone else, I was pissed off when it ended.
Facebook and Twitter had a bunch of instant reaction pieces from places like Buzzfeed and Vulture sprout up 15 minutes after the show ended identifying every issue people had fault with: They threw The Mother (It feels weird calling her by her actual name now) under the cancer bus, why spend the majority of the season building up two story arcs just to pull it away from us at the very end, and a whole bunch of other things. I think the thing that bugged me the most, though, was the fact they killed The Mother off at the one point in time we all really wanted to know her.
Before Netflix entered my life I would buy season DVD sets. The thing I really like about buying DVDs (rather than digital copies) is the commentaries. I love hearing about process and what went into making the episode. I can’t remember if it was the end of season two or the beginning of season three, but there was a point in one of the HIMYM episode commentaries where they talked about Robin and Ted’s relationship and how they wished they didn’t frame the first episode the way they did – how they always believed ( or wanted to believe) Robin and Ted would end up together. I should have known then that something like last night would have happened. Teacher after teacher I have had for writing courses have stressed the importance of writing for yourself. Create the world you want your characters to live in. In some ways last night was destined to happen.
One of the articles I read, in the aftermath of the episode, called The Mother nothing more than a plot device – something that had to happen in order for Ted to get back to Robin. I just wanted her to be more than that. I wanted her to be that one person that Ted was waiting for to complete all the things he felt needed to be completed in his life. So much of this series was about an ideal of storybook and in the end we get more of a gothic romance.
Part of me should love it. Part of me should relate it to the women that I have fallen miserably in love with and compare it to every time I ever thought about a predestined love. But I don’t. I just feel cheated. I wanted every one to be paired off. I wanted people to realize they could love (Robin and Barney), I wanted people to find the object of their journey (Ted and The Mother) and I wanted people to continue living happily ever after (Marshall and Lilly). But that did not happen. Instead people fell into their old character tropes. The message of the episode (and series, by default) was that people don’t change and people die. I hate that.
Maybe I’m looking at it from too much of a cynical lens. Maybe I should be happy that Ted and Robin found the type of love that I regularly write about. Maybe they will know the love they had in their youth for the eternity of their life and the world will be better off for it. I just don’t feel like that’s the case.
Oh, and, how the heck did the pineapple get into Ted’s room? That’s going to be the real TV mystery.