Whether you watch the show or not, last week, an era ended. The series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” aired last Monday, and afterward, the Internet was buzzing with feedback. The next day at the store, I heard a woman talking to her friend on the phone about it. This whole week I’ve heard chatter about it on the Mall. The air is full of opinions. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to hear both sides of the argument. Warning: possible spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched the finale and still want to live in denial of the fact that the show has finished, you might not want to continue reading.
Mary Murphy, in opposition to the finale
As someone who has watched nine seasons and 207 episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and loved them all, I was quite upset about the finale. I had prepared myself for a few tearjerkers, a little bit of heartbreak and a great last episode. I had not prepared myself, however, for what was actually going to happen. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, the producers of “How I Met Your Mother,” somehow managed to tear down almost all of the character development they had created over nine seasons in under an hour. Before you immediately disagree, let me make my case.
First of all, Barney and Robin. Although I loved them together, I could have handled their divorce if it had been shown differently. Thomas and Bays spent a full season on the wedding, pushing Robin + Barney and showing us the many ways in which they’re meant to be — only to announce their divorce five minutes after the couple is shown happily dancing at the wedding.
But what really broke my heart was watching Barney go back to his old ways. He had grown into a loving, caring man who was willing to give it all up for Robin, but in this final episode, his focus inexplicably goes back to striving to have “perfect month.”
They then portray Robin as so wrapped up in her career that she leaves, not only her husband, but also all of her friends. Though her character had already grown past that, somehow, Robin is suddenly again “like a yeti, cold and aloof,” according to Marshall. And it’s true — at least, that’s how she comes across in the final episode.
Secondly, the Mother. We waited eight seasons to see her and spent another season falling in love with her, but then Thomas and Bays have her die. Most people probably expected this. What they weren’t prepared for was Bays and Thomas spending maybe five minutes on her actual death and then hurriedly continuing on to the next portion of the story.
Finally, Ted. In the two episodes previous to the finale, Ted had emphasized that he had let Robin go. But Thomas and Bays unaccountably ignored this and stuck with the finale ending that they filmed around the start of Season Two. That’s right — Ted’s kids’ scene was recorded almost eight years ago.
In order to keep their ideal ending of Ted and Robin ending up together, Thomas and Bays ignored all of the character development that they’ve been fostering for nine years, disregarded the fans who had grown with the cast and steamrolled everyone just so that they could keep this version of the finale.
As an avid “How I Met Your Mother” watcher, I found myself incredibly upset by this. They threw the show out the window, and I feel cheated. On the bright side, Craig Thomas recently revealed on Twitter that the show’s producers are going to release an alternate ending with the “How I Met Your Mother” series box set. Hopefully, it will be better than this train wreck of a finale.
Caitlyn Cox, in defense of the finale
Anyone who is anyone knows that the hit show “How I Met Your Mother” ended its nine-season run last Monday. Anyone who is even slightly Internet-literate also knows that a majority of the finale’s viewers were severely disappointed in it. But in and amongst those vehement viewers are the few — of which I am one — who supported the finale.
I’ve said many times that over the last nine years, Ted, Lily, Marshall, Robin and Barney have become my friends. Through the easy times and the hard times, the cast of “How I Met Your Mother” has always been able to make me laugh until I cried, or sometimes to just make me cry. I think I speak for many viewers when I say that being so deeply invested in the sitcom has caused us to highly romanticize the characters and their lives. Because we have romanticized them so much, the harsh realities of the finale were not what any of us wanted.
However, the eye-opening finale was not intended to destroy the character development we’ve seen over the course of the show. It was the most honest and appropriate way to wrap up nine seasons of dreams and idealizations.
I know that fans are bothered by multiple aspects of the finale, but I want to focus on the most upsetting: the death of the Mother. If we all had our way, Ted and Tracy would have lived healthily ever after — but let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment: Was Tracy really Ted’s first choice? No. It was Robin all along. Was Ted really Tracy’s first choice? No. It was Max, who died on her 21st birthday, nine years before she met Ted.
I’m not saying that their marriage was a sham, but simply that they filled the holes in each other’s lives for the ten years they had together.
If “How I Met Your Mother” has taught me anything, it’s that life is all about timing. The people with whom you spend your life are there because, at that time, you need each other.
Most often, the timing isn’t right. This is when you get left at the altar, or when you shake hands and part peacefully. Sometimes, the timing is right at first, but comes to an end. This is when your wife passes away. But amidst those disappointments are the moments when the timing is right. This is when you steal a blue French horn and take one last shot at the girl of your dreams.