Well. That happened. It definitely happened and it definitely wasn’t an April Fools Day joke.
In the moments after the How I Met Your Mother finale I had the urge to come to this site and take down the two posts celebrating the top 20 episodes. The posts that I had busted my ass on, the posts that I had poured my heart and soul into…they all felt meaningless to me. I have never felt more betrayed by a television show in my LIFE. That’s what the finale was. A betrayal of the HIGHEST degree.
(Don’t worry, I won’t take down those posts. I’m proud of them. They just feel tainted now.)
Lest you think I am an entitled fan who is whining because her ship was shattered or I didn’t get the ending I wanted, let me say that I respect that a creator has their right to tell the story they wanted to tell. What I don’t respect is when the creators blatantly ignore their characters’ growth and instead, at the last-minute, shove those characters into boxes they don’t fit anymore, all to give us the ending they claim to have wanted from the start. What Craig Thomas and Carter Bays did last night was essentially thus: they poured a gallon of kerosene over seven years worth of story (as the ending with the kids was filmed in Season Two, as the actors were aging), tossed a match on it and stood back and watched the fandom scream in agony as it all went up in flames.
HEY GUESS WHAT? IT WAS GOING TO BE TED AND ROBIN THE WHOLE TIME. WE FOUND THE ONE LOOPHOLE FROM THE CORNER WE WROTE OURSELVES INTO IN THE PILOT BY HAVING TED MARRY SOMEONE ELSE FIRST, THEN SHE DIES, AND THEN SINCE HE’S CARRIED A TORCH FOR HER THE WHOLE TIME, HE ENDS UP WITH ROBIN ANYWAY BECAUSE SHE SPENT A DECADE PINING FOR HIM TOO. HOW’S THAT FOR AN ENDING??? AREN’T WE CLEVER?
Three Deep Breaths, Kim. Take three deep breaths. Sometimes they can change everything.
WHY EVEN BOTHER INTRODUCING US TO THE MOTHER IF SHE WASN’T THE CENTRAL PERSON IN TED’S STORY?? SHE WAS JUST A BLIP IN THE ROAD ON THE WAY TO ROBIN.
I can’t. Lost the ability to can.
Okay. I don’t even know where to start regarding my feelings and my anger, but I am going to try to break it down. Here we go…
…If the plan all along was for Ted and Robin to be end game why did we spend the last three seasons exploring the Barney and Robin relationship? Why did we spend the entire final season at their WEDDING only to destroy their marriage in the first 15 minutes of the finale? Why get us invested in wanting them to make it as a couple? Why take both of these characters who were so anti-marriage at the beginning of the show, have them fall in love and want to commit to each other forever if you always intended for Robin to end up with the guy who brought her the blue french horn IN THE PILOT? I don’t understand at all.
I understand that sometimes, despite the best of intentions, couples don’t make it. I get it. I do. I’ve BEEN there for the love of God. But to dispense of Barney and Robin’s marriage SO QUICKLY after all the build-up is cheap and it is dirty. As Kelly just said to me on gChat, if you’re going to go the “sometimes love isn’t enough” route, build the story around that. Maybe that’s what they THOUGHT they were doing all season every time Robin or Barney had a freak out about getting married? But instead they chose to end every pre-wedding conflict they encountered by making them seem all the stronger for it. It just REEKS of lazy writing and only breaking them up so it would open the door for Robin to available for Ted. Or to put it more accurately, for it opened the door for Robin to PINE for Ted for over a decade. But I’ll get to that.
…Why have Barney go through the amount of character growth that he did if he was only going to revert back to his womanizing ways of Season One? Honestly, the assassination of Barney Stinson and the man he grew up to be was the saddest part of the finale to me. To have him revert COMPLETELY back to the Barney he was at the beginning of the series, partying with the playbook and sleeping with as many women as possible was just SAD.
And before you say…”But Kim!! He did change! He ended up settling down with his daughter!”..wait a goddamn second and think about what you are saying. The show didn’t even CARE enough to give the mother of Barney’s child a NAME, choosing only to refer to her as “Number 31”. Is she at ALL in Barney and his daughter’s life? Or was she just a uterus to give Barney a resolution? The one woman in the world who can make a man like Barney Stinson settle down is his daughter. Cute, but I DON’T BUY IT. Especially when, right up until he met his daughter, the pregnancy was clearly treated with a great amount of disdain. Why have him say early in season nine “Mom, I’m not marrying some future possibility of starting a family. I’m marrying a girl. Who means more to me than kids,” if a child is the one thing it took to get him to give up his wild ways? DECIDE WHICH WAY YOU WANT IT WRITERS. (Discussion for the comment section: was this story about Barney and his child disrespectful to Robin, since she was unable to bear children?)
I will say that the scene where Barney met his infant daughter was beautifully acted by Neil Patrick Harris. It’s just a shame that it was SUCH character whiplash that it wasn’t at all emotionally earned.
…Why in the HELL didn’t Ted and Tracy get married until SEVEN years later, despite the fact they were living in the suburbs together and raising their children together? AGAIN I DON’T BUY IT. The Ted Mosby I knew would have whisked Tracy off to have her castle wedding the day she found out she was pregnant. The Ted Mosby I knew would have wanted to have been MARRIED to the Mother of his children before they had them. What. The. Damn. Hell.
…Why all the bullshit about Robin appearing in Penny and Luke’s childhood drawings as they made it very clear that after the divorce Robin was an infrequent presence in the gang’s life? And WORSE why make it seem that the REASON Robin dropped out of the gang’s life was because she couldn’t stand seeing Ted happy with Tracy? Way to paint Robin Scherbatsky in a flattering light guys. Way to reduce a character who had always been confident and independent to a shrew who sat in the corner sniveling about the one that got away. Way to turn her into someone who chooses to walk away from the closest group of friends she’s ever known. Way to make her life about one that is not fulfilled because she was alone (AND TED FUCKING SAID IN “SYMPHONY OF ILLUMINATION” THAT SHE WAS NEVER ALONE, WHEN SHE WAS). She WAS alone, she wasn’t part of the gang and she wasn’t part of their big moments. Way to make ROBIN SCHERBATSKY the sad, barren spinster who worked all the time and sadly comes home (with her really bad hair) to her dogs every night. Way to make ROBIN the character that pathetically cries with relief when her ex-boyfriend (whose wife is dead) shows up at her apartment with the Blue French Horn he stole for her twenty-five years ago. Way to have her cry like she’s been just WAITING for him to show up at her doorstep this whole time. Yeah…that’s the ending we wanted for Robin Scherbatsky.
…Why call the show How I Met Your Mother when, as I said earlier, the story had absolutely NO impact on Ted’s Children. WHY have the kids respond, “This isn’t about Mom. She’s hardly in the story. This is about how you have the hots for Aunt Robin.”
I get angry just thinking about it.
Why introduce us to Tracy, why have us FALL IN LOVE WITH HER only to dispense of her essentially in a 60 second montage? Why in the hell do you take the title character, the one we’ve been waiting nine years to meet, the woman who Barney INSTANTLY knows is perfect for Ted, and make her an ARBITRARY part of the story? Given this ending, we’re supposed to believe that deep down Ted still carried a torch for Robin the whole time? Tracy McConnell deserved better than this.
I understand that people die. Sometimes we find our soulmate and we only get a brief time with them. But the way the show HANDLED Tracy’s death was pathetic. We didn’t see Ted MOURN for her. We didn’t see him affected by losing the love of his life. We didn’t see Marshall and Lily and Barney and Robin stand by Ted as he went through the hardest time in his life. We just got a generic “sad hospital bed scene” (I can’t remember which review described it that way, but I LOVE IT). You know, if we had SEEN Robin supporting Ted through his wife’s death and being a single parent of two young children, I ALMOST would have bought them ending up together.
I SAID ALMOST.
What we got was basically: “I loved your mom, but she’s dead now. Would you kids be okay if I went after your Aunt Robin? That’s why I am telling you all these stories, you know. So you can believe that really I was meant to spend my days with her. She never wanted kids…but I married your mother and had you two, so I get both the family I always wanted AND the girl of my dreams. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I CAN HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.”
But hey. At least we know Marshall and Lily are happy.
When the episode ended, the six of us who had crammed into my tiny apartment stared at the television in shock, many of us with angry tears streaming down our faces. The finale betrayed everything the series had been about for the past three years, ever since it became clear that Barney and Robin were going to get married. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch the show again. I honestly don’t know of a series finale (I didn’t watch Dexter, y’all) that has done SO MUCH to tarnish the show’s legacy. And all because the creators clung to the ending they had decided on seven years before finishing the show. It would have been easy to go, “You know what? This ending doesn’t work anymore. The characters have moved beyond this ending. We can come up with some other way to show the kids reacting to the end of Ted’s story.”
But no. Instead they decided that THIS would be how they resolved it. I’ll never understand it.
What makes it worse is that Craig and Carter aren’t doing any exit interviews. They aren’t trying to justify their choices, and that’s their right I guess. But when Robert and Michelle King write an open letter to the viewers of The Good Wife following their recent shocking plot development, the silence from the HIMYM team becomes DEAFENING. Their radio silence (and no, Craig, as few tweets after the West Coast Airing DOES NOT COUNT as an exit interview) after the finale speaks volumes more than any exit interview could. If they had ANYTHING remotely plausible or concrete to justify this ending, they would be speaking out. But they don’t have a leg to stand on. And so we are left nothing. No comfort, just a stinging sensation on our cheeks from one HELL of a slap across the face.