“How I Met Your Mother” The Finale – My Thoughts

how i met your mother series finale

When “How I Met Your Mother” first aired 9 years ago, I was instantly a fan. It was funny in all the right ways, the characters and their friendship were relatable, it was smart, and overall it was an enjoyable show especially that I can watch it on tv online due to its popularity. There are many TV shows to choose from too. After about season 5 things started to take a turn for the worse and people just became cartoon characters of themselves. Marshall became a bumbling idiot, Barney became an even worse version of himself, and Ted just became a pitiful person always seeking sympathy for one reason or another, it was hard to watch… so I stopped. I still caught a few episodes here and there, and then watched the season 8 finale when they finale introduced the mother. After that, I watched about 5 episodes at the beginning of this season and completely gave up with no desire to ever go back and watch the episodes I missed. I did, however, want to see how the series I loved for 5 years, finally concluded, so I watched the series finale… and actually really enjoyed it.

Over the past couple days I’ve read a lot of hate for the finale and a few people that actually saw it the way I did. I’ve also have a bunch of conversations with a buddy of mine over the title of the show and how they should have named it something different. I do understand people’s frustrations with the ending, and with the title of the show, but I think the ending played out perfectly based on the content of the show itself, and what we’ve seen over the course of the last 9 years.

Let’s first start with the title “How I Met Your Mother”. I get the point people make about the show being named something with such a clear cut, literal, meaning, yet not really being about how Ted meets the mother of his children, I get that. And I do think it would have taken some of that confusion, if that’s what you call it, out of the show as a whole if it were named something different. But I also feel that if it were named something different, the show as a whole wouldn’t have worked as well as it did, and as well as it ended. Do I think it could have ended in other ways… sure. There’s even this re-cut that someone did on the internet of an “Alternate Ending” that shows how I think most people would have liked it to end. But the way the show played out over the course of the 9 seasons, I don’t think that ending makes sense.

If you don’t want me to spoil the ending, please don’t read any further.

I’ve had this discussion with friends of mine a few times over the last couple months and while we were essentially saying the same thing at the time, a lot of their argument was the title of the show, and I get that, but the main thing they all said was that they shouldn’t have named the show “How I Met Your Mother”, it should have been “How I feel In Love With Robin”. But obviously that title wouldn’t have worked because Robin was introduced early on in the show. And I do get the argument that, well the show is about how Ted met the mother of his children, so it would have been better if he met the mother early on and the show was about Ted and the mother building their relationship and going on to get married and have kids, etc. But in my mind, that would have made for an awful boring show, just about friends hanging out and growing apart after they have kinds and families of their own… nobody wants to watch that, and if they did they could just go watch Modern Family, it’s that same basic idea. It would get very stale after a few seasons of that in my opinion.

Now, going back to the argument that the show should have just ended the way this alternate ending does, with Ted and the mother at the bus stop meeting for the first time, also wouldn’t have made sense with the rest of the show. None of the other stuff throughout the years really had any impact on how Ted and the mother meet, at least in the sense of the way the stories were told. Sure, you can think about it as if all those series of events between Robin and Ted, and Ted and other women, and then Barney and Robin, all lead up to the wedding where Ted would finally meet the mother, but that wasn’t really the theme of any of the seasons. The recurring theme was that Ted couldn’t stop thinking about Robin no matter what he went through in his life… until he met the mother. And this is where I’ve seen some of the internet people get all up in arms about Ted just “settling” for the mother while he was still really in love with Robin, so let’s take a step back.

Yes, Ted was in love with Robin up to, and probably including, Barney and her’s wedding, no doubt, which is part of the reason why he was going to move to Chicago… to move on. So right there, the moving on process had already begun when he met the mother on the train tracks that night after leaving the wedding. She helped him move on and fall in love with someone else. Robin had moved on so there was no reason for Ted to wallow in his own self pity, he picked himself up and moved on, fell in love with an amazing woman, had 2 children with her and eventually got married to her. All of that love was 100% real for the time they were together. So no, Ted wasn’t still in love with Robin the whole time he was with the mother, that’s pretty obvious.

Now for the actual ending, I get why people don’t like it. We waited all this time to meet the mother and then when we finally do, we see her and Ted interact for like 10 minutes in a series of flash forwards and then she dies. I can see how that would upset or disappoint people, but that wasn’t the point of the show. Again, the title would have you believe otherwise, which is where the outrage lies, but the show was about Ted and Robin, always, plain and simple. People saw that from the very beginning when they just assumed everything would lead up to Robin being the mother, so I’m not sure why this ending was such a surprise. The kids even knew that this long-winded story that their father was telling them had nothing to do with how he met their mother, it was about asking them if they would be ok with him asking Robin out. As a father who lost his wife 6 years ago and is finally starting to move on again, he wasn’t sure how his kids would react to him just asking her out. Even though it is a little weird that he’s telling them this story about how he was in love with Aunt Robin before he met their mother, that was his way of informing his kids of the history the two have together.

So while I do get some of the disappointment in the ending, I think if you just stop taking the title of the show so literally and look at what we’ve seen over the past 9 seasons, this ending makes perfect sense. The show could have been called “McClaren’s” and played out exactly the same and people wouldn’t have been this upset over the ending. Judging a TV show by it’s title is just like judging a book by it’s cover…