Kids, I'm sorry that story wasn't worth the 9 year wait.
Ok. I'm sure if you haven't been living under a rock, you've seen a million articles about this online already, but WHAT THE HELL was that series finale, you guys??
I'm sorry, but as a fan of the show who stuck it out until the bitter end, disappointment doesn't even begin to cut it.
Let's back up: The ninth season of HIMYM was spotty, to say the least. It seemed overly long, often forced, and just straight up tired for the most part, but there were some really beautiful moments sprinkled in which got my hopes up just enough for them to come crashing violently down last Monday night. Pretty much all of my favorite moments of the season involved The Mother (Cristin Milioti) which made the final episode an even more bitter pill to swallow because, and I'm getting ahead of myself here but, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: the mother has been dead this whole time.
I'm sorry, WHAT? I admit, I knew this was a possibility, but I always thought the series creators would think better of this and change the ending if, as it seemed, this was their plan all along. To add insult to injury, Ted ends up asking Robin out with the blue french horn from the pilot, effectively reversing all of his, and Robin's, growth as characters that we experienced along with them for over nearly a decade. Maybe this would have made sense if the show had ended after 1, 2, or even 3 seasons, but now? After 9 years, it seemed almost too terrible to do this to the fans who had been waiting to see Ted finally move on from Robin and be truly happy with someone else. And when that someone else was literally PERFECT and was able to elevate an entire season of the show every time she came on screen, it makes this depressing ending even more difficult to accept.
Not to mention, of course, the fact that we just spent AN ENTIRE SEASON suffering through Robin and Barney's wedding weekend, and minutes into the series finale THEY BREAK UP? Sorry, but I call bullshit. After what seemed like an eternity, Robin and Barney finally commit to being together, and then it's just too hard for them to make a life together? Sure, they were both narcissistic and clearly focused on their own goals, but I think we spent too much time watching them grow and mature as a couple to watch them completely reset to their default, Season 1 selves once again - and if they were just going to get divorced all along, then what was the point of that whole diversion filled, gimmicky season?
To make things even more depressing, Robin stops hanging out with the gang entirely, and yeah, yeah, I know, friend groups change as people grow up and have kids and it's completely natural, blah, blah, blah - but this is a TV show, people! We don't want to see that! I get that after the divorce, obviously a single and lonely Robin wouldn't want to hang around with her ex-husband and two happy couples, but what a sad place to take a character who had always been so loyal to her friends and so assured of what she wanted out of life. Barney's descent back into his past douche-bag playboy persona was even harder to watch, and NO, his "heartfelt" speech to his new baby daughter that he had with a woman who NEVER EVEN GETS A NAME does not make up for this pathetic, downward spiral (and no intervention from the gang? Really? At least give us that.). I'm sorry, but after an hour where Lily and Marshall have almost nothing to do, Barney and Robin are floundering from their late-thirties and beyond, and Ted ends up losing the titular mother with little send off and no emotional reaction to show for it, even after the truly sweet and heartwarming final meeting scene, I still felt empty, and like I had wasted my time.
Ever the optimist, I assumed that even with a messy past few seasons, HIMYM would pull it out in the end, and give me an ending that was worth waiting for. I had visions of my 14-year-old self crying on my aunt Nan's couch after the Friends series finale, feeling sad, but satisfied, and realizing for the first time how much the ending of a show you grew up watching can impact you if it's done right. Instead, 24-year-old Liz had a Will & Grace series finale moment (another "best friends don't talk for a million years until they're old" depress-fest), and threw an empty box of girl scout cookies at the TV while yelling "THIS IS SOME JACKED UP GARBAGE!" aloud to no one. Before the credits even rolled, I was on the phone with my best friend, Alison, who I had a hunch would also be watching live, and we had a half hour long, anger-fueled conversation about how cheated we both felt. We had invested a lot of time in these characters, like so many others, and we felt we deserved more than what we got. If anything, I guess that just goes to show how much this show meant to us, and hammered home how the journey was ten times more fun than the destination in the case of Ted, Barney, Lily, Marshall, and Robin.
Before I started watching on Monday, I called my boyfriend, Joe, to let him know what I was planning to do for the night. As a former fan who had jumped ship many seasons ago (and rightly so), Joe's response to my watching the HIMYM series finale was: "YOU'RE FINALLY FREE!". And I guess now I am. I'm no longer obligated to watch a show that I once loved circling the drain. I can move on, and choose to remember the good parts and why it meant so much to me. As a series, I give HIMYM an A. It was innovative, fun, touching, and a peice of pop culture that has influenced the way a lot of today's best sitcoms play with structure and storytelling. As for the finale, in my opinion, it's an alternate ending on a DVD box set at best, getting a C for effort, and a big fat F for execution. I choose to believe the series ended a long time ago, or at the very least at the end of last year, as Tracy (The Mother) bought her fateful ticket to Farhampton and everyone's lives weren't ruined forever.
So goodbye, How I Met Your Mother! See you on Netflix and in syndication, but if this episode ever comes on, sorry, but I'll be switching over to Scrubs.
Want something to take your mind of the finale? Check out the most recent Inside the Actor's Studio with the cast of HIMYM for a great moment between Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel singing "The Confrontation" from Les Miserables!
See you all next week for my Shameless SEASON FINALE RECAP and a look into the spring return of The Mindy Project!