HIMYM Finale: Major Disappointment?

himym_radnor_wedding_a_l

All right, you guys. We have to talk about this. We’re a week two weeks past the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. General consensus has been NOT GREAT. Even after critics have panned the past several seasons and this final, gimmicky one in particular, almost every recap and review I read screamed disappointment.

Major disappointment! {Major Disappointment! *salute!*}

Much as I love TV critics (because, HELLO, DREAM JOB!), I don’t completely agree. I didn’t hate the HIMYM finale, and I actually loved parts of it.

Now, angry fans, don’t start throwing popcorn at me (or, you know, your screens)! OBVIOUSLY the show and its ending had a ton o’problems. But like Lily said to Robin at the beginning of the finale, “Once you’re in [our gang], you’re in for life!”

I’ve quit shows before, I have. Not many, but a few. (So sorry, Grey’s Anatomy. It’s not me, it’s you.) But for the most part, once I start watching a show, I’m in for life. Through the ups and downs, the Emmys and the internet hate-watching. Once I declare a show “mine,” there’s no separating us.

Unlike Barney and Robin, apparently. We’ll get THERE in a minute.

So I love my shows, and I will watch Every. Single. Episode. to the very bitter or sweet end. Then add to that the fact that I LOVE FINALES? As in, I will start – or re-start – watching a show when I hear it’s on its last legs? Well, despite all the foreshadowing and predictions and low, low expectations? I was ALL IN for this final episode with Ted, Marshal, Lily, Barney and Robin.

HIMYM finale cast

I’ve been trying to write this for several days now and I’m actually watching the finale again as I write now. And while my feelings about the show and its finale run deep, my thoughts are so scattered I think I’d better just stick to bullet points. Here goes…

The things I loved:

  • All the callbacks to past seasons – the cockamouse, the Halloween party and Ted’s hanging chad costume, robot wrestling, “Murder Train” playing during robot wrestling, the blue French horn (NOT the circumstances, just the fact that it was brought back), Marshall paying Lily for their bet over whether Ted and Robin would end up together.
  • Ted’s salt and pepper hair (Although, it’s weird. Usually as men and women age – especially on TV – the men get better looking while the women get older looking. Not so much in the case of, well, Marshall. Sorry, Judge Fudge, but time was not kind! Robin, on the other hand? Looked AMAZING – and so did Lily and The Mother.)
  • Ted wanting to get married in a castle, but doing it in the courthouse instead. [Edited to add: Okay, I remember on a second watch that it wasn't technically the courthouse. But it was short notice and basically the same concept. So the bullet point stays.]
  • The tired new parents! (Of course.)
  • Barney meeting his baby (Barney may be totally gross, but NPH nailed this scene.)
  • The Mother convincing Robin to come to their wedding
  • Not dwelling on The Mother’s disease and death. Those details weren’t the point, and I was fine with it being vague.
  • Remembering the episode where Ted breaks down about how he wished he would have met The Mother just 45 days sooner. It killed me then, even when I was unsure what it meant for The Mother’s future (and lifespan). It kills me even more now.
  • Ted finishing the story with, “And that, kids, is how I met your mother.” (If only it had ended there…)

What totally killed me:

  • “We have to be here for the Big Moments!” THIS. Lily’s increasingly desperate attempts to keep the gang together rang true to me. These characters who I’ve watched nearly every week (and certainly every episode and sometimes multiple times a night once reruns began airing) for the past nine years, they were so different than me – and yet, not so different. They are almost the exact same age I am, and they faced a whole lot of the same things I have in those same past nine years: job frustrations, weddings, new babies, dealing with friends who breakup, loss of loved ones, home-buying woes. I may never set foot in an Irish bar in Manhattan, but still, HIMYM got me and my life. Still, nothing lasts forever. So…
  • “It’s never going to be how it was. It can’t be.” Shut up, Robin. I know, but I like to pretend it’s not true.
  • “It’s great…great….great…great…” Who hasn’t tried to convince themselves and their friends that their marriage, their job, their LIFE is just GREAT when it’s not-so-much?
  • “Much of what I do does not make me cry.” Oh, Marshall. I have been there, and it sucks. So glad your phone finally rang!
  • “It’s not a business, Barney. It’s a blog!” Hmph. Whatevs.

What I hated:

ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THAT ENDING??? After we forced ourselves to be okay with the BIZARRO way Ted let go of Balloon Robin just a few weeks ago? After we swallowed the last-minute jitters that made Robin temporarily decide she should be with Ted after all – and TED SAID NO THANKS? After all the back and forth, after you convinced us Barney had changed, after you made us fall in love (SO MUCH LOVE!!!) with the adorable, funny, killer musician and Renaissance faire fan Mother?

No. No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. [Cue flashback to the episode where Robin and Ted break up after the not-real proposal makes them realize they have an expiration date.]

I don’t mind that The Mother died. Sometimes these things happen, even though we wish they wouldn’t. And while I typically want all happy endings, all the time, this is one show that presented the hard realities of life in such a beautiful way that I didn’t hate it.

But to give us such severe emotional whiplash — first with the season-long build-up to Robin and Barney’s wedding leading to a marriage that ended just minutes into this last episode and then, THEN! with the series-long journey of Ted getting over Robin and finding The Mother ending in the kids and Ted blowing off any sense of grief to run back to Robin (who, BY THE WAY, totally blew off the gang for journalistic fame)?

Unacceptable.

So, I’m choosing to forget those last few minutes (I didn’t watch them the second time around) and remember all the other many, MANY great episodes of one of my favorite shows.

What made it worth it:

  • Every moment of Ted and The Mother together, especially this one:

HIMYM finale


Okay, your turn!
What did YOU think of the HIMYM series finale?


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(And in case you want to read what other people thought of the finale [in case you hated the whole thing and need more validation for those feelings than I gave you...], here are a TON of links to articles:

And, finally, Bradley Cooper just wanted a happy ending, you guys.
[Language warning.] {But it’s funny because it’s true.}

Comments

  1. Sarah L. says:

    Thanks for writing this. I enjoyed it. I agree so much about wishing it just ended at meeting the mother. That would have been fine. It would have been cheesy and just what a show like that should be. I do think the season should have ended about ten episodes earlier. Then, I’d have been even more pleased. Still, not sure what to do with my Monday evening after the kids are in bed though. Will you be watching that new show with Dawson?

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      I wasn’t even upset about him ending up with Robin in the end, I really wasn’t. I was Team Ted/Robin all along. But the WAY THEY DID IT was bad. On Mondays I watch Star Crossed on the CW. I’m not proud of that, but it’s what I do. I’m not sure about the new show with Dawson. I loved him on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 – did you watch that? I might try it out…

      • I saw that show a couple of times and thought it was actually pretty good. It didn’t make it into my rotation though.
        We cancelled cable so I no longer have “Switched at Birth” as my trashy ABC Family show to watch. I’ll have to wait for it on Netflix. We all have those shows :) Or, at least, we all should have those kind of shows.

  2. Erin Kern says:

    oh man. like i said a week ago, i haven’t watched it yet. i’m way behind on all my shows so my curiosity got the better of me and i had to read.

    HOLY MAMA i need to get my rear in gear and watch it. um, WOW!!!

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      YES!!! Go watch it now! Those kids can homeschool themselves for an hour, right? ;)

  3. I am pretty much with you all the way! I didn’t mind that the Mother died, but I did mind that Barney and Robin divorced and the whole last 5 minutes. I thought this season was really good for the most part (although Balloon Robin – I had forgotten about that or erased it from my memory). This is basically the only show I’ve ever watched from beginning to end as it aired live, so it is so weird to have it end! I really did love most of the finale, I just think the producers were REALLY stuck on Ted/Robin and the audience wasn’t so much.

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Yeah, I didn’t mind the one-weekend-season gimmick this year and liked a lot of the season. Even Marshall’s road trip (which a lot of critics hated) was funny to me. I think that when I am so into a show for so long, it becomes like a family member or long-time friend who is so special to me that I’ll overlook a LOT of mistakes or irritations!

      {Yes. I just compared a TV show to my family and friends. *sigh* Hopefully my family and friends are the ones who know me well enough to NOT be surprised by this.}

  4. The whole episode was kind of *blah* for me, not awesome but not terrible. I did think that they nailed the scene under the umbrella- great dialogue, great chemistry, great meeting! And I agree about NHP when he met his baby- woah!!!! Thanks for the summary. =)

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      One of the [many] articles I read about the finale expressed frustration that the very same writers who could create a scene like those amazing ones also gave us such annoying episodes and scenes all season (and series) long. I think that might be what got so many people riled up – the wasted potential to make something amazing.

  5. I wasn’t as irate as most, but I sure wish Robin and Barney hadn’t split up. After allll those episodes, getting us to root for them, and then that epic proposal. Sheesh.
    I loved all the things you loved, too!

  6. Hubby and I were late to the HIMYM frenzy and were watching a few episodes a night for some time now. I knew the end was coming and we had a long stretch of being away from home so we recorded the finale. I decided for us, that we didn’t need to watch ALLLLLL the seasons (I forget where we left off) and we would watch the finale when we returned home. You know what I LOVED about the finale?? Robin’s wedding dress. Yup, that’s it. The gals should have showed some aging, the only aging we saw was some grey in Ted’s hair, all the guys should have aged more. But storyline?? Did not like it at all, very disappointed and felt like all the other nights spent watching the show were a big waste when that is how the powers that be decide to end it all.

  7. I have never watched the show (though I may have to rectify that), but I did see the uproar all over FB and the net after the finale. Not sure how far this video got, but someone who wasn’t happy with the ending posted this, what they considered should be the real ending. And Time Magazine wrote an article saying there will be an alternate happy ending on the DVDs.

  8. Heather Siani says:

    I was disappointed at the end just because I felt like his true love turned out to be Robin and not the mother which cheapened his relationship with the mother…as if robin was always in the back of his mind.

    • Agreed! That is what made me dislike the finale. I hated that Robin and Barney split up, but my favorite scene from the finale was Barney meeting his daughter.

  9. The ending was totally disrespectful to The Mother and to the fans! And the one that Kristy posted above – AGREED. THAT is THE ending.

    The end. =)

  10. Oh, Mary. Yes, this is exactly how I felt. They pushed us so hard (and with success) to love Barney and Robin and I DID. I LOVED them together. I loved a reformed, thoughtful Barney (maybe because NPH and I are actually bffs?). I loved their rehearsal dinner and all their crazy epic-ness of this one-day-season. And I loved Robin being the ONE that Barney chose after all the people he could have been with.

    And then to (like you said) whiplash us thru the wedding, everyone meeting the mom first, the divorce, Barney’s baby (ohmyheart), the mom’s death and then WHOOSH, suddenly the kids say, “Oh, really, you haven’t been watching and investing in How I Met Your Mother for 8 years, you’ve been watching, How Ted Gets a Second Chance with Robin.” *sigh*

    I still super love it. But I’m bummed. I miss the mother…like we just barely got to know her and she’s gone. I miss BarneyandRobin. I’m just sad. Not Major Sad. *salute* Just sad.

    a

  11. Love this recap. I watched the show from the very beginning. I didn’t love how they did this season, it seemed really stretched out. I wished there would have been more of Ted and the mother, I loved every minute of the two of them on screen together. I cried and cried when she died. I didn’t like it that Robin and Barney got divorced so easily.

    That said, I liked it that Robin and Ted ended up together at the very end. It wasn’t like he cheated on his wife – she died and he waited several years after she died before asking Robin out. So I was happy for him and for Robin.

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