Monday, March 31, 2014

HIMYM Series Finale: Last Forever

One thing you can say about How I Met Your Mother, which was true from its pilot to its very last episode, is that it wasn't afraid to take risks. Sometimes those risks pay off extremely well (their penchant for non-linear storytelling for one), but other times not so much (final season happening over one long weekend). The series finale, which aired tonight, dealt with the consequence for better or worse from the three riskiest decisions the creators made early on in the show's history: Robin not being the Mother, Ted not meeting the Mother until the very end of the series, and Ted getting together with Robin in the end.

The creators filmed the final scene with Ted's kids early on in the show's history essentially locking themselves on an ending. And that ending was that their mom has been dead for six years and their dad moves on with their Aunt Robin. Yikes! That's pretty dark isn't it? And yet, by itself I actually applaud the development. It's a somber ending certainly, but it's just another example of the show constantly trying to push the limits of its genre. Unfortunately, the execution leading up to that predetermined ending left much to be desired. For one, we just spent an entire season trying to get used to Barney and Robin being great together again culminating to a pretty heartfelt wedding. For another, we also spent a season falling in love with the titular Mother, played flawlessly by Christin Milioti (this season's MVP). So to have Barney and Robin get a divorce and the Mother die in the span of the finale just so Ted and Robin can get their blue french horn ending was simultaneously jarring and more disappointingly, predictable. It might have gone down better if they hadn't tried Ted/Robin multiple times in the show's history or if we had actually spent more time with the Mother rather than her being sidelined even at the end, but as it is, that aspect of the finally didn't satisfy.

But I've been an apologist to this show for so long that it's hard for me to just focus on the negatives in the finale, as big as they are, when there were also a few positives I would really rather talk about. Like after nine years, the actual meeting scene between Ted and the Mother, under the yellow umbrella, was perfectly written and was well worth the wait. That very first scene, with the gang in the booth back in 2005, made me so happy as did all of the callbacks to a bunch of the show's running gags (High Five Infinity, Fudge Supreme, Major Pleasure salute, cock-a-mouse, wait for it... etc.). And there's of course the biggest positive of them all, the element that kept me watching all of these years, the cast. Through all the laughter, tears, slap bets, musical numbers, exes, high fives, jokes about Canada... I've enjoyed watching this group of actors do their thing weekly on my TV and I will highly miss them all. Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulder, Jason Segel, and Josh Radnor thanks! Can't wait to see what they're up to next.

As for the show, no matter what we'll always have Robin Sparkles. No one can take that away from me.

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