TV Analysis: Is the “How I Met Your Mother” ending inexcusable?
After nine long seasons, “How I Met Your Mother” has inevitably found its ending and many fans aren’t satisfied. There are also fans defending the series finale. Vulture was able to put together this impressive list of critics who were torn between loving and hating the finale.
Could there have been a more satisfactory ending? Especially considering that the ending was planned (the scene with the kids was shot a long time ago) ahead of time?
“Last Forever” Part one and part two worked together as more of an epilogue than an actual ending. It wasn’t just the present timeline coming to a close and a quick flash-forward to what happened. These episodes were all over the place. One thing that “Last Forever” did right was remember that the show is, above all, a comedy.
All of the great sitcoms have had a touch of tragedy in them (e.g. “Scrubs,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Episode 19 of Season 9 – “Vesuvius” provided strong hints that this wasn’t going to be a happily-ever-after kind of ending.
The actors playing Ted’ children had already taped their final scenes years before. People often joked that the show wasn’t about how Ted me their mother, but how he got over Robin. the mother finally made her appearance in Season 9 and we fell in love with her. The show had created a mythos out of this character, giving us clues throughout the series. So it was kind of hurtful when that character was written off in the last five minutes of the show.
For better and worse, everything about the ending of “How I Met Your Mother” made sense. Jumping through time to key moments in each of the character’s lives we, as an audience, missed a lot of potential hijinks in the middle. It makes sense that Ted would want to ask Robin out six year’s after Tracy’s death. However, while Ted may have been ready to move on, it didn’t feel like 6 years to the audience, it felt like a minute. So it was jarring and to some, devastating.
Considering that this ending was partially shot years ago, couldn’t creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have fuided the show more toward that particular ending? We spent the entire ninth season watching the wedding week of Robin and Barney. Barney expressed his deep love for Robin in bombastic ways, Ted literally let Robin go, and we learned everything we needed to about Tracy making her a welcome addition. All these things conflicted with the finale. Ted and Robin divorced, Ted got with Robin and Tracy died. That’s quite a swift turn.
“How I Met Your Mother” had some extravagant moments, but it stayed pleasantly grounded in reality. Not every marriage works out and people get sick and die. That’s tragic, but that’s life. Maybe Bays and Thomas could’ve focused on spreading the final stories throughout the season, rather the episode, but it would’ve been difficult to keep the comedic element. This finale is asking the audience to participate in many life-changing moments within the span of one hour. So it’s hard to jump from one emotional instance to another especially from the Mother’s death to the Robin-Ted relationship.
The entire ending was believeable, it was just executed in a way that didn’t allow the audience to breathe. We didn’t have time to process the mother’s death before Ted was running after Robin again. You could make the case that the entire show was a story told be Ted to his children and that he wouldn’t have gone into detail about the mother’s death as well. Still, as far as storytelling is considered, we could’ve used a moment to react to what was going on.