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March 29, 2014 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal sing "Confrontation" from Les Miserables on Inside the Actors Studio.

They performed the song back in 2006 on the Megan Mullally show.
posted by zarq (101 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
The entire Inside the Actors Studio episode with the How I Met Your Mother cast is on YouTube. (Didn't want to put the link in the post in case it gets taken down.)

As HIMYM comes to an end, Entertainment Weekly has a round-up page with all of their coverage of the show.
posted by zarq at 12:47 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I saw Ramin Karmloo perform Valjean the other night. Very good chance he will be up against NPH for a Best Actor in a Musical Tony in June.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:52 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


That was delightful.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:05 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Damnit. One day there will be a video of them keeping it together until the end.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:09 PM on March 29 [9 favorites]


Now I'm having period costume sexual fantasies staring me, Dr Horrible, Jason Segal and a lot of giggling. Thank you, Internet.
posted by dchrssyr at 1:13 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


"...the Megan Mullally show."

There was a Megan Mullally show? I didn't know this? Dammit.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:34 PM on March 29


Yeah, sadly it only lasted five months. Honestly, if she'd done the show in character as Karen from Will & Grace, it would have lasted decades.
posted by zarq at 1:47 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


(I'm fairly certain the Confrontation clip is the only evidence that the Megan Lulally show existed.)

I know it's run a bit too long, had some down seasons, and this past season has been divisive (I've personally mostly enjoyed it), but goddamn it's hitting me hard that the last episode is Monday. This is going to be the first long-running show that I've followed from pilot to finale. Don't fuck it up Carter and Craig!
posted by kmz at 2:10 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Oh, the season 9 promo was pretty delightfully meta.
posted by kmz at 2:13 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


So, this How I Met Your Mother... is it good?! Because it sounds like one of those career distractions that gets in the way of good musicals and more Dr. Horrible.
posted by markkraft at 2:21 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Well, I just watched that entire Inside the Actor's Studio episode even though I've never seen a single episode of How I Met Your Mother. It was great. Interesting and talented group of people, just not the kind of television comedy that I like.

I'm deeply fond of Neil Patrick Harris and I have numerable two degrees of separation connections to him, being as I'm from (sort of) the part of New Mexico he grew up in as well as Albuquerque, where he also lived for many years. And, of course, mefi's own late, great WolfDaddy, who grew up with him and was close friends with him in high school — WolfDaddy and I had several private conversations about Harris.

Harris is interesting in that he's so charming on the screen and everybody I've talked to who's known him or met him has very many good things to say about him. He's just a generally great guy. And very talented.

"So, this How I Met Your Mother... is it good?! Because it sounds like one of those career distractions that gets in the way of good musicals and more Dr. Horrible."

Heh. I also love Hannigan and so this is sort of how I've felt about the show for a long time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:28 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Did How I Met Your Mother ever pick back up after season 5? I recall liking the show up until that point, and then deciding not to advance to season 6 when it aired, because I thought season 5 was an unfunny mess.
posted by Redfield at 2:41 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


That was so sweet and so fun! Thanks so much for the link!
posted by jasper411 at 3:03 PM on March 29


Simply scrumtrilescent.
posted by schmod at 3:22 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: "I love everyone in this bar!"
posted by tzikeh at 3:44 PM on March 29


Metafilter: We should call it "Puzzles"
posted by schmod at 3:46 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


It's weirdly easy for me to view this as an out-take from Buffy. NPH is Spike, wearing his game face; Jason Segal is Angel; and they're being watched by Xander, Cordelia and (of course) Willow.

I presume Buffy is behind the camera, recording this for posterity.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Watching the Actor's Studio episode now. I only watch clips every now and again, is James Lipton always such a kiss-ass?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:24 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Yes, he is.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:27 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


So, this How I Met Your Mother... is it good?

It's... up and down, but for a half-hour multi-camera sitcom (where almost by definition characters can't change at all, or have to pick up character traits in an instant to fit the plot) it's pretty good.
posted by muddgirl at 4:30 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


That'd I'd rather see this version than the one that was just in the theatres.

That.
posted by Fizz at 4:54 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I like HIMYM. It's not the perfect sitcom but it's a lot of fun to watch, and I definitely grew to care about the characters. Available on netflix.
posted by bunderful at 5:52 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Seasons 7 and 8 did quite a bit of meandering, but I'm awfully sorry to see it go, and I care a lot about the characters.

"Bad News" remains the biggest gut-punch I've ever had while watching network TV, doubly so because I had noticed the numbers counting down in the background right at the start of the episode and I was POSITIVE it was counting down to Lily being pregnant. I was absolutely wrecked. Just seeing the short clip of it in Actor's Studio set me sobbing again.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:04 PM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Also, the slap-bet payoff last episode was excellent, and a return to callback form. I did not see it coming but it was totally perfect.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:05 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Eh Miserables
posted by kagredon at 6:15 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


To me, the much maligned gimmicky last season has been very, very good about half of the time. If it had just been renewed for the final season for 13 episodes or so, making it less likely that they would have had to film around Jason Segal's schedule and allowing them to tell the story with less filler, it would have been even better.*

* I almost wrote "there wouldn't have been so many complaints" but that's just not the way the world of long running TV fandom works.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:16 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


"Bad News" remains the biggest gut-punch I've ever had while watching network TV

I will skip that scene and the two or three after it when I'm feeling low. Definitely had some dampness in the face when they showed it.
posted by bunderful at 6:20 PM on March 29


I think HIMYM does a stellar job of capturing what it's like to have a small group of friends -- the in-jokes, for sure, but also the little jealousies and the things that are kind of stupid and stuff you choose to say or keep private.

I think it also really captures the meandering essence of dad stories. I mean, my dad's dad stories were all about his days of working in railroad camps, so other than some elements of hard drinking, they were basically nothing like this show, and yet the narrative structure is surprisingly similar. Also, my dad's only really interesting railroad story -- about why he eventually got fired from the railroad -- is one it took him literally years to tell us. A lifetime of boring-assed "and when we worked here, this is how we got across the canyon" on repeat every time we drove to Vancouver, and when I'm 35, he finally tells us about the time he derailed a goddamned train?

Ahem. Sorry. Back to HIMYM.

It has problems, too.

There are some character traits that show up for one episode, are treated as gospel that ws always there and never get mentioned again, but there are also things that are introduced for an episode and then become part of the frequent callbacks and in-jokes. There's just so many one-episode quirks that they can't keep them all up over time. Still, the show bible on this show must be insane.

It's also hard on fat people in a way kind of ingrained. It's not like it's a shallow trait a couple of the characters have that they occasionally get some kind of comeuppance about, it seems like the show runners genuinely think fat people are basically horrible and deserving of mockery. I feel like the last couple of seasons have gotten away from the fat jokes, but maybe that's just because I'm now caught up and watching it once a week instead of mainlining it on Netflix so they seem to come further apart.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:26 PM on March 29 [10 favorites]


I wanted so badly for Jason Segel to get up and break his chair, then menace NPH with it.

Now I'm picturing "Javert's Suicide" with NPH in a modern Barney Stinson style suit.
posted by graymouser at 6:37 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


So, this How I Met Your Mother... is it good?!

In the first season, NPH carries an otherwise mildly amusing sitcom. It got good, in part because of chemistry between the leads, and in part because of its absolute devotion to building continuity, and having dozens of running themes and callbacks. Season 8 was the weakest; season 9 seemed to be stretching things in the beginning but (I'm one episode behind) turns it up as it goes along. It's one of the few sitcoms I've ever watched where some of the jokes are funnier the third or fourth time you see an episode, because you have more context and catch the things you missed at first.
posted by graymouser at 6:42 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


While that was good for a bit of the spur of the moment.... I think Jason Segal's crowning Broadway achievement was when he didn't put his version of the puppet musical Dracula's Lament on Broadway.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:48 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


There have been some great episodes in every season, but (especially in later seasons) there are some that make me despise certain major characters.
posted by drezdn at 6:49 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


HIMYM is one of those shows, like Cheers or Seinfeld, which redefine the sit-com genre without transcending it. In part its iconic nature is due to the writing, but, really, mostly because the acting is incredibly good in idiosyncratic ways - NPH and Jason Segal should not have careers. They don't have "the look" Hollywood demands of its leads - Segal's moles especially, and NPH's resolutely Irish forehead and nose. But they are so damn watchable, and able to bring the viewer from laughter to shock and tears through their natural, effortless charm and the sheer force of their art.

Dr. Horrible and The Muppets - wow. In twenty years time, we'll be talking about these guys like we talk about Bill Murray.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:13 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Wait, we're talking about Jason Segel singing? I'm just gonna leave this here.
posted by punchtothehead at 7:17 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah. I have no idea why I don't loathe Barney. And the slap bet is just wrong. IRL, I couldn't be friends with anyone involved in something like that. Yet I continue to like Marshall and seem him as primarily a warm, earnest and gentle character.

Reminds me of the UK show Coupling. I saw one episode of the American remake, and I despised Patrick. He was an ass. The UK Patrick was ... well, not exactly a gentleman and a scholar, but someone I could roll my eyes at. A non-threatening cad.
posted by bunderful at 7:48 PM on March 29




It's also hard on fat people in a way kind of ingrained. It's not like it's a shallow trait a couple of the characters have that they occasionally get some kind of comeuppance about, it seems like the show runners genuinely think fat people are basically horrible and deserving of mockery.

I tried the show once, got about five minutes in, hit a very unfunny fat joke and bailed forever. It's a pity, I like a number of the actors, but I don't need that shit in my life.
posted by tavella at 11:07 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Friends had the same disappointing problem with fat jokes. I feel like liberal sitcom writers often make a choice not to make, say, racist or homophobic jokes, but that leaves them with a "Who can we make fun of?" vacuum that they fill with fat jokes.

On HIMYM, they filled the vacuum with sexist jokes as well. As much as I like NPH, I couldn't take season after season of a guy treating women like meat and being told to find it funny.
posted by Georgina at 12:00 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Didn't someone on Metafilter point out that Lily is truly evil and is running all of the other character's lives? I feel like I read a comment like this once, but forgot to favorite it.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:35 AM on March 30


I actually found Ted the most annoying character on the show, which was part -- if not all -- of why I stopped watching it.
posted by jeather at 5:39 AM on March 30


wittgenstein, are you thinking of this comment?
posted by aka burlap at 7:26 AM on March 30


Yes aka burlap - that's the one! Thanks.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:27 AM on March 30


I think a lot of the slack that the Barney Stinson character gets is due to NPH's being so very OUT. I do not think that dissonance is lost on anyone who is a fan of the show.

Going into this season, I was intrigued by the idea of it taking place during a single weekend. In execution, though, I am just wanting it to be OVER, in a similar way that I want the heroine in La Traviata, in act III, to just DIE already!
posted by Danf at 7:47 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


On HIMYM, they filled the vacuum with sexist jokes as well. As much as I like NPH, I couldn't take season after season of a guy treating women like meat and being told to find it funny.

That's exactly it. I love the continuity and the cleverness of the writing and the chemistry of the actors and the surprisingly touching moments, but so many times, I realize I am making a compromise by watching.

I watched the ITAS the whole way through, and it was delighftul. But I noticed that when the actors got into character, they ad libbed as a lot more edgy and coarse than in the show, with the exception of Marshall and Ted.
posted by mochapickle at 7:49 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Should have previewed. I think you're absolutely right, danf -- NPH is out and an absolute charmer, so he can get away with murder because watching him is such a pleasure.
posted by mochapickle at 7:50 AM on March 30


My impression is that the "Lily is actually a pretty evil person" plot line was intentional by the writers, not an unintentional effect of trying to make her spunky. But maybe I'm being too nice.

I agree with every criticism of this show - Ted is the worst character which is unfortunate as he's the main character; it's thoughtlessly cruel towards fat/ugly women in a way that it doesn't even try to examine; it runs on way too long and some plot lines just get tedious. But the actors really try to elevate the characters and there are some amazingly-written and executed episodes - like "Arrivederci, Fiero" from the second season.
posted by muddgirl at 7:58 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I also think they get away with making Barney such an asshole to women because the surface textual reading is that everyone around him agrees that Barney is such an asshole to women. I think the subtext is a lot less reproachful, though, so it is sometimes still an icky feeling thing.

I've always wondered if Barney was meant to be an Urkel, but NPH proved to be so compellingly watchable that they had no choice but to make his character way more important than was intended. Especially early in the first season, the characters express much more annoyance and disgust with Barney and there's hints that he's more tolerated than truly welcome. That would be very true to modern friendship; the person no one in a tribe really likes but which they can't bring themselves to openly disassociate from because that would require someone to flat out say they don't like them, which isn't a thing that's really acceptable in American society.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:09 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Didn't someone on Metafilter point out that Lily is truly evil and is running all of the other character's lives? I feel like I read a comment like this once, but forgot to favorite it.

I think you mean 'Evil Abed'.
posted by Fizz at 9:59 AM on March 30


Watching the Actor's Studio episode now. I only watch clips every now and again, is James Lipton always such a kiss-ass?

Yes, he is.


Watch Will Ferrell's imitation of him on SNL some time. Nails it.
posted by Melismata at 10:07 AM on March 30


I feel like the show really started to go downhill for me once they introduced the Barney-Robin romantic plot. I mean, I get why they did it, but it kind of forced them to take Barney from loathsome-but-funny to sympathetic. But they didn't want to lose the jokes, so they painted themselves into a corner where we're supposed to start sympathizing with a shallow sociopath who hasn't really changed at all, just because he happens to be a little bit nicer to Robin than he is to other women (when actually he is still really kind of shitty to her, I mean what the fuck was up with that bullshit proposal?).

My impression is that the "Lily is actually a pretty evil person" plot line was intentional by the writers, not an unintentional effect of trying to make her spunky. But maybe I'm being too nice.

Yeah, I think it's supposed to be the "dark side" of Lily's character: the flip side of her being the nurturer of the group is that she's all up in everyone's business and meddles way too much.

The weird thing about the misogyny of the show is that it actually sort of makes the men look really bad - I mean, Ted is supposed to be the nice guy, but he's really just as shallow as Barney - actually, he's more like a Nice GuyTM.

Given all that, why the hell do I still watch this show? I really do enjoy the fun narrative stuff they do. Even though it sometimes ends up being gimmicky, I appreciate the ambition. And Marshall, Lily, and Robin are pretty much always delightful. Also, I'm the exact same age as the characters (at least Ted, Lily, and Marshall) and so the nostalgia-oriented jokes always land for me.
posted by lunasol at 11:38 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


lunasol: "I feel like the show really started to go downhill for me once they introduced the Barney-Robin romantic plot. I mean, I get why they did it, but it kind of forced them to take Barney from loathsome-but-funny to sympathetic."

Yes, I get the sitcom theory behind it too, but I never really bought them as a couple after so much Ted/Robin/Ted/Robin/Ted/Robin ... and also, Barney was the absolute best when he was dating Quinn the stripper.

I feel like if they'd known how many seasons they were going to have, they could have plotted Ted, Robin, Barney, and those characters' secondary love interests in the second half of the series a little more sensibly. After a while Ted just seemed like a masochist, and a longer-term Robin/Barney arc involving their development as humans through secondary love interests, instead of a back-and-forth love triangle with Barney, Robin, and Ted, probably would have been less exasperating for the viewer.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:03 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


I love in the clip where - if you look behind the guy asking them to see, about three rows back is a young woman who is VERY HAPPY he asked them to sing this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:03 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Ha! That woman is great. Thanks for pointing her out.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:27 PM on March 30


and also, Barney was the absolute best when he was dating Quinn the stripper.

Yes! They were, you know, actually happy together, and the way the show broke them up was really bone-headed.
posted by lunasol at 2:30 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I neve watched HIMYM, but am a fan of NPH in general. The Les Miz was charming and also reminded me intensely of why we musical theater types all loved it in high school -- despite being such a downer in terms of plot, it was SO much fun! to sing.
posted by desuetude at 5:43 PM on March 30


Doing homework and re-watching season 1. It's the cockamouse episode.

1. They're all so young!
2. Within the space of seven episodes so far, (1) Ted has declared his love, twice, to someone he'd literally met the night before, (2) held three parties waiting for the same person to show up again, (3) looked up an old girlfriend he was sure he'd had a shot at a future together only to break up with her three weeks later, on her birthday (4) stayed up all night on Halloween waiting for a woman he'd met four years before to possibly show up to a Halloween party, and (5, the worst yet) under false pretenses stalked and propositioned his computer-dating soulmate in her own office, and who was getting married that week, who had to refuse him twice.
posted by mochapickle at 6:16 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I actually found Ted the most annoying character on the show, which was part -- if not all -- of why I stopped watching it.

God, yes. I can't stand Ted (or his nerdy brother Leonard from Big Bang Theory). He's kind of the textbook example of the "Nice" Guy.

That said, NPH and Jason Segel are both on my "celebrities that I'd love to hang out with" list. They always seem like they're just having a great time.
posted by ashirys at 7:51 AM on March 31


Speaking of Ted's faults, I was reading an article which included a timeline of Ted and the Mother as we know it so far and saw that Ted didn't propose to her until two full years after meeting her. At first that didn't seem right and I was sure the article had got the facts wrong, but I realized I was basing that not on my knowledge of the show but on the fact that such restraint seemed so out of character.

(For the record, I have a history of jumping headlong into serious relationships, so please don't take this as a judgment on your own life choices.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:43 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Just re-watched the pilot. They were so young looking!
posted by drezdn at 1:14 PM on March 31


I AM SO AMBIVALENT GUYS
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:06 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I am waiting for the plot summary to appear on Wikipedia.
posted by jeather at 6:13 PM on March 31


I AM SO AMBIVALENT GUYS

Holy shit, that's exactly how I felt.
posted by kmz at 6:26 PM on March 31


I got spoiled (well, heard a rumour) earlier today, and so was not shocked by the ending. But yeah, ambivalent is a good word.
posted by dry white toast at 6:59 PM on March 31


I am infuriated and want to set people on fire. I cannot believe I am having this strong of a reaction.

I want nine years of Monday nights back.
posted by tzikeh at 7:10 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Well, that was pretty much where it was always going to end, isn't it? All the "your mother, your mother" voiceovers to the kids were kind of elaborate semi-misdirection.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:16 PM on March 31


I want nine years of Monday nights back.

Because none of the episodes otherwise had any value?
posted by dry white toast at 7:18 PM on March 31




Well I guess this explains why Ted felt it was necessary to tell his kids how many times he fucked their "Aunt" Robin.
posted by muddgirl at 7:38 PM on March 31


"How I Met Your Dead Mother And Then Bravely Carried On And Hooked Up With Someone Else"
posted by crossoverman at 7:42 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


"How I Failed to Break Free of the Stereotypical Sit-Com Male Who Pursues the 'Dream Girl' No Matter How Many Times She Says No Or Even Marries Someone Else (Because the Writers Will Find A Way To Force Her Into My Arms In The End Regardless of What Would Make Emotional Sense So Why Not Reinforce Rape Culture As Our Big Finale When We'd Done So Well Avoiding It For Nine Years?)"
posted by tzikeh at 7:50 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]


Great piece by Sepinwall. I could actually handle the Mother misdirection. But it was totally farcical to spend the whole last season building up to Barney and Robin's wedding and then pretty much immediately torpedoing their marriage.
posted by dry white toast at 7:52 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Hey, kids, sit down and let me tell you the story of How I Forget Your Mother.
posted by Elsa at 8:04 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the Sepinwall link.
posted by zarq at 8:23 PM on March 31


That was a great article. Someone's comment on there summed it up precisely for me: "They literally gave us the ending everybody predicted and nobody wanted."
posted by GastrocNemesis at 8:28 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


How I Fridged Your Mother

[tvtropes is SO up to date!]
posted by Eideteker at 8:30 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Ugh. I feel as if I got sucker-punched back into the Whedonverse.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:23 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Amongst the many questions that abound is this: why only shoot the kids' half of the reveal scene way back in Season 2? If Carter and Bays knew what their dialoguue was going to be, they knew Ted's as well. So slap the 2030 make-up on him and shoot a proper scene that doesn't involve that brutal brutal editing. Of course, before you get to that question, you have to ponder why the hell the narrator's voice changed when he got to the end of his story!?!?!
posted by dry white toast at 9:26 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


I liked it.
posted by mochapickle at 10:07 PM on March 31


...And I guess the reason why is this: For nine years, Ted has been obsessed with finding The One. And it turns out that there's more than just one perfect person out there, it's really just a matter of timing.

I think that's pretty hopeful.
posted by mochapickle at 10:17 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Ten minutes in, I turned to my spouse and said, "The next fifty minutes are just Ted slooowly waaalking ooover theeere..."

I would have preferred that.
posted by Etrigan at 3:52 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Disclaimer: this is the only episode of this show I ever saw.

....Did it bother anyone else that we have no idea what happened to Barney's Baby Mama? Just me?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:46 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Empress, the show has had a misogyny problem from the get-go, and they just seemed to double-down for the finale.

Ugh, Barney's baby storyline. I guess it was supposed to be touching, this idea that his daughter is the love of his life. Was his slut-shaming the women at the bar supposed to be taken by the audience as a good thing, like it was a sign of his new maturity? Instead it reminded me of that Republican politician who changed his position on being against gay marriage after his son came out to him, like once it's an issue that affects him personally it finally matters. Barney has been deceiving women for 9 seasons, but now he's anti-sex because he has a daughter who will be faced with a world of Barneys. They might as well have shown us a flash-forward of him taking his daughter to a Purity Ball or giving her a promise ring, or whatever it is those creepy dads obsessed with their daughters' virginity do.

There must have been viewing parties for this finale. Is there video up anywhere of people's reactions? Have Carter & Bays responded anywhere?

This makes me appreciate the Psych finale even more than I did already.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:49 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


why the hell the narrator's voice changed when he got to the end of his story!?!?!

Saget disease, a deadly affliction that makes you sound like Bob Saget (and killed the mother), but Ted took the cure just before the final scenes. It also took the gray out of his hair before he went to Robin's future-house.
posted by drezdn at 6:06 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


All I could think, as I watched the last few minutes of the show unspool, was that the HIMYM staff basically Rowlinged themselves into a weird, unsatisfying ending that didn't really connect with how the last two or three seasons had actually played out.

While the Harry Potter books were still coming out, JK Rowling would sometimes mention in interviews how she had actually written the last chapter of the last book very early in her process -- what eventually became the epilogue of Deathly Hallows. Some readers felt like she'd taken a very "chess pieces moving around" approach to the various character arcs, particularly romantic pairings, with the result that some parts of the story felt arbitrary and forced -- like they hadn't grown organically from what had come before, but were strong-armed into fitting with a pre-determined "end game" that she had decided on before the first book was even in print.

This is pretty much how I feel about the HIMYM finale in general, and that last scene with the kids in particular.

They filmed that conversation with the kids before the mother had even been cast; before she was anything more than an abstract component of a season they hadn't even started writing yet. I can't help but wonder, if they hadn't locked themselves in so early -- if they weren't the kind of writers who were SO SURE of their "twist" ending, they filmed it years ahead of time -- would they have made this same decision?

(Incidentally, if you know a primary source for the "JRK wrote the ending first" bit, I'd appreciate a link. I was big into HP fandom back in the day, but I can't remember where I first read about that, and this was more than ten years ago besides so many of the old articles may not even be online anymore.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:11 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Besides trashing any growth in Barney's character, pre-wedding Robin just doesn't seem like she was the type of person that would pine for Ted for years.

Ambivalent seems like the perfect description for how I felt about it too. I'd heard that the mother died, so it wasn't a shock, but the episode just wasn't that satisfying.
posted by drezdn at 6:12 AM on April 1


They filmed that conversation with the kids before the mother had even been cast;

I always thought the final kid shot was going to be the kids saying something along the lines of "We know... Mom told us already, and it only took her 15 minutes." I think that would have been more enjoyable than Charlie Browned-Robin.
posted by drezdn at 6:16 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


The ending would have been more satisfying if it included Marshall collecting on his bet with Lily about Ted/Robin.
posted by drezdn at 6:31 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Good writeup from Margaret Lyons on Vulture.
HIMYM made a striking, memorable promise in the pilot — that Robin was not the mother — and this feels like a promise kept only by a technicality. Congratulations on exploiting that loophole. A victory for pedantry, just as the most irritating, least lovable side of Ted Mosby would appreciate.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:36 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Reading the Sepinwall writeup now, and MAN! I had forgotten the footage with the kids was THAT old -- I had thought it was from season four or five, maybe, but two? They locked themselves into this ending while making season TWO?

It's even Rowling-ier than I though. Y I K E S
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:41 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


If it's any consolation, "31" is an anagram for "13", so it's a safe bet Barney's baby-mama was Olivia Wilde.
posted by Eideteker at 6:41 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I'm coming around to thinking it was a SOLID ending, in the sense that the ending of "Of Human Bondage" was solid. It wasn't necessarily the HAPPY ending or the one that felt like the RIGHT ending, but it put a firm frame around the story that made you rethink the narrative you'd just gone through.

I know that's a combination of deliberateness; being committed to a narrative trick that they were then stuck with for an unusually long number of years; serendipity in the actors, fandom, writing, etc.; and the limitations and expectations of writing season-by-season for a network sitcom. But I do think it's a thought-provoking book-end to the series -- the story claimed to be about the mother but seemed like it was about Robin; in the end we see, as we saw throughout the series, what an unreliable narrator Ted is, and that the audience was right and his kids were right, that while he claimed to be talking about the mother he was talking about Robin.

Now, it's a bit of a letdown because we all loved Milioti on the show and we had been building up to the mother for nine years. And I would have liked to see a show where they introduced the Mother in Season 4 and we got to see her join the gang for a few years, but I'm sure that would have had its frustrations too. But they never could have put Robin with Ted as a "first marriage" -- Robin needed to find her independent success, and Ted needed to have children. It would have rung really false to put those two characters together for a Marshall-and-Lily lifetime romance. But those two who were so great together but wanted such incompatible things out of life? Yeah, they could get together later on, after Ted's had a family and Robin's made it professionally.

However, the total lack of any wrap-up on how Barney, Robin, and Ted all feel about this belated turn of events is a little grumpy-making. (NPH with the baby ... all the tears!)

I don't know how you end a sitcom this long in a way that doesn't feel cheesy, cheap, unfinished, or unreal.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:46 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


OK, having slept on this, the only real objection I have is the Barney thing.

NPH is such a talented actor, so he could have pulled this off: Instead of him going back into Playbook Barney, he should have been devastated -- mirroring how the audience felt about the whole wedding season being for nothing in the end. He gets quiet, withdrawn. We get little flashes of the old Barney, but he's changed. No more gimmicks, just finding himself very lonely and quietly finding random women to go home with, because he realizes he only needs to use about 10% of the charm. He uses the line about "You are my everything" as a throwaway joke about Ted while sitting at the bar. He's on autopilot for years. Lily frowns, Marshall shrugs but worries. Then the baby comes, and Barney gets to use that line again.
posted by mochapickle at 6:51 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


And there was one comment on one of the boards last night about the baby thing really being a nice ending for Barney: Barney's mom wasn't the marrying type, but she adored her children and did everything she could for them. It makes sense that Barney would land in the same place.
posted by mochapickle at 6:56 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Did it bother anyone else that we have no idea what happened to Barney's Baby Mama?

It's not the first time they've had this sort of "And then there was this one girl... It's funnier if I don't remember her name..." thing. I didn't think much of its use this time -- it just felt rushed.
posted by Etrigan at 7:05 AM on April 1


Enterprise Spoilers: I'm going to pretend the mother faked her death to be with Trip Tucker, who also faked his death.
posted by drezdn at 7:44 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Ugh, Barney's baby storyline. I guess it was supposed to be touching, this idea that his daughter is the love of his life.

The moment when Barney falls in love with the little baby girl is so amazingly authentic and touchng – it was just what I felt when I met my daughter the first time. Maybe it wasn't unproblematic, but the moment was totally heartfelt.
posted by graymouser at 7:57 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


The more I think about this ending, the more I hate it for Robin. They made such a point of her coming to terms with infertility and choosing to be childfree rather than adopting, surrogacy etc, that she loved her career and travel and friends, and found a partner who didn't want her despite that, but with that. Then in order to make her Ted-compatible, the show wrecks her marriage over travel (seriously? Lily and Marshall can manage Italy and all sorts of complications, but Barney and Robin can't make it work because they stay at shitty hotels? Barney who has been shown to be nothing if not adaptable and adventurous) and then worst of all, shows Robin withdrawing from her closest friends, especially Lily because as the show explicitly gets them to say, how could a stay at home mother of three have a valid friendship with a working woman without children? All this to telegraph that Robin is still in love with Ted somehow, unable to witness his happiness with The Mother, who dies just in time to leave conveniently raised stepchildren for Robin to slide back into her Authentic Happy Ending as a wife and mother to Ted.

I loved the baby scene for Barney and yet - having children is not the only happy ending. But in HIMYM, it apparently is.

The whole thing reminds me of freaking David Copperfield where his infantilized child bride drops dead just in time for him to marry the angelic Agatha.

I'm going to imagine that Robin leans out the window and shouts "You're drunk, Ted, go home! I have a restraining order!"
posted by viggorlijah at 7:58 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]


A nice new post with discussion of the finale is here!
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM on April 1


I'm gonna go reply to viggorlijah here despite the thread moving on: I hear ya. I think to some degree they were trying to do the Childfree Happy Compromise Ending. This way Robin didn't HAVE to have kids and Ted still got to have kids!* Huzzah! Just like on Cougar Town! We just have to hope that Robin likes stepmommying teens!

* though usually in real life someone already have kids doesn't at all preclude the new couple from having yet another kid on top of those ones.

"Lily and Marshall can manage Italy and all sorts of complications, but Barney and Robin can't make it work because they stay at shitty hotels?"

L&M were staying in one location for a year together, Robin is country-hopping and I think Barney wasn't along for all of those trips, possibly? It wasn't clear. One country for a year together versus fifteen in a year would be harder. But I suspect that might have been a more tactful way to break up than "Barney was probably cheating on Robin whenever she was gone." Which realistically speaking, probably happened.

how could a stay at home mother of three have a valid friendship with a working woman without children?

I'll be fair about this one: it appears to be very hard for moms to be friends with non-moms until their oldest kid is kindergarten age. My mom friends have emerged like turtles around that age, and one mom friend of mine promptly disappeared once she decided to have another one. What with Robin also being out of the country a lot, that probably didn't help either. Sad but realistic there.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:14 PM on April 1


I hate how much I like watching HIMYM. Yeah, Barney, sex with 31 women in 31 days, the playbook, etc., that's amusing as hell, totally redeemed by loving your new baby. Poor Ted can't grow, move forward and love someone who's not Robin. Weak ending where they decided to wrap it all up, but, still, I watched.
posted by theora55 at 8:18 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


why the hell the narrator's voice changed when he got to the end of his story

I like to think that Bob Saget read the script, looked at the scriptwriters expressionlessly, and got up and left without saying another word. And in another five years or so, he'll give an interview and say, "Yeah, it turns out there are some things that I'm not willing to say."
posted by disconnect at 10:16 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


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