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The Yellow Umbrella and the Blue French Horn
April 1, 2014 7:50 AM   Subscribe

The ending of How I Met Your Mother has been a bit controversial. At least two people besides the writers knew all along what would happen: Ted's kids. They kept the secret for nine years. (Some MeFites might not be entirely surprised either, based on these previous threads.) The ending is a little melancholy, both for the characters and for the fans who have become attached to them over almost a decade. Don't worry, though, 20th Century Fox is already developingHow I Met Your Dad.
posted by OnceUponATime (324 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Worst episode of TV I've ever seen. I'm hoping it was an April fools' joke.
posted by Skorgu at 7:57 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


If you want a better ending, try this. Really how it should've ended.
posted by graymouser at 7:59 AM on April 1 [26 favorites]


I rather liked someone on Twitter's response: "It should have been called 'How I Met Your Stepmother.'"
posted by Kitteh at 8:00 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Sadly, the yellow umbrella was made of carcinogens.
posted by drezdn at 8:00 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


(I say that not because happy endings should exist, but because Ted/Robin had been thoroughly deconstructed by the end of the show, and going back on it did not work. If we had met the mother after 5 seasons and it was over and Ted wound up with Robin after all - sure. But not after what we've been through with these characters over the last 4 years.)
posted by graymouser at 8:01 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Never watched the show, but I find it impossible to believe the ending was worse than LOST.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:02 AM on April 1 [19 favorites]


"So kids, just to let you know, I loved your mother but..... I always had a thing for my ex. So ima gonna tap that now."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:02 AM on April 1 [67 favorites]


Doesn't it seem totally out of character for Ted to put off his wedding for so long?
posted by drezdn at 8:05 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I've seen the show, but I didn't watch it regularly. But I'm curious: isn't this the show where they shot the ending in the first season, because otherwise the kids would get too old? Is it possible that they decided the ending too early, when they didn't realize how many seasons they were going to have and how much character development the characters would undergo, and things kind of got away from them? I usually say that I want TV shows to know where they're going and how they're going to end up, but maybe this is a case where it worked to their disadvantage.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:06 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


Doesn't it seem totally out of character for Ted to put off his wedding for so long?

Not really because he's a secret sad sack who's never fully happy unless he's at 100% angst.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:07 AM on April 1 [15 favorites]


I was ok with the ending. I just wish the last episode had been more like the last 6 episodes instead of 1 hr. We got an entire season for 3 days and 1 hour for 20 years. Also, melancholy.
posted by ridiculous at 8:08 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


But I'm curious: isn't this the show where they shot the ending in the first season, because otherwise the kids would get too old? Is it possible that they decided the ending too early, when they didn't realize how many seasons they were going to have and how much character development the characters would undergo, and things kind of got away from them?

Yes. They also made the decision (disastrous from an audience relations standpoint) to make Tracy / the Mother an incredible, fully fleshed out character when the ending really required her to be perfect but paper-thin.
posted by graymouser at 8:08 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


I think in the end I'm OK with the plot of the ending, but the pacing and presentation was off. Logically, it's been six years since the mother died, but emotionally for the audience it was like 10 seconds ago.

I don't hate the episode, it just could have been a lot better.

(Well, I did hate the devolution of Barney, though the baby moment was sweet if cliched.)
posted by kmz at 8:08 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


MeFi's own Linda Holmes's take.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:10 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I've seen the show, but I didn't watch it regularly. But I'm curious: isn't this the show where they shot the ending in the first season, because otherwise the kids would get too old? Is it possible that they decided the ending too early, when they didn't realize how many seasons they were going to have and how much character development the characters would undergo, and things kind of got away from them?

Yeah, they did film (the kids' part) waaay back in season 1 or 2, but the pilot included "And that's how I met your Aunt Robin," so they've always known that the real story would be him getting over her. That's part of why I hated the ending -- they didn't show how he got un-over her in the years since, so their grand ending establishes firmly that either Robin or Tracy was always his "Good enough if I couldn't have the real One for whatever reason."
posted by Etrigan at 8:10 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


There was way too much Barney in this episode the last 3-4 seasons.
posted by soelo at 8:14 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


The ending was shot in season 2.
posted by drezdn at 8:14 AM on April 1


isn't this the show where they shot the ending in the first season, because otherwise the kids would get too old? Is it possible that they decided the ending too early, when they didn't realize how many seasons they were going to have and how much character development the characters would undergo, and things kind of got away from them?

Yes, according to Sepinwall.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:14 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


God damnit, I was hoping that last link was dated today and not 3 weeks ago. Just unnecessary.

And yeah, the finale was just a cop-out.
posted by jferg at 8:15 AM on April 1


Okay, so I didn't want to editorialize in the post, but in putting it together I realized that I already posted my opinion on this ending in the post last year ("threads" link): I really like the theories about the kids' mother not being Ted's wife. If it weren't for the "Aunt Robin" thing -- and the paintings and the little yellow bus -- that would make the most sense. How the heck we can have a satisfying ending to a show about Ted pursuing Robin for nine years, where they don't end up together?

I like that the message ended up being "There's not just one right person for everyone."

Also Robin and Barney never made any damn sense to me. What the heck did she see in him? I was watching the episode where Barney proposed while I was in labor with my daughter, and thinking "No, don't do it Robin!" totally distracted me from the labor pain. All the season I was sort of hoping something would screw up the wedding. So, you know, I'm fine with the divorce.

And I don't feel too bad about what happens to Tracy. If they were going to have Ted end up with her on Lilly and Marshall's old-people porch, they needed to introduce her two or three seasons ago at least, and spend a lot more time developing the relationship, and she needed to be a lot less perfect. As the kids said, she was hardly in the story at all.

As for Barney -- still a jerk (albeit a funny one), still not good enough for Robin. Kind of a shame they didn't spend more time on his redemption.

Whew. Okay, editorializing out of my system. That's better.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:17 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


The ending felt off because we'd spent so much time watching him and Robin get over each other. I wanted them to make me cry over the mother's death (which was so glossed over that I was disappointed - I really liked her - and yet I felt more pathos over Ted and Barney's final high-five, which is just messed up).

They could have trashed the kids responses and come up with something else. Or, really, they should have had the kids do a bunch of reaction shots for different possibilities so they didn't write themselves into a corner.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:17 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


The finale really seemed to ignore the character development of the last few seasons.
posted by drezdn at 8:18 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


So basically I'm the only person who liked the finale.
posted by Windigo at 8:19 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Realizing that this was a big deal, we watched the finale last night, having never seen an episode of the show (but we understood the premise). As an outsider, we both felt that if taken as a stand-alone hour of television, it was really good and very emotionally satisfying. Both of us were like, "Why didn't we watch this show all along? I bet we would have loved it."

But again, that's taking the episode in a vacuum. I can totally understand how nine years of emotional engagement and expectations would drastically change that.
posted by jbickers at 8:19 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


He did refer to her in past tense a great deal.... I can't believe I missed it until the spoilers started showing up on Monday Morning
posted by NiteMayr at 8:19 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


It seems like series finales of long-running NYC-based sitcoms always have at least one scene in a huge, empty apartment.
posted by soelo at 8:19 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


(It also felt very reminiscent to me of the "Mad About You" finale with Jeanine Garofalo crying about her parents.)
posted by jbickers at 8:20 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I keep thinking back on Lily in that whale costume in the empty apartment and it's making me so sad. Friendships are a lot of work as you continue into adulthood.
posted by ridiculous at 8:20 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


Sepinwall's review of the last episode does a great job of highlighting how Bays and Thomas backed themselves into a corner, first by ending the pilot with the (awesome at the time) "And that's how I met your Aunt Robin" twist, and second by filming the kids' reaction at the end of season 2.

Even the kids' reaction could have been awesome if the show had had a much shorter run. If we didn't know the mother as a character, if Ted/Robin had only happened once, and if the awful off and on of Barney/Robin had never happened, the audience would still be rooting for Ted and Robin to end up together, and not feel so betrayed by Tracy's 'convenient' offscreen death.

And my feeling that Bays and Thomas betrayed the show's viewers doesn't even begin to touch on the horrific misogyny and backward character development that was Barney in the finale. He treats women like children now and that's somehow better?
posted by lesli212 at 8:21 AM on April 1 [28 favorites]


I think the most frustrating thing for me is that everything the finale did that annoyed people -- break up Barney and Robin, Barney retrograding into skeeze monster, make the mother being dead the point of the story -- totally seems believable to me from a character perspective. None of those things would have bothered me if it hadn't all seemed in service of the ending of Ted and Robin together.

But even that makes sense from a character perspective. I just happen to find it super annoying and wanted those characters to be better than they actually were.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:21 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Well, I did hate the devolution of Barney, though the baby moment was sweet if cliched.

I liked that moment at first, and especially knowing NPH's family-man status IRL I'm sure that the emotion he was portraying was completely sincere on his part, but as he was speaking he kept moving his face closer and closer to the baby and I swear it looked like he was going to take a bite out of her head. It kind of pulled me out of the moment.

I watched the show last night, but I'd totally forgotten about it until I saw this thread. That pretty much sums up the impact of the entire show on me...I laughed enough to keep watching (off and on...by the beginning of this season I was totally caught up, having the DVR programmed to record it definitely helped), but I haven't really been invested in the emotional side of the storytelling for a long time.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:21 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


The finale really seemed to ignore the character development of the last few seasons.

It was a finale for a version of HIMYM that ended after season 5 or so. Characterization marched on, and the showrunners threw it all away.
posted by graymouser at 8:22 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


If we had met the mother after 5 seasons and it was over and Ted wound up with Robin after all - sure.

Exactly. The problem isn't that Ted and Robin ended up together. It's that nine seasons was way too long and they beat that dead horse to an unrecognizable pile of biomatter such that we never wanted to think about it ever again, then put them together. Had they done it earlier, it might have washed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:22 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


I liked how in the episode where the Internet realized the Mother died (Ted choking up while talking to her), it ended with a snatch of "If You See Her Say Hello" -- and as my wife pointed out, instead of being evocative like music generally is, the lyrics were basically the storyline.

"If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangier
She left here last early Spring, is livin' there, I hear
Say for me that I’m all right though things get kind of slow
She might think that I’ve forgotten her, don’t tell her it isn’t so"

They even had Robin explicitly say last night she had lived in Morocco.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:23 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I would have liked to have seen Barney's baba momma for a minute or two. It seemed as though some kind of Real Doll just handed over a human to him.
posted by armacy at 8:24 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


I was unaware that an Everything But the Girl cover of Downtown Train existed and I was happier that way. I might even prefer Rod Stewart's.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:24 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I think the thing that bothered me the most about the finale was old-Ted's hair. Why the hell was it blue?

Also, the mother doesn't look like a Tracy to me, but thanks for finally giving her a name, I guess?
posted by likeatoaster at 8:25 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I'm just going to remember the really damn great scenes from the finale, I think. Especially the actual meeting on the train platform. Fucking perfect.
posted by kmz at 8:25 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Also, the mother doesn't look like a Tracy to me, but thanks for finally giving her a name, I guess?

THIS!
posted by drezdn at 8:27 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Also, the mother doesn't look like a Tracy to me, but thanks for finally giving her a name, I guess?

That's actually a basically continuity-required callback.
posted by kmz at 8:27 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


If it becomes clear within an episode or two who Greta Gerwig is going to end up with on How I Met Your Father, I'll be checking out instantly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:29 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


thanks for finally giving her a name, I guess?

I didn't realize she was nameless in this season until Ted showed her the initials. It reminds me of Penny on Big Bang Theory. She doesn't have a last name yet.
posted by soelo at 8:29 AM on April 1


Here's what I said in the Other Thread:

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 8:31 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


is it possible that they decided the ending too early, when they didn't realize how many seasons they were going to have and how much character development the characters would undergo, and things kind of got away from them?

I think this is pretty likely. I doubt they expected to find an actress like Cristin Milioti, who had great chemistry with the whole group. It felt deeply unfair to give us just snippets of someone who felt so right with Ted and then kill her off with a couple of sentences. It felt like she was just a vehicle to get Ted some kids before he got together with Robin, who can't have kids.
posted by troika at 8:31 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Is it possible that they decided the ending too early, when they didn't realize how many seasons they were going to have and how much character development the characters would undergo, and things kind of got away from them?

there is a way to end an un-endable TV arc. You've just got to brave enough to do it. Case in point: The Prisoner
posted by philip-random at 8:31 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


How I Met Your Dad

As Alan Sepinwall said, they're going to have to say that the Dad is alive right off the bat, or the audience will think his demise is a foregone conclusion.

Might as well name it "HOW YOUR DADDY DIED" then.
posted by zarq at 8:32 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Why don't they come up with a different show instead of a new show with the exact same concept?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:34 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


(The biggest lesson I learned from this season: I really really really should have gone and seen Once on Broadway when I was in NYC a couple of years ago.)
posted by kmz at 8:35 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Why don't they come up with a different show
Because this one was so successful, the network wants something as close to a sequel as they can get. For every Joey, there is a Fraiser.
posted by soelo at 8:36 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Why don't they come up with a different show instead of a new show with the exact same concept?


$
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:37 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "Why don't they come up with a different show instead of a new show with the exact same concept?"

The same reason there are four chords of pop, I expect. It's believed to be a winning formula.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on April 1


I was really hoping one of them would wake up to Suzanne Pleshette before revealing that the entire thing was imagined by an autistic boy staring at a snowglobe.
posted by dr_dank at 8:43 AM on April 1 [19 favorites]


I doubt they expected to find an actress like Cristin Milioti, who had great chemistry with the whole group.
Indeed. Season 9 only makes sense from a writing standpoint if you look at it as the same decision made in the first Alien movie. Ridley Scott was trying to wrap a horror story around this incredible monster, a biological killing machine that only becomes more powerful and more terrifying each time you see it, but what he had to work with in the end was a guy in an unconvincing rubber suit, and the solution was "put the rubber suit on screen as little as possible" so the viewers' imaginations could fill in the gaps.

HIMYM spent the better part of a decade trying to convince us that Ted's series of romantic relationships all paled in comparison to The Mother... and how easy would it be for that to fall flat when they finally put her on screen and she turns out to fall short of the hype, or to have poor chemistry with the other actors, or (worst and most dangerously) to come off as a Mary Sue? They put Milioti on screen way way too little because they didn't want to risk putting her on screen even a little too much. If her dialogue had been a little worse or her acting hadn't been so wonderful, they'd have saved the show by not forcing her to carry a whole season.

But if they'd known she *could* carry a whole season, then they could have crammed those 20 wedding episodes into 6, stretched those 2 epilogue episodes into 16, and the ending would have been fine. The plot made perfect sense, just the pacing was atrocious. I'm sure the editors were as horrified as we were at the instantaneous jump from "the audience just heard about how the mother died" to "the kids have been watching the father mope for 6 years and want him to just get on with his life already", but they didn't really have the room for anything else.
posted by roystgnr at 8:45 AM on April 1 [23 favorites]


Why don't they come up with a different show instead of a new show with the exact same concept?

I adore Greta Gerwig (who will be the lead in HIMYF), and so I'm bound to give this version a chance, but I really wish they'd just let her develop her own show.
posted by gladly at 8:45 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Worst episode of TV I've ever seen.

Never saw the last episode of Seinfeld, eh?

(Why, yes, I am still bitter, it's only been a decade and a half.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:46 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]


I believe Garwig will also be a writer/producer on the show along with C&C.
posted by kmz at 8:46 AM on April 1


Never saw the last episode of Seinfeld, eh?

Or apparently Dexter.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:47 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Or Battlestar Galactica.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:47 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


....and I'm also the only one who liked the finale of Battlestar Galactica, too.
posted by Windigo at 8:48 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]


I think the ending feels so conflicted because this is a show about a group of friends and half of the group got terrible endings. Not just the mother: Marshall and Lilly seem pretty... isolated. They could have shown them smiling with kids at some point, or talking to new friends or ANYTHING. Instead they just seem tired, lonely and sad about Robin.

As for Barney, the entire last season was centered around his growth as a person. In one episode he completely devolves into a pathetic shell of the man he was becoming, simply to clear a path between Ted and Robin. Why not have him end up with his old stripper girlfriend, or better, make him the new host of The Price Is Right. Instead, everyone seems to flush Barney down the toilet in about 10 minutes, which undermines the entire strength of the friendships they have been forming this whole series.
posted by lubujackson at 8:50 AM on April 1 [20 favorites]


I thought the BSG finale was fine.
posted by mazola at 8:50 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I basically said everything I wanted to in the last HIMYM thread.

Short version: this is what happens when you write your ending seven years ahead of time.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:52 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I liked the BSG finale.
posted by zarq at 8:53 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


As a woman who met my love late in life and has never wanted children, I had high hopes that Robin's life could have a happy ending built on her terms. I wanted her and Barney to work out so badly, because I would love to have a happy ending for a couple that didn't always involve having children. That the only way Barney can be redeemed as a person is to have a kid, annoyed the piss out of me. That Robin was only the right person for Ted after someone else had filled the void of needing kids for him, sucked epically. That Tracy was essentially reduced to a Victorian trope of the perfect woman who gives birth and then dies? Well, let's just say it's a good thing my husband had the remote because otherwise, I'd be buying a new television today.

5 episodes ago I said that they were going to kill off the Mother (Tracy) and Ted ends up with Robin. Then I said, "Noo, they could never undo everything like that and fall back on something so cliched."

I was epically wrong. The only real reason I was surprised was because I trusted the writers to not pull out some maudlin bullshit like this.

Upon further reflection, I would have loved this ending at the end of season 5 or even 6. But after all the work they've done this season alone with proving to us over and over again that Barney does love Robin and Ted is really over her, those last minutes of the season seemed like such a total cop out.
posted by teleri025 at 8:53 AM on April 1 [50 favorites]


Never saw the last episode of Seinfeld, eh?

not looking for a prolonged argument or derail, but I can't just let this stand. I thought it was brilliant, an entirely unpredictable resolution that left nothing on the table.
posted by philip-random at 8:56 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Sooo.... people who get divorced or widowed should be alone forever. Good to know!
posted by mochapickle at 8:57 AM on April 1


And I say all that as someone who liked the ending of BSG.
posted by teleri025 at 8:57 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


*camera zooms out*

*snow globe*
posted by Fizz at 8:57 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


As for Barney, the entire last season was centered around his growth as a person. In one episode he completely devolves into a pathetic shell of the man he was becoming, simply to clear a path between Ted and Robin.

Exactly. It would not have taken much to show Barney not devolving. Sure, have him knock up a one night stand, that's fine, but show a brief conversation with Number 31 where she says "I can't care for a baby" and show Barney stepping up and saying "I will." You don't have to crush his character's nine seasons of growth in order to show him change when he gets a daughter.
posted by troika at 8:58 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


I believe Garwig will also be a writer/producer on the show along with C&C.

Oh God, please no. Frances Ha was the worst movie preview I ever saw.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:59 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I'm with SpiffyBob,

I'm just pissed that there's another terrible cover of Downtown Train out there in the world.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:59 AM on April 1


Sooo.... people who get divorced or widowed should be alone forever. Good to know!

I don't...where are you even getting that from?
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:01 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Obnoxiousness in order of how much it angered me:

3. "Redemption" for a manipulative sexist who lies to get women to sleep with him consists of that man becoming a sex-negative paternalistic asshole who shames women for being sexually available.
2. Kids are the only source of meaning, a childless person is an unhappy person with an empty life.
1. LEAVING IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING TO DRAMATICALLY MOVE AWAY
posted by prefpara at 9:01 AM on April 1 [39 favorites]


To me, the stars of HIMYM weren't Ted or Barney or Robin, they were Marshall and Lily. A couple who were deeply, romantically in love, secure enough to be able to tease and have fun with each other, and who had each other's backs.
"Marshall and Lily to me, they're my favorite TV couple, because they really do love each other," Segel said. "There's sort of this formula of a successful TV couple that seems to involve a lot of nagging and a lot of eye-rolling. We've managed to do nine years without nagging or eye-rolling.

"A lot of shows, I wonder why they're actually married. It seems like she lost a bet," Segel continued. “Whereas Marshall and Lily, first of all, they really like to get it on, which I think is really funny and kind of rare. They like each other's jokes and they have a lot of shared, private jokes. It's a real couple, I love it."
More: Why How I Met Your Mother’s Marshall and Lily Were TV’s Best Sitcom Couple
posted by zarq at 9:01 AM on April 1 [34 favorites]


Sooo.... people who get divorced or widowed should be alone forever. Good to know!

No, just Ted, because he's the worst! Seriously, watch all the seasons (particularly the last few) and try and cheer him getting together with anybody, much less Robin, the woman he let float away like a balloon not just 3-4 weeks ago.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:01 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I both like that the ending is a "twist" ending but still remains largely consistent and is not totally out of left-field like some twist endings are. But, of course, it's still kind of cheap fake emotional manipulation that tries to make you feel more strongly about something than you really should.

My view is pretty heavily tinted by the fact that season 8 was pretty weak (Patrice is possibly the worst idea they had in the entire show and they decided she had to be a recurring "gag" for all of season 8 almost made me give up watching HIMYM). And season 9 in many of the episodes were similar. The idea of doing an entire season at a wedding that doesn't matter and only a couple of interesting things happen make me much less likely to give the ending any sort of benefit of the doubt.

So yeah, make season 5 the last "normal" season. Have season 6 be totally different where he meets the Mom in the first part and then do whatever they want to lead up to the twist.
posted by skynxnex at 9:02 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I hated Seinfeld so the last episode was actually better than average to me. Didn't stick with BSG long enough to get to the finale. I'm comfortable with my assertion.
posted by Skorgu at 9:02 AM on April 1


LEAVING IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING TO DRAMATICALLY MOVE AWAY

YESSSS.

I think what's really bugging me about this finale is that, for all the many years I've been watching HIMYM, I thought that the writers agreed with me that Ted was kind of a douchey asshole sometimes and that part of his growth as a character was to move away from that kind of behavior and mindset.

And then I was presented with a finale in which Ted was at his absolute douchiest levels of self-absorbtion -- complete with the story he tells his kids about their Mother actually being all about an ex girlfriend he's carrying a torch for -- and the show COMPLETELY and uncomplicatedly rewards him for this.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:04 AM on April 1 [24 favorites]


Sooo.... people who get divorced or widowed should be alone forever. Good to know!


I don't think anyone is arguing this. There were nine seasons of this show that promised Ted meeting the Mother. The whole last season, and large parts of some earlier ones, showed Robin and Barney making their relationship work. We invested a lot of time in these characters, in their lives. To throw all of that development away in the last episode made a lot of viewers feel cheated.

SO MUCH TIME was spent on Ted getting over Robin. And then...he wasn't over Robin after all. Greaaaaaaat.
posted by troika at 9:05 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


In one episode he completely devolves into a pathetic shell of the man he was becoming, simply to clear a path between Ted and Robin.

"Now that I've spent an entire evening telling you about eight years of my life, including spending a significant chunk of that time to a single weekend, I'm just going to glide over the last fifteen years."
"What, do you have a train to catch?"
"What? No, certainly not. Ha! That's ridiculous!"
"You do, don't you. You found out that Aunt Robin is back in town, so you figured you'd take that stupid blue horn into the city and get some action."
"Blue horn? What blue--"
"The one in a bag by the front door."
"Huh. That's so weird. So, you say that Aunt Robin is back in town? I should go see what she's up to. Because... we're... friends."
"Oh, for... Go. Just... just go, dad."
[door slams, tires screech]
posted by Etrigan at 9:07 AM on April 1 [25 favorites]


Wait, people are ragging on the last episode of Seinfeld? The one where we finally learn that it's not just us, those characters really have been acting like petty jackasses for years, and it's been noticed in-universe as well, and it's finally going to catch up to them? But that was fantastic!

It took the whole premise of the show and finally made it make sense!

The only way you could do that any better is if the final Murder She Wrote had revealed that no, it's really not possible for a kindly author to randomly become a helpful bystander at hundreds of murders; Jessica Fletcher was an expert hypnotist and serial killer.
posted by roystgnr at 9:08 AM on April 1 [25 favorites]


I have no opinion on this show, but I do hope that when The Simpsons does its inevitable Halloween episode take on Hannibal, the writers have the good sense to title the segment "How I Et Your Mother".
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:10 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


I took Barney reverting as more of a coping mechanism than an actual devolution. He didn't seem as into it as he was in the past and was obviously taken aback when Robin was at the Halloween party.
posted by ridiculous at 9:12 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I bandwagoned the HIMYM finale
posted by drezdn at 9:14 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Short version: this is what happens when you write your ending seven years ahead of time.

Yeah, everybody seems to want shows to nail down their ending from the beginning to avoid the sprawl and treading water that shows like Lost and BSG had, but I think that only works if you've got everything written from the beginning and you know exactly how many seasons you're getting. Characters take on a life of their own during the writing process as they become more fleshed out and go in directions that you didn't expect, and the strengths and weaknesses of the actors do the same thing.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:14 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


the ending of seinfeld was the only show ending that ever made sense to me.

i didn't watch this but read about it, and honestly, even as an intermittment watcher of the show, i felt that the HIMYM finale just did not keep true to the character development, at least not as we had seen it.

when star trek TNG would do those time travel episodes that went into the future and crusher and picard had been married and divorced, that made sense.

barney and robin makes no sense to me whatsoever excpet as a drunken and/or FWB situation.
posted by sio42 at 9:15 AM on April 1


I've spent an entire evening telling you about eight years of my life
Just one evening?

208 episodes, 22 minutes a piece is 76 hours... and even if Ted managed to squeeze each story into a 4 minute summary for the kids, we're still talking for 13 hours.

Maybe that's why the kids are so disturbingly happy that Ted just got to the part of the story where their mom died? It's not that they're excited about Dad finally moving on, they're just so relieved that they're finally about to get to go pee!
posted by roystgnr at 9:16 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


It's not that they're excited about Dad finally moving on, they're just so relieved that they're finally about to get to go pee!

Well...
posted by kmz at 9:17 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


There were nine seasons of this show that promised Ted meeting the Mother.

But the point is, Ted is a fully unreliable narrator, and he has been since the very first season. The very last person who realizes he should look up Robin again is... Ted. Ted thinks the story is about the mother, but he's wrong. He's been wrong all along.

And yeah, my comment about widowed and divorced people was pretty flip -- I should have said this differently. I guess my point is: if time has passed, and you've grown up for sixteen years (ten years with the mother + 6 years of the mother being gone), why not see if things have changed? It's springtime after winter.

Ted and Tracy were happy and completely so for ten years in the show, and he loved her for 16. It felt like 40 minutes to us because of the pacing, but that's a long time -- and it's a testament to Milioti that she could convey that so comfortably and so well in such a short time.
posted by mochapickle at 9:19 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


No one is saying that, if this were a real story and Tracy had actually died, Ted should stay single forever. But Tracy never had to die -- she's fictional.
posted by jeather at 9:22 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


For a show where the entire premise seemed to be "It can take a long time to figure out who you are until you can be a good partner to someone," for the ending to be "But ha ha, it's really that chick I've been obsessed with for 25 years" definitely rings false and plays into that whole "WE ONLY HAVE ONE TRUE LOVE" thing. I liked the idea of all of Ted's relationships -- including the one with Robin (and his friendship with her) -- being lessons that made him into someone who was worthy of the Mother. The whole "Yeah, but it was really always just Robin" seems to say "NO ONE LEARNED ANYTHING!"

That's not to say I don't believe people can reconnect later in life/etc., or Ted and Robin needed to be single forever, but in terms of the story we were being told, this wasn't the right ending.

(Of course, I'm coming from a place where I never really thought Robin and Ted were good or right for each other.)
posted by darksong at 9:22 AM on April 1 [22 favorites]


They were both his true love, just at different points of his life.

The whole point of the show is Ted searching for The One, only to realize that there can be more than just one love.
posted by mochapickle at 9:24 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


From a comment on Deadspin... Alternate show titles

How I Banged A Bunch Of Chicks Before Your Dead Mother

Kids, Your Nerdy Father Got His Share Of Tail, Boy Howdy

How I Met The Filler In My Love Life That Was Your Mother

How I Wasted Hours And Hours Of My Childrens' Lives With This Story

How New York Should Really Rethink How It Picks Its Judges, And Also Lots of Sex Stuff

Gilligan's Upper West Side Island

posted by drezdn at 9:25 AM on April 1 [20 favorites]


Just saw this on Uproxx. What if the mother of Barney's kid is the main character in How I Met Your Father? *Shakes fist impotently at sky* THIS SHOW
posted by drezdn at 9:31 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


She died the way she lived...
posted by drezdn at 9:32 AM on April 1 [20 favorites]


Robin and Ted is giving me flashbacks to the Scrubs finale, where they put so many nails in the Elliot/JD coffin over the years only to come back to it at the end. I really thought that episode waaay back in season 3 where JD finally got with Elliot only to realize he was in love with chasing her but didn't actually love her, making him just blatantly an asshole messing with her emotions to fulfill his own narcissistic needs, was a fantastic 180 on the whole "destined to be together" stuff and felt a lot more true to life where that awful realization just happens sometimes, and the relationship never rang true every time they went back to that well after that.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:33 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


LEAVING IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING TO DRAMATICALLY MOVE AWAY

YESSSS.


It's obviously not the middle of the wedding if the bass player is on the platform 45 minutes after he is. It's a "things are winding down, Barney wants to party all night" kind of scenario...

I think the ending feels so conflicted because this is a show about a group of friends and half of the group got terrible endings. Not just the mother: Marshall and Lilly seem pretty... isolated. They could have shown them smiling with kids at some point, or talking to new friends or ANYTHING. Instead they just seem tired, lonely and sad about Robin.

I was epically wrong. The only real reason I was surprised was because I trusted the writers to not pull out some maudlin bullshit like this.


I think this is why I liked it... They had much more real lives than most sitcoms. Maybe a lot of you are young or lucky, but in plenty of cases, life is difficult, friendships are uneven, people die, and love is hard to find and doesn't always work forever. ALso, some people you care about have faults! Like, even kind of major ones (Barney's speech about accepting who he is and then realizing he could care about a daughter was pretty touching, I thought, though bro-centric - but not every character was "that guy"). And these were people who you'd think on paper were very successful and happy. I dunno, it wasn't perfect but I appreciated the exploration of ordinary life including harsh components. This was thinking more in line with M*A*S*H than Friends, and that is definitely a good thing.
posted by mdn at 9:33 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


skynxnex: “But, of course, it's still kind of cheap fake emotional manipulation that tries to make you feel more strongly about something than you really should.”

So – uh – you're saying this episode was the fulfillment of all the things sitcom writers have hoped and dreamed to create in the past fifty years? Because that's what that sounds like.
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Robin and Ted is giving me flashbacks to the Scrubs finale, where they put so many nails in the Elliot/JD coffin over the years only to come back to it at the end. I really thought that episode waaay back in season 3 where JD finally got with Elliot only to realize he was in love with chasing her but didn't actually love her, making him just blatantly an asshole messing with her emotions to fulfill his own narcissistic needs, was a fantastic 180 on the whole "destined to be together" stuff and felt a lot more true to life where that awful realization just happens sometimes, and the relationship never rang true every time they went back to that well after that.

I didn't like most of the JD/Elliot stuff in the middle seasons but I thought they actually did a really damn good job with the relationship in the last season. The Scrubs series finale actually was pretty damn perfect. (I'm not counting Season 9... I actually liked nuScrubs OK, but it was a totally different show.)
posted by kmz at 9:36 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


What bugs me about the whole thing is that the timing just didn't allow for any emotional heft. It was ok to kill the mother, but there was no time to react to it emotionally.
posted by drezdn at 9:37 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Control-f'd but no results for Barney Parthenogenesis? What even are you talking about then?
posted by Greg Nog at 9:37 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


To all those who claim to 'like' the 'finale' of BSG, please place your TVs in their original containers and return them to the store you bought them from in a period not exceeding 48 hours. Thank you.
posted by signal at 9:37 AM on April 1 [15 favorites]


What bugs me about the whole thing is that the timing just didn't allow for any emotional heft. It was ok to kill the mother, but there was no time to react to it emotionally.

Yeah, exactly. I was actually OK with the whole season wedding thing before, but after the finale I really wish they'd shortened it and allowed all the developments in the finale time to breathe.
posted by kmz at 9:39 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


What bugs me about the whole thing is that the timing just didn't allow for any emotional heft. It was ok to kill the mother, but there was no time to react to it emotionally.

And at the expense of this, we got things like the rhyming episode.
posted by troika at 9:40 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


I'd never watched an episode of HIMYM in my life until the finale (I have a weird habit of only watching the finales of some shows). The finale kind of affirmed my "formulaic sitcom is formulaic" suspicions I'd had about it.

However, I've watched the clip of Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal singing "Confrontation" from Les Miserables about 20 times so far because they're clearly having fun and that's delightful to watch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


signal: "To all those who claim to 'like' the 'finale' of BSG, please place your TVs in their original containers...."

"I laid out the cabin today. It's gonna have an easterly view. You should see the light that we get here, when the sun comes from behind those mountains. It's almost heavenly. It reminds me of you."

Yeah, I'm gonna go with "Good Finale."
posted by zarq at 9:40 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


but after the finale I really wish they'd shortened it and allowed all the developments in the finale time to breathe.

And after spending a whole season on the lead up to the wedding, they spent just a few minutes on the ceremony and reception.
posted by drezdn at 9:41 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Blame Jason Segel for the whole last season debacle, he was the one who got too big to be on TV anymore and demanded a giant contract to the point that they had to shoot all his scenes separately, forcing the terrible "entire season takes place over 3 days" construct. Although in hindsight, maybe he shouldve just kept holding out and forced a premature end rather than lend his name to the last season.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:43 AM on April 1


I'm just going to pretend the whole series takes place on the The Enterprise-D holo-deck with Riker playing the part of Barney.
posted by drezdn at 9:44 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I liked the finale. Imagine the grief poor Ted must have gone through when his sweet, perfect-for-him wife died, leaving him alone with two kids. It's understandable that he'd reach out to the only other person who came close to being his ideal mate.

And if we imagine their lives after the finale, I would guess it wouldn't be all happy days and giggling for Robin and Ted. But it's the best they have.
posted by ColdChef at 9:46 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]


I'd only seen the show casually but the wife had the finale on last night and it just confirmed for me that The Shield was one of the few shows ever to absolutely nail the ending.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:46 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


That finale left me meh. I don't flat out hate it, but I didn't take any kind of emotional hit from the mother dying, either, and I'm a cryer in movies, so I should have been a blubbery mess.

I will say this, though -- it's always annoyed me that Robin having dogs was such a big thing in the first episode and then the dogs failed to appear over the next 9 seasons. Like, really -- Robin decided to go off to Japan and never once wondered what she should do with her dogs while she was gone? There was no confrontation between Barney's perfect bachelor pad and Robin's dogs?

And now, here, in the finale, dogs are back and there are more of them than ever?

No.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:46 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I would love a series of clips of Barney sitting like Riker.
posted by komara at 9:46 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to pretend the whole series takes place on the The Enterprise-D holo-deck with Riker playing the part of Barney.

No way. He sits down all wrong.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:47 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I was most upset by the fact that they had Robin friend-dump a crying, pregnant Lilly (and walk away from her with almost zero emotion), then left Robin to languish without any friends, without Barney, and without Ted for a period of years, at which point it was assumed she would happily fall back into Ted's arms.

(I know the kids said she'd been over for dinner at points, but that was almost six years after the death of the mother...)
posted by sallybrown at 9:47 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Robin got rid of the dogs Ted saw them as representing her ex-boyfriends.
posted by drezdn at 9:48 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


For those who say we've spent years watching Ted get over Robin -- it's Robin's arrival at his wedding to Stella which torpedoes that wedding. It is the fact that he can't give up Robin's friendship that ends his relationship with Victoria the second time, and it is sleeping with Robin which destroyed it the first time. The metaphor for Ted letting Robin go on her wedding day, earlier this season, is a little boy losing his balloon -- that, my friends, is a metaphor for loss and regret. When Ted drops Robin off so that she can stop Barney from "proposing" to Patrice, it is clear that he is doing so because he cares so much for her that he can't stand to see her unhappy.

And then there is the whole "locket" thing this season, which if anything oversold the point that no, Ted is not over Robin.

When Robin gets back together with Barney, is made clear that she only wants him when she thinks she can't have him (like lobster.) Sure, he (unlike Ted and Kevin and, let's face it, a lot of real people) is willing to give up the idea of a raising a family in order to be with her (and let's not forget that we already know Barney loves babies. He borrows James' kid, and wants to adopt a kid with Ted at one point), and that is no small thing. But it's not exactly enough to hold a relationship together, either. They settled for each other.

Robin never does become the female stereotype, happy to be a wife and mother and give up her career. She can't give Ted that dream, and she doesn't.

Ted finds someone else, and he loves her, and she is (ridiculously) perfect for him, and he has the life he wanted, and Robin has the life she wanted...

But maybe even "happily ever after" isn't forever, and they both end up sad (for different reasons). And maybe even "the one" isn't the only one.

And maybe happily ever after really is followed by sadness and then by another chance at happiness, sometimes.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:49 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]


The Shield was one of the few shows ever to absolutely nail the ending.

Yes! Damn, that was good.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:56 AM on April 1


Hey.

The Television Without Pity site about the show is still live and posting recaps, and the forum is still live.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:57 AM on April 1


I never understood why Barney gets a pass for being a lothario while Charlie doesn't. They are just characters.
posted by vapidave at 9:57 AM on April 1


(Also I think the locket thing is supposed to show that Robin is not really sure about marrying Barney. But they hit the Ted part of it a lot harder.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:58 AM on April 1


I was actually OK with the whole season wedding thing before, but after the finale I really wish they'd shortened it and allowed all the developments in the finale time to breathe.

Bingo.

Also, the reason Seinfeld's finale suck wasn't the comeuppance. That was the good part. The reason Seinfeld's finale sucked was that it was basically a clip show.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:58 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


The distaste for that finale has nothing to do with thinking a great ending would be Ted rotting in a chair alone, or that everyone only has one true love.

Of course the balloon is a metaphor for grief and loss. To me, what's interesting is the idea that grief and loss are things you live with and move past and incorporate into your story -- not things where, not to worry, one day you'll get back together! Because you usually don't. Treating grief as a transient problem you circle back to undo 20 years later is insulting, not sophisticated.

Whatever else is going on in these conversations, it has nothing to do with whether you think people can meet more than one person or can have a second chance. It's more specific to these characters than that.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:58 AM on April 1 [24 favorites]


To be clear, I think it makes PERFECT sense that Ted would want to end up with Robin after his wife's death. I don't especially like that pairing, but you know, that's what this particular character would do and that's fine.

What bothers me is that the HIMYM creators manufactured this situation in the first place. That the mother is dead was only a given TO THEM, and only because they'd decided on that plot "twist" half a decade ago. This is a work of fiction and the death of the mother -- and Ted's being a widower in a position to reconnect with Robin -- is a situation they deliberately created.

I'm annoyed that the HIMYM creators decided the mother wouldn't survive to the "present day" of Ted telling his story, not that -- given her death -- he ends up with Robin.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:00 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I can't believe I enjoyed this show this much for this long when the main POV character did nothing for me. Just continually went back and forth between "unlikable" and "almost-but-not-quite likable". 9 seasons carried by the supporting characters and the things that happened around him. No slight intended at all against Radnor, because the character was basically a blank sheet of paper that was sometimes a jerk and he did a fantastic (and probably quite difficult) job of keeping a character like that above water, but it really sticks out to me how much I've got zero emotional investment in Ted other than as a plot mover and a POV to see all of the really good things in the show through.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:03 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


When writers say "kill your darlings," the ending of HIMYM was a darling that should've been killed. It was a too-clever, too-pat solution to the problem of having Robin not be the Mother and having Ted wind up with Robin anyway. They should've taken that footage and tossed it. They found a better solution by making the audience actually like Tracy and then threw that work all away.
posted by graymouser at 10:04 AM on April 1 [15 favorites]


I'm a little surprised at the vitriol for Barney's harangue of the two girls who try to do shots with him. I think calling him "a sex-negative paternalistic asshole who shames women for being sexually available" is probably a hyperbolic read of a single scene gag.

I doubt we should assume that that this one ugly reaction is the definitive statement of all of his future attitudes towards sex and women. I think it's more likely that this is a typically over-the-top hysterical Barney overreaction reflecting the shock of his wildly overdue realization that hey, each woman is someone's daughter. He's probably got decades of his life to develop a more balanced view. Heck, as obsessed as he is with being a mentor, he might even take her under his wing and one day coach her on the merits of a single lifestyle.

In any case, taking a 10 second gag as the definitive statement of his future and values is maybe going overboard.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:21 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I can't see returning to Robin as an undoing. He spent the last few seasons letting go of Robin, which in turn gave him to the opportunity to have 16 years with a truly spectacular person and a family he'd always wanted. Returning to Robin doesn't negate his life with Tracy because Ted had changed during those 16 years.

His life with Tracy made him more balanced, more trusting. He didn't push so hard (as shown in his married scenes with her, how authentic and natural they seemed). And in the end, he was more honest with himself.

Robin was always sort of vexed by over-the-top Ted. She was overwhelmed by his surprise string quartets and romantic gestures. But after her divorce and turning her back on her friends, she found it hard to return to the dogs and wine from S1. (That scene with Lily was more about Robin reacting to seeing Barney and realizing she didn't fit in and impulsively wanting an out, but she's stubborn.) Robin had tried a marriage and failed and doubted she could handle that.

So Ted coming was a hopeful, feathered thing for both of them. Ted had mellowed out, and Robin had come to a place where she had accomplished her goals but wanted companionship and a link to the times when she was really happy. The timing was a lot better, the match a lot more true. They're a home to each other.

Maybe I'm just projecting?
posted by mochapickle at 10:23 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


hey, each woman is someone's daughter. He's probably got decades of his life to develop a more balanced view
But his daughter has only about 1.5 decades until she starts dating. He's going to be the dad who think all men want just one thing and that it is her job not to give in. He is going to teach her that. Yuck
posted by soelo at 10:25 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


From Sepinwall's review:
Hell, even at this late hour, they could have recognized what they had in Milioti and accepted that that old bit of footage with Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie would remain unseen forever (or, at worst, be a special feature to lure people into buying the complete series box set), and that the fans would get over not seeing the kids react to the end of this endless story.
Haven't watched the finale, was only so-so on the show, but I'm reminded of the quote of Faulkner's that in writing, you have to kill your darlings -- which I take to mean that the things that you think are so clever and wonderful are things you might not be objective about; they might not fit in your story, no matter how clever they are.

The secret footage of the kids and the ending was too clever. They couldn't bring themselves to kill it.
posted by gauche at 10:26 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


Of course it's possible Barney evolves into a radical feminist off screen, but all we are presented with is the short interaction at the bar, and that interaction is sexist, paternalistic, offensive, and made me really angry.
posted by prefpara at 10:26 AM on April 1 [19 favorites]


In any case, taking a 10 second gag as the definitive statement of his future and values is maybe going overboard.

But given the way the finale was structured -- with decades of time presented in tiny chunks like that one -- what else do we have to go on? The writers chose THAT scene as representative of a stage of Barney's life. If we aren't supposed to assume he's become a paternalistic asshole, then maybe they should have...you know, either left that bit out entirely, or not tried to cram his midlife crisis and recovery into the background of an already overcrowded 44 minutes of television.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:29 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


it really sticks out to me how much I've got zero emotional investment in Ted other than as a plot mover and a POV to see all of the really good things in the show through.

It only just hit me that what is clearly the most popular running gag of the entire series -- the Slap Bet -- had less involvement from Ted than any other running gag:
Marshall and Barney make the bet about Robin's past, and Lily is the Commissioner. The first slap is because of that bet.
The second slap is because Barney was being an asshole to Lily.
The third slap is because Barney was being an asshole to Lily and Marshall at Thanksgiving.
The fourth slap is briefly bequeathed to Ted, but it's also briefly bequeathed to Robin, Lily and even Lily's dad at another Thanksgiving.
The fifth and sixth slaps are because Barney wanted to stop wearing the duck tie, which was itself the result of a bet among Barney, Marshall and Lily.
The seventh slap is because Barney was being an asshole to Marshall.
The eighth slap is to snap Barney out of his cold feet right before the wedding.

Ted is involved in one of these slaps, and his involvement is the same as Lily's dad, who appeared in half as many episodes as Ranjit.
posted by Etrigan at 10:29 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Or, just what greymouser said.
posted by gauche at 10:29 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying the attitude he projected in those ten seconds wasn't gross. I'm saying that assuming those ten seconds represent a complete picture of his attitudes for the remaining 30-50 years of his life is assuming a kind of stasis that doesn't really make sense, either in terms of the character or in human beings in general.

I don't begrudge anyone a knee jerk reaction to that lame bit. But taking it as any kind of definitive statement seems over the top. I mean, if the series had ended on his joke that "going to prison for another bro was The Dream," you wouldn't assume his agenda for the rest of his life was to make that happen, would you?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:29 AM on April 1


Metafilter: taking a 10 second gag as the definitive statement of someone's future and values and going overboard with it.

Oh, no, wait - that's Twitter.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:30 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


(A few months ago, I sat next to a man flying to Denver to see his high school sweetheart, and he hadn't seen her in 27 years. They'd both married and divorced in the years between. He was excited and nervous and happy and in love and terrified. We'd been waiting at the gate at DFW when the pilot announced electrical problems and we had to change planes. I think he would have pushed that plane to Denver if he could have.

Anyway, I love those kinds of stories a lot better. HIMYM is a sitcom, and sitcom characters don't really seem to change so much. But I think these characters did, and the finale tried to be true to that.)
posted by mochapickle at 10:30 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


All Barney did at the bar was act the exact opposite of how he had previously. He turned down alcohol, told the girls to go away from him, and said they should dress in a less revealing manner.
posted by ftm at 10:32 AM on April 1


Agreeing with prefpara: I actually thought the whole finale was one of the most patriarchal things i'd ever seen, from Barney's ability to reproduce without a woman, to tracey's total disposability, to Barney's "redemption" as a domineering dad-type who won't let those poor girls drink alcohol at a bar.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:32 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


I liked it.

Barney’s arc makes perfect sense. He and Robin divorce, like people do. After a time he, with the belief that he’s not meant to find true love, reverts to his previous behavior. Only this time he does meet the love of his life – his daughter. So the end of his story is not his return to his lecherous ways. It’s exactly the opposite.

Robin’s arc makes perfect sense. She and Barney divorce, like people do. She, with the belief that she’s not meant for better things, reverts to her previous behavior. In her case this means rejecting relationships, pulling away, and burying herself in her job, alone but for her dogs. She’s always exhibited this tendency to pull away, but the strength of the gang has pulled her back in. This time, the gang have their own lives and aren’t strong enough to keep her around. But when Ted needs her, she's there, and six years later the flickering flame starts to burn hotter.

Ted’s arc makes perfect sense. He and Tracy are married for ten perfect years. Tracy gets sick and dies, like people do. This prompts Robin to come back into Ted’s life, help out with the kids (which she can't have), and so on. Over the course of six years – not five minutes, six years - their relationship has deepened. This isn’t a surprise given that Robin’s always known in the back of her mind that she was meant to be with Ted. I don't think Ted even realized what had happened until he finished telling his story and his kids pointed it out.

The complaints that Barney and Robin getting divorced meant we wasted an entire season on the wedding are completely bizarre. The show wasn’t about the wedding, the wedding was just the backdrop for Ted meeting the mother.

I completely disagree with the notion that Tracy should have become part of the gang for some significant part of the season or series. That would break the entire conceit of the show, and I expect it would have spoiled her perfection (and she was perfect). The show was about Ted meeting her, and I didn't want to see in any great detail what happened afterward. It was enough to know they were perfect together until she was gone.

Anyway, yeah, I liked it.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:33 AM on April 1 [16 favorites]


Couldn't they have filmed some alternate takes with the kids back in season 2, so as not to lock themselves into one definite outcome for Ted's and the mother's story? Even if you're not expecting to last as long as (what at the time must have seemed like an astronomically long) nine total seasons, how hard would it have been to cover a couple of more possibilities, just to be safe?

(...Or maybe they did do that, and they decided to go this way anyway, in spite of the strength of Milioti's performance and character...)
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:33 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


"I laid out the cabin today. It's gonna have an easterly view. You should see the light that we get here, when the sun comes from behind those mountains. It's almost heavenly. It reminds me of you."

Yeah, I'm gonna go with "Good Finale."


"You know, I know something about farming." [sob] I'm also going with Good Finale.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:33 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Control-f'd but no results for Barney Parthenogenesis?

Barthenogenesis.

No one move a muscle as the dead come home.
posted by The Tensor at 10:35 AM on April 1 [16 favorites]


I've been wondering all morning whether Barney's post-baby scene in the bar would have been better if he had been approached by the two girls and then slut-shamed them, rather than chasing them across the room to slut-shame them. I still can't quite decide.
posted by Etrigan at 10:37 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: So – uh – you're saying this episode was the fulfillment of all the things sitcom writers have hoped and dreamed to create in the past fifty years? Because that's what that sounds like.

I had meant to say that the episode ended having a lot of kind of boring and trope-filled that every sitcom uses instead of being more interesting and genuinely emotional like HIMYM was at its best (and this episode had real monuments of it too).
posted by skynxnex at 10:39 AM on April 1


I'm not sure why Barney having a kid would make him any less the misogynistic jackass he always has been. He just expresses it in a new way.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:42 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Consider that the writers clearly like Barney and have always worked to show that under his loutish exterior, there is, in fact, a person in there. Given that, I think the point of the scene with Barney and the shot girls is more likely that Barney has a new life ahead of him in which he will have to sort out how he feels about women and how they should be treated now that he has a daughter... and that watching him get there will involve a lot of classic Barney stupid.

If you feel that this ten second gag was meant to damn Barney forever as a hopeless patriarchal loon, that's your right, but from where I'm sitting that really seems a preposterously unlikely implied ending for a character on a sitcom.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:43 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Alternate ending: Ted just met the kids' mother and is being the painfully awkward melodramatic Ted we all know and mildly tolerate, telling the kids this grandiose, self-absorbed fairy tale of a relationship that barely exists before his first date with her. She walks in on the conversation, is weirded out and decides against dating him. Later that night, Ted drunk calls Robin for the millionth time while she's off having grand adventures, and when that goes to voice mail he tries to get a grown-up and matured Barney to go out to the bar and pick up women with him, but Barney has to take the kids to school in the morning and really doesn't want to do that anyways, so that peters out. Ted sits down in the same old unchanged apartment, drink in his hand, scowling at architectural awards from years gone by. The show ends with a PSA about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a hotline you can call to talk to someone about it.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:45 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]


What is so unlikely about a lifetime sexist user of women who has always treated women as objects who are to be used and discarded continuing to be a sexist who treats women as objects whose sexuality is his to condemn and make rules about? The only thing that changes is that he decides that imposing dirty, dirty sex on women who make him think about his daughter is bad (but definitely the woman's fault).
posted by prefpara at 10:46 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


jason_steakums: "I can't believe I enjoyed this show this much for this long when the main POV character did nothing for me. "

I felt that way about Seinfeld. And The Sopranos. And Six Feet Under.
posted by zarq at 10:48 AM on April 1


They may not be a graceful way to do it, but they could explain the pineapple in How I Met Your Father (and it wouldn't break canon).
posted by drezdn at 10:51 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


"At least you got a series finale*." said My Name is Earl fans

*Though "Raising Hope" does sort of rap the story up.
posted by drezdn at 10:51 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


What is so unlikely about a lifetime sexist user of women who has always treated women as objects who are to be used and discarded continuing to be a sexist who treats women as objects whose sexuality is his to condemn and make rules about?

Additionally: his involvement in the episode post-divorce was him being a sleaze. Sleeping with a different woman every night for a month, the boob job comment about the mother, etc. It's not just one ten second comment, it's that he was only a couple of ten second comments throughout the episode and up until he had a daughter they were all (or nearly all) sexist.
posted by troika at 10:52 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


drezdn: ""At least you got a series finale*." said My Name is Earl fans"

Stargate Fucking Universe.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


What is so unlikely about a lifetime sexist user of women who has always treated women as objects who are to be used and discarded continuing to be a sexist who treats women as objects whose sexuality is his to condemn and make rules about? The only thing that changes is that he decides that imposing dirty, dirty sex on women who make him think about his daughter is bad (but definitely the woman's fault).

What's unlikely about that is: he's a character on a sitcom that the audience and the writers generally both liked. Were he a person, your ending would definitely be a possibility. Since he's a sitcom character, the intent of the writers is almost certainly "and then that zany lout with a heart of gold had a whole new enchilada of stuff to figure out!" The tone of the source material makes that one an easy guess.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:53 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


schoolgirl report: " Barney’s arc makes perfect sense. He and Robin divorce, like people do. After a time he, with the belief that he’s not meant to find true love, reverts to his previous behavior. Only this time he does meet the love of his life – his daughter. So the end of his story is not his return to his lecherous ways. It’s exactly the opposite."

Huh. Hadn't thought of it that way. Nice observation.
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on April 1


Given that, I think the point of the scene with Barney and the shot girls is more likely that Barney has a new life ahead of him in which he will have to sort out how he feels about women and how they should be treated now that he has a daughter... and that watching him get there will involve a lot of classic Barney stupid.

Have you ever told a significant other about a friend you had back in high school or college or whatever, and every story is about how he's basically an alcoholic asshole who likes picking fights, but you never realized it until you're trying to tell this new person a story about your old friend that doesn't involve him getting drunk and getting the shit kicked out of him in a parking lot, and you're stuck with, like, this one time that he was doing community service for his second DUI and he saved a puppy by the side of the road? Even though you can't list all his Pros and Cons and weigh and balance them and decide that he should remain your friend because X > Y, you'll still always think of him as a friend.

Barney is that guy, only with women instead of fistfights.
posted by Etrigan at 10:54 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I'm not disappointed that the mother died. I'm just disappointed that Ted didn't kill her because he was driven mad by his love for Robin, and he was just explaining to his kids why he had to do it before he leaves to go kill Robin in a murder-suicide scenario. That's how I would've ended it.
posted by dortmunder at 10:59 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


I'd only seen an episode here and there before last night, but my kids always seem to be watching it on Netflix when I'm working in the kitchen so I had a very vague idea of what was going on. I'm glad I hadn't invested to much into it; that finale seemed like a schlocky mess. I kind of laughed at how unbelievable and syrupy the Barney/baby thing was after him being such a cartoon the whole time. And how come Ted's voice-over wasn't Bob Saget anymore, all of the sudden? What was the point of Saget for the rest of it?
In the last 30 seconds my daughter said, "where's the blue French horn?" followed immediately by "there it is."
posted by chococat at 10:59 AM on April 1


I think I'm just going to wait for C&C to release the Extended Cut DLC and re-evaluate my feelings then.
posted by kmz at 11:00 AM on April 1


I started season 1 on a business trip in December and somehow managed to catch all the way up just in time for the finale, so the whole story is very fresh in my mind.

I think the ending is good, plot-wise. I think it would have been an almost perfect ending if it had been tacked on to the end of season 6, sparing us the final three seasons of the show.

The biggest problems with the ending, as many people have pointed out, is that the writers spent the last two seasons trying really hard to make us care about Barney/Robin and also trying really hard to convince us that Robin really isn't right for Ted.

Even so, seasons 7 and 8 had some great episodes, and even season 9 had its moments. And yeah, the last three seasons seem to actively work against the prescripted ending, but I still think that, looking back at the whole run from beginning to end, it's a pretty good story that I am willing to call complete.

At the very least, I certainly prefer this to the alternate happy ending graymouser linked way up at the top of this thread.
posted by 256 at 11:00 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm gonna go with "Good Finale."

Zarq, I'm afraid pistols at dawn for Starbuck's honor is the only answer there.
posted by corb at 11:09 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I think it's a bit like the montage at the start of Up. It seems sad, but only because you're speeding over all the happy years and ending with the death of the love of his life. But, life goes on.
posted by ckape at 11:11 AM on April 1


I'm starting to think all you BSG finale boosters are secretly Cylons.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:12 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


If you were paying attention you'd realize we're all hybrids.
posted by ckape at 11:14 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I think it's a bit like the montage at the start of Up. It seems sad...

seems? Are you a fucking robot?
posted by Etrigan at 11:14 AM on April 1 [22 favorites]


I liked this episode better when it was the 2-hour movie Definitely Maybe, which premiered 3 years after HIMYM started but 6 years before it ended, and also had Ryan Reynolds.

Now I'm just glad that Cobie Smulders is free to go pester Coulson as Maria Hill on Agents of SHIELD season 2, if there is one.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:15 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Does anybody have a transcript of the scene at the end with the kids, or could rewatch it? Because I'm hearing the debates about "the writers knew the Mother was going to die from the very beginning" and I'm wondering whether or not when that scene was filmed, the wording allowed for the possibility of divorce instead. (I.e. "It's been six years since mom's died" vs. "Mom's been gone for six years.")

Also, the comparison to "Up" is a good one - a ton of time compression going on. He had ten (apparently awesome) years with the Mother, then waited six years before thinking about moving on. In that regard, the entire series seems to be him asking for his kids' permission to date again.
posted by jbickers at 11:15 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the word used was "gone".
posted by kmz at 11:16 AM on April 1


In that regard, the entire series seems to be him asking for his kids' permission to date again.

With a complete resume of previous dating experience! Ted came prepared for the pitch.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:16 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


The daughter says "Come on dad. Mom's been gone for 6 years now. It's time."
posted by cashman at 11:19 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


If you want to defend Barney... Keep in mind the whole series is being told from the perspective of Ted, who we now know has good reason to make Barney look like as much of a chump as possible.
posted by drezdn at 11:20 AM on April 1 [18 favorites]


Did they mention what happened with Lily's career after the year in Italy?
posted by drezdn at 11:21 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I've been trying for 45 minutes to come up with a comment explaining why the Dexter finale was, by pretty much unanimous opinion, exponentially worse than even the angriest, most uncharitable opinions of the HIMYM finale. Really. They're not even close.

You think you got a definite whiff of a poop-like odor from the HIMYM finale? The Dexter finale was 3 lbs. of steaming hot actual horseshit heaped on a plate, garnished with a sprig of parsley, and presented with a clueless "TA-DAAAAAA!"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:23 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I can't fault Jason Segal for the wedding that took a season. They wrote Alyson Hannigan out of a series of episodes pretty easily. It wouldn't have been too hard to come up with an excuse for why Marshall wasn't around.
posted by drezdn at 11:23 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


for all the many years I've been watching HIMYM, I thought that the writers agreed with me that Ted was kind of a douchey asshole sometimes and that part of his growth as a character was to move away from that kind of behavior and mindset.

That's what happened to me, too.

I don't believe there's such a thing as "watching a show wrong," but maybe in this case, that's what I was doing: I was watching the show with a persistent, pleasant tickle of (what I thought was) the tension between romanticizing, objectifying, self-centered, in-story Ted of the past and the wiser, more emotionally honest Ted he would become.

I assumed that the older Ted of the future was telling the kinds of stories I sometimes tell about myself and my friends, the stories in which we were younger and dumber and more callow and less kind and often appallingly self-centered to the expense of everyone, including ourselves. I thought Ted was, in a gentle and affectionate way, the butt of his own tale. But I was wrong.

In essence, I was advancing sympathy to a character I disliked based on the mistaken conviction that he would become somebody I liked. As the show got closer and closer to the end, I thought "Gosh, he's going to have to grow up in a hurry to become the person I'm sympathizing with." But it never occurred to me until the last few weeks that he might never become the person I was sympathizing with.

The finale revealed that I've been misreading the show's sympathies all along. When it became painfully obvious that the How I Forget Your Mother storyline was more than a tease or a red herring, all my interest just… vanished. Poof. I don't much like Ted, I kinda like Robin, but I always found their relationship the dullest story in the show. To have it exalted as the beating heart of the series left me flat.
posted by Elsa at 11:25 AM on April 1 [25 favorites]


Did they mention what happened with Lily's career after the year in Italy?

Not that I recall, no!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:27 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Dexter's finale was basically a crime against humanity.
posted by kmz at 11:27 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


And OH MY GOODNESS more Cristin Milioti, please. I would like a series where she and Alyson Hannigan, with those big anime eyes and elvin chins and broad curving smiles, play sisters.

And then whatever: I don't care at all. Sisters who fight crime. Sisters who read minds. Sisters who run a little catering business. Sisters who cobble shoes for a whole village. Sisters who rule the nation with fists of iron. I don't care. Make it and I'll watch it.
posted by Elsa at 11:32 AM on April 1 [50 favorites]


"And that's how I met your Aunt Robin,"

This is where they lost me, with the series ending.

My parents are divorced, and both very much still alive.

If my dad sat me down and told me anyone I'd grown up calling "Aunt" was about to become my stepmother, it would feel super gross and incestuous. I really took the leaning on "Aunt Robin" over the course of many years when the creators knew the outcome implied that Aunt Robin would stay a platonic honorary relation and not turn out to be the love of Ted's life. Because "Aunt". You don't raise your kids to call someone "Aunt Robin" when there is even the remotest potential that you're in love with her, or ever could be.

That said, I did not grow up in a culture that encourages people to call non-relations Aunt or Uncle. My parents' friends were just on a normal first name basis. We even have a few longstanding family friends I was basically raised to consider family, and they were never called Aunt or Uncle. I've always thought that media trope was contrived, since it doesn't correspond to my own life at all.
posted by Sara C. at 11:51 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Sisters who use the cover of their catering (Cristin) and cobbling (Alyson) businesses to travel around their small nation and solve crimes using their mind-reading. The part about ruling the nation is a sideline that allows them more freedom to solve crimes.

Heels, coming this fall to Fox.
posted by Etrigan at 11:52 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


Sara C.: "That said, I did not grow up in a culture that encourages people to call non-relations Aunt or Uncle."

I did, although I'm not raising my kids that way. My parents considered it a term of respect for non-family members who were close enough that they were practically family.

Lots of cultures do this. It doesn't have to create an uncomfortable situation.
posted by zarq at 11:53 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Would it be weird in those cultures for "Auntie" to become step-mom?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:55 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: "Would it be weird in those cultures for "Auntie" to become step-mom?"

I don't think this is an "either-or" situation. I assume it would depend on the relationship, the family, etc., not just whatever the cultural norm might be.

The mom of a friend of mine whose family is originally from the HK NT, married an "Uncle" Wei a few years back, nearly a decade after my friend's dad passed away. No one seemed to have a problem with it or even seemed to think it was a big deal.
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I've always thought that media trope was contrived, since it doesn't correspond to my own life at all.

You're aware that the creators of media generally aren't trying to recreate your life in wax at all times, right?

Growing up I was taught that any adult friend of my parents was an "Auntie" or "Uncle", it was a sign of disrespect to address them otherwise until I was a preteen/teenager or so.

And while it never came up in my family, I think the logical assumption is that yes, those non-familial aunts and uncles could become step-parents, if the circles that my parents ran in were drama-filled enough to warrant a sitcom.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:00 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Blame Jason Segel for the whole last season debacle, he was the one who got too big to be on TV anymore and demanded a giant contract to the point that they had to shoot all his scenes separately, forcing the terrible "entire season takes place over 3 days" construct.

No, blame it on CBS who kept renewing the show far beyond its prime and the lifespan of the original premise. If the show were ending after five seasons, not only would the actors not be "too big to be on TV", the whole thing would actually make sense.
posted by Sara C. at 12:03 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Also, I've seen two friends lose spouses to cancer in the last five years. In both cases the wives who were dying spoke with their husbands, and also to a specific close family friend, to "give their blessing" if they wanted to try and start up a relationship with each other.

Neither relationship worked out. But they both did try.

Losing a spouse at any age is hard as hell. Trying to move on from losing a person you think is your soulmate into a new relationship might possibly be just a little bit easier with someone who already knows you. And who has been there through the tough times.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


You're aware that the creators of media generally aren't trying to recreate your life in wax at all times, right?

Yes, that's why I included the caveat that maybe it was just my personal hangup.
posted by Sara C. at 12:06 PM on April 1


This tv show is not funny for the same reasons the Your mother is so fat jokes would not be hilarious at all.
posted by Colonel Panic at 12:06 PM on April 1


Were there any futuristic elements to the world of HIMYM 2038? I remember they can project holograms with smartphones then.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:08 PM on April 1


There were lightsabers at one point...
posted by kmz at 12:09 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


What does this show have to do with insult comedy?
posted by soelo at 12:09 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


If my dad sat me down and told me anyone I'd grown up calling "Aunt" was about to become my stepmother, it would feel super gross and incestuous.

Hey, on Justified Raylan's dad married his aunt (mom's sister) after his mom died. How 'bout them apples? It could be worse...
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:09 PM on April 1


Were there any futuristic elements to the world of HIMYM 2038? I remember they can project holograms with smartphones then.

You mean in this episode particularly? Ted has a comically large phone, and Robin tries to talk to her TV, but gets frustrated when it doesn't recognize her voice.
posted by 256 at 12:10 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I knew of this Danish price whose mom married his uncle after his dad was murdered.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:10 PM on April 1 [13 favorites]


Re How I Met Your Dad, my main issue with this as a show is that, wait, isn't like every third sitcom about a cute young girl in the big city, trying to meet The One?

The reason HIMYM worked so well, as a concept for a sitcom, was that it subverts this trope. Instead of the wide-eyed romantic comedy heroine, we have her male counterpart. The guy who is desperate to settle down and have kids, which is a character that, with one or two exceptions (The Wedding Singer?) doesn't really appear in modern popular media.

How is "HIMYD" not exactly the same show as either The New Girl or The Mindy Project, just to name two currently running examples of the genre? What is different about this? I'm especially worried since the reason HIMYM was so great was that it was constantly subverting tropes, taking the story in unexpected directions, and playing with the boundaries of the multi-camera sitcom form. I can't help but assume that HIMYD is going to be blah cookie-cutter vanilla.
posted by Sara C. at 12:12 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Heels, coming this fall to Fox.

Make it ABC, have Victor Von Doom's Latveria be their regional neighbor, and boom you can have Cobie Smulders cameo in this show.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:20 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I think it will be pretty cookie-cutter because of how differently they did some elements of HIMYM. Timeline jumping is now a big plot device in sitcoms and not seen as something that only should happen once per season in a clip-show. It barely needs an introduction anymore. Gone are the days of "Remember the time Jennifer lost her homework?" cue blurry transition. Now you just change everyone's hair and put up some 80's posters.
posted by soelo at 12:22 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Instead of the wide-eyed romantic comedy heroine, we have her male counterpart. The guy who is desperate to settle down and have kids, which is a character that, with one or two exceptions (The Wedding Singer?) doesn't really appear in modern popular media.

500 Days of Summer is the landmark romantic film of this current generation. This is a bigger zeitgeist than you think.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:22 PM on April 1


Heels, coming this fall to Fox.

Make it ABC, have Victor Von Doom's Latveria be their regional neighbor, and boom you can have Cobie Smulders cameo in this show.


Yeah, but ABC won't break Elsa's heart by airing the episodes out of order, moving the show around, barely advertising it after the first week "underperforms," and finally burning off the last four episodes opposite the Super Bowl.
posted by Etrigan at 12:27 PM on April 1


But still, that's two examples. Which is what I said -- with one or two exceptions. That's what made HIMYM fresh.

Girl Looking For Love is its own genre of sitcom.
posted by Sara C. at 12:27 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Were there any futuristic elements to the world of HIMYM 2038? I remember they can project holograms with smartphones then.

The gang was out watching a Robots vs. Wrestlers match when Barney broke the pregnancy news.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:27 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Also, 500 Days Of Summer came out four years after HIMYM premiered. The Ted Mosby character was pretty innovative for a CBS multicamera sitcom, in 2005.
posted by Sara C. at 12:29 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Were there any futuristic elements to the world of HIMYM 2038? I remember they can project holograms with smartphones then.

The gang was out watching a Robots vs. Wrestlers match when Barney broke the pregnancy news.


Robots vs. Wrestlers is a present-time event as well (including Mexican Wrestler Ted).
posted by Etrigan at 12:29 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty conflicted. On the one hand, I think a lot of "the gang grows apart" stuff is realistic. And Barney and Robin divorcing is realistic. I am decidedly unthrilled at killing off Tracy and Barney having a baby and that makes everything better. I am sad for Robin being sad dog lady, though as I said at the end of the "confrontation" thread, the whole thing does kind of smack of "this is the way to get a couple who disagree on kids together, by having it waited out until he's had 'em with someone else."

I'd probably be fine with Ted and Robin getting together after 25 years of angst had the relationship not burned out over drama and Barney. I did not so much care right now. I'm neither for nor against it. Though the show turned out to be right that she should have been with Ted instead of Barney as per her wedding day fears....but again, the only thing really keeping them apart originally was kids. If the kids thing hadn't ended it, we wouldn't have had the dramaz.

I guess (speaking as an evil childfree person) I have to give the showrunners props for never, ever backtracking on making Robin suddenly want kids and even making sure she wouldn't have them or get oopsed or change her mind and agree to have them to snag Ted. So I guess it could have been worse? Especially since these two have always seemed to be on the side of traditional marriage-house-kids. (I concur with whoever it was above that it did NOT seem in character to have Ted wait seven years and two kids to get married. Oh hell no, that guy would have had a courthouse wedding in a few days after she announced it.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:37 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I didn't have a problem with Ted letting years go by before tying the knot with Tracey. To my eyes, it was proof that he really had changed and grown from OMGMUSTGETMARRIED Guy to someone who was so secure in himself and happy in his love and family that the actual ceremony was all but incidental.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:46 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Maybe Ted delaying the marriage is another sign that even though he totally loved Tracy he still has the lingering love for Robin? The entire last season is Ted trying to pretend he doesn't still love Robin. And he's running away to Chicago so he won't have to see Robin every day. And, if I'm remembering the episode correctly and reading timelines online, Ted suddenly decides to re-propose and get married to Tracy mere days after bumping into her (Robin) on the street and Ted's daughter tells Robin, "I like you, bus lady." Is the marrying Tracy, then, a way for Ted to re-escape from his love for Robin?
posted by skynxnex at 12:48 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I read Ted putting off the marriage as being, now that he's found a relationship that works, he's not in such a huge hurry and trying to force everything into his perfect romantic fairytale.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:52 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


PLOT TWIST: In the future, monogamy is a quaint custom, so Ted, Tracy, and Robin all live together. The reason Ted spends all his time telling his kids this story is because the women have essentially outgrown him and spend all their time doing awesome hanggliding and stuff together and Ted is left out.
posted by Eideteker at 12:52 PM on April 1 [14 favorites]


PLOT TWIST: The slut-shaming we see Barney do in the finale is actually part of a bet and he's actually become really cool and a very active feminist.
posted by Eideteker at 12:53 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


"At least you got a series finale*." said My Name is Earl fans

Stargate Fucking Universe.





Um...I have Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Don't Trust the B- In Apartment 23 over here. They're looking to rough up some network executives pretty bad, and then go through their wallets. They wanted to know if you guys wanted a piece of that action.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:53 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


Eh, I could buy that. But it's not really the relationship that did it. But rather having a Kid. Ted was busily planning the huge wedding before he found out Tracy was pregnant. Just what it took with Barney.
posted by skynxnex at 12:53 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I think a lot of "the gang grows apart" stuff is realistic. And Barney and Robin divorcing is realistic. I am decidedly unthrilled at killing off Tracy and Barney having a baby and that makes everything better. I am sad for Robin being sad dog lady...

I wonder if all this could have worked out if the series had been structured like so:

Seasons 1-4: as actually produced, for the most part.

Season 5: Ted meets The Mother, we spend the season not at Barney and Robin's wedding, but experiencing the Ted/Mother relationship in what passes for "real time".

Season 6: The events of the gap between Ted having kids with The Mother and The Mother dying and everyone growing apart play out here, over the course of a season in flashback/anecdote/time-jumping style, not unlike this last season. Glorious resolution where everybody gets to end on a somewhat up note (Lily & Marshall are happy, Barney becomes a dad, Robin wins a Pulitzer, whatever), just so that the whole show isn't a total bummer. Maybe Ted and Robin get together, if the producers are really so married to that.

That said, I'm not sure CBS would ever have approved a Bummer Season. There'd be lots of studio notes like "nobody wants to see that!" and questioning whether the audience believes that Our Heroes are still "likable".
posted by Sara C. at 12:53 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


PLOT TWIST: Bob Saget killed his wife offscreen before Full House started, AND killed the mother offscreen before HIMYM started. He has just run out, fleeing from the police, when Ted sits down in the final scene with the kids. None of Saget's story is true and/or he's secretly actually Gary Blauman and that's how he knows all these things.
posted by Eideteker at 12:53 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]


PLOT TWIST: Lily was never actually real and has actually been a Japanese body pillow this whole time.

Marshall has only ever been with "one woman" because he's actually only ever been with none women; women terrify him, just like they do Thomas & Bays.
posted by Eideteker at 12:54 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: "I have Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

THAT ONE TOO.

Ugh.
posted by zarq at 12:55 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Um...I have Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Don't Trust the B- In Apartment 23 over here. They're looking to rough up some network executives pretty bad, and then go through their wallets. They wanted to know if you guys wanted a piece of that action.

I loved Don't Trust the B (outside of one super problematic episode) and was super sad to see it go, but the final episode was a pretty great series send-off. Similar to Objects in Space for Firefly, an unintended series finale that works as one. (Happy Endings too, now that I think about it. Have I mentioned how much I curse ABC for Happy Endings, B in A23, and Better Off Ted?)

Sarah Connor Chronicles did get majorly screwed out of resolution though.
posted by kmz at 12:56 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


In my own personal headcanon, the three dot symbol in Sarah Connor Chronicles was foreshadowing the best crossover ever.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:59 PM on April 1


I'm gonna show my age here, but my most painful unresolved because of cancellation story was Now & Again. That one ended on a brutal cliffhanger: the six-million dollar man-like lead (Eric Close, as a bionic dude/John Goodman brought back from the dead on condition he never contact his family) is reunited with his family, but the government may or may not kill them all. Meanwhile, the Eggman, the crazy supervillain they've been setting up since the opener prepares to attack. That one hurt extra badly because it wasn't even low-rated. CBS just got into a dispute with its studio and canned all of their shows from spite.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:00 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Josh Radnor on the finale
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:01 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Sometimes, a less-than-perfect ending turns out to be a more satisfying one over time. In my mind, Lindsey (Freaks & Geeks) is still out there following the Grateful Dead, forever young and completely happy.
posted by jbickers at 1:03 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]


Eh, I'm fine with Ted being comfortable in the relationship, but think of the legal and insurance issues that come from unmarried parenting! Ted's a Taurus, he'd be too anal about money and providing for his family to pass that up!
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:05 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Can we talk for a second about what a sweet gig the two actors playing Ted's kids ended up with? For what was probably a few days work nine years ago, they ended up appearing in dozens of episodes of a highly-rated, widely syndicated sitcom. Even assuming they were paid the bare minimum, the ratio of residuals paid to time spent on set must be bananas.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:08 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]


"At least you got a series finale*."

I come from the land before finales were much considered, I'm pretty sure. And here I speak of the TV of the 70s in which I can't remember any of my fave shows having finales*. They just tended to end when the ratings finally ceased to be inspiring to advertisers.

About which I feel compelled to say, "big deal, it's just television," these imaginary people being not unlike neighbors who come and go in your life, sometimes annoying, sometimes quite likeable, but all of them fated to leave at some point (often unexpectedly), with the various plot points of the rest of their lives left unrevealed ... unless you exchange Christmas cards or whatever.


* the big exception was MASH, of course, but that was in 1983 (and it was pretty bloody ponderous anyway).
posted by philip-random at 1:11 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


So, has anyone broke down connections between HIMYM and Love in the Time of Cholera?
posted by drezdn at 1:13 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Even assuming they were paid the bare minimum, the ratio of residuals paid to time spent on set must be bananas.

I'm not sure exactly how this works, but it's entirely possible that those kids have been getting paid in full for every episode their footage appears in. I know that if you appear in a network TV show, and your episode airs in reruns, you get paid again. Not sure if this is a comparable situation, though.
posted by Sara C. at 1:15 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Can we talk for a second about what a sweet gig the two actors playing Ted's kids ended up with? For what was probably a few days work nine years ago, they ended up appearing in dozens of episodes of a highly-rated, widely syndicated sitcom. Even assuming they were paid the bare minimum, the ratio of residuals paid to time spent on set must be bananas.

I just love that Ted's daughter became Alexandra Udinov. Who knew Ted was actually a big time Russian mobster? (And that his mom is also Mama Petrelli and his stepdad was the Mayor of Sunnydale.)
posted by kmz at 1:23 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't it have been weird if the HIMYM kids grew up to be like SUPER famous? Not just "we also get other acting jobs sometimes" famous, but, like Angelina Jolie or George Clooney?

I mean what if Jennifer Lawrence were the daughter? How trippy would that be?
posted by Sara C. at 1:28 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


The hardest unresolved television story for me is undoubtedly "The Sandbaggers". But a mysterious disappearance of the writer/creator over the Arctic Sea is a pretty good reason to cancel.
posted by bswinburn at 1:29 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Carnivàle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:34 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


I thought this was actually pretty excellent, Barney's regression excepted.

Everybody's complaining that Ted spent 9 seasons getting over Robin, but he's had 6 more years to figure out what he wants to do. The problem with this episode is not the plot, but how the plot was revealed this season. This season could have had some more flash-forwards, allowing for the development of the Mother-Ted relationship, and allow the proper climax of the two meeting. It's tricky, but it could have been done.

Still, good job, HIMYM.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 1:34 PM on April 1


"Josh Radnor on the finale"
He was never a character that you felt like he'd just walk into a room and heads turn, "There’s Ted!" No, he’s like bumping into furniture all the time. But he’s great, and he wins in the end; he gets both girls."
posted by Eideteker at 1:36 PM on April 1


Deadwood, you cocksuckers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:36 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


In the show's second season, my wife and I went to a friend's gallery opening in Santa Monica. We'd been watching the show since it premiered, and we really loved it, and our friend had recently done a guest stint on the show. She introduces us to a guy at the opening, "We just worked together on How I Met Your Mother" she tells us, and then she walks away.

"We love that show! We've been watching it since the beginning. Haven't missed an episode. It's our favorite sitcom. Are you a writer on the show?" I say.

"No, I'm an actor," he replies.

"Were you a guest star too?" my wife asks.

He tilts his head. "No, I'm a regular."

My wife and I look at each other. What is this guy, lying to us? This is crazy.

"Really? Who do you play?" my wife says.

"I'm Ted. I'm the lead."

"Oh! Well. Great work. Just great." My wife and I shrink away.
posted by incessant at 1:45 PM on April 1 [59 favorites]


Wow, incessant. Worst inadvertent burn ever.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:48 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


If he'd said, "I'm the I," I would have liked him a little more.
posted by Etrigan at 1:50 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Not one of my prouder moments.
posted by incessant at 1:50 PM on April 1


Probably not one of his, either.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:56 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Interesting idea from the TWOP boards: What if Barney was ok with taking the divorce that Robin offered not because he wanted to, but because he figured she wanted to, and that's why he reverted so much/took it so badly?
posted by drezdn at 1:58 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I tried very hard to avoid spoilers before the finale last night, but I saw one. It said, "Now I know how LOST fans feel." And my heart sank!

But, you know, while most of the criticism here are valid, it just didn't disappoint me the way BSG or LOST did. It was more cheesy then disappointing, and the "dead mother" thing has been whispered about for at least a few years, so that came as no surprise. I think the best point I've read is that they spent a whole season on a wedding for really no reason whatsoever.

Also, I really hope the actress who ended up as the Mother ends up on a sitcome, because after this AND her completely bizarre/hilarious turn on 30 Rock, it's clear this woman is brilliant. No hyperbole -- watch her 30 Rock episode, watch her HIMYM work. Amazing.

And a P.S.
I hated the Seinfeld finale, too, when it first aired. But I've found that it works really, really well in syndication. You watch this show every day at 11pm, and before the cycle starts again, you get to see this two-part finale with all the regulars popping in, and everything ending in a way that feels very true to the tone of the show.

And a PPS.

I don't want to watch any other shows that have a set up that doesn't pay off until the end. (please read this in my most petulant tone. imagine it.)
posted by MoxieProxy at 2:01 PM on April 1


And that, kids, is why you should always record multiple versions of something you might need eight years later.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:02 PM on April 1 [25 favorites]


drezdn -- that makes a lot of sense to me. Barney's saving grace has always been that he's so pathetic you feel more sorry for him than angry at him. His whole origin story is one of rejection anyway, with his "awesomeness" explained as his reaction to that rejection.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:02 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


From the link Eyebrows McGee posted

Since the show was all about meeting the mother, what was it like to finally film that scene where you tap her and say hello and get under the umbrella?

That was actually Cristin [Milioti, who played the Mother]'s audition scene and they didn't really change a word from when we first read it together. It was also the last scene we filmed on the very last day of filming, so emotions were running high on both fictional and nonfictional tracks.


And again I scream with frustration about the stuff I did not like about the way the show ended. Because these showrunners obviously did so much right it hurts a bit to see how wrong they got it. (I'm not going to comment on the "he wins in the end; he gets both girls" because that's the actor and also ugh.)

I mean, I thought the whole TM umbrella dialogue was cheesy as hell. But it was DELICIOUS DELICIOUS WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS cheese. Not to tell people how to have opinions, but I will anyway -- if you did not like that scene, I can't imagine this show was ever for you.

And for the record, incessant, there were two ways out of that faux pas:

1) "Oh my God, you're so much more attactive in person!"
2) "H-a-a-a-ve you met Ted?"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:03 PM on April 1 [12 favorites]


And that, kids, is why you should always record multiple versions of something you might need eight years later. Bonus points if George Bluth Sr. is teaching this lesson.
posted by drezdn at 2:04 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


What if Barney was ok with taking the divorce that Robin offered not because he wanted to, but because he figured she wanted to, and that's why he reverted so much/took it so badly?

He vowed he would never lie to her again, and then invoked that vow right before he presumably agreed that their marriage wasn't working. If he was willing to go back on that vow -- especially in that way -- then why wouldn't he be willing to stay in a marriage that he still wanted?

It's not a bad idea, but it's not really supported by the text.
posted by Etrigan at 2:06 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Haaaaaaave you met disappointment?
posted by Eideteker at 2:15 PM on April 1 [11 favorites]


I just don't love the way women are treated in this show (well, in almost all media). Robin and Tracy just feel like two-dimensional cardboard cutouts for Ted to idealize. And Ted is, I'm sorry to use this term, crazy. I would run faster than I have ever run before if I met a guy who treated me like that. What an overbearing creep. He doesn't even love Robin as a person - he just loves the romantic idea of Robin. Same with Tracy.

I love Greta Gerwig and hope that How I Met Your Father has more women who are not just cardboard cutouts in it. Even Robin turned into a cliche by the end of HIMYM.

But yes, this ending, while annoying, did not cause my blood to nearly boil the way the ending to LOST did. I had less emotional investment in HIMYM.

I would have liked to see more of the mother, not because I think it was absolutely necessary for the end of the series, but because she is a great actress with lots of charisma and they really wasted her talent.
posted by sockermom at 2:17 PM on April 1


Re: Barney and Robin breakup.

The problem with trying to find a rational reason for the break is that there really isn't one. The reason they break up is that Barney and Robin are too selfish people to find a way to make the relationship work, partially because their love isn't pure and partially because Robin's supposed to be with Ted.

Lily and Marshall went through almost the exact same drama with having to choose their careers over the lives that their spouse wanted, and in their case they supported each other rather than fought and came out stronger. Plus there's the whole karma thing with both of them getting the career that they wanted in the long run.

The relationship got hard and instead of finding a path through, they both decided that ending the marriage was the best option.

All of those things I get about why Barney and Robin ended. But my frustration is that the answer to "Why didn't they try harder?" wasn't they weren't the kind of people that can make those sacrifices for others, or that sometimes relationship end no matter how hard you try. Instead it was because Robin always loved Ted, or the idea of Ted more.

And that sucks. A lot.
posted by teleri025 at 2:20 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Robin and Tracy just feel like two-dimensional cardboard cutouts for Ted to idealize.

This does a lot to show how hard they had to shoehorn the characters as developed in the 9 seasons of the show into a resolution they wrote with the pilot.
posted by Sara C. at 2:23 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


It's not a bad idea, but it's not really supported by the text.

This should actually probably be on the Season 9 box set's DVD packaging.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:28 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I just don't love the way women are treated in this show (well, in almost all media). Robin and Tracy just feel like two-dimensional cardboard cutouts for Ted to idealize. And Ted is, I'm sorry to use this term, crazy. I would run faster than I have ever run before if I met a guy who treated me like that. What an overbearing creep. He doesn't even love Robin as a person - he just loves the romantic idea of Robin. Same with Tracy.

In (slight) defense of the writers, the entire story was as told by Ted, who was explicitly an unreliable narrator (e.g., eliding how much the gang smoked and "sandwich" being a stand-in for weed). Everyone was therefore reduced to a set of characteristics and fleshed out a little by the acting more than Ted's version of the "writing."
posted by Etrigan at 2:36 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


The ending worked for me, because I haven't seen the show since season 4. I imagine that if I'd been invested in Robin/Barney, or the mother as more than a conceit, it would have been disappointing.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:50 PM on April 1


In my own personal headcanon, the three dot symbol in Sarah Connor Chronicles was foreshadowing the best crossover ever.

Wrong!
posted by Apocryphon at 2:54 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


I would run faster than I have ever run before if I met a guy who treated me like that. What an overbearing creep.

I've met a lot of guys like Ted, guys who decide when you meet that You Are The One, guys who don't listen when you tell them honestly you don't want [kids/a longterm relationship/to get married] – or just that you don't want it with them, guys who blurt out "I love you" in the first few days or ask you to marry them before you've really learned anything about each other. Guys who are looking for The Girl, and who will superimpose The Girl over any woman they meet who ticks off the items on their checklist (and, like Ted, they sometimes have a literal checklist of weirdly specific fantasy-woman traits: plays bass, does the NYT crossword puzzle, favorite book is Love in the Time of Cholera).

Well, I've known plenty of those guys, and some of them I've known well enough to see them mature into more rounded, thoughtful, perceptive, receptive people who are capable of seeing women as people, not as a jigsaw puzzle or memory game pieces where you have to turn over every piece to see if it matches the one you're holding.

All along, I thought How I Met Your Mother was the story of a self-centered romanticizing borderline-creep who learned how to relax and see people for themselves instead of how they could be fitted into his pre-existing romantic fantasies.

But it isn't: it's a story of how Ted's borderline-creepy pre-existing romantic fantasies that he tries and tries and tries to jam willy-nilly become centered around one woman in his core friend group, and how those fantasies eventually come true. I find that story extremely distasteful. I just didn't know that's what I was watching the whole time, though perhaps I should have.
posted by Elsa at 2:55 PM on April 1 [29 favorites]


"...some of them I've known well enough to see them mature into more rounded, thoughtful, perceptive, receptive people who are capable of seeing women as people..."

*blushes* oh stop
posted by Eideteker at 3:08 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I've been asking myself why Robin and Ted make more sense to me than Robin and Barney. On paper Robin is not well matched to Ted in any of the ways that Tracy is. "Romantic" tells you almost everything there is to know about Ted and doesn't describe Robin at all. But I think it makes sense that Ted does start out loving the idea of Robin, but eventually the reason he loves her because he's invested so much in her by that point, he knows her so well (think of the episode where he's teaching Barney a class about her, what makes Robin laugh, what makes her angry, how to distract her when she's angry) that he can't help but want to make her happy. The old "to really know someone is to love them" idea.

For Robin, well, it must be very hard not to love someone who cares about you that much. Someone who knows all your faults and doesn't mind, who laughs at your cheesy jokes. And she comes to know him pretty well too, to see his vulnerability and his humility and his kindness (yes, I like Ted.) It's just that she can't give him what he wants. But I think she eventually wishes she could.

But Robin and Barney? Barney is a psychopath!

I mean, okay, he was abandoned by his father and lied to by his mother for his whole childhood. He gullibly believes the kid in junior high who claims to have slept with 100 women, partly because he himself has no experience with women, remaining a virgin until adulthood when his brother arranges for friend of their mom's to sleep with him out of pity. She later forgets him. He is an even more earnest and hopeless romantic than Ted, in his first real relationship, and then is devastated when that girlfriend leaves him for an asshole in a suit. So he becomes the asshole in the suit, and decides to sleep with 200 women... So he has some reasons for being a psychopath, but still, that's what he is.

To me the only attractive feature about Barney is this pathetic backstory, and, for Robin, his willingness to forgo fatherhood. He, in turn, never seems all the interested in Robin specifically. It's just that she's the only girl he really knows, the only female friend he's ever had.

So those who wanted Barney and Robin to be together -- can I ask why?
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:16 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


So I've never watched HIMYM, though people sometimes tell me I'd like it. I don't even know much about it. And, as I've read through the comments in this post, I've gone back and forth between half-interested (wait, they're big stoners? Wait, there's some kind of Love in the Time of Cholera thing happening?) and half-disinterested.

But, having just read Elsa and OnceUponATime's comments, I'm basically, like, 'yeah, I don't think I would like this show.'
posted by box at 3:18 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


my most painful unresolved because of cancellation story was Now & Again

Nothing tops the cancellation of Instant Star. Don't break up your main couple at the season break assuming you can fix it all in the next season's premiere! Tommy and Jude belong together and all we have left is Jude driving away in the limo leaving Tommy behind :( :( :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:18 PM on April 1


box -- But Marshall and Lily are awesome characters who treat each other and everyone around them with respect and dignity (mostly) and have a great, adult relationship (mostly). To me they are the real heart of the show. (But then I always found Ross and Rachel annoying on Friends, and watched for the Monica and Chandler scenes, so...)

And while Barney thinks he is awesome, the other characters know he's pathetic, and at at his best moments, so does he.

Also, Neil Patrick Harris makes a very charming psychopath.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:23 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


So those who wanted Barney and Robin to be together -- can I ask why?

I bet if you made a Venn diagram of all the people who shipped Barney and Robin, and all the people who shipped Buffy and Spike, it would basically be a circle.
posted by Sara C. at 3:26 PM on April 1 [17 favorites]


But, having just read Elsa and OnceUponATime's comments, I'm basically, like, 'yeah, I don't think I would like this show.'

I think you should watch and see what you think, on your own terms. The great thing about a TV show is that everybody gets to form their own opinions. Neither of those two takes on the show are entirely canonical, they're just two random viewers' thoughts.
posted by Sara C. at 3:29 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


It's been a long time since I've watched TV. Now I just read season summaries on Wikipedia.

On that basis HIMYM holds up well, I thought.
posted by mazola at 3:31 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I will now always think of this show as: How I murdered your mother and covered it up, so I could sleep with my best friends' ex-wife.
posted by humanfont at 3:36 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Robin is so much more than Barney's ex wife. Plus, "Marshall is my best friend."
posted by soelo at 4:02 PM on April 1


Major bummer.

Major Bummer! /salute
posted by padraigin at 4:11 PM on April 1 [13 favorites]


After the show ended, I turned to The Fella and said "Well, that was a general disappointment… General Disappointment! [salute]" He just snorted like, oh you dork.

… which is just exactly correct. It's hard to think of anything dorkier than a TV catchphrase that you turn into a private joke, unless it's a TV catchphrase of a private joke from a show you're disenchanted with, but still you employ it as a private joke.









Private Joke! [salute]
posted by Elsa at 4:18 PM on April 1 [30 favorites]


But, having just read Elsa and OnceUponATime's comments, I'm basically, like, 'yeah, I don't think I would like this show.'

Of course, just by having read my remarks (I won't presume to characterize OnceUponATime's remarks), you've prevented yourself from perhaps falling into the same misunderstanding of the show's sympathies that made the ending so very distasteful for me. So it would necessarily read differently for you, just as, if I ever end up rewatching any episodes, it will read differently for me in the future.
posted by Elsa at 4:24 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


It's just that she's the only girl he really knows, the only female friend he's ever had.

Well, that's part of the appeal. Robin is the only woman Barney ever treated or thought of like a semi-human being. (He and Lily have an...interesting...friendship, but given that she's with Marshall, she's never exactly been available for his usual shenanigans.) If you see the episode "Zip, Zip, Zip," this is when they first start to hit it off. Essentially, Robin is both a "bro" and a hot chick at the same time, which appeals to both sides of him.

I've off and on shipped them because before they got together the first time, it was kinda cute and sweet in its own weird way. Of course, C&B bungled the relationship like hell after that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:25 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


you've prevented yourself from perhaps falling into the same misunderstanding of the show's sympathies that made the ending so very distasteful for me.

It's worth noting that not everybody has this particular take on Ted's character.

I've always felt like Ted has his flaws, but never saw him as a monster.

I certainly didn't feel like the entire show swung on the idea of Ted as the villain, and nor did I feel cheated when the show didn't make that the big reveal of the series.

That's just, like... your opinion, maaaaaaan
posted by Sara C. at 4:35 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Best alternate ending suggestion yet?
posted by trunk muffins at 4:35 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I think there's a fantasy appeal on both sides: the fantasy of the one woman who's so awesome she can make you reform all your past misbehavior (with rather little real effort on your part); the fantasy of the terrible man who you, only you, can reform.

But, actually, if you take it as assumed that Barney is able and willing to become less of a horrible misogynist, I think he and Robin are well-matched; they're both practical, slightly chilly, outwardly unsentimental people, but they'll do a lot for people they really care about; they're both ambitious and smart and I get the feeling (despite their first go at a relationship) that they would challenge each other to be more interesting than they already are.

It all rests on the assumption that Barney is a good person under the whole asshole thing, which is a pretty big assumption, and you have to be very selective about what you see as canon and what you see as a terrible mistake on the writers' part.

Of course, I think there's a lot in the show that's a terrible mistake on the writers' part.
posted by Jeanne at 4:42 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


My favorite alternate ending.
posted by Jeanne at 4:43 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Best alternate ending suggestion yet?

Do you ever get the sense that some people watch certain TV shows because they hate them?

Like, if you hate the protagonist of the show so much that you want him to get murdered in the series finale, why are you watching this show?
posted by Sara C. at 4:44 PM on April 1


Well, that's part of the appeal. Robin is the only woman Barney ever treated or thought of like a semi-human being.

Not only that, but Robin is pretty damaged, too. She pretty much grew up without a mother, and her father raised her as a boy until she was 13, and then nearly immediately entered the Canadian mall pop star circuit. She's a Canadian gun nut, ffs. The only other one of those I know personally is a cop in Kitchener (don't go to Kitchener, btw). It would have been cool for her and Barney to say, "Hey, we're both pretty screwed up- let's not have kids and just try to be better people in our own lives." Then they could have done a montage of Robin and Barney sitting in bed together in matching pjs, smoking cigars and drinking scotch; Robin winning that weird Chinese card game Barney plays; Robin and Barney at the range; Robin and Barney being the cool aunt and uncle to all of Marshall and Lily and Ted and Tracy's different kids. Robin was a pretty well-developed character, except for when they tried to link her to Ted. That's where she seems to inexplicably surrender her autonomy (the dogs were a great example of this). With Barney, she definitely asserted herself more (which the writers turned into a cause for divorce). Even if she and Barney did divorce, why couldn't they have been the divorced couple that are still pretty cool with each other and remain friends. I actually know several different couples like that- they just realized that they liked each other, but shouldn't be married.


But what the heck! Let's go to the mall, eh?


I still remember seeing this on Much Music- they played it on the Coca-Cola Countdown for months
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:44 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


But Marshall and Lily are awesome characters who treat each other and everyone around them with respect and dignity

This is exactly the opposite of how I feel about Lily.

Marshall is alarmingly similar to my husband, so, you can't praise him too highly for me.
posted by gerstle at 5:02 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who finds the characters' various failings (Ted's whininess and tendency to put women on pedestals, Lily's manipulative streak, Marshall's derpitude, Robin's meanness) mostly endearing, or at least a refreshing reminder that these characters are human?

I won't give Barney a pass, though, aside from the "pitiful" analysis that's been floated already. I always thought his human angle was that he was working on being less terrible, bit by bit, and frequently backsliding, but always getting back on the horse.

I never really thought any of the characters was meant to be a paragon of virtue.
posted by Sara C. at 5:07 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Do you ever get the sense that some people watch certain TV shows because they hate them?

Like, if you hate the protagonist of the show so much that you want him to get murdered in the series finale, why are you watching this show?


I don't watch shows because I hate them, but hating the protagonist does not get in the way of me enjoying a show. Pretty sure that, by the end, I was watching both The Sopranos and Breaking Bad this way.
posted by box at 5:20 PM on April 1


I find the arguments that Barney's babymama plotline, with the ensuing patriarchal creepy lecturing of random chicks in a bar, is actually a signal that he still has to grow to be . . . offbase.

So, caveat being that I've only watched the first season, then a handful of episodes here and there, including the finale. The show was recommended to me by my brother-in-law. Who really really likes Barney. Like, he clearly thinks he's awesome. Not ironically awesome. Not a charming oaf. But he thinks of Barney as an aspirational figure because he's funny and good-looking and well-dressed and gets lots of chicks.

My brother-in-law was also the only person so far to make jokes about getting a shotgun to keep boys away from my two-month-old daughter. Usually, I'd call people on shit like that but he's living a completely unexamined life and has no idea why that would be creepy. Like he can't even begin to understand feminism. He's not a bad person, it's just not on his radar.

And there are lots of people like that out there. And people who think that Ted is genuinely a romantic nice guy, not a genuine creepy Nice Guy (tm). I just kind of think that the easiest answer and the one best supported by the actual show is not that any of these characters are meant to be feminist deconstructions of sexist tropes but that they're actually unapologetic embodiments of sexist tropes. We're meant to think that Barney has grown in that scene. We're not given any argument otherwise. Which is why I was never really able to get into the show very deeply at all.

Also in the finale it was funny how much of a Poochie Tracy seemed to be in every scene where she appeared with the group. The meet-cute scene wasn't bad, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:37 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


I never really thought any of the characters was meant to be a paragon of virtue.

Absolutely. And I never thought any of the characters were meant to be vigorously true-to-real-life in the first place. It's fiction, and not only that but TV fiction, which almost always requires a certain suspension of disbelief. Pretty much every TV show ever is filled with characters - or should I say caricatures - that are less than perfectly 3-dimensional, and frequently get manipulated to fit whatever plot point or narrative device the writers can't figure out how to get out of otherwise.

Don't get me wrong, I frequently enjoyed watching this show, and I've been keeping up with this thread as well and have some of the same beefs with the ending that many here do. I'm not trying to pooh-pooh this thread by any means. But let's not forget that ultimately this stuff is created to be entertaining, and paragons of virtue aren't generally all that entertaining...nor easily compromised in service of a narrative arc.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:42 PM on April 1


I must've seen a different ending to you. What I saw:

After six years of grieving for his late wife Ted opens up to his kids that he's ready to love again, but couches this revelation in a long-winded tale about his friends, particularly about his relationship with Aunt Robin who has obviously been around in that intervening period to make sure he and the kids have been ok. The kids know what's up right from the beginning of the story, but because he's Ted, they grumble and let him get on with it.

Finally: Dad, it's ok with us if you want to call her. We love Aunt Robin. Thanks for finally getting to the point.

So the whole show was Ted trying to make sure his kids were ok, and that he still deeply missed their mother, but that he was now ready to move on with his life and were they ok with that.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:53 PM on April 1 [19 favorites]


Yeah, look, the problem with the HIMYM finale wasn’t that the Mother died, or that Ted eventually ended up with Robin. Those ideas, taken on their own merits, aren’t necessarily bad and are even, if you will, noble for a sitcom.

The problem was how the finale glossed over all of these facts in the course of just a bit over 40 minutes, spending an entire season on a wedding that was ripped apart 10 minutes into the episode that followed the vows.

Here, in my opinion, is how the ninth season should have been structured.

Episode 1 & 2: Hour long season premiere in which Barney and Robin get married, and at the end, Ted meets the mother.

Episode 3: Ted and the Mothers first date. It goes exactly the same way we saw it happen in the ninth season as filmed. They propose a second date in a little while... when she’s ready.

Episode 4: Marshall and Lilly prepare to move to Italy while trying to stop Ted from ruining things and calling the Mother. The Mother doesn’t appear in this episode until the very end when she calls him.

Episode 5: Ted and the Mothers second date. It goes much better.

Episode 6 to 10: Standard HIMYM episodes, showing the mother being integrated into the gang over the course of 2013 and 2014. The episodes are weeks, sometimes months apart.

Episode 11: Ted and the Mother have been dating for around a year now and they have a massive fight and almost break up. They individually consider their future together. We see the Mother hanging out with her friends and asking them for advice. Ted does the same with his friends. This is important for the viewers to see because it’s better than the one sided picture of perfection we got of the Mother during the actual 9th season and fleshes out her character even further. And it’s important for Future Ted to tell his kids this because, as he explains to them, this fight was the moment that he realised their mother wasn’t perfect, but he still couldn’t live his life without her, and he decided that he was going to propose to her.

Episode 12: Ted plans a big proposal for the Mother and at the end, proposes to the Mother. She says yes.

Episode 13: The episode “How Your Mother Met Me”, as written, happens here as the big mid-season finale. The gang are all happy that Ted and the Mother are getting married, prompting one of them to ask her for her story.

Episode 14: We return from the break with a jump ahead in time to 2015. Lilly & Marshall’s second baby is born in this episode. Barney and Robin return from travelling around the world; Future Ted explains the gang haven’t seen either of them for a while because of this. It’s evident that there is a strain in their marriage. Ted and the Mother announce the Mother is pregnant.

Episode 15: The story of how Penny is born.

Episode 16: Another jump ahead. It’s now 2016. The gang get together again as once again, Barney and Robin return from travelling. They announce they got divorced. The episode shows the reasons why.

Episode 17 to 20: Standard HIMYM episodes. The unifying arc is how Robin is spending less and less time with the gang. Episode 20 reveals the Mother is pregnant with Luke.

Episode 21: How Luke is born.

Episode 22: Wraps up most remaining loose ends. Marshall and Lilly have their third baby. Marshall becomes a judge. Barney has his first baby. We also find out what happens to many of the secondary characters we came to know and love.

Episode 23 and 24: The finale. The kids realize that Ted never told them about the wedding. The first half of the story focuses on their wedding. Future Ted tells his kids it was the happiest day of his life. The first half ends with the revelation the mother is sick.

The second half of the finale shows how Ted and the Mother deal with her sickness, and how their friends, even Robin, rallied around them. Eventually she dies and we get a glimpse of her funeral, and how his friends helped him through that difficult time... and how he especially couldn't have done it without help from Aunt Robin, who gave up her international job and took a job in New York just so she could be close to Ted and his family and support them. A sombre Future Ted finishes his story by saying "So anyway... that that’s how I met your mother."

Fade to Black.

Credits roll with no music.

But wait! There’s an epilogue after the credits! Penny and Luke make the same observations they made in the actual finale; that the story Ted told was more about his love for Aunt Robin than it was about their mother. They say that it’s been six years since she died, and that they still love their mom just as they know Ted does too.

The kids say no one can replace their mother, but they remind Ted that Aunt Robin wasn’t just there for him when their mother died; she was there for them, too. They love Aunt Robin, and they know Ted does too, and they tell her to ask her out. The episode ends with Ted standing on the footpath, holding the French horn, looking up at Robin, who tells him to come inside, promising a happy future for the both of them.

The end.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:34 PM on April 1 [41 favorites]


So the whole show was Ted trying to make sure his kids were ok, and that he still deeply missed their mother, but that he was now ready to move on with his life and were they ok with that.

That makes a lot of sense as a thing that a real person would do in real life.

But I didn't think I was watching a show about a man coming to terms with the death of his wife and stumbling through the awkward "I want to start dating again" conversation with his kids. That was deliberately hidden from me by the series creators and then revealed in the last few minutes of the series finale, after nine seasons of episodes.

Like, seriously, I am glad that so many people seem to like the finale because I generally want for people to be happy and to enjoy things. But personally, my complaint isn't that the events themselves don't make sense -- just that, as a work of serial fiction, I'm annoyed by the direction the HIMYM creators decided to take this story, and I'm annoyed by the particular way in which those decision were executed.

Sometimes real people die in horrible car crashes while they're driving home from work -- that's a realistic thing to have happen in a work of fiction, and there are lots of realistic ways that such a development could be handled. But if a mainstream comedy television series featured the sudden death of a main character in a car crash in its final scenes, I would think that was a pretty lousy storytelling decision, too.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:03 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


Narrative Priorities, if the TVfilter subsite ever becomes a thing you are going to have so many "eponysterical" replies!
posted by jason_steakums at 9:15 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Effigy2000, you're absolutely right. That is exactly how this season should have gone. My only quibble is that it seems to describe a problem with this whole final season up until the finale, not a problem with the finale itsel. I think it's a sin that the writers wasted so much of this season on filler episodes and then tried to cram all of those events into one hour, but I have no problem with the events themselves, and it seems like you don't either, really... Honestly I think the big mistake as deciding that he couldn't meet the mother until the final episode, which I've got a feeling is a decision they felt locked into because of the title of the show.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:50 AM on April 2


Honestly I think the big mistake as deciding that he couldn't meet the mother until the final episode, which I've got a feeling is a decision they felt locked into because of the title of the show.

This is exactly right. As a few people posted earlier, the showrunners' mantra in the last season or two should have been Kill your darlings. Had they accepted that the story cannot fucking possibly end with "And that's the story of how I met your mother in the final ninth of the story about how I fell in love with your stepmother," then I think a lot of us fans of the show wouldn't have felt quite so whipped by the finale for the sake of whipping us.
posted by Etrigan at 5:11 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Let's all just be thankful that we didn't have to suffer through a deathbed confession where the Mother gives Ted her blessing to marry Robin because she knows that Robin is his one true love.
posted by double bubble at 6:31 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Oh, god, they totally would have done that if they hadn't lampooned it so hard.
posted by Etrigan at 6:38 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Ted and the Mother have been dating for around a year now and they have a massive fight and almost break up

No, NO! This is exactly why the show was correct to not show the mother joining the gang and everything that comes after. Again, the conceit of the show is right there in the title. You're describing "How I Met Your Mother, Almost Broke Up With Her, Married Her, We Had You Both, and Then She Died". I don't want to watch that show.

...spending an entire season on a wedding that was ripped apart 10 minutes into the episode that followed the vows.

Oh my head the show wasn't about the wedding!
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:45 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I'd forgotten about that!!!
posted by double bubble at 7:50 AM on April 2


That said, I'm not sure CBS would ever have approved a Bummer Season.

Well, they DID approve the "I wish I'd hugged my Dad more" season.
posted by radiosilents at 8:48 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Ending edited to end under the umbrella

Still kinda gave me the weepies!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:52 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


And how come Ted's voice-over wasn't Bob Saget anymore, all of the sudden? What was the point of Saget for the rest of it?

My comment from the other thread: 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 12:16 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


[Bob Saget]'ll give an interview and say, "Yeah, it turns out there are some things that I'm not willing to say."

Sh'yeah, right.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:16 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


In the billion comments above, somebody may have said it, but we stopped watching Himym around the 4th season - after that it deteriorated to senseless slapstick.
That brings me to an idea - it's actually a very cleverly conceived vehicle - the authors must have planned the beginning, the end, and a couple of seasons in between (4-5), but the apparent success led them to stretch the middle bit out. That is why the ending seems to fit character development after season 5, I guess.
posted by Laotic at 1:27 PM on April 2


...we stopped watching Himym around the 4th season - after that it deteriorated to senseless slapstick.

So you're claiming to have ruined the show?
posted by The Tensor at 3:26 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


And how come Ted's voice-over wasn't Bob Saget anymore, all of the sudden? What was the point of Saget for the rest of it?

It's funny folks are bringing this up. I was trying to explain the conceit of HIMYM to a friend who doesn't watch it and has a very limited understanding of the show. And he kept being confused about why Ted in the flash-forwards is Josh Radnor and not Bob Saget, and asking where Bob Saget comes into it, and why is the dad voiced by Bob Saget even though he otherwise doesn't appear and has nothing to do with the show.

I could not answer this question.
posted by Sara C. at 3:32 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Because in Ted's head he sounds like Saget? Like how I sound like Ray Winstone in mine.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:34 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


It's the Wonder Years problem.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:38 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


spending an entire season on a wedding that was ripped apart 10 minutes into the episode that followed the vows.

Yeah, I think that's my problem. They really, really sold me on Robin and Barney, and I was cheering for them just as hard as anyone could cheer for a couple ever. To then turn around and say "Sike!" is not just bullshit, it is egregious bullshit deserving of a metaphorical punch in the nose. It is a direct slap to those of us that did care about the characters.
posted by corb at 3:39 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Maybe instead:

Ted completes his story and send the kids out for provisions. He grabs a bottle of vodka and walks around the house, pausing at the photo of Barney and Robin at their wedding, happy. He goes to the bathroom, palms his bottle of prescribed sleeping pills, heads into the bedroom and closes the door.

FADE OUT on police lights and the plaintive cries of his children, Bob Saget sitting in a rocking chair, cackling.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:53 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall does round 2 of reviewing. And a podcast and a show.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:14 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


[Bob Saget]'ll give an interview and say, "Yeah, it turns out there are some things that I'm not willing to say."

Which would be a pretty impressive slam, considering the stuff Saget is willing to say.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:17 PM on April 2


Which would be a pretty impressive slam, considering the stuff Saget is willing to say.

The Aristocrats!
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:18 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Alan Sepinwall does round 2 of reviewing.

Sepinwall: "[Robin] became shrill (like in the never-funny gag about screaming at Patrice) and conventional."

Okay, I like Alan Sepinwall and generally find that his likes are in alignment with mine, and I agree with the thrust and almost all of the details of his two reviews... but "DAMMIT, PATRICE!" was never not funny.
posted by Etrigan at 5:35 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


"DAMMIT, PATRICE!"

That was one of the parts of the show I found, by far, the most unfunny and troubling very early on; and I kept thinking that surely there must be a better, less grossly abusive way to set up comic tension between those two characters. Different strokes...
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:06 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


For me, it worked because, since this whole thing was just a story Ted was telling his kids, either A) he just sort of forgot to tell them why there was this insane one-sided war, or 2) he never really interacted with Patrice much, but he saw Robin yell at her once, so in his memory, there was this eternal blood feud between them; however, he always saw Patrice being really nice to Robin, which he remembers at the same time -- but he never actually thought about the two things being so weirdly opposed to each other.

On a different show, it would have been weird; on this one, it worked.
posted by Etrigan at 6:15 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I was never a fan of the Patrice thing (it was slightly triggering for me, as someone who was the school pariah), but I always read it as Robin's big flaw -- mean/cold/bullying -- just like all the other characters have.

I also liked that Patrice was generally shown as more successful in her career, emotionally well-adjusted, and liked more than Robin around the office. I sort of thought that Robin was the loser in that whole thing, not Patrice.
posted by Sara C. at 7:48 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


This is awesome and hilarious:

Change.org petition to CBS: rewrite and reshoot the HIMYM ending

I signed, because why the fuck not.
posted by tzikeh at 8:09 PM on April 2


There's some really great takes on this in the TWOP forums, but I think this one sums it up:
The one good thing about this finale is that it gives hope to creepy guys everywhere - you know that girl you've been obsessing over forever, who told you in no uncertain terms that she was not into you at all? Hang in there, dude. She'll be yours again.
posted by corb at 8:40 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


The one good thing about this finale is that it gives hope to creepy guys everywhere - you know that girl you've been obsessing over forever, who told you in no uncertain terms that she was not into you at all? Hang in there, dude. She'll be yours again.

OH GOD.

I'm going to have to start screening my calls again!
posted by winna at 9:46 PM on April 2


I'm really surprised by the scale of the Internet's disappointment at the ending, in that I thought most people had thrown HIMYM in the Zombie Simpsons category of shows that had long overstayed their welcome, and thus wouldn't have that much invested in the final episode. For us, the show had already been downgraded from must-watch-it-the-same-night viewing to the kind of show we'd eventually multitask during after we'd cleared the DVR of nearly everything else. By the time we got a few episodes into the dog's breakfast of a final season with the never-ending nuptials, there just wasn't enough riding on the ending to make it a disappointment.

I guess I just didn't realize so many people were still holding out hope for a satisfying end to the series, especially given how many good and even great shows get endings wrong. But, yeah, they really did seem to go the extra mile in making it unsatisfying to as many people as possible.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:10 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


I finally saw it! And up until the last two minutes, I really liked it. Watching the group grow up and grow sort-of-apart-but-not-completely really rang true. Barney and Robin never made a ton of sense, so them breaking up is fine as part of that. But then the epilogue. Ugh. The last couple years did a really good job of putting paid to Ted and Robin, and then Miloti was fantastic, but they pissed both of those away because they couldn't be bothered to film another set of lines for the kids eight years ago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:45 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Has anyone broken down how things from previous episodes are explained by the finale. For example, now we know why they never show Lily collecting on her bet with Marshall about Ted/Robin, and the 45 days comments make more sense. Are there things that make way more sense now?
posted by drezdn at 7:56 PM on April 3


There was also the oh-so-meaningful look when Ted told The Mother (before we knew her name) about how no mother would miss her daughter's wedding day (in reference to Tracey Ullman showing up), which was when most of the fanbase seemed to accept, "Yep, they're killin' her."
posted by Etrigan at 8:41 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


One thing I always liked about this show was how when someone would make a joke, or a stupid pun, or whatever, the other characters would seem to be actually laughing at each other, not just acting-laughing, as if the actors actually were having a lot of fun and enjoying hanging out together -- which I think they were, because you saw more of these laughs in later seasons than early ones.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:01 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Author Jennifer Crusie discusses endings, HIMYM, and breaking promises to the viewer.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:03 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Crusie says: "Or as Mickey Spillane put it, the first page sells the reader on this book, and the last page sells the reader on the next book."

And honestly, the finale didn't ruin my enjoyment of the series, but it really did make me less likely to prioritize How I Met Your Dad in my DVR queue.
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


The ending doesn't stop me from liking the parts of the show I already enjoyed, but it does put a new spin on the interminable Ted/Robin nonsense - that it wasn't the writers not knowing when they were done with the subplot, so much as needing to leave the door open for an ending that was already in the can, and going in narrative circles to make sure it was always within reach if they should get canceled.

So, a lesson in why you can get a better show by turning down renewal orders, sometimes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:42 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Eyebrows, I think that's what grabbed me about the show, too. In a lot of ways HIMYM could be any cookie-cutter show about a group of friends in the big city. What separates it from other shows -- in addition to how innovative it is and how much it shakes up the format -- is that the cast seemed to genuinely get along, and the whole gang was really believable as a group of friends who would actually hang out. I never entirely bought the Friends gang, but yeah, HIMYM seems right. The cast chemistry made up for a lot of other wrongness and stageyness over the years.
posted by Sara C. at 9:06 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


The Overthinking It Podcast covers HIMYM.

Yeah, I need a life and to stop rounding up links, right?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:09 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Actual alternate ending to be on season 9 DVDs and complete boxed set DVDs, announce Bays and Thomas.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:14 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


THOSE MAGNIFICENT BASTARDS.
posted by corb at 10:03 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


I was thinking more along the lines of THOSE SONUVABEETCHES.
posted by Etrigan at 11:52 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Yeah, no. I'll stick with the fan-edit ending, I think hoping for a satisfying conclusion from Carter & Bays at this point would be like Charlie Brown expecting Lucy to hold that football in place for the kick after the umpteenth time.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:45 PM on April 7


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