Kids, This is the story of how a great sitcom ruined itself in the finale

TV

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Although I have been planning to start a blog for a while, there is a reason that I have started it right now, and that is my desperate desire to discuss the travesty that was the How I Met Your Mother Finale. It has been almost a week and my anger has not subsided, and it is the same for many of the other fans. The episode had so many issues, and I’m going to try and summarise them here; (I should warn that this is absolutely not spoiler free)

The Finale Completely Changed the Concept of the Show
The reveal that the story was not about how Ted met the mother at all (despite the title of the show suggesting otherwise) but him trying to show his children that he was still in love with Robin and guilt-trip them into encouraging him to go after her, completely changes the premise of the show. It shows once and for all that Ted is an unreliable narrator, and brings into question the extent to which he manipulated the events. It makes seemingly innocent moments seem more sinister now we know he had an ulterior motive, which means fans disappointed by the finale cannot just ignore it, as it has affected the entire series.

The Death of the Mother

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Way back in 2005, thousands of people started watching an endearing show about how Ted Mos by met the love of his life, and mother of his children. Of course the show turned out to be about so much more than that; about friendship, about loss, and about moving on. Despite the show no longer revolving around the initial concept, it was still an important aspect of the series, and for 8 years, the fans dutifully waited for Ted to meet his wife. We watched his sometimes-disastrous love life, his inability to let go of Robin, and were soothed by the fact that this struggle was not in vain; eventually he would meet the mother. Then in the final episode of series 8, we finally got to see her, and the whole of series 9 was devoted to each character meeting her, as a way for the fans to come to love the woman the whole series was based upon. And then, she died. In about 5 minutes, a huge moment in Teds life was swept under the carpet, and quite rightly the fans felt cheated.

Ted and Robin 

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Of course Ted and Robin shippers would have loved the series finale, but my anger towards this couple and the ending that endorsed it, was not just because I loved Barney and Robin (although I did), it’s because they fundamentally did not work as a couple. If the finale had come after the first two or three series it would have made perfect sense. I would not have liked it, but it wouldn’t have caused the anger that it has now. However, since then, a key plot of the series has been Ted and Robin’s incompatibility and Ted finally letting Robin go. Throughout the series Robin has repeatedly shown that she does not feel the same about Ted as he does for her, and has rejected him repeatedly. This followed by him trying again about thirty years later when she is at her lowest after losing all her friends, is not romantic, but worrying. The whole idea that if you wear a girl down enough, you will eventually win, is a concerning message for such an influential show to give out.

Robin And Barney’s Divorce

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Okay, okay, I said my hatred for this episode wasn’t purely fuelled by Robin and Barney’s divorce, but this, combined with Robin ending up with Ted, was the worst part of the finale for me. Ever since series 3, Robin and Barney’s relationship has been built up, with the entire of series 9 being dedicated to their wedding. Their relationship was shown to be much healthier than Ted and Robin’s as, compared to Ted’s one-sided infatuation for Robin, the attraction between Barney and Robin was completely mutual. They were very similar, in that they both had commitment issues and family problems, and they managed to overcome both their own flaws and the flaws in their relationship due to a dedication to making it work. And yet, their divorce was brushed over in the first twenty minutes of the finale, leaving me and many other fans feeling cheated.

The Complete Reversal of all the Character Development Made in the 9 Series
The characters in How I Met Your Mother evolved throughout the nine series, as people do. And yet, one forty minute episode managed to completely unravel this character development. The most notable example of this, of course, is Barney, who changed more than anyone. For much of the series he was a misogynistic womaniser, and whilst this was funny, it was acceptable for the viewers as they were soothed by the certainty that he would change – as he had already started to. Through his relationship with Robin, his problems with his father and his brother, as well as a general maturity, he realized that women were not just numbers and to even take a vow to be honest with Robin, which contrasted strongly with his constant lies in the early series. This change was touching for the viewers, and it was swept away in the finale, with Barney returning to his womanising ways after his divorce. He then gets a woman pregnant, and refers to her purely as no 31, demonstrating how his respect for women was simply a temporary plot device. There is one touching scene where he holds his baby and vows to dedicate his life to her. But of course the writers could not leave Barney’s story here, instead having him go up to the exact girls he would previously have been attracted to, and demand them to go home and put on more clothes. His hypocrisy and misogyny, which has actually worsened over the series, ruins his once great character.

Robin’s Career (and Lily’s)
If the sexism of this episode wasn’t enough already, Robins career, one of the biggest plot points and her biggest dream, leads to her divorce and her isolation from her friends. Whereas Marshall is allowed to have his dream job without any of these consequences (despite not only being married but also having three children), Robin’s social life is destroyed because of it. On a smaller scale, Lily’s dream job, which was also up in the air after the one year in Rome, is completely unmentioned. The only further detail we have about Lily, one of the main characters, is that she has a third child. In fact most of the female characters seemed to be limited to their baby-making skills in this episode; after all, the titular mother had no role other than to give Ted the children Robin couldn’t have.

The Lack of Marshall and Lily

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Watching this episode, it would be easy to think that Marshall and Lily were only supporting characters, as they were so minor in this episode. I am slightly relieved by this however, as it meant their characters at least, could not be destroyed.

The General Lack of Quality 
This episode did not feel like a finale, but instead like a fan made episode. It felt completely disjointed from the rest of the series, and the quality was terrible.

That’s it. I’m sorry for the overly long blog post, but as you can tell, I feel very strongly about this finale. And now, I am washing my hands of what was once my favourite tv show, and you may find me one day in the future in a pub grumbling about the travesty of the HIMYM finale. For now I’ll just be repeating this mantra to myself; tumblr_inline_mi7zsnM5pb1qz4rgp

And what about you? After such a rambling post, it’s only right that I hear your thoughts on the finale! Were you one of the few supporters, or did you also dislike it? Please add your thoughts in the comment section!

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2 thoughts on “Kids, This is the story of how a great sitcom ruined itself in the finale

  1. Completely agree! I love your post- very well written. I hadn’t considered the sexist aspect of this episode, but then again I was distracted by the fact my favorite show managed to get ruined in 40 minutes! What the world? No, they spend 9 seasons convincing us that Robin and Barney belonged together and that Ted was going to meet the love of his life, only to kill her off like it’s nothing and put him back with Robin is outrageous. So yes, it seemed as though Tracy was a baby making vessel solely there to fulfill a need Robin could not. They could have done anything, ANYTHING but this finale, but they chose this direction. I feel absolutely cheated.

    1. Thank you Kzahm! I know, they completely ruined everything they had built up so it fitted a finale they had filmed eight years ago! I am fuming!

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