Friday, August 29, 2014

Why How I Met Your Mother's Season Finale Was The Worst Of All Time (Yes, Even Worst Than Lost)

For those of you who haven't watched How I Met Your Mother, heed this warning:  It was a great show.  Go ahead, watch all nine seasons.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll karaoke "Let's Go To The Mall," but for the love of God, STOP at the season finale.  Just don't even bother.  Turn off your TV, go grab a few drinks at a bar and think about how you wish McLaren's Pub was a real place.  Reflect on how satisfied you are with each character's individual journey.  Why, you ask?  It is the worst season finale I have ever seen, and I watch a LOT of TV.  The show's finale was as insulting to its viewers as it was shallow.  And here's why.  (Warning:  Major plot spoilers ahead, so if you don't want to know all the gory details probably stop reading here.)

Barney and Robin:  Gun toting, independent, newswoman meets bachelor-for-life/player and after just 8 short years (and a failed first attempt at a relationship) they finally realize that they're perfect for each other!  The entirety of season 9 takes place at their wedding.  I was beyond elated when he finally proposed.  A hopeless romantic, I never gave up on the idea that Barney could change his playboy ways and fall deeply in love with the right woman.  In episode 22 (of 24, the finale is a 2-parter) they finally tie the knot.  ...And in the very next episode, we learn that they are already divorced.  Marriage was just too hard.  They calmly have a conversation in which one asks the other if they want "out," and in the next scene they are telling their friends not that they plan on divorcing, but that they have already divorced.  Following their divorce, the two revert back into shells of their former selves that look pretty identical to Season One Barney and Robin.  There is no growth.  They have not "come so far."  They just simply give up.  Robin throws herself again into her career and distances herself from all of her friends.  She becomes cold and selfish (again).  Barney becomes a man whore (again) and seeks his "perfect month."  He even brings back The Playbook, which he once burned as proof of his committed love for Robin.  The only redemption for his character is that he knocks some random chick up (I know) and "falls in love" with his daughter, presumably for the first time.  But I'm sorry, I'm supposed to be happy about the fact that he divorced Robin and has an "oops!" baby with someone who is so inconsequential in his life that we never even meet her???  Pass. 

The Mother:  After waiting patiently (8 EFFING YEARS, to be exact) to meet the Mother, we finally do.  She's cute, she's spunky, she loves Ted, and we're so happy he's finally met the woman of his dreams after his many, (many) romances gone awry.  Well guess what?  SHE DIES.  She has actually been dead the entire time he's been telling his story!  We barely get to see them together as it is, and when we FINALLY do, she is killed off in the very next episode.  I remember telling a friend after watching the penultimate episode, "Did you hear her offhand comment about her wanting him to move on and not wanting him to live in the past?  Do you think they're going to kill her off?!?" We crossed our fingers for the finale.  That was probably the one time in the history of time that I hated being right.  The mother is killed off by some mystery terminal illness.  Surprise!  After a quick montage of their entire relationship over the next episode and a half-ish, we see the Mother in a hospital bed and are quickly made aware that she did not make it.  Poof.  Gone.  He is telling his children the story of their deceased mother.  While this alone does not make the series finale awful, it was certainly unexpected and disappointing especially because our time with her was so limited.  I won't even get into the fact that they spent years together before he finally decides to propose to her after she is pregnant with his child.  What???

Ted and Robin:  If you're a fan of the show, perhaps you recall the episode where we first meet Robin.  As newbies to the show, and with NO idea that the show would go on for 9 whole years without revealing who the mother was, we wondered "is this HER!?"  Until of course Ted dashed our hopes and dreams with the sentence, "That kids, is the true story of how I met your AUNT ROBIN."  So fine.  She wasn't the mother.  I was able to accept that and look forward to the future.  However, the writers refused to let that story line go, and allowed for an overwrought gray area between them up until most of the way through the final season.  With only hours remaining until she marries Barney, Robin questions if she is doing the right thing and should actually be with Ted.  After a tense scene or two, Ted finally realizes he has to let Robin go once and for all.  They part ways, and Robin and Barney marry.  ....And then quickly divorce.  Ted finally finishes his story and his kids tell him that the story he's been telling them wasn't about their mother at all, but about his unresolved feelings for Robin!  They then give him their blessing to go date her.  Isn't that sweet?  So 50 something year old Ted rushes to 50 year old Robin's window and presents the infamous blue french horn that he's kept despite his marriage as a token of his love and a metaphorical engagement ring.  She smiles, the show ends, and thousands of people yell at their TV screens.  Was Barney and Robin's marriage just a plot device to make her realize she really wanted to be with Ted?  Do any of these women mean anything to Ted at all, or are they just objects to him to obsess over?  Did the writers realize they just back pedaled because Robin in a sense actually WAS the mother?  Was "How I Settled For Your Mother, Knocked Her Up And Eventually Married Her Because Robin Kept Rejecting Me" too long of a title??  Put me in a room with the writers for 5 minutes and see who comes out alive.  ...Or at least severely reprimanded.

Why HIMYM sucked more than The Sopranos:  I know a lot of people were pretty bummed about the finale.  Cut to black right before the entire Soprano family is about to be taken out while Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" plays triumphantly in the background.  Here's the thing:  It was an amazing show, and at no point did the writing suffer or become inconsistent.  People were bummed because we don't know (butttt we kinda do...) what happened.  But that's the thing about finales!  That's where our look into these characters' lives ends, and our journey back to reality begins.  So while it may have been disappointing that you didn't get to witness the epic fire fight that went down, if you think about it, the show never let you down and went out kicking ass.

Why HIMYM sucked more than Lost:  This is the one I get into the most argument about.  TRUST ME, I am with you and I also hated the ending of Lost.  ...And by ending, I mean like the last 4 seasons of it to be honest.  So here's why people were primarily upset:  1.) Unanswered questions.  Why did we only hear Jacob's creepy ass voice that gave me nightmares one time?  Why was the Dharma Initiative's stamp on that shark?  Where the fuck did that polar bear come from??  2.)  Turns out, it WAS purgatory after all!  I will address these separately.

1.)  I am not going to lie, the unanswered questions are extremely annoying.  I remember how creeped out I was by Jacob's voice in that creepy cabin and was really excited to see where that went.  Well it went nowhere, really.  Here's the thing though:  that show went nowhere for a looooong time.  If you stuck out all 6 seasons of that show, kudos to you.  I did too, but only because I felt like I had to complete a homework assignment.  It cannot be that surprising that not all of the loose ends were tied up.  In other words, the show was all over the place.  The writing was all over the place.  Entertaining?  Sure.  Sometimes.  But come on.  Even Stevie Wonder could see the writers flailing towards the end of season 3.  

2.)  Despite their protests very early on, the writers either got lazy or tired of lying, because what do you know, they were dead the whole time!  While this pissed a LOT of people off, at least the character development did not simply jump ship.  We saw what the characters went through leading up to the crash, and experienced life with them on "the island."  Kate didn't all of a sudden start murdering and blowing shit up again.  Sawyer didn't go back to being a con man.  Locke didn't revert into the pathetically weak character he was at the beginning of the show.  Just the opposite, actually.  They all came to terms with their limitations and moved on together in the finale.  Sad?  Yes.  Disappointing?  Sure.  The shitstorm that was the HIMYM finale?  Absolutely not.

Well that's my rant.  I know it's been about 6 months since the end of How I Met Your Mother, but I am still angry about it and it comes up in discussion enough with friends that I figured I'd write it down.  That way the next time someone asks me, "But WHY were you so upset?" I can just send them a link to this lovely essay that hopefully you've stopped reading by now because wow this is longer than I thought it would be.   

So I'll leave you with this:  I encourage you; Watch How I Met Your Mother.  It is definitely cheesy at times, but the writing is actually great.  The running jokes are hilarious, and God dammit I love me some Robin Sparkles.  But be forewarned if you watch the finale: the show will rob you of your happiness for around 25 years.

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