By Popular Demand: A Glowing Review of the Magnificent How I Met Your Mother Series Finale

I’ve noticed that several people across the internet are unhappy with the bad reviews coming out regarding the series finale of How I Met Your Mother (mine included). So I have decided to follow the example of Craig Thomas and Carter Bays who have taught me that if a vocal portion of your audience wants something, it’s your responsibility to abandon all the integrity of your project and give them exactly that. So here is my glowing review of the final episode of How I Met Your Mother:

The How I Met Your Mother series finale will go down in the annals of time as one of the greatest finales in the history of television. I know what you’re thinking: you’ve heard much differently and the only people defending this finale are deluded fans who will rationalize every terrible decision because A) they got the Ted/Robin ending they wanted and they don’t care how they got there or B) they can’t bring themselves to admit they wasted nine years on a show that ended on a note that was a complete and utter betrayal of the tone that had been established long ago. If that’s what you think, you would be wrong. Those who recognize the finale for the breathtakingly bold and brilliant masterpiece that it was are just far more adept at enjoying smart, adventurous television than you are.

Last Forever Part OneChances are, you have read many comments from those praising the finale for reflecting real life; sometimes people do, in fact, die, leaving their spouse alone and on a search to find love once again. They get it, I tell you. If there is one thing that the How I Met Your Mother captured is the gritty realism of having your heart trampled and emotions toyed with by the same woman for an unspeakable number of years, sabotaging an endless parade of relationships in hopes of being with her, finally finding the woman that you believe to be the woman of your dreams only to have her die about a decade (and two kids) later and then returning to the previous woman after telling your children a sordid tale revealing that your heart has belonged to said woman the entire time. They didn’t remotely trivialize Tracy (the mother) by fast-forwarding through their time together in a way that suggested she was merely a pit stop on Ted’s journey to glorious Robin-ville and thank God she died because can you imagine if he had to spend his whole life married to that silver medal? At no point did the show feel like it was completely undermining the groundwork it had laid celebrating soul mates and destiny and true love by treating the mother as an inconvenient plot point so that Ted could run back to Robin with the blue French horn at the end of the episode. It felt real and moving and beautiful. Fantastic work. Truly some of the best television I’ve ever had the honor of watching.

As the debate wears on, we fearless defenders of this legendary finale are happy to remind you that the moral of the story is Ted loved the Mother, but Robin was The One. And for anyone that would dare suggest that this undoes years of character revelation and development, I pity your ignorance. All of the times that Ted and Robin tried to date only to have it end disastrously and realize time and time again that they weren’t right for each other; that was obviously just a red herring. Although they had different aspirations and goals that kept them apart, Bays and Thomas were able to write a glorious love story about two people who finally find right timing after Ted uses Tracy as a baby making machine to get the two kids that he wants that Robin doesn’t and Robin achieves tremendous success in her field only to discover that she can never truly be fulfilled without a man. A man named Ted Mosby. It’s a love story for the ages. Even Tracy understood that and she died so she could get out of the way and let Ted fill the hole in Robin’s heart that chasing her dreams and accomplishing all the things she could hope to accomplish never could and Robin could fill the hole in Ted’s heart now that Tracy had served her purpose of incubating two children for this remarkable man. I’m getting teary eyed just reflecting on the sheer beauty of it all.

I know this is going to come as a startling shock, but there are even some that suggest that the finale was doomed within the first ten minutes when we found out that after spending an entire season watching Barney and Robin get married, their union was undone in the blink of an eye. Their marriage only lasted ten minutes and some unenlightened fools have the nerve to suggest that this is an insult to the audience and completely destabilizes any and all character development those characters had endured in the past few seasons. Listen, just because we had seen the point driven home time and time again that Barney’s love for Robin was enough to make him leave his womanizing ways behind and become a doting husband with a knack for elaborate (although, often offensively deceitful) romantic gestures and that despite Ted and Robin’s chemistry, she would find more happiness with him because they just saw the world in such a similar way doesn’t mean that we were supposed actually take any stock in that.

Last Forever Part OneI mean, seriously, it’s unbelievable how some people watch TV. They think that just because we see characters go through significant changes throughout the course of a years-long arc, the showrunners have to have the decency to not unravel all those developments just so they can shoe-horn the audience’s favorite couple together in an absurdly contrived fashion. If that’s what you think, you clearly just don’t understand television.

Other naysayers point to the reaction of the kids as feeling disingenuous. Are you kidding me? How heartless are you? What kids would not want to see their father happy? They have just been treated to a wonderful tale of how they dad met their dead mom while realizing that he was simply playfully exploiting the sentimentality surrounding their dead mom and using the story as a Trojan horse to reveal to them that he wants to get back with their “aunt Robin”; how could they not be thrilled to give him their blessing? You people who want to say this makes a mockery of Ted’s relationship with the mother and the story we’ve been hearing him tell for nine years or is a cheap stunt that feels like a middle finger to the audience clearly don’t understand a gorgeous, heartfelt ending when you see one.

Anyone would do what Ted did. It’s awkward talking to your kids about dating again after your wife dies tragically, so of course you’re gonna tell them a story that pretends to be about how she was your one true love but it’s really a story about how much you loved and pined for their Aunt Robin for years and years and now that you’ve had a nice detour with their mother and she died and Robin’s still single you’d really to get back with her. It’s just sweet and their support touched my heart. You see, they don’t mind that their dad was (probably) inviting aunt Robin over for dinner before their mom’s body was even cold and flirting with her while they sat and watched at the table because they are understanding kids and just want dear old Dad to be happy. I think Tracy would be happy too. In fact, they should have showed them getting married at the cemetery by her grave so she could be present at the wedding; she would have wanted that. They could hold the reception there and use her grave as the dancefloor; I think it’s clear that’s the one thing this finale was missing.

himym finale 4Look, if you don’t like this finale it’s clearly because you took the title of the show too literally or it wasn’t exactly the ending that YOU wanted. Geez, how selfish and dumb of you. Yes, the show is called How I Met Your Mother, but how brainless do you have to be to expect the mother to be the point of the show? Those of us who really “get it” could see that this was a story about Robin and although as Ted told stories of countless heartbreaks and obstacles, he continued to celebrate fate and destiny and the universe that gave him the strength to finally make it to the love of his life, obviously it wasn’t for his WHOLE life. Some of you just hate when people die on TV but guess what? People die. And just because Ted and Robin spent most of their twenties and thirties being toxic for each other doesn’t mean that having him shrug off his dead wife and go running back to her in the final scene isn’t a fairytale ending. It really does break my heart that some people hold this view; they just don’t understand love.

Thank you Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for not caring about coming across as cheap and manipulative and for being willing to put Ted and Robin together in the end, even if it completely diminishes the entire concept of the show. I will continue to loudly rationalize every ham-fisted creative choice you made and turn a blind eye to how sickeningly twisted the whole thing really is. Because I loved it and I loved How I Met Your Mother and no matter what anybody says, you guys know how to make a great finale! Thank you for nine great years. I don’t feel remotely ripped off or slighted or like you abandoned any hope of quality so that you could give us the ending many wanted although it completely destroyed so many other wonderful things about the show. I can’t imagine anyone feeling that way. The finale was great. I can’t express that enough. So, thank you.

Give yourself a big, hearty round of applause; I mean it–you guys deserve it! Here’s how much applause you deserve: keep applauding until your hands fall off and you can never write another episode of television again.

UPDATE: This week’s podcast features a pretty colorful debate over the finale; check it out HERE

18 thoughts on “By Popular Demand: A Glowing Review of the Magnificent How I Met Your Mother Series Finale

  1. I’m sobbing (with laughter) what a heartfelt review of this amazing finale. Those barbaric people with their negative comments are just too stupid to understand the beauty of true love.
    Bravo.

  2. Are you Jesus? ;-) (From “Sunrise”) Truly an excellent review. Obviously Robin was The One, it makes no difference how she treated Ted, or Barney, or any of her other boyfriends. When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, and if it was decided and recorded in 2006, then it was meant to be. The Great Bays and Thomas said so. Character development, schmaracter development. TEDDIE WESTSIDE’S GOT A FATE, and it’s Aunt Robin!

  3. Dude, I just have to say this is the best review in the entire HIMYM universe. Couldn’t have written it better myself. I can’t say more because you’ve said it already.

  4. This was perfect! Unfortunately Bays and Thomas did not write this finale to please the fans. This was the plan from the get go. They shot that scene with the kids back in the first season because they knew they would be too old by the end of the show. Maybe the whole thing would’ve worked if it had been executed better. Alas.

  5. The best review in years. Seriously. Joking aside, I hope Carter Bays and Craig Thomas read both this review and your other one, and do a freaking alternate ending. And then I hope I can find that Memory Eraser from MIB and erase my memory from Monday completely, and just watch the alternate ending and be done with it.

    But, what am I saying? The ending was perfect. In fact, all other TV shows should mimic their style.

  6. Excellent, perfectly said. Just because the rest of the show was wonderfully cheesy and therefore unreal does not mean that they shouldn’t insert the death of someone amazing to make way for an annoyingly ridiculous past relationship that was not at all cheesy and not at all ‘right’ for either of the characters. Lets all pretend that this TV show has always related to real life!

  7. I died laughing, thanks for that.

    But they never gave in to the Ted and Robin fans, they said they will do what makes themselves as showrunners happy and not the audience, they had the balls to do it that’s the only positive thing I can form out of this trainwreck. You just need to have poor taste to like the ending they did, that’s all that is to it. Endings must be earned and judging by the amount of backlash and hate that wasn’t earned at all, it was disrespectful to characters, fans and the people who worked for them over the years. It’s like they told actors and screenwriters to write towards a Barney and Robin alongside Ted and Tracy conclusion from episode 1 to 206 and just slapped that sorry excuse of a finale on top of it.

    They said they will go on a long vacation after airing the last episode and avoid the internet and social media all together for a while, now we know why, they are cowards or they would at least try to stand in for their crap.

    They said they will leave the show with a certain message, if the message was “We are terrible storytellers!” the finale was spot on with delivering that.

    Do they really think people will watch their next show after that?

  8. Love it! The only thing I can say is, if the writers had “TRULY” wanted to reflect reality. There would have been a 30-second scene after the french horn bit, of Ted the grandfather telling his grandchildren. “And then, Robin and I broke up 2 years later. AGAIN!”

    • To be honest with you, this would increase my enjoyment of the finale a good bit. If they had tacked that scene on to get a laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing is, that’d be incredible

  9. Truly, this is the best thing to emerge from the trainwreck that was “The Last Forever.”

    …that sounds much more “damning with faint praise” on paper than it did in my head….

    In all seriousness, really very well-written – you managed to capture my feelings on the subject with much better humor than I am currently capable of feeling.

  10. Doubt it would last two years Tom. The years have shown that Robin only ever wants Ted or Barney when they’re with someone else.

  11. Love this review, sums up all my thoughts on the Robin/Ted lovers

    The most annoying part is the whole “people die and people move on” part.

    Sure, this is true. Doesn’t mean the show should focus entirely on Robin ignoring the ONE RELATIONSHIP WEVE WAITED 9 YEARS TO SEE!!! That’s why it felt like Tracy meant nothing and was just a placeholder. Her entire life with Ted was an after thought. As I said in another comment, her death got a shorter scene than a random encounter with Robin outside the GNB building. If it was done more like the beginning of Up, it would be beautiful and touching. Instead we got “blah, blah, blah she got sick yadda yadda yadda she died. Now back to Robin”

  12. There is one thing this of course absolutely amazing ending brought us. Your review :D ?
    Thanks for showing us how obvious it is that this show was true to real life, because after all it WAS filmed in real life. Sure, everyone was an actor,but you should get the point.
    Team Robin+Ted for eva <3…*barf*…
    Sorry I had to puke.
    And obviusly it didn't felt rushed at all. They simply stepped up the pace! Their ignoring of the developments of the characters simply served the high purpose of giving us an interesting look into the whole life. It would have been better when they wouldn't have made so many episodes. I am sure less people would be so angry when it would have been so true to life since the beginning.
    So I have to say thanks for getting on the true way again.
    These millions of fans are simply dumb haters!
    The only bad thing about this is thad the can't make another one!

    Thank you. I wish you so much things, but I am a polite person and don't want to say bad things.

    So I wish everyone except for the writers a nice day. for the writers I'm wishing for a 'nice' day!

  13. Seeing as the finale had a similar bait and switch to the pilot, I don’t see how the show betrays you any more than it betrayed you in the pilot…. I also can’t see the finale as pandering, seeing as how divisive the ending is. I mean, clearly if they hadn’t ended on Robin they would have pleased more people.
    The mother’s death neither trivialized her nor trivialized the ideas of love and destiny. 11 years isn’t trivial. You can’t look at love as a contest where the person who he is with at curtain close is the “winner of love.” The mother was the perfect match for Ted, she was the love of his life, that doesn’t mean she can’t die though. In life, people die. And if the person who you view as your soul mate dies, does that mean that you can’t ever be happy again? The kids are a stand in for the audience, and the kids are emotionally mature enough to understand that their dad moving on doesn’t betray the memory of their mother. Also you are looking at Ted as being a bit black and white here with the ulterior motive. Isn’t is possible, if he wants to move on and get permission from his kids to move on, that he might have some honest sentimentality when he talks about the deceased love of his life?
    Furthermore, the Ted and Robin of 2030 aren’t the same people as the Robin of 2005 or 2013. And I think that was largely the point. It’s mentioned in the doppelgangers episode that people change. But love and relationships are just as much about timing and maturity as they are about compatability.
    To me the strength of the finale is that it allows Ted to be resilient and seek out happiness. The ending moment where he goes and seeks out Robin isn’t the show calling Robin as “the one,” it’s about the story of how he met the love of his life being used to take him out of the past and bring him back to life. Ted is a romantic, and the final moment has him out being the person that he always was.

    Also, the Lost finale is a pandering embarrassment though.

  14. THE PERSON WHO WROTE THIS IS A REALLY CREEPY-MINDED, IS A PSYCHOPATH! WHO IN HIS/HER RIGHT MIND THINKS THAT TED AND ROBIN ARE GONNA GET MARRIED ON TRACY’S GRAVE, AND ABOVE THAT DANCING ON IT? WHAT A BULLSHIT?! REALLY, THIS PERSON IS INSANE!!!

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