PHIMYD: Post-How I Met Your Mother Depression. I always knew that when HIMYM finally came to a close after nine seasons, that I would feel a little emotional. There are few shows that I have really watched from start to finish. Sure, I will always identify myself as a Friends die-hard, but I was too young to really watch the whole series live as it aired (it premiered when I was five), and every other series that I can think of that I have watched from start to finish has been on Netflix, HBO Go, etc. Wracking my brain, I think that HIMYM is either one of, or the only, show I have watched live as it airs from start to finish. I remember stumbling upon it in Season 1 with my mom – neither of us had heard of it, but we thought it was hilarious, so we started tuning in every week (this also happened with Happy Endings, which I guess quantifies as a show that I have watched from start to it’s too-soon end). In college, I was lucky enough to become friends with a group of people that also loved HIMYM, and it became referenced so often among us, you might have thought the jokes were actually ours. Last night, we all texted during/after the finale, and we all shared the same thought — how could they do this to us?
I understand why the writers ended it the way that they did. In Seasons 1 and 2, having Ted end up with Robin probably seemed like a great idea (Side bar: I read in this piece that the character of Victoria was placed in just in case the show was cancelled after 1 season. I just want to add that I always loved Victoria and would have been perfectly okay with her being the mother/Ted’s wife). The blue french horn! He shows up at her door! Nothing good happens after 2am! A lot of the shows best moments happened during these seasons, and it was certainly the time when both Ted and Robin, as well as their relationship, were at their best. But we’ve grown, the show has grown, and Ted and Robin’s relationship has certainly grown, and time changes things. The viewers are over their relationship — especially when the last 2-3 seasons were spent convincing us that Trobin (it’s getting to hard to type Ted and Robin) could never be, and convincing us that Barney and Robin were meant to be. I’ve been reading a lot about the finale this morning, and I think what makes myself and my fellow fans most upset are two things: the crumbling of character development, and the likability of the mother.
The finale completely crumbled any character development that had happened in recent seasons, to the point where it was incredibly obvious that the writers had cooked up this finale during Season 1. This was most apparently with how they chose to handle Barney. Barney has probably been developed more than any of the characters. Yes, he still loves laser tag and the Bro Code (which, by the way, Ted ultimately getting with Robin at the end of the series = major violation of the Bro Code), but think of how much we have been through with him — from the search for his father, to his brother’s marriage and divorce, to his own engagement to Quinn ending. The scene at the beginning of the reception really showed this — we’ve never seen Barney happier. I literally laughed out loud when he said “holy grape scotch!” after having the idea to set Ted up with the bass player/mother. Twenty minutes later, we’re back at MacLaren’s with Barney hitting on girls half his age. Like, what the…?
The grape scotch reference was one of my two favorite call backs in this episode. Although there were many, which, even if you’ve had the ending spoiled for you, still make it worth watching. The second callback I loved was the renaissance fair in Ted/Tracy’s (the mother, for those of you who may have forgotten) home. Which brings me to main fan peeve #2 of the finale: we like the mother! We could have easily not liked her — after all of these seasons of build up, if she were a dud, sure, maybe we would have called for Ted and Robin to end up together. But we didn’t. We liked the mother, and we wanted them to be together. Season 9 was only worth watching for those moments where we caught flash forwards of Ted and Tracy. She was delightful. She was nerdy. She was everything Ted needed or wanted — and for a fan base that was nearing its wit’s end with Ted Mosby, she made him likable once again, and made us realize why we love Ted, and why we’ve been so invested in his search for 8 years. The finale showed us that she was not only perfect for Ted (I mean come on, she dressed as an elderly Floridian to match his hanging chad costume!), she was perfect for the group. She certainly passed the front porch test — and I would have loved if the writers would have kept her alive for us to see it. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays giveth, and Craig Thomas and Carter Bays taketh away.
I guess as a fan who invested nine years into the lives of Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin, I’m not really sure where to go from here. I’m still going to watch the episodes when they’re on, I’m still going to count it as a favorite sitcom, but I just wish it didn’t all lead back to Ted and Robin after all. With that, a few notes on my favorite moments/episodes/jokes throughout this show that I have been watching since I was (wow) 16 years old (again, damnnn that’s a long time):
- Everyone knows that my all-time favorite episode is “The Best Burger in New York.”
- I loved Lily’s white whale costume.
- I felt like this was the best acting I had ever seen from Alyson Hannigan. When she cried, I cried.
- Alyson Hannigan shared on Inside the Actors Studio that her favorite moment from the show was the scene when Marshall finds out his dad died. I would have to agree. This was one of the most raw, emotional moments from the show. It’s such a real thing for a group of friends to have to go through together. This is why the show strikes a chord with us 20 and 30-somethings.
- Same goes for the fights between Lily and Marshall. They’re almost a little too real.
- ROBIN SPARKLES. Enough said.
- The cast breaking out in song. From Marshall’s photo montages to “Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit” (NPH is one of my favorite people, and he does a musical number like no other. Example: his gigs hosting the Tony Awards. Wonder if he’ll host again this year if he’s in a revival?!)
- Oh, and on the topic of songs — how could I forget the slap bet? (“Ya just got slapped, wo-oh-oh-ohhh”)
- And on that note, the flashbacks. Like when Barney was a hippie.
- Puzzles. I’m still waiting for a bar named Puzzles.
I could go on…. but I won’t. All in all, if you’ve never seen an episode (well, first of all if you haven’t seen an episode, I don’t believe you since this has to be one of the most syndicated shows… but I digress), despite this less than glowing review of the finale, you should really watch it. It’s still a great show, and I still love the jokes, the cast and the characters. And every season (except the last one) is available on Netflix.
And with that, Stinson…errrr, Gruber… out.