HIMYM Finale

Posted at April 01, 2014

Huh. That was considerably more melancholy than I’d expected. Which is good; one of the things How I Met Your Mother did well in its prime was leaven the good with the bad (just think of all the job and romantic troubles everyone went through at some point). And so, among other things, the finale shows us that Marshall giving Lily her dream meant giving up, for at least a while, his dream; they go to Italy for a year, and I guess it was glorious, but then they return to New York and Marshall spends years miserable in corporate law before he gets another chance to become a judge.

But really, more than even the mother, the finale was about Robin, and how she drifts away from the rest of the group. As someone in his thirties who’s recently left everyone he cares about behind, that got me right in the feels.

The last two scenes twist everything around a little. Ted finally finishes his story (!), and it becomes about what he’s going to do next. Which is actually kinda great; I’m not sure how I feel about the details, but there’s always hope and it’s never too late.

I think someone could actually get a pretty good feel for the series just watching the pilot episode and the finale. The rest is just details.


nfg: Oh yeah, did you see http://vimeo.com/90831483 ? Fan remix of the finale, minus all the future stuff.

Marc: Wrong again.

The finale was a dramatic flop. First, we never did establish any real appreciation of the character of the mother, her death was all-too-sudden, and Ted wasn’t convincingly upset by it: the result is that it had barely any emotional effect. The divorce, by contrast, was truly saddening, but seemed completely out of place after the entire season was spent on a two-day wedding party. The cuts between different years threw off the regular pacing. Barney becoming obsessed by his kid was a bit of a deus ex machina (tigers do not change their spots so easily).

At a more general level than the drama, why should we believe that Ted and Robin will be any happier together than Barney and Robin? Robin will presumably still put her work ahead of friends and family.

Of course, I’ve watched HIMYM only intermittently over the last few years, and I even missed parts of the finale, so maybe I’m wrong. Last episode I truly laughed at was the kung fu one, but I had to go out for groceries halfway through.

Question: Did Lily and Marshall make the right decision about the judgeship vs. Italy? I missed the episode where they decided, but it’s certainly not obvious to me.

Re: your related post, I don’t really see the connection. I did appreciate reading it again though.

nfg: Hey! I agree that the execution was flawed. I think that the showrunners made two bad decisions: 1) That Ted and the mother meet in the last episode, and 2) That, in the end, Ted ends up with Robin. The finale compacted too much story into too little time, and suffered as a result.

As far as Ted and Robin getting together in the end, the bit with Ted’s kids encouraging him would’ve worked better if the show hadn’t stretched on so long. That relationship soured ages ago. There was an episode this season where Ted figuratively and literally lets go of Robin (complete with cheesy shot of her floating up into the sky), and I thought that narrative vampire was finally staked. From a writing perspective I can see the appeal of bringing the show full circle with the blue french horn and Ted outside her apartment, but … too late. Worse, is that why the show never let Ted get over her?

At some point in the future I might write some actual criticism. The over-arching plot didn’t really work; plot threads were recycled; Ted’s girlfriends somehow magically turned unsympathetic as soon as he got serious with them. There was one episode where Ted thanks all the random coincidences that led him to the life-changing event of… running into his ex-fiancée, who in the next episode helps him get a job teaching. I’m pretty sure he would’ve been OK if that hadn’t happened.

I pretty much agree with everything at http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/series-finale-review-how-i-met-your-mother-last-forever-how-they-conned-us-all and http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/the-how-i-met-your-mother-finale-revisited-how-i-regret-the-mother

But I liked having a downer of an ending. And I liked Ted switching from telling his story to starting a new one. I wish it hadn’t sent him off to Robin for the billionth time, but …

I think Lily and Marshall made the right call. Her job was taking her over there, and Marshall wasn’t going anywhere. The whole judgeship thing was contrived just to give them a conflict, up to Marshall not being given any time to consult his wife before deciding on the offer. Italy was a chance to have her dream for a while.

The list of related posts is automatically generated. Clearly I need to write more emotionally conflicted entries, or write more about television.