Columns / Recaps

Bruno’s TV Journal: The How I Met Your Mother Finale “Last Forever”

Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe

Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe

Why wasn’t I surprised by the majority of what occurred during the series finale of How I Met Your Mother? Knowing what we know about the show and what we’ve seen through flash forwards and the many clues sprinkled throughout the run of the series, why am I not surprised that Ted ultimately realizes, thanks to his two children, that he’s crazy about Aunt Robin? We all knew he was crazy about Aunt Robin. But what I don’t understand is that How I Met Your Mother isn’t really about Ted meeting the mother (although the scene where he does meet her is the best thing about the finale), but about Ted’s love for Robin. Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas blew this one — badly.

The only thing that worked was the actual meeting between Ted Mosby and Tracy McConnell. It was romantic comedy at its best, with the yellow umbrella underneath them and the rain falling and blah blah blah. It was beautiful. Seriously, I don’t know if there was anything else in this finale that worked to this high of a degree. I thought Barney’s scene with his newborn daughter Ellie was close to this, but it just illustrated the fact that the mother of Ellie is only referred to as “Number 31” by Barney and is not deserving of an actual name. If this is somehow the connection to the upcoming spinoff How I Met Your Dad and Barney is actually the dad, then whatever. That would suck. It’s not shining much of a light on Barney as a character, since we leave him as the same misogynistic and brutally chauvinistic womanizer. In the end, a newborn baby does not change that.

Then there is Robin, who gravitates further and further away from the group after divorcing Barney. Her future job forces her to travel and become a star that is advertised on buses. In my opinion, it turns Robin into this cold-hearted woman who doesn’t want to be around the gang because she can’t have Ted now that he is married. She realizes she screwed up the chance to be with him. I don’t necessarily like that Ted is outside of her apartment with the Blue French Horn. I don’t think Robin deserves that moment and it sort of hurts the journey of Ted meeting the mother. That should have been the moment we remembered because that is what this show was supposed to be about. But it ended up being about Ted looking up at Robin with that damn French Horn, smiling. Again, the creators blew this one — badly.

But this is why series finales are so hard to pull off. It’s one thing to just end with the characters in a happy stasis, but it becomes more and more difficult to do so when you already have the ending set in stone, as Bays and Thomas did. They filmed those scenes with Ted’s children way back in season two with the idea that Ted would end up with Aunt Robin. They wrote themselves into a corner from the very beginning and although they found ways to be an excellent sitcom, it ended up being frustrating to watch as it crawled to the finish line. I mean, a whole season devoted to Barney and Robin’s wedding only to have them divorce three years later? It feels like a waste of a season even though their wedding is how we inevitably meet the mother. Which, again, was amazing.

What I will take away from this finale, and the series as a whole, is that scene in the rain, with that yellow umbrella. It kind of makes you wish the final season (and previous seasons) had more of Cristin Milioti as the mother. The chemistry between Milioti and Josh Radnor was evident, more so than the chemistry developed between he and Cobie Smulders over nine seasons. That’s the take away I get from this finale: A missed opportunity for a show that had time to fix and form itself towards a touching and emotional finale like the meeting between Ted and the mother. But in the end we got what we got. It’s not going to hurt my overall love for the series, but it’ll be in the back of my mind when I watch reruns down the road.

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