I wasn’t going to write a post this month. I curated our book recommendations for this month and had planned to leave it at that. Then two things happened: the series finale of my How I Met Your Mother and the deeply-emotional, polar-opposite reactions from fans.
There were those who felt that the finale was nothing like what they’d expected; yet the ending felt right.
However, many fans were absolutely livid. They felt betrayed. Like the writers had just taken nine years of their lives and then ended the show by giving them a big, fat middle finger.
I belong to the former camp. I was a crying mess. The show was funny and emotional. There were moments that were incredibly sweet and then at every commercial break it seemed we were delivered a WTF just happened moment. By the time we’d settled into this new, unexpected development there was another emotional moment that wrenched tears from our eyes that we didn’t even know we had left, followed by another “Oh my God, they did not just do that!” moment.
And the ending; I still can’t quite believe it.
I won’t be specific here, but if you haven’t seen it and plan to, you might not want to read the next few paragraphs.
First, the story didn’t simply end with principal character Ted Mosby finally meeting the love of his life, “the mother.” Instead, we flash forward in time and get glimpses of their life together. But not just their lives, the lives of the entire group of friends: Robin and Barney (whose wedding weekend was the setting of this entire final season) and Lily and Marshall who were preparing to spend a year in Rome so that Lily could follow her dream, at the sacrifice of Marshall’s dream of being a judge.
The ending wasn’t what any of us expected.
The gang didn’t all ride off into the sunset and live enchanted, perfect lives. Yet, that’s what we all wanted. After all, hadn’t the writers created the expectation of a happy ending?
That, I believe, is what created the disappointment, hurt feelings and vitriol regarding the ending. People were left asking, Where is our perfect happy ending?
The thing is, though, we were never promised a perfect happy ending. Just an ending. And though it wasn’t the happy ending I expected either, the characters experienced much love, joy and happiness. It just happened to also be tempered by pain, hurt feelings and sadness.
Guess what? So is real life.
Many fans have said they love the show because it reminds them of their lives and their friends. I’ve heard fans say over and over that the show taught them a lot about themselves and helped them deal with the changes, good and bad, in their own lives.
The finale was no different.
So while I was disappointed that the ending wasn’t what I’d hoped for, I respected that the writers chose to give us a realistic scenario of what happened in the characters lives and found a way to still give each of them their happy ending.
In romance novels a happy ending is guaranteed, at least a happy for now. How I Met Your Mother isn’t a romance novel. In fact, in lots of ways its category can’t be clearly defined. However, the show has always been about friendship, finding love, living in the moment, making the best of a situation and remaining optimistic through it all.
The finale of How I Met Your Mother managed to capture all of those themes. So while I didn’t get the ending I wanted, I got the one that deep down I’d always suspected–in the case of Ted and Barney. It just made sense and was true to what we’ve learned about these characters over the years.
Do you watch the show? If so, what did you think of the series finale? Rather reminisce about the happy times than debate the bittersweet end of the series? Check out my favorite episodes here.