Life happens. Death happens. Break-ups and making-up happens. People fall in love and out of love (and maybe fall back in). And sometimes all these wonderful and terrible things happen in the midst of incredibly funny moments that highlight the idiosyncrasies of this ride we call life. To me, especially after tonight’s finale, that’s how I’ve come to understand How I Met Your Mother. We can call it a “sitcom” all we want, but to have such a long running show that only factors in comedy would be a waste of our viewership. Many people on message boards and Twitter are complaining that this was a depressing and ultimately disappointing end. I have a few grievances myself about the ending, but not so much with what ultimately happens (spoilers from now on!). I’m okay that the Mother died, and I am okay with the fact that we can safely assume that Ted and Robin end up together (after 25 painstaking years – at least on Robin’s behalf?). The reason why I sort of feel cheated, like so many others, isn’t so much that the whole premise of the show is the story of how Ted met his kids’ mother but then ends up dying and conveniently getting with Robin afterward. No, my biggest problem was with the pacing and how quickly all these big events and ‘twists’ revealed themselves.
I’ll admit, I didn’t really watch this last season, or season eight for that matter. But I am aware that this final season spent its entirety focused on the Farhampton-based wedding between Barney and Robin. The fact that we learn that this was all for naught in the finale, an episode after they finally tie the knot (and after we had surrendered our hearts to fully accepting this partnership), is understandably devastating. Barney and Robin get divorced a mere three years later. And then we learn, after finally learning how Ted met his wife Tracy, that Tracy falls victim to an undisclosed fatal illness. Again, I’m okay with the reality of these situations. Fairytale endings are usually more the exception than the rule. But with this latter situation, we didn’t even get a scene, or moment, of Ted grieving his wife. And the kids! The kids were immediately fine with sending Ted to go off after their biologically-unrelated Aunt Robin?! Having been in a loosely similar situation, I can tell you that it’s not that easy to accept your parents moving on. Especially not after hearing a very long and very romantic story about how your father met your mother. No, I don’t buy that.
Individually, the scenes where Ted meets Tracy under their “T.M.” umbrella and when Ted calls for Robin under her window with the blue French horn in hand were perfect, charming, and in true HIMYM sentimental fashion (minus Robin’s future hair!). We just have to accept that Ted, like many people in real life, has more than one true love in a lifetime. It’s a reality I understand, even if it’s awkward to accept. Ultimately the series, regardless of how much it gave us glimpses of the past and future, is a story about living in the present. Love the ones you’re with, now. But don’t forget to laugh. Don’t forget to have running jokes (Major Pleasure!). And hold slap-bets often – they tend to make life more exciting.