Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How I Met Your Mother Finale - How to Ruin a Long Running Series in One Episode

On March 31, 2014 - last night as of when I am typing this - I watched the finale of How I Met Your Mother.  I started watching the show from the first episode and really enjoyed it for a while.  Then I drifted away a bit as I got annoyed with there being no real progress toward meeting the mother.  I got tired of Ted going from relationship to relationship and constantly bouncing back to being convinced that Robin is the one for him.  I was never a die hard fan like I am of some other shows, but I kept up with what was going on for the most part.  I have watched more often during this season and while I still had concerns and thought there were some issues, I was liking things overall, especially tied to the mother.  Then I watched the finale that ruined everything. 

There will be major spoilers in the rest of this post, and I do mean major.  Anyone that hasn’t seen the last episode and doesn’t know what happened and still cares should stop reading now.  I mean it.  All will be revealed.  You have been warned.

How I Met Your Mother was built around the premise of Ted in the future, with Bob Saget’s voice, telling his kids the story of how he met their mother.  The way the first episode introduces things, it makes it seem like Robin will be the mother, up until the very end when Ted says that is how I met your Aunt Robin.  Ted and Robin did have an attraction and eventually they started a relationship that ended fairly quickly before then went along bouncing back and forth together for years when between other relationships.  They could never make it work, as was shown to the audience time after time.  When they first got together, I was fine with that, but as the series continued, I liked that idea less and less.  They did not work together for any length of time.  The way things were done for the show, it made it clear that Ted had much, much stronger feelings than Robin did.  She turned him down time after time after time, yet he kept going back, like some lost little puppy.  That got old fast for me, and is one of the things I didn’t care for. 

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think when the writers first put Robin and Barney together, but it seemed to work.  Then the writers threw in other nonsense and they broke up.  Each of them said at times that they were over the relationship and moving on, but they kept coming back to each other as well with other nonsense going on.  That back and forth stuff also annoyed me.  I was fine with Robin and Barney got engaged and thought they were working.  Both of them showed growth and development.  Even being fine with the two of them getting married, I wasn’t sure about the idea of the final season being devoted to the weekend of their wedding.  That seemed like they would be stretching things a bit too much, though I was looking forward to finally being able to see the mother.

I didn’t see all the episodes this season, but I did see many of them.  I came to really like the mother from the limited time she was featured in the last season.  She popped up here and there, sometimes during the wedding weekend, and sometimes during one of the flash forwards that showed a moment between her and Ted - like when they got engaged.  She wasn’t around anywhere near enough, but the scenes between her and Ted were wonderful.  It was really seeming like the writers managed to create the perfect character for Ted to end up with and finally be happy.  I was really looking forward to the final episode to see exactly how they first met finally and maybe see more bits of their future together.  I technically did get to see that, but it is in no way shape or form the ending I wanted to see. 

Ted and the mother still haven’t met in the story when the episode begins, but Ted does see her at the train station and is encouraged to go talk to her by a woman waiting next to him.  The rest of the episode shows little glimpses of moments over the next seventeen years or so with the group or with Ted and the mother.  That could have been fine, but I absolutely hated a lot of what ends up happening to the characters.  After spending the entire season on Robin and Barney’s wedding, it is undone with a divorce after three years about fifteen minutes into the episode because yet again, Robin is putting work ahead of everything, traveling all around the world, with Barney left home alone or to tag after her.  When their discussion about getting divorced is shown, he at least says he loves her.  I don’t remember her saying that.  Just that they are fighting and she offers him an out. 

In other moments after that, Barney is shown to have reverted to his old ways, chasing after every attractive woman in a five-mile radius, even trying to have a perfect month - having sex with thirty-one different women in thirty-one days.  When Robin does bother to turn up, she acts disgusted that Barney isn’t sitting around pining over her and whines about how she should have been with Ted.  I didn’t particularly like that, though I should have seen that as a massive warning.  Barney gets 31 - the only way any of them ever refer to her - pregnant and Barney kind of freaks, only to change once he holds his daughter for the first time.  That moment was decent, though I don’t like how it came about at all.  Lily and Marshall are fine, with them having a third child and Marshall finally becoming a judge. 

The audience gets to see when Ted finds out he is going to be a father and other moments between him and the mother that are wonderful.  The two of them are great together and they had the potential to end with something beautiful. The wedding is shown and even Robin, who has been traveling the world reporting the news, shows up.  If it had ended there I would have been a bit annoyed about Robin and Barney ending up divorced, but I would have been fine overall with what happened.  The writers didn’t stop there though.  Oh no.  They kept going, taking the sweet, fun, happy, beautiful moments the audience have waited years for and ripped them away. 

While the wedding is still being seen, Ted’s voice over starts, talking about the journey they had taken to get that point and things like that, along with how he knew he would love her for as long as he was able.  As soon as he uttered that, I thought they went and killed her.  Ted kept talking, and low and behold, probably within a minute of seeing them happily getting married, he talks about her getting sick, and there she is in a hospital bed with him by her side.  It is only after we know she gets sick that their first actual meeting is shared.  They have a connection immediately that is wonderful to see as they joke about the yellow umbrella  - this is when her name is finally shared as Tracey - and then realize how many times they have come so close to each other in the past.  It was sweet and cute, and touching, and beautiful and perfect and absolutely RUINED by it not being shown until after we know she dies  - in fact she has been dead the entire time Ted is telling the story.  She died six years before Ted tells the story to their kids.

I don’t like it when shows kill of characters, especially characters that I like.  Yes Tracey hadn’t been around for long, but I guess I kind of felt like she had been there longer because of how the show was done with the little references to her here and there.  I came to really like her during this last season when she was around and I was disappointed that she wasn’t in more of the episodes.  I didn’t think it could get worse, but it did.  Ted ends the story with his kids, and they, especially his daughter, declare that the story wasn’t about Tracey at all but about how he still wanted to be with Aunt Robin.  They push him into going after Robin yet again and that is how things end, with Ted once again chasing after Robin, blue french horn in hand.

It was bad enough that Robin and Barney end up divorced after three years when the entire last season was set during the weekend of their wedding.  It was really, really, really bad when it is shared that Tracey gets sick and dies, so she and Ted don’t get the happy ending that I had expected.  I hate that she dies and that was enough to make up annoyed and upset with the show, but I think Ted going after Robin again is the worst part for me.  Years were spent building up the mother - Tracey - and how perfect she is for Ted, only to rip it all away in a matter of minutes.  Ted ending up with Robin in the end diminishes Tracey and makes it feel like he was just passing time until he could be with Robin.  I don’t think that Ted and Robin work as a couple and them ending up together with Tracey dead basically craps all over everything that has happened during the series.

I know this is just a television show.  I happen to be a person who gets attached to shows and characters and I get annoyed, really annoyed, when crap like this happens.  I don’t like it when writers decide to kill off a character or break up a couple to shake things up.  That sort of nonsense just ticks me off and gets me to stop watching shows.  I kind of feel like the audience had lost a slap bet with the writers, only we didn’t know it until the slap in the face landed.  I have mostly enjoyed the series for nine years.  I have watched the reruns and I have several seasons on DVD.  The finale has caused me to lose all interest in ever, and I do mean ever, watching any episode of the show again.  I will not buy the rest of the seasons on DVD.  Frankly, right now, I regret that I even started watching the show.  I sort of hoped that this was some sort of cruel early April Fool’s Day joke on the audience, but I have not seen any indication of that being the case.  I am so very annoyed and irritated right now.  I have been let down or annoyed by the final episodes of other series before, but I think this is the worst ever. 

No comments:

Post a Comment