A different take on the ending of HIMYM

By Curtis Hines
On April 11, 2014

  • Durham Town Resident #comment 1. Here's a thought. If all the students decided to register in Durham to vote, they would easily outpopulate the townies. In local elections, they could basically take over town government and change ordinances and budgets to their hearts' content. Less $ for the police force, no open-container ordinance, etc. Think about it..

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the "How I Met Your Mother" season finale. If you haven't seen it yet and don't want the ending to be spoiled, don't read this article. 

When the final credits rolled on one of my favorite TV series for the last time, I had tears in my eyes. What can I say, I'm an emotional man. Not tears of anger or regret or the sentiment voiced by a vocal majority on the Internet; good tears, happy sad tears, because Craig Thomas and Carter Bays gave us the best ending they possibly could.

Some people were blindsided by the closing events of the series. The phrase "how could they?" was thrown around a lot in accusation: How could they break up Robin and Barney? How could they do that to Ted and the mother? 

The truth is, the fates of these two relationships were hinted at over the course of the season. Up until the penultimate episode Robin was still questioning her relationship with Barney, even ready to jump out the church window with Ted and run away together. And after the season eight episode "The Time Travelers" and the season nine episode "Vesuvius" hinted very heavily at it, we knew that there was something terribly wrong with either the mother or Ted that would make their time together tragically short.

A lot of people thought Ted was coldly tossing the mother aside after her death in his pursuit of Robin. I even heard some people question whether Ted ever really loved the mother at all. Once again, there were signs: In episode 200, "How Your Mother Met Me," we learned that the mother once had a love of her own who died, and after eight years or so had passed she was finally ready to love again. If it was possible for her to have two loves in her life, it should also be possible for Ted. Their stories intertwine and complement each other so beautifully. What was it the mother said to Ted in a flash-forward? I believe her words were, "I don't want you to be the old man who lives in his stories." She would have appreciated that he had a chance to move on and be happy again.

I've become so used to TV's fairytale endings that I just assumed the same thing would happen for "How I Met Your Mother." I was all ready for Robin and Barney to ride horses into the sunset; for Marshall and Lilly to immediately get their dream jobs and make it work instantly; for Ted and the mother to meet under a yellow umbrella, as the Walkmen played in the background and the screen faded to black. That's what I expected. 

But truth is stranger than fiction. In the real world, relationships are complicated and life is messy. Instead of giving us a stereotypical sitcom ending, Thomas and Bays had the guts to show us the real lives of these characters. Sometimes it wasn't pretty. Sometimes it didn't happen the way we wanted it to. But never before have I felt that these characters were so human, so true. As a longtime fan, I couldn't have asked for anything more from a series finale.

I beg you, go back and take one more look at it. Leave your bias and your anger behind for 40 minutes and watch it again. I hope you'll enjoy it.

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