It’s been a little over an hour now and I still haven’t quite fully recovered from what just happened. This may take me a few moments to get myself together. Being totally honest here, I didn’t get into the show until the fourth season was airing. I was in Grade 10 and in the middle of the proverbial hell that is high school. I was going through a very rough time and in some way or another, I found How I Met Your Mother (or HIMYM found me, whatever sounds more serendipitous) which helped me cope in many ways...
Within a span of two weeks I binge-watched the first three seasons and got “all caught up with the rest of the world”. Of course I was hooked in a very short time. What then finally happened was me watching each new episode every following Monday night in both slavish devotion and mouth-watering anticipation. Not only did I like all of the actors in the cast and loved all of the jokes, but I felt a very deep and personal connection with Ted Mosby. Sure we both have a really terrible habit of telling overly long and painfully drawn out stories with back and forth narratives and totally extraneous subplots, but more than that, we both were pinning and searching for The One.
Now of course the whole idea of The One is an elusive and almost foolish idea to prescribe to, but despite what everyone tells me, I want to believe in the idea, almost to a fault. I love the whole idea of the kind of sappy Jerry Maguire “You complete me” kinda stuff. It gets me all warm and fuzzy inside. Same reason I like watching Once Upon A Time. Over the years I’ve learned to stop foolishly waiting for it to just happen. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to. In the mean time I’m gonna keep myself busy doing what makes me happy and live my life to the fullest. Carpe Diem and all that fun Dead Poets Society stuff. That being said, I’ve always had a soft spot for Ted because of how much we’re alike in this regard.
MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. PLEASE DON’T READ THE REST IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE SERIES FINALE YET.
So everything is chugging along just fine, when Ted pulls himself away from the festivities. Naturally, the gang decides to join him for one last good-bye before he heads to Chicago to start his new life. Then they all join up not that far down the road to reveal that Robin and Barney are now divorced. I'm sorry, what?! That was the first moment when I felt a sinking feeling start to bubble in the pit of my stomach. I should have just shut it off there. Ignorance truly is bliss.
Now of course no marriage is perfect and not all of those who do get married actually do get to live “happily ever after”. But as a self-proclaimed romantic, as someone who wants to get married, have kids one day and tell them the story of how I met their mother (not that it’ll take nearly that long, about half the time maybe), I want to believe in destiny, soul mates, "things being meant to be" and "living together forever". That’s why it’s so hard for me to handle it when it doesn't happen to my friends or family in real life. I want to believe in it so badly, that it’s crushing to me when it doesn’t work out.
So having it not “work out” on a TV show between Robin and Barney is firstly very disappointing on a personal level. It’s frustrating on a viewer level just because the whole last season was building up to their wedding (which was a great penultimate episode in all aspects by the way). I was willing to give the last season a chance and stuck with it. Not all of the episodes were great, but I sat through them just the same. So to go through all of that for it to ultimately just fall apart, well to it stings somethin’ mighty fierce to be frank.
The worst part of them getting divorced is just what happens to them afterwards however. Robin Scherbatsky is now travelling all over the world in her dream job. While sure that’s great, it meant she missed out on a lot of the “big moments” in the group’s lives. You and your friends grow together and unfortunately some of those friends grow apart. It’s a sad fact, but it’s true. It just happens sometimes. This is true in life, but did it really need to happen in HIMYM? Robin basically just became “that other person that was a part of our lives for so long but now we don’t talk to anymore because AWKWARD…".
Barney has always been the funniest and most quotable character on the show in my opinion. That being said, one of the more surprising and poignant parts of the show was the development and maturation of his character in later seasons. He eventually stopped his playboy ways to marry Robin, only to get divorced and go back to exactly what he was before. Same old immature Barney. This isn’t The Big Bang Theory guys. These people actually developed over time. To have Barney sleep around with thirty girls in thirty days only to knock up girl #31 on the last day of the month, be depressed about it and THEN become a responsible person the second he holds his newborn baby in his arms... It just felt so cheap and damaging to everything that came before in his development as a character.
But I still held out hope. As Ted would do, I held onto the belief that the last half wasn’t going to be all that bad. Ted saw the mother as the base player at Robin and Barney’s ill-fated wedding, they met at the train station and had a nice meet-cute where her name was finally revealed to be Tracy. It showed them a couple times in the future and then BOOM, she got sick and was in the hospital. The very end cuts to old grey-haired Ted (where did Bob Saget go?) finishing the story to reveal that Tracy has been dead for the past six years.
Hold on for a second there pal. Their mother has been dead and gone for that long and it’s only now that you’re deciding to tell them the whole story? I don’t understand why he’d wait that long. Even for Ted, that’s ridiculous. But here’s where it gets unfathomably awful. His kids tell him that he should be with Robin, considering their dead mother has been dead for six years, so that’s totally enough time to get back together with the woman who you spent eight and a half seasons being in love with and FINALLY GOT OVER. Was I originally of the belief that Ted and Robin should be together? My hopeless romantic mind totally thought so in the first few seasons. But as I progressed and matured over the years, as did Ted (albeit at a painstakingly slow rate), he FINALLY GOT OVER HER.
Even if it was in a rather cringe-inducing moment where she literally got picked up and floated away on screen so as to symbolize Ted finally letting her go. Awkwardly handled to be sure, but the point got across just the same. Ted finally got over her 100%. But then at the very end, he changed his mind and went back on everything he had just said and learned (like Barney) to go get her back.
Ted went back to see her, because of course she somehow lives in a similar apartment after all this time. The only thing running through my head was : “Please don’t have the Blue French Horn with you! Please don’t have the Blue French Horn with you! For the love of all that is good and holy Ted, PLEASE DO NOT HAVE THE BLUE FRENCH HORN WITH YOU. No!!!!”. What happened? He brought the Blue French Horn with him. She smiles, her dogs pop their heads out the window and it ends.
How I Met Your Mother? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA LOLZ Just kidding!!! More like “How I Met Your Mother In The Most Needlessly Elaborate Story Possible All The While Waiting Years To Finally Get Together With Your Aunt Robin But Not Before Having Your Mother Die Anyway And Ultimately Be Just a Footnote In My Rambling Story Even Though Robin And I Are Clearly Not Right For Each Other And I’m Just Gonna Back-Peddle Like Your Uncle Barney”.
Then again, the latter is a far less snappy title, so I can see why they went with the former. At least that part makes sense.