SPOILER ALERT: this contains the ending to the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. If you are a fan of the show but haven't seen the finale yet, stop reading. If you've never watched the show but believe that you will one day binge watch the entire series, who are you kidding you never will. Keep on reading.
CBS' hit show How I Met Your Mother called it quits after nine seasons, with the season finale on Monday, March 31. I thought the finale was great, until the final two minutes. It was sweet, it was silly, it was honest (friends drift apart - who knew?!) and it was funny. Then came the final two minutes, when older Ted - now played by actual Ted (Josh Radnor), not voice-over Ted (Bob Saget) - finishes the story to his kids about how he met their mother, who we now know passed away.
We realized that something bad was probably going to happen to the Mother in an earlier episode, when Ted got choked up talking about mothers not making it to their daughters' weddings. Well, some of us realized it, anyway. My wife had to point it out to me.
Regardless, the season finale made our worries come true, as it showed time going by with Ted and Tracey getting together, having a baby, getting married, Tracey getting sick, etc. Then we got to the weird two minutes. Ted ends his story about how he met their mother, and the daughter immediately tells him that the story was really all about Aunt Robin and how Ted wants to ask her out but doesn't know how to tell his kids. Short two minutes short, Ted goes to Robin and the show ends with him standing under her apartment window with the blue trumpet he stole for her earlier in the series.
The How I Met Your Mother creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, are certainly not against writing episodes that deal with the death of a loved one (see dad, Marshall's). I have no problem with the story line including the Mother passing away. My issue is the show ended in such a way as to make it seem like Robin was Ted's destiny, not the mother of his children, the focus of the story (and name of the show).
Ted and Robin did not work together. He wanted kids, she wanted a career. He was a sentimentalist, she was...not. He was a romantic, she was...also not. The finale showed us how well Ted and Tracey went together. But if we take the ending at face value, he had to go out and have kids with another woman so that he could end up with Robin. Yes, we are told that six years has passed since the Mother passed away, but for me that wasn't enough. Not in terms of time - it could have been six months for all I care. I needed to know that Ted knew what we all knew - that Tracey was the love of his life, his soul-mate.
All it would have taken for the season finale to be perfect was one line. All we needed was for Ted to say "you know kids, your Aunt Robin will never replace your mother" or something similarly as cheesy. That way we know that Ted knows what we know.
I understand that ending a show is hard, that you're never going to appease everyone. Like I said, I loved the season finale. I'm just a little surprised, with the job that Bays and Thomas have done with the show so far, that they didn't think to add in that one tiny line.
Because the way the show ended, it kind of made msnbc reporter Adam Serwer's tweet from January of 2013 come true:
How I Was Totally Into Your Aunt Robin For A Decade But She Married My Best Friend So I Settled For Your Mother.