Saturday, April 5, 2014

How I Met Your Mother - A Legen ---wait for it---dary Ending that Pissed Off the World

Its hard to end popular shows to get at least most people to nod and smile that it was a good ending to a series. How I Met Your Mother has ran brilliantly as one of the best stories ever told about a guy that desperately wants to find love. And then whoring his way all over the town to find it.

However many were enraged at the shows finale this past week. I for one, am actually not unhappy. It wasn't a perfect ending and definitely not what I imagined, but it really shows how truly complex and difficult relationships can be and I really enjoyed the somber reality of that message. So you can disagree with me all you want, but the twists and turns of the last episode really had me thinking way after the fact. I admit, the creators didn't set this up well enough to justify how oddball the ending turned out, but it wasn't all bad either. For a happy-go-lucky series, the ending really was about the imperfections of life between a group of friends and that even though bad shit happens, they eventually always find their way back to each other.

The most sickly cute couple on the planet.
Marshall and Lily - They were always the perfect couple and ended in the manner everyone would expect. Marshall keeps moving up in the world and Lily is very supportive of him. They are the example of marital bliss and it would make sense that Lily would be confused how her friends have not always fit in the same picture. However they were the perfect couple archetype that seemed to be the nurture and guidance the group needed. They were the "stability" of the group.

Ted finally meets the mother...after 8 years of searching.
Ted and the Mother - The show has been ELUDING to the fact that the mother actually dies. The episode where he talks to the mother's apartment door wishing he could spend just a little more time with her, was a big hint that their time was short. Ted's story was all about finding the "one" he wanted to spend his life with. So in the end, he finally found her, but also loses her. Its a somber, but realistic ending sometimes to the perfect fairy tale relationship. Ted has always been a tragic, romantic character.

Have you met my gay boyfriend?
 Barney - Barney has always been the joker character. Unstable, chaotic, and eccentric. Barney's character was never meant to settle down and the fact that he ended up divorcing Robin only made sense considering Robin is very career oriented and so is Barney. They were a fun couple, but Barney is considerably immature and foolish. He usually gets what he wants and it makes sense that he would be back on the prowl again. It also made sense that a kick in the nuts, like a baby, would stop him in his tracks. But I see him being a father that might still be irresponsible. His ending was realistic to his personality and what might happen with a player like him.

Canadians...this is how we American's imagine you.
Robin - Robin has always been the stand out character in the mix. Her role has been the seductress/tough girl. She doesn't fit in this group very well [neither does Barney honestly] however the chemistry works. She gives good feminine play off of Lily which would never exist with only the boys around. So she brings a balance even though her character is so odd. However Robin is a career oriented character too. She has always picked career over love and that is why her marriage was crushed. There was also a lot of eluding to her being with Ted in the end. Cold feet at the wedding is really bad. Both Barney and Robin almost had cold feet. It would make sense they would not stay together long.

This is how I saw the show. I watched all 8 seasons at once before the ninth season came out, so I have not been waiting all 9 years. I usually don't follow a series in general. I'll jump in usually in the middle of seasons.

The story was always about Ted wanting Robin. In fact, we can see how much Ted might be secretly comparing ALL the girls he dated as Robin in general. He just got lucky to find a girl that was even more lovely and more perfect than Robin could be at that time. In the final season we see Ted finally move on from Robin and we can tell it killed him that she was marrying Barney instead of him. But like the nice guy that he was, he let it be. But did he ever let her go? Maybe for the time he spent with his wife who made him very happy, but afterward, we can tell this whole story was told in a way where Robin was the center of Ted's problems in life.

What we do know is this:

1. Ted wanted a family and be in fairy tale love. He would never be able to get that through Robin since she was more career minded, had a fear or commitment and couldn't have kids. However Barney was totally happy and accepting of that situation since he never wanted kids and he was commitment phobic himself. So in the beginning Ted and Robin had very different goals and desires. She wanted a less sensitive man, but in the end, Robin was very insecure and needed a man who was strong enough to BE sensitive and accepting of her insecurities. So they were bound to take separate paths for the most part.

That one point when they had potential....
2. Barney and Robin were a train wreck as a couple. Even though they fit in certain aspects, they don't fit in all of them. Mainly because they are too similar is what makes them impossible to be committed to each other. The commitment-phobe, player, playful frat boy with the commitment-phobe, secretly sensitive, daddy issues, fun girl tend to cancel each other out in the overall mix.

The first time they were together, Barney ate himself to death and Robin was constantly miserable. The second time, Robin was at the height of her career and Barney was trying to be supportive, but it was more the Robin show and Barney was the tag along in her life. Their chemistry was really about the sex and the fact that both of them are "Dudes" in a way. Hanging with Robin for Barney was like making love to one of his best bros, but Barney doesn't even know HOW to be there for Robin if she really needed it. And Robin doesn't know how to tell people she needs it. Ted is the only one sensitive enough to notice when Robin is scared besides Lily. If you think about it, Robin rarely has broken down in front of Barney. She has gotten angry, but never has shown much fear or sadness. However virtually everyone else has seen her like that. What does that tell you about Robin? It tells you she never truly trusted Barney to be there for her, so he didn't get a chance to prove he is capable. Not even before the big wedding day does she tell him she is a bit afraid. It gets resolved outside of Barney's knowledge.

Most people will need some one that can be there for them and even though Barney is a good guy, he is still immature irregardless of how much he changed over the course of the series. In this case, Robin needed a solid person in her pocket and she also clearly needed to slow the hell down if she wanted a relationship. Personally I always thought she was running from being in love. Barney was the closest she ever had gotten to being in love, but in the end she still didn't put love first. That was a fatal mistake.  I really don't think either of these two even bothered to try to work it out. They could have, but I imagine that wasn't their style to sit down with a marriage counselor.

Robin is sad she let the genie of the wine bottle escape...
3. Robin leaves the gang. Some people were upset at how Robin ditched the gang for a while, however I understand Robin's point of view. It was impossible for Robin to keep a relationship with Lily without seeing Ted and Barney.

It would have been hard to bite on Lily's time while supporting Marshall in a stressful job, having three children and then what little time she had to spend with the gang, carve that time out for Robin too. I know Lily would have gladly done it if it meant keeping Robin in the group, but I can see Robin as hating to be a burden on anyone with her problems. Even if they promised that the divorce wouldn't change the dynamics of the group, it always does in the end. People have to pick sides and nobody wanted sides to be picked.

On top of that, everyone was clearly happy and she was alone and miserable. That's pretty hard to be on the outside looking in. Its not that Robin necessarily pushed Barney away on purpose, its just that she knew if he didn't want to be with her anymore, why force the issue? The last thing I would like to point out is nobody really showed the SUPPORT Robin desperately needed after divorcing Barney. Ted was occupied with Tracy, Lily had Marshall that needed her more, Barney quickly moved on, and all Robin had was her career and her dogs [which I had no idea where they came from, guess she got a new pack because she was lonely]. Robin and Barney's divorce was quickly steam rolled by Lily's announcement of her third pregnancy. So its no wonder Robin feels she has to suck it up even if she needed support. Barney was a different animal, he handles his pain through sex. It was natural for Barney to revert to make himself feel better.

So for those that were angry she ditched Lily, I think it was a mistake on her part, but that was classic Robin. She was handling it the only way she could, which was by herself because she yet again had a difficult time trying to ask for help. Robin needed that time to reevaluate her life and where she was going. This was good time for Robin to eventually return after she had mourned for her losses and pick back up again. She could not do that if the wounds continued to be ripped open by seeing everyone in a state of bliss, but her.

Horns are sexy, must steal her a horn.
4. Robin and Ted Strike Back. This story was always about Ted and in the end he DID get what he wanted. Which was the family and love he always desired. He spent wonderful years with a woman he adored and I don't think any of that time was wasted. It truly speaks to the fact that life is precious and you never know what will happen tomorrow so you must always hold onto and cherish today. Most of us would be so lucky to have a love so special such as Ted and Tracy at least ONCE in our lives.

It was beautiful for the time he spent and I'm sure if Ted could have more time he would steal it just like he stole the french blue horn. I don't see his relationship with Tracy as a lost, it showed him true love does exist and to continue loving deeply. His relationship with Tracy only brought back the romantic that died after so many years chasing Robin. While Robin has had enough time to forgive her failed marriage and return back into the fold. Robin now has what she wanted, a good career as a hard hitting reporter and at the same time, she is finally open to accept a sensitive, loving guy like Ted. I was personally thrilled Ted gave it one last chance.

However what people failed to notice was....Lily never gave Marshall the money back. In the final episode, Marshall begrudgingly gives Lily the money since he lost the bet on Ted and Robin getting together permanently. In a sense, the final scene was open ended. It doesn't mean they lived happily ever after, it means that Ted never let his love truly die for Robin. Robin was the woman he always wanted since the beginning and perhaps Robin is finally open enough to accept Ted as the man who always knew her better than she knew herself. Or maybe not. We will never know for sure. Robin is a fickle character. Perhaps they tried it out again and broke up for the 23rd time. It happens.

When is this story going to end? I already hit puberty
5. The kids were RIGHT all along. This WAS a story about how Ted was always in love with Robin. Even though the writers screwed with our heads in the beginning, think of ALL the episodes where Ted and Robin went back and forth together. And the bet that Lily and Marshall made where it became a running gag the entire 9 seasons of will they or wont they?

They were not the perfect couple like Ted was with Tracy, but they had good chemistry and Ted was the guy Robin always needed. She needed that sensitive guy to reassure her and that he loved her no matter what. The type of guy who knew in an instant that something was wrong and wouldn't let it go until it was fixed. She needed a guy who was experienced in handling problems appropriately. But Robin was always too stubborn and prideful to really be open to Ted and I really don't think she had more than friendship feelings for him. I believe Robin admires Ted's optimism when it came to love and that is really the attraction there. If Ted and Barney combined, that would be the right amount of everything for Robin in a sense. Both characters had traits she liked.

As for Barney, he was never portrayed as a sensitive guy to women, but a guy with a good heart that had a strange way of expressing his love. He even tells Robin he likes the fact that she is so independent. Meaning he doesn't have to be there for her as much because Barney has a hard time being the empathetic guy. But at least he became an honest guy, which was a signal that Barney really was giving this marriage stuff a try.

I really think the ending was more realistic to real life. Sometimes things don't work out and sometimes friends drift away. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win. The point of the story was that they were ALWAYS friends and always came back together no matter how far apart they drifted. Including Robin. Even though she abandoned Lily for a while, Lily still forgave her. In the end, it was definitely bitter sweet, but I found it much more complex and interesting than an everyone lived happily ever after sort of deal. I see too much of that these days and it was a refreshing surprise to see such a complicated finale.

Things I wished they changed in the Ending:

1. I was SO waiting for the ultimate voice over wrap up of, "And that kids, is how I met your mother" but it never came. Ive been waiting 9 seasons to hear that....that was kind of a let down.

2. The kids blue eyes REALLY bother the shit out of me. Why do they have blue eyes? Both Smoshby and Tracy have brown eyes. What the heck, casters.

Hes crying because she threw up on his suit...
3. Barney's transformation from player to father figure is really abrupt. I really didn't care for the "all of a sudden I'm going to be a loving person" BS they tried to play off. What would have made more sense is Barney learned a few things from his marriage with Robin, changed at least some what and then transformed a bit more when his child came about. Although the way he acted about "number 31" really gave me the impression he was just going to send a check once a month or forge documents that the baby isn't his and be rid of the situation. I like the fact that he had a baby girl. He wouldn't have changed much if it was a baby boy, but because it was a girl, that forced him to look at women in a different light. Like..those women some day could be MY daughter and I would never want her to go out with a creep like me.

4. I was really disappointed the writers never showed how Barney felt after his divorce. They made it look like he sprung back pretty quickly, but I can't seem to shake how devastating something like that is to a guy who never wants marriage. To marry and it not work out to the only woman that he felt was good enough to be his wife. I wished they had a few moments where we saw Barney alone and realizing he does miss her, but never contacts her to tell her so.

Both of them discovered they liked banana yellow.
5. Flipping forward and backwards. There was way too much back and forth between the past and present. To the point I started caring less and less about the first meet between Ted and his wife. I also wish we got to spend much more time with the wife.

It was a bit unfair that the show was called "How I met your mother" and we spend 8 seasons waiting for this woman to show up and then we get maybe 45 minutes worth of cut scenes and a "hey guess what, shes dead too." Not like I didn't know she was dead...speculation has been swirling around for a while on the internet. That was fine. I just expected to see MORE of her and not less. But yet again...this story never was about the mother as the children expertly pointed out. This was about Robin.

Overall I am sure this finale will be debated for a long time to come. The creators have already stated there is an alternative ending to season 9 which I bet would be more in line with how viewers imagined the ending was going to be. I see it as the perfect way to sell DVDs after they took a risk and failed, but who knows how many sales they are going to get after this. People will probably just boycott and torrent the alternative ending instead.

What did you think of the series finale? Did you hate it as much as everyone else? What was your take on Barney, Robin and Ted's situation?

If you enjoy my blog, please subscribe, comment, know the drill!

No comments:

Post a Comment