How I Met Your Mother finally reached its conclusion after 9 seasons of memorable episodes Monday night with a two-part episode entitled, “Last Forever”. We’ll take a look at the show, the ups and downs, and just what impact it had on sitcoms in general.
It was the conclusion everyone expected to happen, yet how we got there wasn’t quite traditional.
At the end of season 8, we finally got to see The Mother and everyone started to wonder just what would happen with the upcoming season now that the biggest mystery had been revealed. Little did we all know that there would be a much bigger picture to all of this than just meeting The Mother.
Season 9, I’ll admit, has been a bit of a disappointment for the most part. There have been some high notes and definite lows but, for the most part it’s been middle of the road at best. The incredible thing was that none of that mattered after the final episode, every question I ever had that needed to be answered was down to the final minutes. Cristin Millioti in the role of The Mother, or Tracy McConnell as we learned in Last Forever, has been a spectacular addition to the cast and it’s unfortunate that we only got to see her in the role for one season but, that looks to be by design. The Mother was never to be the focal point and that point driven home by Ted’s kids in the final moments of the episode when they revealed that Tracy had died after falling ill years before this. The story was never about Tracy as much as it was about Ted being in love with Robin. Ted then shows up with a blue french horn at Robin’s apartment, the final throwback in a series of consistent flashbacks.
Now I can understand the hate that this series has received over this episode, I didn’t know how I felt about it myself right away. In reality though, it was the only ending that would have truly made sense. Robin and Barney didn’t work out and for good reason, they were polar opposites. Lily and Marshall were always going to be the happy couple and have the very thing that Ted was always searching for himself. Barney was always going to be in search of the next one night stand unless something drastically changed his life (and it did with the birth of his child) ,and Robin was always going to wonder if she should have been with Ted in the first place with all that went wrong for her. Where does that leave Tracy in all of this? Nowhere really, the perfect life for Ted was never going to be a reality, that would have been too predictable and the end would have meant nothing because we would have expected it. Instead, we got a crazy last second swerve that even itself was a bit predictable but, it was the right way to end the series.
I didn’t start watching this series until around 2009 when it had already been on for about 4 seasons. I started watching through from season to season until I caught up and what struck me so much about this series was how much they tie everything together. Most of what happens in an episode of HIMYM is somehow brought up again in future episodes or a clue as to what the future is going to hold. That’s something a bit different for sit-coms which mostly aren’t as concerned with the story arc as they are with the main story of an episode. HIMYM always felt like it was telling one big story and most episodes were just a small part of that one gigantic story. It wasn’t completely innovative but, it was well done and well put together.
The other huge piece of what made this series so different was the chemistry between the characters which is something we can really liken to Friends (although I wasn’t a fan of that series) in that the on-screen chemistry between all 5 (then 6) main characters was second to none. It drew you in as a viewer because everything felt realistic in the more dramatic scenes. The characters each brought a piece of the puzzle to something that otherwise might not have been as well-executed. Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, and Neil Patrick Harris hadn’t really been doing a whole lot of notable stuff back in 2004-2005 when production started on the show and have instantly become stars because of how successful they were on HIMYM. Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel each had some notable roles but, really used HIMYM as a stepping stone to go on to some other projects and movies.
Ultimately, HIMYM wasn’t the greatest show on TV but, it didn’t need to be. It was funny at times, dramatic others, but always fresh and ready to pull you in another direction right when you thought you had it figured out. It was a show about somebody you knew and that resonated with people. Everyone knew a hopeless romantic (Ted), the happy couple (Lily and Marshall), the pretty girl who just can’t seem to find the right one (Robin), the ladies man (Barney), or even the girl next door (Tracy). It was a story that while over-exaggerated was in some way or another connected to your life and it had a happy ending for everyone involved (Yes, even Tracy with a husband and children she loved until she got sick). It was always meant to end this way, the most important part of the ending was filmed in 2006. Not everyone may have liked how this series ended but, it was the best way they could have possibly gone out.
After all, aren’t we all looking for that happy ending in life?