It’s crazy to think that one of my favorite shows of all time is now over, a journey through television and Netflix that is, for me, 5+ years into the making. Of course I am referring to How I Met Your Mother, the legendary recount of how the hopeless-romantic-architect-professor Ted Mosby will finally meet the titular Mother and conclude his 9 season long story to his poor two children who supposedly have been sitting on the couch the whole time. This particular post will remain largely spoiler-free in case you haven’t had the chance to watch this series (give it a try!) or the finale yet. And word about the finale has been buzzing in editorials and reviews all over the Internet lately, so I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what the series meant to me.
Yes, after years of waiting for it, Barney Stinson bids us to do, we FINALLY saw how exactly Ted and the mysterious Mother (who still remained unnamed until the finale) meet! Although theories of both joy and sorrow (including even death theories) were flying all over the Internet, I was simply still taken aback that my favorite television series will be concluded. No more sweet bickering and resolutions of the favorite married couple Marshall and Lily; no more legendary plays from the Playbook or cited scripture from the Bro Code from Barney Stinson, who managed to trip his way into love with the Scotch-drinking, gun-weilding Robin Scherbatsky, my favorite headstrong and independent heroine on screen. This show has always been my go-to marathon show whenever I’m sad, happy, or just need some background noise when I’m feeling extra lonely. I’ve watched this show in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. My best friends and I have adopted code names and references stolen from running gags…our lives have been integrated with slap bets, Lemon Laws, “lawyered”, condolence-fives, “single’s stamina”, Blah-Blah, the hot-crazy scale, having “baggage”…the list goes on.
All these little callbacks help make this show so legendary and timeless for me. It has always been very common for me to become extremely emotionally invested in fictional characters in both books and television shows (i.e. see Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad), and the gang from HIMYM have been in my life since my high school years. It’s very hard for me to be satisfied with any kind of finale or definitive ending for them because that would mean accepting that learning and growing with the show is no longer part of my life.
Many people make light of how Ted’s story has taken literally 9 years to tell, but in my opinion that’s not the point. Of course people want to hear the title story – how he MET the mother – but would any of us really want to give up the journey along the way, fraught with lessons and jokes and Bob Saget’s voice? What would the Mother even mean to us if we didn’t learn of all of Ted’s little mis-encounters with love, all of his mistakes (i.e. butterfly tattoo, Mosbious Designs, the re-return), and all of his lessons he’s learned – the most important of which was how to let someone go. Like many fans, I see myself in the characters of this show, which make them all the more relatable and meaningful to us.
All of this being said, if you are a HIMYM fan, it can’t be a secret that the finale was a major gamechanger (*salute*) that, for me, overturned seasons of character development and themes.
I for one will hold these characters dear to my heart for years and years to come. When I enter my 30s, I’ll look to the lessons of Barney and Ted to look for direction. When I suffer some heartbreak and need to forget my own Robin, I’ll look to Ted as well. I’m saying a bittersweet farewell – but I’m sure I’ll pull them up on Netflix again before long.