On the East Coast, Twitter pretty much exploded with outrage and random appreciation for the “How I Met Your Mother” finale. And just like with “Lost,” another show that had a polarizing effect on its fanbase, I enjoyed it even though I’m definitely in the minority on this one. From here on, we’re venturing in to spoiler territory so if you haven’t watched the finale – STOP READING FROM HERE!!
So, if you’re a Barney fan you’re probably rightfully pissed that after two and a half years of character evolution, in the end ‘ol Barney’s only meaningful relationship is with his daughter from a woman whose identity is so meaningless that apparently not even Ted the Over-sharer could be concerned with sharing with his kids. And that whole nine-year buildup to the mom? That was just so Ted could explain to his kids that he was still majorly crushing on Robin.
People on Twitter are fuming that Ted gets to win and Barney and Robin don’t get their happily ever after. The common thread on most of those tweets seem to be from people who started watching the show about two years into its nine season run. What longtime viewers would likely refer to as Continual Bubble Show HIMYM and Post-Britney HIMYM.
It was the pop princess Britney Spears who all but saved the show with her much-hyped appearance, bringing in ratings the show hadn’t experienced up to that point. Only problem was the focus on that particular episode was not Ted (Josh Radnor) relaying another tale of his quest to find true love, but the exploits of his crazy, legendary wingman Barney.
Series newcomers were familiar with Neil Patrick Harris’ “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and he was given a tremendous episode to showcase Barney at his worse and newcomers loved it. The problem was Barney was always the typical sitcom ladies’ man — a unique cross between sleaze and the guy who has his friends’ back just enough to explain why they keep him around — and creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas gradually begin making Barney more of the focus of the show.
Barney was an excellent supporting character, but his character flaws kept creeping up and making him seem less a decent friend and more of a jerk to everyone and anyone around him, especially those he called his best friends. Hardly the kind of guy a show needs to be based around.
So as Barney stole Ted’s dream girl/best friend Robin (Cobie Smulders), Ted became a bit of a supporting player in his own story. For seasons 6-8, we watched the show become more and more about Barney’s supposed maturation as he romanced Nora and Quinn while newer audience members pined for Robin and Barney to finally get together.
Kinda missing the point that Ted throughout the series continually went above and beyond to show his love for Robin even to the point of tracking down Robin’s long lost locket. Barney to his credit tried to be the nice, caring, thoughtful and considerate guy (in essence everything Ted already was) but as the season finale revealed, ultimately that just wasn’t him. Barney and Robin’s divorce was easily the most realistic moment of the last few seasons.
I’d gotten tired of the Barney & Robin Show and was just watching the show sporadically, or as advised by my brother, since I didn’t want to sit through another Season 7 and 8 where Barney was becoming more cartoonish as he was entering the biggest phase of his life.
Honestly, Barney and Robin getting divorced was one of the more sensible things that ever played out in the show, but the long-drawn out process of the last two seasons to get there was frustrating. Had we gotten a lot more episodes like last week’s and the finale where it’s a curtain call of sorts of all the various subplots and characters we’d gotten to know over the past nine years it would probably seem more satisfying.
The finale was annoying in the sense that so many potentially great episodes were ran through in under 60-minutes. Did we really need all those wedding episodes in hindsight? It was a bit of a gyp that we never really got to know the mother all that well, but I consider the last scene of the series a fitting, if not long-winded and occasionally very rocky road to the only conclusion this show ever needed — Ted with the woman he always wanted to be with and the hopeless romantic giving love one more good ‘ol Ted Mosby try.