Wednesday, April 02, 2014

How We Met the Mother

It's finally over.

I say that as someone who is sad to see one of his favorite television shows end and as someone who hates to see good shows languish on the line. How I Met Your Mother joins the small echelon of shows I've watched from beginning to end at the time they aired that also lasted at least five seasons. Before HIMYM, only Boy Meets World (1993-2000) and Smallville (2001-2011) made that list. Only three shows. Other shows I picked up a couple seasons in, some I quit watching because, to me, they were done. HIMYM almost fell into that category.

I started watching How I Met Your Mother because the premise intrigued me. I was at a time in my life where I, too, was looking for Mrs. Mosby and it didn't hurt that the characters were similar in age to me. It wasn't long before I met someone and I could show them this amazing show. I had bought the first season DVD collection and that first season is just the best television I've seen in a long time. There is not a flaw in it and no other modern TV series has a first season like it. I loved cuddling with my girlfriend and watching it with her. Unfortunately, just like Ted's failed relationships with Robin, Victoria, Stella, Zoey and many other women that just lasted one date, we broke up but after the mandatory mourning period, I kept Ted in mind as he was still positive and upbeat knowing that his The One was right around the corner. Even though Ted soon became a supporting character in his own story, I still enjoyed following him around every Monday.

Then the finale happened. I try not to go into series finales with grand expectations but I have dedicated half an hour nearly every Monday night for nine years on this show and I expected closure. Instead what happened was a callback to the magnificent pilot. Don't get me wrong. I'm pretty sure that if I were in the Ted and Robin camp, the finale would've made me happy. I'm sure I've written and mentioned before that the last scene with the kids was filmed before the second season began and that was back in 2006. I learned last night that had the show only lasted one season that Victoria (Ashley Williams) would've been the mother but the ending would've been the same. The Mother would've died and the story would've been about Robin.
I loved Ted and Robin in the beginning. I stopped loving them when their relationship was beaten into the ground with a dead horse which was about the time Barney and Robin got together. Unfortunately, I feel the story--whether it's Ted and Tracy or Ted and Robin--was marred by fans who, for some reason, wanted to see Barney and Robin together, Victoria come back and CBS for milking the show after it should've ended. The original plan, from what I remember, was six seasons which then became eight. CBS then ordered one last ninth season.
I'm just going to point you to this chart again about what happens to TV shows beyond the seventh season.
To make bigger, click here.
But what about Tracy? The titular mother who was introduced at the end of the eighth season and we got to know and love over the coarse of the ninth season? She wound up just being another catalyst in getting Ted and Robin together. The way I see it, Tracy is still, despite her and Ted loving each other, having two kids, getting married, Ted's second choice. Ted and Tracy don't get married immediately, it takes them about seven years or so. They never give an excuse why. Was he still waiting for Robin? It's all up to the viewer. I think the biggest problem is having Tracy die. We never saw Ted mourn nor did we see Tracy fully interact with Ted's friends. We saw how Robin was drifting away from the group and that Ted was seemingly the only one who kept her close all because the writers (and creators) felt like they had to finish the story they started back in 2005 despite the ending not following the spirit of the show.
Ah, Mrs. Mosby, we hardly knew ye.
HIMYM was always a comedy bordering on a dramedy akin to The Wonder Years but in the finale, the tone changed drastically with Bob Saget's usually upbeat and positive narration of Future Ted replaced by the dour and mostly depressing narration from Josh Radnor, who plays present Ted. I didn't understand the change just like I didn't understand why Bob Saget was doing the narration in the first place. The only thing I can think is that the change in narration signified the change from a story about Ted and the Mother to a story about Ted and Robin. But yet, the story was never about how Ted met their mother, it was always about how much Ted loved Robin, wasn't it? And that's why, to me, this finale ended badly. I wanted to see Ted with the mother, not Aunt Robin.

Until next time, I remain...