The first episode I ever watched of “How I Met Your Mother” was on an airplane in 2007. It was the Season 1 finale, which is absolutely fitting if you know how the show plays out in the very end.
I had no idea why Ted was after this girl Robin so desperately, why his friends were so against it (har har) and what the deal was with that blasted blue orchestra.
And yet I fell in love with every single character anyway, and I’ve been learning and growing with this show ever since, eagerly anticipating the moment we had all been waiting for on March 31st.
From this point on, we’re going to be discussing spoilers of course, so please don’t keep reading if you have not yet watched the series finale. I mean you can—but I personally believe that it would be a disservice to this legendary story that has been 9 years in the making.
Many people disliked the ending for “How I Met Your Mother,” and I’ve read many in-depth, compelling arguments and comments that address why so many of us walked away from that television screen with mixed emotions.
I know for me, all I could feel was confusion. Confusion because I was both angry and sad–typically symptoms of a traumatic experience. But the traumatic experience, honestly, wasn’t that the mother passed away. No, I was traumatized because in a way, we were losing all of these characters. It’s over. For good. The show has ended.
Now, many people are angry that in the end, Ted moves on to Robin. Six years after his wife passes away, Ted returns to Robin, and the show comes full-circle, which had fans feeling like the real final slap was to them.
It’s clearly not the ending fans wanted. Here are a few reasons why.
First, let’s address Barney and Robin. I have to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to their onscreen romance because I’ve been against it since season 4. Admittedly, I was curious to see Barney and Robin try it out, but I never actually bought that they were right for each other or even loved each other. I think I really just wanted to see Barney Stinson do something new with his character for a change.
My feelings about this persisted in later seasons, especially in the seventh, when Barney and Robin have their emotional rollercoaster (she likes him—he says no—he likes her—she says no, etc.) Even worse was when Barney pretty much proposed out of nowhere in season 8, even though the two of them weren’t a couple.
I always felt like it was odd for a couple that didn’t work out conventionally 4 years ago to ditch both of their preconceptions (neither of them wanted to get married throughout the series) and just commit to spending their lives with each other because…of love, apparently.
That’s why when they announced the divorce, I was sad, but relieved. I was relieved that the awkwardness I was feeling about their relationship was being vindicated by the writers, who clearly never intended for Robin and Barney to last.
Of course, that makes many of you angry that we spent an entire season building up to a wedding that was essentially pointless, but I think that’s a misguided interpretation. After all, it was never really about the wedding itself. We were watching because we wanted to see Ted meet the mother, and in a way, this was as much of a goodbye for Ted and the gang as it was a celebration of Robin and Barney.
They built up to the wedding, sure, but they also gave us plenty of reasons for why we shouldn’t expect much from Barney and Robin as a married couple. In the end, it’s Barney’s vow to never lie to Robin that ends their marriage because they realize that they really are too much alike, and all of us should have seen that coming.
People keep saying that it’s unfair for the writers to spend an entire season focusing on Robin and Barney’s wedding, but if you watch the season closely, you find a ton of set up for the relationship’s ultimate demise. Barney is too childish and similar to Robin’s father, there’s no trust in the relationship, Barney doesn’t come through for Robin with the locket, and we even find out that they’re actually related (kind of).
I’m actually surprised the wedding followed through at all. Perhaps the writers should have cancelled the wedding right before, chalking it up to Robin and Barney realizing that it would be a huge mistake and then Ted would meet the mother when it ended early, but doing so would have undercut the next 16 years.
It’s in that time that we figure out why the gang drifts apart. Robin pulls away from everyone intentionally to run away from Barney and Ted. That had to happen because that’s real life. One moment that touched me in particular was Robin’s confession to Lily during Halloween that she should have married Ted, but it was too late because he was with his soul mate.
But there’s a difference between a soul mate and the love of your life.
You hated the way the show ended because you wanted Ted to have the happy ending he deserved, not for him to backslide into a failed relationship from his 20s. I get that.
You hated the way the show ended because you thought it was “How I Met Your Mother,” not “How I Got Permission From My Kids To Marry Aunt Robin.” I totally get that.
You hated the way the show ended because it was messy. It wasn’t perfect. Ted found the perfect girl he wanted all along, but that didn’t mean life would be perfect forever.
You hated the way the show ended because you thought it was about having the patience to wait it out for a girl who is actually right for you.
You hated the show because it messed with the concept of time so furiously that it was difficult for us to process our emotions throughout. We had to say goodbye to the mother just as we met her, and even though Ted was happy for years with her, to us it felt like she almost never existed. It was rushed.
You hated the way the show ended because you wanted it to be about Tracy McConnell. But we both know it never was, as Ted’s kids cleverly explained.
You see, Ted didn’t backslide or regress. Robin wasn’t perfect for Ted. Never was. But you know what? There’s a difference between 27-year-old Ted and 52-year-old Ted.
In Season 1, Ted even says it himself: I don’t want perfect. I want Robin.
We wanted a perfect ending. We got Robin.
And I’m glad we did. I know that many people were feeling slighted because Ted had just spent the last few episodes of season 9 letting go of Robin, and it’s odd that he would ever go back to her. But keep in mind that letting go of Robin allowed Ted to meet the mother of his children. She gave him his dream. Two of them.
In the end, Ted and Robin got everything they said they wanted in the first season. Ted got the perfect wife and two kids. Robin got the career and was able to travel the world. It was only after they both got everything they wanted that they were ready for each other decades later.
You might think that this is foolish because Ted and Robin just didn’t work for 9 seasons, and that’s true. But again, they weren’t ready for each other. They needed to be apart first.
Robin was the love of Ted’s life, not his soul mate.
In “Vesuvius,” Tracy tells Ted something interesting. He knows she’s dying, as hinted by the crying at the uttering of “What kind of mother doesn’t attend her daughter’s wedding,” and she begs him to not live in his stories anymore. To move on.
Ted does this. He realizes that he has to stop living in the past that is his perfect life with his soul mate and move on.
You might think that Robin isn’t the right choice for him at 52, but you have to remember that they made a pact. If they’re single at 40, they’ll marry each other (Season 4). Ted’s just a little late.
I was heartbroken when the mother died, but I still consider the ending to this show to be perfect in its own way. The key is to view the show as a 25-year story. It’s weird to us that Ted would end up with Robin after everything they put each other through over the course of a decade, but in the grand scheme of things, that time was just a small portion of their lives.
This theme is repeated when Marshall tried to tell those kids at MacLaren’s what he felt about the place but could only say “All kinds of stuff (happened here).” He was at a loss for words because he knew that their experiences there were so short, fleeting and insignificant in that big city. He knew what went on there, and that was enough.
Ted told his kids this story to find closure for his wife’s death and subtly explain to his kids why it should totally be okay for him to love someone besides their mom, hence she was barely in the story at all. Classic Schmosby.
It answered the question we always wondered. Why was Future Ted telling such a long story that was really about Robin? It was because he figured this was the best way to make his kids understand what Robin means to him and how it doesn’t undermine the love he had for their mother. He’s even surprised that the kids are so okay with this, story or not.
Even though it’s not the ending we really wanted (because we wanted Ted to have the perfect wife and life), it’s the ending that needed to happen, and I can personally find peace in that. It’s easy to find peace in a story that’s not afraid to be real once in a while, cockamouses aside.
The finale wasn’t flawless, of course. We still don’t know what the deal was with that pineapple. We didn’t get to see Marshall gloat about winning the long-term bet with Lily (though we saw him pay up on Ted’s wedding day).
We didn’t even meet the mother of Barney’s child, but I think that was a subtle parallel to the show itself. It didn’t really matter who had Barney’s children. Ellie was the love of his life. Number 31 can stay hidden.
I think that if you’re really upset about this ending, you should at least give it a few more days to process. Thinking this deeply about a fictional story says a lot about how well done it was. At the very least, it’s important to recognize the impact that this legendary show had on so many people. For me, it was a way to bond with the first apartment roommates I ever had. For you, it could be the show that you and your eventual spouse had in common to talk about. Whatever the show did for you, it’s time to reflect on what a great run it turned out to be…even though they probably should have finished it up a few seasons ago.
Regardless, I’m no longer confused about the show now that I’ve processed it more myself. I’m now just feeling the same emotions, but categorizing them correctly. I’m still sad that the mother died and that the show is over. I’m angry (in a good way) that the creators of the show managed to pull a 9-year April Fool’s joke on us. And more than all, I’m happy that such a great show exists and will exist for new fans to come.
And that everyone, is how I watched “How I Met Your Mother.”
89 thoughts on “Why You Hated The ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Finale”
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I love what you wrote here and I completely agree with it. Also, Tracy even says during the 9th season that she had already met her soulmate and he had already passed away.
I hated the ending because Robin didn’t love Ted in a romantic way- they made it seem for nine seasons that she was the love of his life but not the other way round and it made him seem incredibly desperate. In season 7 she told him that she didn’t love him in that way, and then in one episode were supposed to believe that she loves him? Sure she said in that episode she should have married Ted but he was with someone else yet again- the only time Robin wants to be with Ted is either when shes lonely or he’s with someone. Also by having them together after they have accomplished what they wanted in life apart is unrealistic and the reason Barney and Robin just split up so she could be available for Ted when his wife dies.
In my opinion, Ted and Tracy’s love story was enough to finish the serie, I mean, Ted finally got over Robin and found an amanzing woman to live his life with, it wasn’t necessary to kill Tracy to make Ted finish with Robin because he was not in love with her anymore, he loved his wife, his alive wife. I think the end was forced and unreal, if he stopped being in love with Robin when she got married with Barney, the man she loved and the man who loved her so much, as much that he changed for her, it can not be real he falls in love with her again ten years later and i’m sure he was not in love with Robin while he was married. I would finish the story with the mother asking Ted to finish because it was not so longer and telling him again “dont live in your stories because life was forward”, a finale as lovely as their are.
I hadn’t remembered the pact of 40, but if the mother doesn’t die it’s not necessery to make it because Robin wouldn’t be divorced eather, I can tell Barney and her loved each other so much and it was silly to make them get divorced.
It just my opinion, they had done what they wanted with their serie ending.
I personally think that it felt real. Ted always loved robin, i think even when he was married to his wife, not saying he didn’t love his wife more I am just saying i think he still had a small spot in his heart for Robin. And its not like ted just suddenly liked her and she suddenly liked him, they still spent a lot of time together when Tracy was alive and after she passed away. As for Robin and Barney they did love each other, just like every marriage, it is just that some marriages fall through. like they said the marriage did last 3 years.
i totally agree
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You sir are RIGHT, everyone wanted a fairy tale ending, but that was never the point
If there are fans who are disappointed with the finale of HIMYM, then chances are they’re going to remain disappointed. I think it’s a waste of time to try to change their minds.
I haven’t changed my mind about the finale. I liked it. I think they should have allowed Robin and Barney to marry and divorce at least before this last season. I found their breakup rather rushed. But I didn’t see a “happily ever after” with those two.
I get where you’re coming from, it does seem pointless. Still, you’ll see from some comments here and on the Facebook page where I posted this that some people did actually change their minds. Not just because of me or other spectators, but because they took the time to think it through and ended up changing their minds. Call me a dreadful optimist 🙂
You are 🙂
I just hated how the show dealt with Robin’s infertility, the way so many shows deal with infertility. I felt so much sympathy for Robin when she cried on a park bench because she could never have kids…
…flash to the finale where it doesn’t matter. She marries Ted who already has biological children that adore “Aunt” Robin, instant happy step-family. That’s not messy, that’s not real life.
It reminded me of X-Files, where Scully spent several episodes angsting about not being able to conceive, only for wham! alien pregnancy super baby William. And then when they wrote miracle baby out of the show, Scully did not show a believable about of conflict or post-partum depression, having lost the child she supposedly loved and wanted.
I’m just sick of women can’t have babies = the drama for a couple episodes/seasons, then they become someone’s step parent or foster parent etc to fill the void or they get pregnant anyway, continuity be damned. The struggle to conceive is a real struggle for women, and it sucks to have fertility issues glossed over with quick fics while other health problems, disabilities, illnesses, etc. are treated more respectfully.
That’s an interesting viewpoint. I sort of disagree, though. I think Robin dealt with it believably for her character. She told Kevin that she would never have kids because the situation was so traumatic for her. And she dealt with that for many years after she found it. It’s not like she wasn’t upset for a long time. We know she puts on a tough front, and she even likes to change her mind pretty often.
And hey, we don’t know if she marries Ted. And their story was anything but not messy.
Even though Robin was upset about not being able to have children, she never wanted them anyway. She even said it, that she was depressed about it because it makes her sad to never even have the option. But she wasn’t the kind of woman who was planning on having kids and planning on being a mother. It would be different for Lily and Marshall, who actually wanted a big family. Robin didn’t want kids.
So putting her with Ted and making her a step mom isn’t filling a void – Robin never had that void, or at least not so much that it overpowered her career. She loves Ted and she loves the kids but her dream wasn’t to be a mother, so in the long run it really doesn’t matter much anyway.
I agree with DRFD. It felt like Ted got married, had kids, and they (conveniently) killed the mother so Robin would be the step mom (for children that claim to love her, but don´t seem to be that close after all).
Robin fell apart from the group, how could Ted´s children be close and love Robin if they only met in some of their “big moments”? Robin was not very much around after she divorced Barney.
I simply hated the ending because I wanted Barney and Robin!! Not Ted and Robin!!
Barney’s ending was certainly a strange one. I guess it made sense, but the execution was far from perfect. Wasn’t among the best endings we could have seen for that character.
I have mixed feelings about the finale:
Barney, Lily, Marshall and Robin: that last montage and last two episodes were VERY rushed. The writers, etc. should have extended that last episode (part two) into a full hour, to include snapshots, home videos, etc. Of EVERYONE as their lives progressed through 2030. The show from the beginning was about five friends, and later six, as Tracy was accepted from the start by everyone, (even Robin, as much as it hurt her to have to let go of Ted) and their life paths, individually and as a group. Extending the show to one hour would have allowed for that.
Ted and Tracey: The illness was a very important part of the story, as it solidified for me, the full depth of the love that Ted has for his wife. I had hoped that the final decision by the creators would be to let Tracey live and that Ted’s crying during “Vesuvius” could be because of fear, but in the end that Tracy would be there and say, jokingly, “what did I say about living in your stories?”
Tracey’s death. I actually don’t mind the idea of Ted moving on six years later, but the writers had an opportunity to explain that Ted let go of Robin as soon as he met Tracy, but they did not do that. In fact, the callous way in which the kids dismissed their mother’s role in the story was very poorly done. What should have been done was to have the daughter say, “…. ain’t buying it. You say this story is about Mom, but really, you just spent what feels like, nine YEARS to ask permission to move on. Mom said that life moves forward, and to not live in your stories, but that is exactly what you are doing… It’s time to move on, and if we might offer a suggestion…”
Then have Ted show up at Robin’s apartment with the Blue French Horn.
But as far as endings go, my points are just semantics. I was ok with the ending overall.
I have cryed about the ending a long time, ty you have maked me stop craig now 😢
I just miss that we wil never se Ted Marshal Lilly or Robin
I just watched the end. I know I am late for it, but I hate the end!! So much…
I get that people die, but I don´t like the robin-ted end, feels odd.
The ending should have been: after being divorced for 20 years Barney and Robin go back together, since their big issue for their divorce was that Robin used to travel a lot for work. Robin does not travel that much anymore, so they can enjoy each others company, like they always have.
Barney has loved Robin, and only Robin, for the hole show.
For me that was the biggest mistake of HIMYM. They put that baby on his arms ans said; “work that scene, that will be your ending”. The end for Barney was like: no gilrs, no Robin, just the baby. I felt bad for him.
And if I were Robin, I would not be glad to see Ted with that stupid horn. Would you fell great to realize you are the consolation prize?
Agree with you man! Even after 8 months my opinion has not changed and I have always loved the way the series ended.The final scene was so iconoc and romantic! Long live HIMYM!
Great article! Thank you.
I really liked the ending myself, and you hit all the spots, of why I do.
This was so stupid. Yes you made some good points but the only reason Robin and Barney got divorced was because she needed to be available for Ted when the mother died and there was no reason to kill the mother, fans loved her and the fans loved Barney and Robin together the writers should have listened to the fans then none of this would of happened.
I disagree with the idea that the show runners have to listen to the fans. Sometimes the fans are wrong. Many fans disagree, so it’s impossible to please everyone anyone. In this case, they had a specific vision for the ending and stuck with it. I respect that.
I don’t remember Barney becoming engaged. All i saw was an aquarium
I agree with everything you wrote. I wish the writers had told more about their mother, because since the beggining i wanted to know who she was, but I am also happy that Ted found the love of his life.
I’m sorry but I can’t agree. I understand your text clearly and enjoyed reading it but my poinion ist different. I think the creators of HImym screwed everything up in the final season. The meeting and stuff with Ted and Tracy was perfect. Robin and Barney otherwise… Before I favored their relationship and thought it would work perfectly out and then it all got screwed up. I got uncomfortable with their relationship, they just didn’t match anymore. And then comes this stupid divorce and because of this even more stupid girl named Robin everything is destroyed. She isn’t this tough girl anymore she is broken. And after years of terrible sadness Barney gets his ‘love’. It is like some guys thought “Mmm Barney must change! Why don’t we let him have a daughter so he istn’t that ******* anymore” and bam – Barney’s checked, too. Finally Ted’s love passes away and he just goes back to Robin. I really hate these guys who have destroyed this. HImym could have been my favourite TV show but well… Maybe I do agree with you.
Yeah, I just had to tell my feelings about this stuff 😐
Barney and Robin getting divorced ruined the entire series for me!
Why “you” hated the “How I Met Your Mother” finale? Who’s “you”? Are you assuming that everyone felt this way? I didn’t. Mind you, I found Robin and Barney’s divorce very rushed. I would have liked to see it play out over a season or half a season. But I’m satisfied with it. I wish that the show had featured at least two seasons of Tracy. But . . . Robin and Barney seemed forced to me. Also, Ted and Tracy seemed too ideal or too perfect. I have no problems with how the show’s narrative ended.