Writing television is hard. I guess. I’ve never done it.
The How I Met Your Mother finale aired on March 31, 2014, almost five months ago. I watched it on the floor lounge of my residence hall with a crapload of candy. Oh, I’m not kidding:
But here’s a more accurate representation of my initial thoughts: an abridged version of my Twitter timeline that day.
I’m with Todd on this one. I don’t know why people ask for “five year plans” with shows. Is it (depending on the show) that the creator know where it’s going? Yeah. Should that be set in stone? Hell no. In this case, the Thomas and Bays decided let footage shot ten years ago dictate the ending. It didn’t matter, to them, what the show might’ve become. So here’s what bothered me the most about the HIMYM finale:
- Knowing the ending, they did THIS?!: Okay, fine. They were set to have Robin and Ted end together, disregarding the character development of the last few seasons, and their very-real reasons for breaking up way back in Season 2 (the show’s best season). Then why write an episode explicitly about Ted letting Robin go, complete with Robin floating away like a balloon? Why let Ted struggle with that decision the whole season (and maybe even bfore then), then solve it, and then bring it back in the last 3 minutes of the entire show?
- Removing Robin’s agency: Not only do Barney and Robin break up because Barney can’t handle that she, a journalist, travels. Something he already knew. And yet, they break up and she disappears. We see her again bumping into Ted, and then again as Older Robin smiling to Ted from the window. So while Ted gets almost no background for his last decision, Robin gets none.
- Barney’s baby: Yay, give a character an emotional climax disconnected from anything else while creating yet another faceless character he bone.
- Waste of Cristin Milioti: The one thing everyone agrees with is that The Mother was a breath of fresh air. We barely saw her, but when we did she lit up the screen. So lets fridge this charming actress so that our hero can go be with his ex.
- The Reason for the Story: Look, the first few seasons are good, and the finale won’t retroactively make them bad. However, the reason for Ted to tell the story was to get permissions from his son to date their aunt? Gross.
- Quick hits: Useless structuring of the final season. Barney’s character regression. Emotional beats skipped over. And more, and more, and more…
Everyone pretty much knew that HIMYM was way past its expiration date. The jokes were less funny, the characters less emotionally engaging, the storytelling and structure tired. And yet the finale found a way to make all of that worse.
So remember, kids, next time a showrunner says they have everything planned out: be careful.