I loved “How I Met Your Mother.” I loved the characters and their relationships. I loved the inventive way the story was told backwards, and the way that we cared about these characters, even if we mostly knew what would happen to them in the end. I loved the way that I genuinely felt like these people were my friends.
I loved Ted, with his over-the-top romantic gestures and his unfailing optimism. I loved Robin and her independence, her blind ambition, and her ridiculous love for Canada. I loved the way that Marshall and Lily made me believe in true love. And Barney. Even with his gross womanizing ways, I loved that bastard so much.
I loved the lessons this show told, and the way that it told them. I loved the slap bets and the Robin Sparkles videos. I loved the laughs, the tears, the sickly sweet sentimental moments, all of it.
I loved “How I Met Your Mother,” and I am so, so glad to have watched it.
But I hated the finale.
In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever hated a series finale more than I hated this one. And it’s because this finale — in my eyes — really invalidated what this show has been about.
To me, “How I Met Your Mother” was never truly about Ted meeting the mother and falling in love. Sure, that was the original focus, but this show became much more than that.
“How I Met Your Mother” was about friendship and growing up, about living life and loving the journey. This was a show about a group of friends and the way that they supported, cared about, and helped each other through the minor and the massive obstacles, the happy and the sad moments in life.
But the ending didn’t support that.
The ending was cheap. It was lazy and predictable, and it felt like something straight out of a bad romantic comedy.
The ending took the beautiful friendships that had been established throughout the series and replaced them with one damn blue French horn.
I’m not angry because Barney and Robin got divorced. That’s life. I can live with that. I’m not angry because the Mother died. Okay, I am angry about those things, but I’m mostly mad because this show should have been about more than who Ted wound up with in the end.
As a viewer, I feel like I deserved more. I deserved a proper goodbye to all of these characters, not another wild romantic gesture from Ted.
There was a moment when the gang was back in their booth in the bar that I thought I could be okay with this episode. Marshall turned to the kids behind them — young adults, really, who were clearly supposed to make us think of our own beloved group — and told them that so much had happened in that spot. He was right. So much has happened. For a moment, everything felt all right.
“How I Met Your Mother” should have ended like that, with this group in the bar, together again, thinking about all the things they’ve been through. Because this was never a show just about Ted Mosby. Or just about Robin. Or just about any one character or any one relationship or any one concept.
This was a show about a group of people who really loved each other, and that’s the way I wish it had ended.