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An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: One More Reflection on 'How I Met Your Mother'

Yes, I know. Most of what you've read on the Internet over the last couple of days was How I Met Your Mother related. But soon this will all go away and you can go back to watching cat videos. Since you're reading Popculturology, you've all either seen or read how the show ended, so there's no need for any kind of recap. If you're like me, it's now time to reflect on what the hell happened.

The finale, of course, was under a microscope. For a show that's made it almost ten years, it had to be. Monday was the last hour we were ever going to see the development of these characters again. That's a hard pill to swallow.

The finale made me wonder whether or not HIMYM co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas expected Cristin Milioti to be as good as The Mother/Tracy as she was. If they did expect her to be just that good, why did they push us to make us believe that Ted and her were supposed to be together and then kill her off? On the same token, why did they try so hard to make us want Barney and Robin together and then made us watch them get divorced? It seems like as the show was approaching the final seasons, they relied on contrived plot misdirects solely to throw us off from Ted ending up with Robin.

Perhaps why we feel so cheated about how the show ended is because it ended so quickly. We spent half a season with Marshall in a car talking to Sherri Shepherd from The View. In the final hour of the show, it seemed like we were getting a commercial break every five minutes. Most of the loose ends were tied up, but a lot was sacrificed. There was hardly a brief moment where we could see why Ted and Tracy were meant to be together. There was this expectation that we would get a glimpse into the future Ted spoke of for so long, but unfortunately it was cheapened by what the creators had in store for us all along: Ted was meant to be with Robin.

I really want to say that Ted loved Tracy. In his final words about their short life together, it was believable. But then there's this moment in the end, a moment when Penny says that the story was never about The Mother, that it was about how Ted was in love with Robin. She basically says that they've spent nine years on the couch (just about as long as Ted and Tracy were actually together mind you) and he's asking for their permission to go after Robin.

I hated that.

It made the time Tracy and Ted spent together trivial. More so, we already saw the evolution of Robin and Ted when they were together. We realized pretty early on that they just weren't right for each other. So maybe Ted thought Tracy was the one ... after Robin. Maybe he really was in love with her and wanted to spend eternity with her. But why is that any different than what he thought he felt for Stella? I didn't like having to think of those two characters as one and the same. It doesn't seem right. 

But maybe this is all what Craig Thomas and Carter Bays are trying to tell us. We're not going to get a perfect ending, because the reality is things never go the way we want them to go. There are great uncertainties to life. People get divorced regardless of how much two people might love each other. Whether you know it's coming or not, there is nothing that can prepare us for the moment when a person we love doesn't live out the same life that you do. Death is a mystery we all fear and it can come at a moment's notice.

Then there's hope. You find ways to move on from tragedy in spite of how much you want to hang on to the life you had when you were happy. For nine years, How I Met Your Mother worked within the familiar realm of reality. For this very reason we latched on to the lives of these characters. We saw parts of ourselves fitting into their every day moments. I give a lot of credit to a show that could do that, regardless of how it ended. With that said, it's hard to be too angry over how everything wrapped up. I've come to believe that in my moments of reflection 15 years or so down the road, life will have surely taken me down paths I never thought I'd travel.
An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: One More Reflection on 'How I Met Your Mother' Reviewed by Anton Ali on 4/02/2014 Rating: 5

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