Quick note, if you haven’t already seen the series finale and would like to, there are spoilers in my post.
I just got done watching the series finale of How I Met Your Mother for the second time. It’s been two days since it aired, two days since fans felt betrayed by the show’s creators, two days since fans had their hearts broken by the revelation that the eponymous mother was in fact dead.
It took eight seasons to meet her, but it wasn’t until the end of the finale that we are finally introduced to Tracy McConnell. What should have been the satisfying conclusion, and ultimately the beginning of a modern-day romantic fairy tale, became instead the requiem song of a lost love, of a man still in mourning but who wants to live, a man who feels compelled to ask his children for permission to move on.
The ending upset a lot of fans, and I want to say that that’s a victory for the creators of the show as well as the writers, the crew, and especially the cast. Together, they made us care about a group of five friends trying to make it in life and in love. Together, they made us root for them, to laugh and to cry with them. We fell in love with their journey, and it’s a journey most of us can relate to.
From the start, we knew it’s about Ted Mosby’s journey to find the great love of his life. We know that Ted will find her, and that they will have been blessed with two children. Still, we came back week after week for nine seasons, to finally have the answer as to how he met this mystery woman. We have the answer, and we are upset because we discover that the real reason for the story is not to tel about meeting the mother, but because it’s about asking for permission to date again.
Check out Twitter, read the countless other blogs and articles across the web and you will see what I mean, if you haven’t already. In light of all this anger, how can I say that this is a success? Easy, because we care enough to be angry. We care about Ted, seeing the ups and downs he had to endure on his way to meeting his wife, that we were blindsided by the fact that it ended so soon. Happily ever after only lasted about ten years, then the end.
The real reason we are upset is due to the success of the writers in creating wonderful characters, rich in history, their eccentricities on display, unique in a way that made them relatable. We know people like them or wish we did, and many of us would like to know them or to be in a group with them. They were our friends.
We saw in their struggles many of the same things we struggled with in life. They faced fears and doubts in their professional lives, in the personal love lives, and with each other. Not one of the five was one-dimensional. They were all complex, and had a range of attributes, some great and others quite ugly.
They became real through the telling of the story so that nine years later we felt a very real emotional connection to them. We were shocked by the mother’s death, a character we didn’t even know, because we cared for Ted and knew how hard he fought for his ideal of love.
It’s not an easy feat to have an audience accept a cast of characters to be genuine, but we did for them, and that’s a legacy that Bays and Thompson should be proud of. For all the writers out there, this is something we all want to emulate, to create characters that pulls the reader into the story we are telling, to make them care enough to laugh and cry, to feel joy or to become angry at our decisions.
On Monday, we finally became privy to the story HIMYM had been telling us for years. I hope those of you who were fans can take a moment to appreciate the magic we witnessed. Had we not cared, we would not have become angry when the moment of the grand reveal happened. For better or for worse, this was the story that they had wanted to tell all along. I for one applaud them, though I would have loved it if Ted would have been granted his fairy tale ending. He deserved it, as did we all.
In Loving Memory
Tracy McConnell Mosby
We hardly knew you