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Josh Radnor Addresses the 'How I Met Your Mother' Finale Backlash with a Half-Hearted Defense/Apology

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | April 1, 2014 | Comments ()


In a lengthy interview with Vulture, Josh Radnor — who plays Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother — spoke at length about last night’s series finale of the show, addressed some of the problems people had with it, and spoke to the backlash. The sense I very much got from the full interview is that Radnor — like a lot of viewers — wasn’t completely sold on the end, either.

On how long he knew about the ending:

They had mentioned to me the twist about the mother in the first season, and I kind of put it out of my head. I didn’t know if they would actually want to come back to it and do that, especially after Cristin, because she was so wonderful and the fans seemed to really take to her. So I asked them “Are you guys still doing that?” And they said yeah.

Radnor also suggested that the reason some people were able to predict the end was because Craig Thomas and Carter Bay designed it that way to kind of soften the blow so that it wouldn’t come as too much of a shock (as to the mother’s death, everyone figured that, but as to the Robin twist, that would’ve been a blow difficult to soften no matter how much lead-up time viewers had to prepare).

There was also a scene that was cut between Robin and Ted in a diner, which Radnor thought would’ve helped viewers better understand the Robin twist, and wouldn’t have given viewers any sort of impression that Ted had been thinking about Robin the whole time he was with Tracey.

They cut a scene that Cobie [Smulders] and I shot between Ted and Robin. I thought it was a really important scene and I talked to Carter and Craig [Bays and Thomas, HIMYM’s co-creators and co-showrunners] about it. I understand why they cut it, but I thought it laid in that Robin had been thinking about Ted all these years more than Ted had been thinking about Robin. But who knows?

It’s weird to speculate on something that isn’t actually real. [Laughs.] It’s an imagined story, but you also have to wonder what happened in the six years after she died and what was that like for Ted. Obviously, he’s been mulling over his past and sifting through things. And there was that comment about Robin always coming over for dinner, so they’ve clearly reestablished a contact and a deep friendship.

As for the fake-out in the end? Radnor tried to put the best face he could on it:

I thought the title of the show was always a bit of a fake-out. It was more of a hook to hang the thing on. Really it was more about these are the crazy adventures and these are the lessons I had to learn before I met your mother.

But, also, part of the DNA of the show is they lead you one way and then they pull you back. You think you’re watching one thing in an episode and then it turns out you’re watching something completely different. I think that the twists in the finale were in keeping with that.

Two other points from the interview that I found particularly interesting. One, that Radnor also had some difficulties with the character at times, and this statement actually better allowed me to better separate the actor from the character:

[Ted] frustrated me. Some of the frustrations that people might have felt with him, I felt all those, too, except when you share a face with someone you get blamed for it. When he was being heroic or something, I was really behind him, but when he was being kind of silly, I had to play him just as sincerely.

Finally, I think there Radnor spoke to something that Steven Lloyd Wilson had written in defense of Ted Mosby, which is to say: He was the narrator, and it was really rather remarkable that he so often gave his friends the heroic roles in his own story, and himself that of the foil.

Something I actually found really appealing about Ted is he’s a totally self-deprecating narrator. All Barney’s stories are, “This is how awesome I was” and “This is how awesome the night was,” and Ted is like, “This is what a fool I made of myself,” and “This is how I made these mistakes, really big mistakes in my life.” He’s a humble person and in some ways he has taught me humility. He was never a character that you felt like he’d just walk into a room and heads turn, “There’s Ted!” No, he’s like bumping into furniture all the time. But he’s great, and he wins in the end; he gets both girls.

Given Radnor’s soft defense, I’d hate to hear what Jason Segel — a seemingly reluctant participant in the final season — had to say.

Source: Vulture

See also: 100 Things We Will Miss About How I Met Your Mother

Because Guts Have Sh*t for Brains: How I Met Your Mother, 'The Last Forever' | The Station Agents Ep 57: Rage, Rage Against the Dying Of the Mother

Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Master Shake

    There is a reason it was voted one of the worst endings to a series in history. Because it ended terribly. Only one show had a worse rating and it was Lost. That tells you how bad the ending was.

  • Jiffylush

    Josh Radnor, soon to be known as that guy that was in that thing with all those people who still have careers.

  • Manuel Granados

    The second they divorced Barney and Robin you could see where this all was going. Hell, I thought it would have been a better twist that Ted never marry Tracy and the whole thing "and this is how I met your mother, even though I married Robin and your mom hates me, but I love you guys".

  • Mrs. Julien

    Very diplomatic. This is an excellent example of NOT biting the hand that feeds you. Katherine Heigl has found her true purpose in life as a cautionary tale.

  • Jesstastic

    "Sorry, bro."

  • Three_nineteen

    The implication that Robin had been pining for Ted since Lilly and Marshall gave up the apartment is the main reason I don't like the finale, so I don't think that an extra scene confirming that implication is going to help me.

  • mzbitca

    yeah I think that response just speaks directly to the people who felt like this ending made the mother an after thought/second choice.
    Doesn't help those of us who didn't like the narrative way they go to this point in other ways or who just hated the idea of the ending

  • Devin McMusters

    Some perspective please......the important thing is that the show is over forever and the rest of us never have to hear about it again!

  • L.O.V.E.

    It should have been you, Ted. It should have been YOU.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    In the not-too-distant future, a new disease has been discovered and Ted is patient zero. The disease causes one's body to eventually be sucked up through it's own asshole. Luckily, the disease is not contagious and Ted has already spent most of his life there. As part of Make A Wish, Ted has Bob Saget over to narrate his life for his children. After Ted succumbs to his disease, Bob Saget becomes the kid's new father and everyone else agrees that he's way better than Ted. After all, one is good friends with John Stamos. The other says things like "ease to the pease".

  • Afferbeck

    That could maybe have worked, using the inexplicably different voice as the narrator as being someone reading Ted's story to his kids after his death.

  • Cowtools

    I actually had a theory that the kids were watching a video and the twist would be that Ted died, but your idea is even better, as it would explain the voice change.

  • Edwina the Magnificent

    Can we all just have a moment for Barney's first meeting with his daughter? Ooooh, the feels!

  • eman

    I took the ending as this, Ted found his love and loved her deeply. Tragedy happened, and that changes people, and 6 years later he begins to think of Robin in a new light. And the same goes for her. Maybe they weren't right for each other all that time, but the events that occurred led them to being right for each other at the end.

    I do agree with how the episode felt choppy for 2/3rds of it, and how some of the story-lines got a short shrift to tie them up (ie barney, barney and robin). But I'm certainly not on the "this was so terrible" thread that many people seem to be fixated with.

  • Slytherin Sister

    But I think we are suppose to think Robin is and always was the love of his life. They want us to be happy the mother died so that Ted can have his kids and still be with Robin. The mother was nothing more than a baby maker for Ted. It's insulting

  • Whatever4ever

    This, a thousand times this. People change. Sometimes you age into the love of your life without intending to. I absolutely agree that the execution was supremely clumsy, but the heart of Ted's journey towards Robin, and vice versa, resonated with me.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    People do change, but what in all this makes you think Ted and Robin are going to work now? Robin is still an international reporter jet setting around the world. Is she going to give up that to move to the suburbs and live with Ted and his Kids?
    Or did Ted somehow turn into the type of guy that is going to be cool being in a relationship with someone he only sees a week or two a month? Maybe that is true, but if it is, they did nothing in the show to demonstrate that change in Ted. I think it is safe to say that the whole Ted gets Robin BS is not true, and they will be broken up within a year, at most.

  • Whatever4ever

    Your point is well taken, but I didn't say they'd necessarily be happy together. What I was responding to was Ted and Robin's emotional journey towards one another, not whether they'd ride off into the sunset in uncomplicated bliss. I agree that they should have taken the time to flesh out the changes in the intervening years between the mother's death and the point at which Ted holds up the blue horn under Robin's window. That's the supremely clumsy aspect of the plot execution. But that doesn't negate the fact, for me, that I understand on an emotional level how and why Ted and Robin might end up together.

  • zyzzyva

    I understand and can appreciate the finale from a story-telling stand-point, especially since the very first episode was a fake-out/misdirection, ending with "Aunt Robin" instead of the Mother.

    However, as a viewer who was never really thrilled with the Ted and Robin couple, I was disappointed. More so, since I totally had fallen in love with this season's Barney & Robin and the wonderful Mother character we finally got to meet. Ted having his cake/kids and Robin too felt so pat. Yet, in the case of flouting reality, why couldn't we have had pat happy endings across the board?

    And on the more personal side, as one whose own mother is currently in a very real fight against cancer, I sobbed during the whole upsetting Mother's [not explicitly cancer] sickness montage.

  • mswas

    Well said, and all the best to your mother and you.

  • oilybohunk7

    I agree and I wish your mother well.

  • steven wiser

    Intially when I saw th ending last night I was pissed. Not because I was upset about Robin and Ted finally ending up together but more because I couldn't believe how much effing time and episodes were dedicated to them letting go, getting back together then her not loving him and letting go again only to end up together, AAAGGGHHH!

    Also it felt really choppy. One of the things I have loved the most about this show is the great storytelling and this last episode seemed all over the place and didnt do the show justice. I don't know, maybe I need to watch it again but it was as lame as the terrible wig that Robin wore in the last scene.

  • Manuel Granados

    That episode doesn't need to be watched again. You can rewatch seasons 1 to 6 that are pretty good.

  • steven wiser

    Well I did watch while making dinner and playing Legos with my kid so I kept thinking maybe I missed something. But reading all the outrage after I wrote this comment pretty much confirmed that reaction was spot on!

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm really going to miss saying, "the costume designers hate her" every Monday.

  • TQB

    seriously, what was UP with that? She's so beautiful and for the last two seasons she's looked like a poorly dressed school marm. I feel like Lily stood up for her and they took it out on her, too, btw.

  • BAM

    100% agreed.

  • Repo

    When I think about what Segel would say about doing this entire last season that he was reluctant to do, I expect it would mirror one of my favorite quotes from Michael Caine on his being in Jaws: The Revenge:

    "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."

  • GRubi

    Sounds about right.

  • Aaron Schulz

    More American actors need to take the stance a lot of British actors, specifically older British actors take, "ill do shit because its my job and they pay me". The weird arrogance that every part needs to speak to me personally always seems pretentious and created anyway, and guys like Michael Caine and Christopher Lee are just, yeah ill do classical literature and you better believe ill do On Deadly Ground for the money.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I respect the jobber position, and I respect people who pick and choose parts. If you are in the position where you don't have to do work that doesn't appeal to you, why on earth would you?

  • Al Borland's Beard

    Nicolas Cage gives no fucks, so long as it allows him to attain more dinosaur bones and castles.

  • meadowdancer


  • maximilien321

    my Aunty Arianna got a nearly new silver
    Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab by working part time off of a macbook air. try this

  • Cowtools

    For the first time I've seen a spam comment that is apropos of the original comment.

  • Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak

    Your auntie is a slag.

  • Scousebadger

    Is true. She has a broad range of STDs to go with that Chevy.

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