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Five Years Later: Re-Reviewing the 'How I Met Your Mother' Finale

By Courtney Enlow | TV | April 1, 2019 |

By Courtney Enlow | TV | April 1, 2019 |


Publisher’s Note: Today, we are re-running this post, originally published one year after the finale, with Courtney’s permission, not because it’s April Fool’s, but because it’s been five years now since the Mother finale, and all of this still holds true, except how stupid 2006 was compared to 2019.

Last year, I was really destroyed by the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. I found it a complete destruction of nine years of character development, a waste of a series-long endgame and felt like something that was, as it was, written in the mid-aughts, long before and without the foresight of anything to come later. But, a year later, I decided to put my emotions away and try it again. To see if the shock and disappointment could give way to acceptance and perhaps even a renewed sense of its quality.

Nope. Still mad.

The show still spent five years putting Barney and Robin together, making us care about them and still ripped them apart 20 minutes in. The show still dismissed nine years of growth for Barney to hit the reset button and make him grow up in two 22-minute episodes, even though he’d already done it several times. The show still took career-oriented Robin and made her the villain the whole two-parter because she had to work, with work destroying her marriage (it’s her fault, the show makes clear) and friendship (no one—not even her best friend understands). The show still straight up murdered the mother we waited the entire series for, all just to get Ted and Robin together. The show still spent a full season on one weekend then rushed through the next 20 years at such a clip that we should all sue for whiplash. The show still gave Robin the consolation prize of a widowed Ted, who wouldn’t marry the mother of his children (though she said she’d marry him tomorrow) until the end of the episode immediately before unceremonious death. The show still let Robin be happy and confident in her life and career, made her one of the best, strongest-written female characters on TV until the final three episodes then ripped that apart just as a plot device to make an episode written in 2006 work instead of just ripping up that 2006-written script and starting fresh with the hard-fought years that followed.

Yep. Still mad.

But this rewatch reminded me of something else that was hard to think about in the year since its airing—just how much I really loved this show. How much I cared about these people, these characters and their lives. And while the finale was a major misstep (*salutes* Major Misstep) the reaction it elicited is a sign of how good it was for so much of its run.

So, thanks, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, for nine years (minus that last three episodes) and the good friends we made along the way.

And, always remember—never trust ideas you had in 2006. That was the year that James Blunt song topped the charts and Scary Movie 4 made nearly $180 million. Everything was stupid.

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Header Image Source: CBS