Oh Tracy. We hardly knew you. Photo from Washington Post
How I Met Your Mother premiered when I was 13. 13! That means I’ve been watching the gang of five gallivant through NYC for just a little less that half of my life. (well, give or take a few years. #Math)
Needless to say, I equally dreaded and couldn’t wait for the season finale. I have stuck with Ted Mosby on his amusing, yet sometimes pathetic, journey to find love.
I read the message boards. I read the comments. I knew what people were saying. All the rumors swirled in my mind. Yet the (sliver of an) optimist in me held on to the hope that they were wrong.
Because sometimes in life, well in television life at least, people can have happy endings right?
I guess I stand corrected.
At approximately 8:55 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, I knew I was wrong.
It was then that good old Theodore quickly recounted his life with the Mother, in what seemed like just one minute, from their spur of the moment marriage, to her terminal sickness.
Granted, I’m way more invested in television than I should be, but I felt like I had been punched.
And to make matters worse, when we finally saw Ted “interact” with the kids, they called him out for only mentioning the Mother minimally. His entire story had been about their “Aunt Robin.” Said children encouraged him to go after him. And he did. Cut to black.
Hold the phone. This entire SEASON has been about Robin’s wedding. Not to Ted. But to Barney. Heck, Ted even met the Mother/adorable Tracy at the wedding (technically, it was at the train station afterwards, but I’m trying to make a point here.)
Just get together in real life.
Now, let’s step out of the t.v. writers’ mindset here. Why do I care about the ending so much?
For starters, let’s just say as I’ve gotten older, I’ve empathized more and more with Ted Mosby. I couldn’t exactly bond with Marshall or Lily- the longterm couple who also happen to be best friends and are just plain perfect for each other. Nope, not me. But I’ve been fortunate to be the Ted in a trio, which has only strengthened my ability to be an impeccable third wheel.
I’m not a Barney, seeing as how I have 0.0 game with the opposite gender. Also he’s just generally awesome, and I never wear suits. (Well, once I did. But it was in the name of acting. Back when I was an act-or.)
Robin and I have a love for dogs in common. But girlfriend had game, and could hang with the boys. I wouldn’t call myself a girly-girl by any means, but man, she gets sports. and laser tag, and beer. Other than the fact that I’m studying the field Robin works in, my life trajectory has been quite different. Also, she constantly has guys pining over her, basically my antithesis. (See above Barney reference)
Robin’s dogs. aka my dream life. Photo from EW
So I’ve always been the Ted. The one sitting alone amidst the couples. Reading haughty books, occasionally being a know-it-all, and keeping up the general hope that “the Father” in my story would magically pop up.
I guess that’s why the ending hit me so hard. Ted met the Mother. He had kids with the Mother. Seven years later, he married the Mother. But then, as life so unfortunately and mercilessly does to us, he lost the Mother.
But the show isn’t “How I Met Your Aunt Robin.” It’s not enough to fast-forward through Ted’s journey with the Mother, all to reveal that Ted’s back to pining over Robin, some 20-odd years later. Honestly, what was the point of even introducing the Mother in that case? At one point, Robin refers to Ted as “the one I probably should’ve ended up with.” I hate the thought of “the one that got away,” although I’ll confess that I do love the song. It seems like Robin realized things with Barney didn’t work out, and defaulted back to Ted.
Also, I should mention that Barney and Robin got divorced after three years. Yes, despite spending an entire season on their wedding weekend, and starting the finale on their happy wedding ceremony, they split. Where’d you go character development?
They were friends. They hooked up. Broke up. Spent time trying to win each other back. (Hello, episode where Robin changes her mind and stays with lame Kevin instead of going back to Barney who has to hold back tears.)
So what was the point of them? I get that that’s real life, and couples don’t last.
I guess my main question is, what was the point? Why tell the story at all? It’s one thing to finally get to Ted’s current life, which granted is immensely sad seeing as the Mother is gone, but sad endings work. Sometimes love doesn’t last or we lose people we love. (For good “ending up alone” endings, see the Ugly Betty finale.)
So, is the point that Ted and Robin were meant to be together the whole time? That a couple that wasn’t compatible, even went so far as to marry other people after convincing themselves, and other people, that they wouldn’t end up together, will eventually get together?
Let’s end on a happy note here. Best part of the episode: Barney’s monologue with his baby. No further comment. Just watch it.