On ‘HIMYM’ and the idea of series finales

Warning: spoilers for multiple shows, including HIMYM follow.

Is anyone ever pleased from a finale of a beloved television series? It seems that it was impossible to please everyone with the most recent highly anticipated finale from CBS.

How I Met Your Mother ended after nine long seasons, including a less than stellar final season which only spanned one weekend. The finale itself was unevenly paced with a depressing ending only to be followed by one last minute twist that was actually planned from the beginning. A lot love it. A lot hate it. But no one is in the middle over it.

HIMYM Finale

The real question is: does it matter? So many shows have fallen into the finale trap and divided fan bases.

Seinfeld, often considered the greatest sitcom of all time, had a hated finale that put the four main characters in jail for the most ridiculous of reasons. It was an hour long episode featuring some of the most memorable characters throughout the show’s run.

The Sopranos cut to black before a proper ending, sending fans into a frenzy debating whether or not the crime family was whacked or walked away from the diner.

Lost became a mess of itself and wound up having a religious fueled finale that left many scratching their heads.

Roseanne, like HIMYM, had a peculiar final season and an even more off the wall finale.

Most recently, Dexter left us all with a bad taste in our mouth with a rushed plot and a very forgettable final shot of a bearded serial killer working as a lumber jack.

But all of these – and many more – are beloved by fans regardless of their endings. Can one episode really negate years of good work? No. For every Breaking Bad, Cheers, or even Friends, which all had celebrated finales, there are dozens of well received shows that have lackluster finales. But it doesn’t matter. We’ll forever talk about the smash cut in Sopranos or the purgatory of Lost, but more importantly we’ll talk about all of the good they did during their entire run. Because sometimes hated finales will grown to be loved, while sometimes shocking finales we initially loved will grow loathsome (i.e. Battlestar Galactica for instance).

The same will go for HIMYM. Right now, none of us can wrap our heads around Ted losing the love of his life, only to get out of Robin’s friend-zone after two decades. However, in years to come, we’ll look back at the series as we marathon it on Netflix with the ending in mind and probably the majority us will agree and love it.

Even if you still hate it years later, you’ll probably still love all of the little moments. Barney proclaiming everything is legendary. Learning nothing good happens after 2 a.m. Playing “Have you met Ted?” And all of the other countless rules and life lessons the show passed down. You’ll probably end up brushing off the finale and choose not to recognize it.

One thing the show taught us is that life (or in this case, a show) doesn’t happen how we want it to happen. And in the end it doesn’t matter. Because it’s all about the journey. Not the finale moment.

It’s all about the series. Not the series finale.

1 Comment

  1. I totally agree. I tend to hate series finales, but I still love the shows. I loved this ending up until the last minute. I would have liked it just to fade to black after he said ” and that’s how I met your mother.” I’m might be the minority on that one though.

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