Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Finale of How I Met Your Mother or Why I Will Never Let My Daughter Watch my Favorite Show


I get that it's 3 days later, but I feel like I should specify that this blog will contain SPOILERS. Let me just make this clear, stop scrolling if you don't want to know. Because I'm going to SPOIL it for you.

Let me also make this perfectly clear. How I Met Your Mother is my favorite show. I cannot decide if it will ultimately beat out Friends as favorite show of all time, but it has certainly been fundamental in my life for the past few years, taking me through my young adult life as I'm sure Friends guided people through the 90s. I cried before the opening credits on Monday night. Like sobbed, not just shed a few tears. It was the first of many cries.

But the finale was horrendous.

And the more I think about it, the more angry I really get at the writers.

I'd also like to preface with the fact that I enjoyed the premise of the episode. One big issue with finales is that you always wonder, what happened to the characters after the show? This finale answered that, and put me in a new position of not caring what happened after a certain point.

Here's why it was not ok.

1) There was no recognition of the mother. The kids don't even say, we loved mom but it's time for you to move on. They just say, go for Robin. No mention of her death or how important she was in all their lives, just "this is about Aunt Robin." And while they are correct, it is about Aunt Robin, that does not mean that as her children they should discount the fact that she was crucial to all of their lives and it's devastating that she will not get to see them as they grow up. Why even bother bringing her in?

2) The life lessons. This is where I really start to lose it. HIMYM has long been a source of life lessons for its viewers. Some are serious (the importance of friends in hard times; making sure your priorities align with your partner) and some are not (nothing good happens after 2 am - although that maybe the most important).
But here's what I learned from the series finale of HIMYM:
Men get what they want. Women don't.

I'm serious. That's what I saw.

Taking into account that I'm not a super feminist with intentions of burying men under ground, I am a career-driven, ambitious, young professional with aspirations much like Robin to make a name for myself in my given field. I intend to do that regardless of other aspects of my life - husbands, kids, friends, medical issues etc. I think it's important to find happiness in whatever you do, and right now working hard and advancing makes me happy.

Here's how the lives of the men in HIMYM turn out:
Barney - gets to have a child he loves and no commitment so that he can continue to live the lifestyle he has always wanted.
Marshall - Gets to be a judge (his dream) and be a father to 3 lovely children.
Ted - Gets to have his two dream women, his two dream kids (thankfully NOT Luke and Lea), a successful career as an architect, and the house he loves. He gets to trade one woman for the next in the time of his life that he needs them to get exactly what he wants out of both.

Here's how the lives of the woman in HIMYM turn out:
The mother (Tracey) - dies young after the heartbreaking death of her first love.
Lily - gets pregnant again. No mention of her budding art career that has really taken off between seasons 8 and 9, or whether she is happy as a mother or a teacher or an artist of all 3. Just that she's as big as a whale and loses her best friend.
Robin - has to sacrifice her marriage at the time her career finally takes off and she is living the dream (because, obviously, you can't have a successful career AND a happy marriage). Loses all of her friends to her career. And...of course...finally finds happiness when she has a man back in her life, because living her dream has never made her TRULY happy.

Seriously. Watch it again. This is exactly how it goes.

So no. I don't like the way HIMYM ended. And it's not just because I wasted 9 years of my life waiting for Ted to find his true love so we could see the woman that would ultimately fulfill all of his expectations. Or because the show ended in the same cheesy way it started.

Lily and Robin had different life goals. They represented varying lifestyles that women could aspire to. Yet neither of them ended up happy.

I'm so glad I have THAT to look forward to in my 40s.