I am Ted Mosby
I’m usurping today’s blog post from Michael! Bwahaha! Somehow, I don’t think he’ll mind, and I for once have something to talk about!
Something like a year ago, the final episode of How I Met Your Mother aired and the internets became an uproar over the final episode. My Facebook wall was awash for nearly a week of people proclaiming it an awful ending. One that practically ruined the rest of what is an amazing and funny show. Somehow I managed to avoid spoilers. I know not how. But I did. And recently season 9 of How I Met Your Mother came to Netflix, which is about the only way I watch TV anymore. I powered through the final season while coloring up some comic pages. TV shows like that make for good background material.
Season 9 was an amazing farewell and wrap up to a show that delighted me for nearly a decade. But it was with trepidation that I let the finale play out, remembering how much everyone said it sucked.
I now know to never listen to them when it comes to story telling. Cuz they’ve got zero taste.
I know it’s been a year, and I think I’ve safely reached the statute of limitations on spoilers, but still. In case this is a concern for you: SPOILERS, SWEETIE.
Sure, the finale left me sad and conflicted, and there were parts that I didn’t like. But as I reflect on my feelings, I didn’t like these parts not because they made for a shitty story, but because they made me sad. Going into season 9, I felt confident that Robin and Barney would get hitched, Ted would meet Tracy and the long winding tale of their meeting would end and that would be it. I could see why people would be upset by not seeing more of Ted and Tracy’s courtship and life together, but after all that’s not what the story was about. So I was confused by how they finally met in the first 10 minutes of the final hour long finale. I wondered, what more story could there be? Where are you going from here guys? And then I found out.
Yes, after the extremely convoluted redemption arc of the man-child Barney, I was sad to see Robin and Barney’s marriage fall apart and Barney drift back to his old ways. I really did have hopes for them. They were a great, fun couple, and it is a tragedy that they didn’t make it work after all. Barney in general went from being a wonderful character with his own intense arc of growth all his own to being… well… kind of a sad let down. Yet, while it was sad, it was within his character. The fact that so much of Barney’s character growth was effectively thrown out almost immediately after it happened hurt, though
Yes, I was sad to see the gang fall apart as the years wore on, especially the disappearance of Robin. It was sad to see people grow up and move down different paths. But that is friendship. Sometimes friends last forever. Sometimes they grow apart. Hell, my friends from college, whom feature very heavily in a decently popular webcomic I drew, barely manage to meet up once a month for lunch. And we all live within a 1 hour radius. To lose friends, to watch a tight knit group drift apart, hurts.
Yes, I was sad to learn that all this time that this yarn has been spinning, Tracy has been dead for six years. I was concerned that Tracy could never live up to the role she’d been dealt, but it turns out she was a really awesome person. Someone who truly would be great with Ted. I had always been a big fan of Robin and Ted, yeah I was on Marshall’s side of that particular bet, but I have to say, Tracy and Ted really were a pretty unbeatable pair. And her loss hurt, even though I’d only really just met her.
Is it the ending I wanted? No. I suppose it’s not. I wanted the ending where Lilly and Marshall, and Robin and Barney, and Tracy and Ted grew old together as three happy couples. A perfect sextet of friends, with a small horde of children between them, having goofy adventures together until they died. That’s the perfect ending. That’s the fairy tale ending. That’s the dream.
But I don’t think it’s the honest ending.
It’s too neat, too tidy. Friendship isn’t neat and tidy. Life isn’t neat and tidy. It’s messy and full of ups and downs, grief and disappointments as often as joy and surprises. Friendship is like that too. Social bonds are weird tangled webs, and they take tending to remain strong. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t tough sonsofbitches to kill. I’ve made a lot of friends over the years, really good friends. I don’t see many of them anymore. Our lives are different, we’re different, we move apart, gain new friends and circles and have our own adventures. We’re the heroes of our own stories, and aren’t always included in each other’s. And while we’re not necessarily the inseparable companions we once were, no matter how long it’s been, when ever we get back together… we’re still friends. And that’s the ending that’s honest.
Also, Ted’s kids are totally right about calling their old man out on his bullshit. How I Met Your Mother isn’t really about how Ted met Tracy; never was when you look back at it. It’s always been about how good friends Ted, Marshall, Lilly, Barney, and Robin were, and how very very much Robin meant to Ted. That blue french horn really brings the story back full circle and makes it complete.
But even if all that didn’t make up for the sad hurtful parts of the ending, the ending to How I Met Your Mother got one thing very right: After all his talk and bluster and drama about finding “the one,” Ted Mosby finally learned the truth: there’s always “another one.” And that felt honest.