April 1, 2014

How I Met Your Mother: "Last Forever" - A Review in Gifs

[This will contain SPOILERS. Did I really have to say that?]

So, obviously, despite the angry reviews I've given the show in the past, I had to watch the How I Met Your Mother series finale. And when I watched it, I knew I had to write something about it here on Rabbit Ear Reviews.

Barney: "This is totally going in my blog."

And yet, less than 48 hours after the episode's airing, it seems almost everything that could be said about "Last Forever" has been said. So I decided to express my thoughts on the show through the words of the McLaren's gang themselves. 

Has there been outrage from fans? Clearly. Unless you avoid social media like the plague, which clearly you don't because you're reading this, you've seen the outrage. As for me:
Ted: "I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed."

For so much of the episode, I just craved for something - anything of significance - to happen. Instead, I was like:
Barney: "I'm bored."

Other than a passive settling of Lily and Marshall's bet (and by the way - she better give him that money back) there were so few homages to the journey the characters have taken together. And no, the hanging chad costume wasn't enough for me.

 I didn't even cry. And I cry at everything. As I watched I was thinking:
Ted: "Something is seriously wrong with me."

But then we got that surprise ending. Well, half of it was a surprise. The fans had figured out that the Mother was dead awhile ago. But the Robin twist did fool us all. But fooling your audience? Do you really count that as a win, writers? Honestly, here's what I want. I want one - just a single member - of the cast, or crew, or creative team to admit that the finale wasn't the right way for HIMYM to end. They need to stop claiming it was. To them, I say this: 
Robin: "Because as a friend, I have to tell you: You're full of crap."

And when they admitted that, I would want them to say: 
Lily: "Somewhere along the line, I forgot to pursue my dream."

And here's why.  The ending, planned from the beginning, could have been great. The blue French horn, the very fact that Ted might just wind up with Robin after all, could have been a fantastic bookend to the pilot episode. Could have been. But somewhere along the line, they lost track of their endgame. Maybe because the show dragged on for too many seasons. Maybe because Robin got sidetracked by Barney. Or maybe just because Robin and Barney had more chemistry than anyone could have expected. Instead, the audience became invested in a different story. We longed for a different ending. 

Which brings me to my next point. Is it bad planning to begin writing a show and have no idea where the story will end up? Of course. (I'm looking at you, LOST.) But I think the writers of HIMYM just taught us a valuable lesson. It's just as bad to plan the ending from the beginning. Don't pretend you know everything that's going to happen to your characters because:
Marshall: "Like you could possibly know that."

Television series are not novels. As they are written, they grow. They change. They're dynamic. And the creators don't get a rewrite of the first chapter after it's aired. So I think writers have to be willing to let the story go a new way that wasn't planned if that's where the story goes. HIMYM forced an ending that didn't fit, and that's why the audience walked away confused, uncomfortable, and grieving the death of a character who was only present for 11% of the series.

Listen, sitcoms don't have to have some deep philosophical meaning. It's comedy. Some of them, like The Office, didn't start out claiming to have some meaning, and they ended up with one anyway. And that's beautiful. You know what's not beautiful? Claiming to have meaning and then discrediting it in your finale.

Robin: "The future is scary, but you can just run back to the past because it's familiar. Yes, it's tempting, but it's a mistake."

Robin was Ted's past. Tracy was his future. The writers gave into temptation. They ran back to the past. And that was a mistake.

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