I never got fed up with this show like a lot of people did. It was a little slice of silly, delightful, romantic fun for me to liven up my Monday nights, and I liked it. I adored Marshal & Lily, my favorite television couple; I liked Ted, who was silly and funny and earnest; I even liked Barney's crazed antics. And there, for the last season, they seemed to be working very hard to make Barney into a real person, who goes above and beyond for the woman he loves.
Did I believe in a happy ending? For this show, hell yes. I thought sure it was going to come out all right -- I wasn't spoiled, and I am too naive and too generally idiotic to have grokked early on that all this time he'd been talking about meeting their DEAD mother and he was still in love with Robin.
This is an ending that might have worked for me YEARS ago, but after the last couple of seasons? No.
The writers had a story, and for years I've admired their dedication to their continuity. That said, however, there is such a thing as realizing that the plot they started out with just didn't work anymore for what they had in hand. If they were really that wedded to this ending, they should have spent this season introducing The Mother and telling us all about them and their lives together, NOT focusing on Barney & Robin's wedding weekend. Because after spending twenty-some episodes coming to believe that Barney actually COULD be a good husband, they threw the whole thing out in the first ten minutes of the finale. They spent the entire season doing the good-writer-thing by SHOWING us this growing and changing on the part of this character, then in this finale, it was all "tell-tell-tell." No more showing. "This happened and then that happened and oh, that happened, and this, and now we'll wrap it all up."
I watched from the beginning; it was one of the few shows left I watched live and then often again on DVR.
The simple truth is the show went on too long. And instead of being willing to admit that their characters had grown in different directions from the original vision of the ending, they just shoved everything back into that conclusion they'd envisioned NINE YEARS AGO. What would have worked years ago just no longer did, and it came off totally wrong to have this entire last season thrown in the garbage in a matter of a few minutes.
It undermines all the character development Barney finally received; it makes Ted into a real jerk for marrying Tracey at all when he KNEW he was still in love with Robin; and it turned both women into a "prize" to be won -- and poor Tracey was a consolation prize, at that. She didn't even get a name until those last few minutes, and a scene that should have been wonderful (and normally made me cry) was hasty and rushed, like the whole thing.
The finale should have been last week's wedding. The wrapup for the incidental characters was fantastic, and deserving. The main characters got short-changed.
They also might have made it work if the finale had been the whole season, instead of one episode. Start the season with Ted and Tracy meeting under the umbrella, and tell it with the flashbacks and flashforwards from there. Let us get to know her, get to see Barney and Robin married and breaking up, get to meet the girl who gave Barney a child and a reason to live after Robin left him, get to see Ted as a happy married, and see him grieve for the woman he'd loved before going back to the past.
All these characters deserved SO much more than this finale gave them. Marshal and Lily were barely set pieces.
I knew I loved this show, but I hadn't realized to what extent -- I feel a lot like I did from Journey's End all the way through to The End of Time. At least this one is over fast.
Well, enough whining. *sigh* Stupid, I know, to get this wigged out about a stupid television show...
So. We saw this in our usual park the other morning:
And last week we went up to a park that has a pond:
And this is watching me now: