Kids… in May of 2014, your father tuned in for the final episode of a television program called “How I Met Your Mother.” Coincidentally, watching the show is how I met your mother.
Just kidding. The only thing I met in the spring of 2014 was a new chicken wing place, but that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, the show had long been a favorite of your father’s. It featured six friends your father’s age as they made their way through a Los Angeles TV studio made up to resemble New York City. The main character, named Ted Mosby, was on a quest to find his ideal partner.
What attracted your father to the show was relatively inventive and funny storytelling and an energetic set of characters played by actors whose individual dynamics played well off each other. The show, especially in its early years, seemed like a worthy descendant of “Friends” and “Coupling.”
Ted’s quest continued for nine years through numerous twists and turns, including dating one of his friends, Robin, but it was finally leading to the final episode where Ted would finally meet the woman who would become his wife.
After eight seasons where each season took roughly one year of time, the final season was primarily set in a single, long weekend where each of Ted’s friends met the mother before fate (and the show producers) finally allowed the story to reach its natural conclusion. Ted met the mother… but that wasn’t the end of the story.
And kids, much like this poorly thought-out story-telling mode that I’m struggling to stick with, the story of “How I Met Your Mother” went slightly off the rails.
You see, despite nine whole years of saying the story was about how Ted met the mother and spending an entire season of episodes expressly building up to this resolution, the show’s producers made it clear in the last five minutes of the episode and the entire series that we were all wrong — the story was about how Ted, who was
telling the story in a series of flashbacks, was indirectly seeking his kids’ blessing to rekindle an older relationship years after the mother had died.
Needless to say, that resolution didn’t sit well with a lot of people who took to the Internet to voice their dismay. One of those people was your father. Back in 2014, websites encouraged readers to leave comments at the end of stories (and to help prove Sturgeon’s Law everyday). People could also click to approve comments that they
liked or found useful.
Your father would comment on various topics from time to time. His comments were only sporadically liked, but he would see his most success in 2014 when he wrote the following on a review at The A.V. Club:
“They had the option to not run the pretaped segment and shoot a different ending.”
At the end of the year, 233 people had liked the comment making it by far the most liked comment your father had written in the 2014. Your father had been responding to speculation that the show’s creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, had to stick with the ending that they filmed with the actors that played Ted’s children when they were teenagers several years ago. The actors had obviously aged and didn’t look like they did nine years ago.
My simple point was that Bays and Thomas didn’t have to stick with the ending that they planned out years ago. Had the producers wanted to choose a different ending, they certainly had it in their power to do so.
But they didn’t.
In interviews after the show, Bays and Thomas have said the ending was what they had envisioned all along.
Although Bays and Thomas had set their course several years ago, their vision of the destination was unsatisfying given the direction the show actually took. One can set out with a destination in mind, but the goal can change based on the actual journey.
The journey of “How I Met Your Mother,” especially in the early years, had a strong focus on Ted and the woman he would ultimately end up with. As the years progressed, that relationship ended and future stories focused on other relationships Ted was seeking or other hi-jinks involving the rest of the group.
The earlier relationship was still a component of the series, but it didn’t seem like a primary focus despite some fans wanting the two characters to get together. I was satisfied from a line from the very first episode where Ted said this woman wasn’t the mother.
From that very first episode to the last season, I had bought into the premise that the show was about Ted meeting the mother.
Practically every aspect of the show, up until the final five minutes of the series, had been pointed in that direction and I would’ve liked to see the series end with a happy or satisfying resolution along those lines.
However unsatisfied I may be with the ending, I can respect the creators’ decision to end the show as they feel fit. I didn’t feel they had to be constrained by the ending they filed years ago, and it doesn’t seem like they were.
And that kids, is how I met mango habanero chicken wings. Oh, but the place closed so I went back to Chipotle after a respectful mourning period.