Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Sick wife and I binge-watched the remainder of the How I Met Your Mother final season last night. Snap reactions below. Spoilers abound.
– “Love is the best thing we do” is a hell of a thesis statement. I bought it.
– I was on board with most of the finale, especially Barney’s first words to his newborn daughter, but count me in the camp that didn’t care for the two-minute epilogue. It was too neat, too perfect, and it turned the character of Tracy–who I’d grown quite fond of over the course of the season–into a facilitating agent for what was, we were then told, the “real” love story.
– I’d grown to accept and cherish the idea that Robin and Ted were two people who would always love each other but who could never be in love, and they spent two episodes in this last season trying to make that very clear (letting her go on the beach, and convincing her that she needed to marry Barney during her final moment of anxiety). It was a very mature, adult relationship that could be extrapolated on into the future from what we saw in the present. I was therefore unsatisfied with the notion that they would give it another shot with each other, because now all I think is “That’s going to fall apart again, somehow.” And I think I was supposed to feel the opposite.
– I could perhaps have accepted the epilogue if we’d been given one more scene, a scene that I know Carter/Bays could have written, in which we see Ted eulogize Tracy, and finally lay bare everything she meant to him during their too-brief life together. They did such a fantastic job with the episode “How Your Mother Met Me” of showing Tracy’s pain after losing her first love that she ended up earning, in 22 minutes, all of the happiness she’d later have with Ted and their children.
– In fact, by not showing us Tracy’s funeral, one of the biggest of moments that all of these friends would be present for, it emphasizes that she was never part of this group even after she married Ted. That’s cruel.
– Dana and I were very concerned for much of the last few episodes that the finale would pull a Friends-style thing in which Lily gave up Italy for Marshall in the same way that Rachel gave up Paris for Ross. Marshall’s acknowledgment that Lily had already given him so much, in “Daisy,” was moving and refreshing, moreso in comparison because Marshall and Lily had more reasons to tie them to New York than Rachel did.
– At its best, the show offered very nuanced and complicated portrayals of messy and incomplete human relationships and the feeling of being unmoored and adrift in one’s self and among others. At its worst it was a fairly generic sex comedy. In between there were some typically bad choices for a show of this duration, but also a handful of ideas I’d never seen before in a sitcom, including what felt like a very organic sense that these people liked each other, not just got together to say things that an audience would find funny.