How I Met Your Mother. I have watched the show from the very first episode back in 2005 and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
The show tells the story of Ted Moseby (Josh Radnor) as he recounts to his children (left) in the year 2030 how he met their mom in 2013 after 8 years of twists and turns. It was a very funny show that captured the essence of relationships, friendships, and cocktail culture set against the backdrop of New York City. Ted's friends were Marshall Ericksen (Jason Segel), his wife Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders). From the very first episode it was clear that Ted loved Robin but as the story unfolded we realized that she was not the mom. The character of the mother became almost mythical. Who is she? What actress will play her? When will she finally appear?
Cristin Milioti (left). As this ninth and final season unfolded, viewers started to get hints that perhaps the mother was no longer alive when Ted was telling the story in the year 2030. There were also hints that Robin and Ted, after not getting together, finally getting together, breaking up, and having a few flings would finally end up as couple.
Both of these rumors were confirmed last night in the finale. The mother (named Tracy McConnell) gets sick at some point in the year 2024 and dies. At the very end of the show, Ted's kids tell him it's been six years and he should go find Aunt Robin and be happy again. This ending has sent shockwaves all over the internet as a maudlin, terribly downbeat ending to a show that has been in their hearts for nearly a decade. My wife was very pissed off last night, yelling at the TV and putting her thumb way down. I realize it's just a show and these people are characters in a fictional world but it did have quite an impact on our house and with my friends.
Yet life is messy and people die. Marshall's dad died a few years ago. The show wouldn't be as beloved if it wasn't so realistic. It makes the character of Tracy and her love with Ted all the more tragic and, honestly, perfect. Add in that her character lost the love of her life to a tragic accident and it makes her death truly devastating...a somewhat dark life indeed with Ted and her children being bright rays of light. This sharp dose of reality made me appreciate the ending more than my family and friends. Sure, Robin and Ted weren't perfect and were often irritating but that's what most couples are like.
There is no such thing as a Hollywood ending in life, although some have argued that Ted ending up with Robin is the Hollywood ending and that might be the case. With How I Met Your Mother, the story was never really about Ted and Tracy. The title may say otherwise but it really was a love story about Ted and Robin and how they ended up together. Watch the very first episode and the very last one and that's exactly what you see. Everything in between was the messy shit that happens in life...the highs and the lows...the laughter and the tears...and how a close group of friends can be family.