Bloggers and critics spent a lot of time over the past week remembering How I Met Your Mother. Websites 'posted Top 50 and Top 10 episode countdowns. Interviews were conducted with the cast. There were tours of the set. The AV Club posted a retrospective about the beauty of the series. Years of creatively bankrupt storytelling, disinterested acting, and unnecessarily prolonged storytelling didn’t deter the most ardent and devoted HIMYM fans. Something about the series continued to charm fans and critics.
A sense of ‘it’ll be worth the wait’ carried fans through nonsense episode after nonsense episode, through retread of storylines past, through characters dissolving into caricature, and maybe now modern consumers of pop culture will learn an important truth about stories and endings. Do not continue watching a series thinking the ending will redeem a series, because it won’t. Endings are overrated in episodic television. Rarely will you feel happy with an ending after investing so much time into a one-sided relationship.
How I Met Your Mother concluded badly. “Last Forever” spanned years and relationship upheaval. In 40 some minutes, Bays and Thomas told nearly fifteen years of story. Barney and Robin, whose wedding weekend the final season was set during, divorced within minutes of the series finale. Robin embarked on a global career as a news anchor in which her friends disappeared and her husband. By the end, in the year 2030, she’s in an apartment, living with two cute dogs. During those years, Ted had two children with The Mother, named Tracy, who eventually dies and whom no one grieves.
“Last Forever” is vignette oriented. Bays and Thomas brushed with broad strokes the last pages of the last chapter of this forgettable and regrettably told tale. Barney’s flirtation with settled married life could not sustain him or the writers, because Barney mostly acted as he did for all the series until the birth of his daughter, the lone love of his life, a daughter whose mother was not named; it was a changed that motivated Barney to shame two women in a bar for doing what he preyed on for the entire series. The scene will probably be read as Barney’s maturation reaching completion, but he was a horrible character, and an example to future comedy writers for how to not write a shticky cartoon. The Barney-Robin storyline reflected the series in the end: the writers were disinterested, not committed, and those characters meant nothing to each other.