April 6, 2014

TV FOR THOUGHT | The Finale

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By NATALIA FALLAS

CAUTION: How I Met Your Mother spoilers ahead.

It has been a solid week and many are still reeling from that How I Met Your Mother finale. “How can they pull the rug from under us like that?” “Nine seasons for her to be dead all of this time?” “Ugh, not f****ing Robin again!!!” The list of gripes and grievances are endless. Luckily, I don’t really contribute to that conversation. I’m that unicorn who actually liked the finale, and I’m going to tell you why (because I have a blog that says I can).

Before I start, the answer is no. I was not that fan of the show that always wanted Robin and Ted together. I gave up on that oodles of seasons ago. It actually annoyed me that they kept bringing it back to Robin, especially this last season. The reason I no longer rooted for Robin and Ted was because the timing between them was always off. They were at very different points in their lives, and being friends, although difficult, seemed like all that it was supposed to be.

I also was not on the Barney and Robin bandwagon; it was too contrived for me. I never saw Barney as a man that could be tied down. Granted, his character did grow throughout the series as he entered serious relationships with Nora, Quinn and Robin, but that was all more for the story to me. Having him actually change because he had a child, little Ellie, seemed more natural to me. A child, and moreover a daughter, could be the only way to tame Barney and make him see the error in his ways from the standpoint of a father. Even when in those serious relationships, he always longed for the single life and the high of another play; now his high is to strike down those plays on behalf of all fathers everywhere with a beautiful little girl.

But let’s get back to the mother, Tracy McConnell. This show has always been about timing; hell, it’s in the title, since you can only meet a person once (unless you’re that asshole who doesn’t remember because you’re “bad with names” and faces … and overall memory, apparently). After a slew of failed relationships, Ted finally catches a break in Farhampton waiting (time!) for the train back to the city. Then, there was that episode in season eight where Ted just wanted 45 more days (time!) with Tracy, showing us that there was an expiration date on this love affair that we have been anticipating for so long. Why would they do that to Ted after all this time? Because timing in life is key. There is definitely such thing as perfect timing, hence why Ted finally meets Tracy right before jetting off to Chicago. It is also why it didn’t work out with Robin in the first place. Timing also prohibited me from really falling for Tracy. She was barely in it. I just wanted to know who the mother was, never interested in more. The hints and speculation kept me invested until it got tiring.

So then the mother dies. Six years pass and Ted tells this long-winded story to his kids about their mother, except it really wasn’t about her. It was about Robin and wanting to get their permission to try again, because maybe the timing is better now. Many people saw this as callous towards the mother’s memory and asked how the kids could possibly be okay with their father and Robin. I may not have full experience with this, but I don’t think it’s as bad as people make it seem. Many remarry after their spouses pass away, and sometimes fairly quickly. I used to judge this quick turn-around, but recent events in my family life have shone a new light. When you have shared your life with someone for so long, those fights, those 5 a.m. Christmas mornings — it’s hard to lose that in one quick blink of an eye. The kids were relatively young when their mother died, so Ted had something to worry about and keep him preoccupied. But they are teenagers now, about to embark on their own lives. The loneliness really seeps in then, and you want to fill that hole that grows bigger in your empty bed, flooded with memories. These memories started solely with Tracy, and then Robin, his first love, especially with her being as ubiquitous as she was with her face plastered on buses in the city. Slowly the feelings grow, but he has to make sure that the kids are okay with it, so he goes about asking them for their blessing in a roundabout way and they say to go for it. Enter Blue French Horn. Smiles. Cut to black. Roll credits.

The only problem was that the writers didn’t show us this evolution and made it quite abrupt instead. So I bridged the gap and the finale became more gratifying and saddening, because it was a beautiful double love story. And maybe in time you can see it in this way too. If not, apparently the season DVD will have an alternate ending. The ending you were probably waiting for and thought you deserved.

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