On Monday night, the gang from CBS’ How I Met Your Mother will drink their final beer at MacLaren’s and say “awesome” one last time before the series comes to an end. I’m sad but I agree it’s time.
Wilson and I discovered the show in its second season after hearing the buzz. It never caught on like Friends, but was just as good, if not better at times. The show is set in New York with a bunch of 20 and then 30 something pals trying to figure out what they want out of life, while remaining incredibly loyal to each other.
The hook of the show and what set it apart was the always-present mystery of who Josh Radnor’s “Ted” would end up marrying and making the “mother” of his kids. Ted is a hopeless romantic seeking out the yin to his yang, and discarding many, many girls along the way.
Every episode started in the year 2030 with Ted narrating a story to his kids about his adventures with best friends Lily, Marshall, Robin and Barney, and many included small hints about the illusive mother.
The first few seasons grabbed us with layered, relatable characters, smart plots, and funny scripts. Not only were we curious about finding out who Ted ends up with, but the writers were extremely creative.
There was the homage to the Seinfeld “backwards” episode where the plot went from end to beginning, the numbers episode where every scene had a hidden number counting down from 50 to 1, and the mostly sung musical episode.
And who could forget Ted’s 2-minute date with Stella (played by Sarah Chalke.) After telling Ted she was too busy working and raising her daughter to see him, he creates the perfect date in 120 seconds during her lunch break, squeezing in a meal at the cafe next door, watching movie clips at an electronics store, and a 5-second cab ride back to the office.
In addition to wild romantic gestures, ongoing plot points (the mother’s yellow umbrella, Ted’s Halloween bad luck) inside jokes (the slap bet, the Bro-Code, custom high-fives) the show also boasted some big guest stars, including Britney Spears, Katie Holmes, Bryan Cranston, Kim Kardashian, J Lo, and Katy Perry.
But beyond the clever writing and original storytelling were 5 rounded characters. After nine seasons, I know exactly who they are and I’m going to miss hanging out with those crazy kids.
Even on the best sitcoms, the story lines weaken and laughs wane over time, and last season the show lost its luster. But I couldn’t quit HIMYM.
I’m so glad we stuck it out. This entire last season took place (save for flashbacks and fast forwards) over Robin and Barney’s country wedding weekend. The writers used the device as a way to get back to old plots and characters to wrap things up in one of the best series endings since Six Feet Under.
What makes a good finale is so subjective it’s hard to proclaim which shows nailed it and which made us scream at the TV. Six Feet Under is the most brilliantly memorable: the show about death revealed in fast sequence how each character met his/her end.
But there have been other satisfying and sentimental endings I loved, including MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, West Wing, Friday Night Lights, and most recently The Office.
On my meh list are Seinfeld and Sopranos, and the total copouts include Lost and Friends.
The shows leading up to the last episode of HIMYM have been so promising I’m expecting big, sappy things from the finale. There are rumors the mother has died and Ted’s telling the kids their story after she’s gone, or that she never existed at all. It’s unclear whether Barney and Robin end up together.
I’ll be snuggling up with a box of Kleenex and my Twitter feed Monday night to find out.
Kids, it’s bound to be LEGEN… wait for it… DARY.
For a more complete list of memorable series finales click here. What were your favs? Which did you hate? Tell me in the comments.