At first glance, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ reminds you a lot about, ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’. I never quite watched the series regularly – an occasional episode meant that I missed a lot of the running jokes but the core of the story was quite steady – a hip set of youngsters hanging around the bar and battling their professional and personal woes with help of the gang.
I took some more notice when I learnt that the climax episode of the long running series generated a lot of scorn and angst in the internet world. Now having ‘binge-watched’ the series I guess one can see the ‘point-of-view’ of people who felt ripped off by the climax.
The story started as a ‘sitcom’ but veered a lot into drama and melodrama by the end of it. It is set in New York and the five staple characters are quite well-etched to begin with it. ‘Marshall and Lily’ are cute couple from college who seem to have found ‘true love’ so easy and early in life. While their relationship too has its rough patches, they are the ‘golden couple’ on show for their friends.
Barney has morphed from a hippy background to being a Corporate smartass with sass. He is forever aiming to be the ‘playboy’ and it is quite a job that he doesn’t come across as an obnoxious character.
Robin is a gal like never – a Tomboy she gives it back as hard as she gets. She is independent and ambitious – doesn’t want to settle for marriage and children, it’s her dream to travel the world with her job and see far off lands like Japan and Argentina.
Ted is the ‘hook character – an intelligent architect and a caring metrosexual he is forever looking for the ‘right girl’ to marry. He falls for Robin the day they meet but it is not meant to be as they are looking for different things in life. A lot of suspense is built around Ted telling his kids in a ‘flash forward’ mode about how he met their mother and certainly ‘Aunt Robin’ is not playing that role.
Over 9 years for the viewers who invested in it, the series traverses a lot that happens in the lives of these friends who are there for one another when it comes down to the brass tacks. Given this background it should have been so easy to wrap things up right and give the right closure to the audience. Instead the climax truly sucked and possibly ruined the memory of a great show for many viewers.
So what all went wrong at the end of it –
- The emphasis was on Ted finding his wife – imagine that finally appears as a character only in the 8th series and barely fills up ‘time’ of an episode in the entire 9th series as well
- The climax really jarred – it took so much to build the credibility of Barney maturing and having the right relationship with Robin as they are intelligent, upwardly mobile and not so hung up about having a traditional family and kids. And to ruin it by having them divorce in a single episode that casually suggested that they lived happily for 3 years and then for Barney to find redemption by loving his daughter born from ‘1-night-stand’ with ‘God-knows-who?’ was surely a crazy item to beat.
- What was crazier was Ted finally meeting Tracy but not marrying her for 7 years though they have 2 kids. And at the end of it she conveniently falls sick and dies so that Ted can reunite with Robin. Seriously that makes the title of the series so very lame.
- The makers knew it and tried to lighten the death-blow when the kids honestly acknowledge that the series was not about Ted meeting Tracey, it was about Ted falling in love, head over heels, with Aunt Robin in the pilot episode itself. And what a cheesy end when the final shot recreates the same scene as when Ted first wooed Robin.
Obviously it was a rather corny climax and that disappointed most viewers who invested so much of themselves in looking for the perfect ending. I guess you can condone the blemish and still enjoy the series for what it was – a gang of friends sharing the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of their lives for many years on the go. The initial years are about youth and fun while things dwindle as the years go by. Well didn’t I begin by saying that the series reminded me a lot about ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ …