That horn. That smile. It’s the image that launched a wave of outrage across the internet.
Last Monday, if you weren’t crapping on a show you probably never watched, you were probably busy watching the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. The third option is of course anything but the previous two. Actually, the majority of you were probably doing that. But who’s counting?
I find it necessary now to advise you of potential spoilers from here on out. I’ll be talking about that HIMYM finale. So, yeah.
After 9 seasons, 208 episodes and 25 years of television time, Ted Mosby ended up right where he began. Holding up a blue horn as an offering to his future/former girlfriend, Robin Scherbatsky. In that span of time, he had many near misses and a wife he loved with whom he fathered two children. The serialized show (a rarity in the world of sitcoms) was about how Ted met the mother but it was just as much about everything that happened to him before that fateful moment. And as the finale, in my humble opinion, so eloquently established what happened afterwards.
Ted very much loved the mother. That was made perfectly clear in the brief glimpses of their future lives together that the final season offered. But then she got sick and then she died. And Ted mourned. And after six long years, the torch he had always held for Robin burned bright once more. And with the blessing of his kids, he went to see if he could get his second happy ending.
I thought it was lovely.
But I was in the minority. It seemed most people hated it. And I’m not sure why. They said it shouldn’t have ended that way. But this is what the creators had intended from the beginning. So the question then becomes why can’t we respect the vision of the creators? Why must we second guess the people who created the characters and, in this case, shepherded them through 9 years of ups and downs to get them to the place where they were meant to be?
The answer, I think, lies in the way we watch our favorite programs. Before Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant we were forced to savor television shows in 9 month chunks with 3 month breaks. This can be especially frustrating when you’re dealing with serialized storytelling. I wonder if those who binge watch shows might not be better off. Cramming three seasons of Game of Thrones into a weekend in anticipation of the fourth season doesn’t really allow time for speculation. And that speculation is what ultimately and almost inevitably leads to disappointment. Because let’s be honest, NO ONE’S ideas are as good as our own. So when a show fails to match the lofty ideas we’ve set in our own minds, we get disappointed. We get angry. And then, we get on Twitter. Can you imagine what would have happened had the internet existed when entire series like Newhart and St. Elsewhere were ‘Bobby Ewinged’ in their finales? It would have been insane.
But no more insane than the numerous negative reactions to the finales of Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica and Lost.
We are a notoriously difficult audience to please. In fact, it’s impossible. Someone’s going to get pissed. Someone’s going to get disappointed. And people have a right to feel however they feel. But before you allow yourself to become one of the naysayers, ask yourself why you’re so pissed off. Was this story well told? Was it well produced? Well acted? Now be honest with yourself as to why you didn’t like it. You might be surprised by the answer. We’ll never all agree on anything but I think we can all agree to be fair and give a show its due. It’s why we were fans in the first place.
Actually, hold on. I think there is one thing we ALL can agree on.
Breaking Bad was the best show ever and the series finale kicked ass.
Okay, carry on. It’s settled.
You hated Breaking Bad? The finale sucked?