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Is „How I Met Your Mother” genius?

Is „How I Met Your Mother” genius?

            How I Met Your Mother used to be my favorite sitcom of all time (yes, FRIENDS lovers – I said it), up until the infamous finale. Back there in 2014 I was devastated to find out about the plot twist. It made no sense, building up the entire story, getting to know the Mother only to… End it like that? Broke my heart.

Whenever I’m sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead.

            The idea for the show was pretty simple – a guy, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) is telling his kids a story of… how he met their mother. It’s a flashback from 2030, when the narrative is happening. But it’s not just the story of how. Ever since Disney+ came to Poland, I’ve been rewatching some episodes, including the final season.

And to be honest… I have some thoughts. Because now more than ever, I can completely understand what is going on and why the finale wasn’t all that bad. I feel… Sadness for the Mother. She turned out to be a great character, the kind that… Oh, but that will come soon. Also, if you plan on catching up with this series… Spoilers will follow. You have probably seen some of them online already, but still – fair warning. 

I think that is the major thing with rewatching series, especially at a different age – you notice different things and the ones you did see before… They make a whole lot of sense. So, let’s talk about the things that made me angry. 

Because sometimes even if you know how something’s gonna end, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride.

            I guess there is only one major thing – the finale. The entire 9th season was weird and way too long. Sure, with Robin and Barney, I didn’t expect the wedding to go smoothly but damn. It was way too stretched. Sure, we got to know the Mother – Tracy – but… She was such a great character. 

I guess my anger is long gone and now the shore is bathed in the waves of sadness. But that was a great showrunners’ trick – to make Tracy so damn lovable, everyone would miss her dearly. And she was perfect for Ted. 

Source: glamour.com

Oh, wait – the story is not only about HOW Ted met Tracy, it’s mainly the years of his endeavors on the main stage as a single. Throughout the series, we got to see Ted win and lose all of his romantic relationships, including being left at the altar. 

            So, what changed for me? I guess I grew up a little bit and got the taste of the medicine – heartbreak, loss, friendship and all other attached strings. And even though the controversies around the final move – get Ted back together with Robin. 

It’s just, eventually, we’re all gonna move on. It’s called growing up.

            But before we get there, let’s talk about other characters – Marshal and Lilly for instance. I never really liked them until I rewatched some episodes. They always seemed like this grotesquely perfect couple, but to be honest – they were far from perfect. 

They were perfect for each other, but… No relationship IS really perfect. Just look at any parents in the world. I can sure as hell that my parents’ relationship aint perfect. There are perfect moments, sure. But… Every healthy relationship has ups and downs. But today? I appreciate the bitterness. 

Marshal and Lily are relationship goals, to be honest – they have been together since college and only grew strong; even through the breakup and not communicating important life decisions. These are the things we fear in all kinds of relationships, not only the romantic ones. How to make both of our dreams equally important? 

            Lily did some awful stuff – in my opinion crueler than Marshall. She broke up with him so she could chase her (failed) dream in San Francisco. On the other hand, Marshal agreed to move to Italy for a year and… Took a judge-job (or whatever the hell you call it) behind Lily’s back. 

That’s life, you know. We never end up where you thought you wanted to be.

            But I absolutely adore them together. They were a team through thick and thin, real partners in crime. Their relationship could be called a “textbook” one, because it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. However, in terms of growth… Barney and Robin outperformed them. 

They kicked off somewhere in season 4 and grew semi-strong in the 5th. The beginning was straight up awful and led to a breakup. Which was absolutely necessary, because they needed time to understand a lot of things. 

And I know that so. Damn. Well. Last Thursday, we had an annual “Ladies of the Family” night out. We went to my favorite place in Wroclaw (Przedwojenna, no surprise here). We were having drinks and lots of laughs but also some deep conversations. And I had a wonderful talk with the mom of my kindergarten-school best friend. 

Somewhere along the line, I forgot to pursue my dream, and now I’m old, and I’m a mom, and it’s just too late for me.

            We were talking about first loves and how they haunt us forever. But… Then I heard someone say (not that night, just in general): Every love is first love. Bullshit. You never forget that one person; that one guy or girl imprinted on your brain. It’s impossible to forget how that person made you feel. 

But if you grow apart and somehow, by some freak accident, your paths cross again… What do you do with these crazy, overwhelming feelings? The answer is: you don’t. It either will wash you like a wave or consume you in whole. And there is a thin line between these two. 

That conversation made me think. Was I swallowed whole when my first “love” (quotation mark because I am not sure I could even call that love) texted me again? I was confused, for sure, things ended abruptly. But one I can say for sure – both of us changed. We want different things now – different than before. And it’s a good thing!

            Sometimes you really need to fall apart to become “world’s greatest couple” – and that is exactly what happened to Barney and Robin. After a few failed relationships, they found a way back to each other. Just remember one thing, kids: it’s a TV show. These things don’t often happen in real life. 

Maybe this isn’t a breakup. Maybe this is just two friends getting back together.

            What I really, really like about How I Met Your Mother is how it beautifully showcases the REAL friendship – friendship that can fall apart only to come back stronger. Friendship that could press pause for a week and go back like nothing ever happened. It’s the strongest bond; a bond that equals family. 

The dynamic of the group is an interesting thing. It’s rare to have two same personalities in one group of friends, it’s usually a mix of different people with common traits. But not identical, not the same. But the most important thing is that that kind of mix is… Working. 

Lily, Marshal, Ted, Robin and Barney, complete each other in many ways and that’s just a dream. They hung out together in their favorite bar, they went to see Robots vs. Wrestlers and witnessed their most important moments in life. 

            HIMYM is not only the show about how Ted met the mother of his kids. It is a story of a unique friendship that grew up and evolved. For almost 8 seasons that’s what most of us, the audiences, cared about. Some people did not believe there was a Mother – other than Robin. But… As we learn somewhere in season 6? That was not possible. 

Shouldn’t we hold out for the person who doesn’t just tolerate our little quirks, but actually kind of likes them?

            I always imagined the HIMYM writers’ room as a messy, post-it notes, red string all over and different graphs, maps and schemes kind of thing. To this day I wonder how on Earth they got it all to work. I mean, everything was connected, and the best proof is the story of how Ted met the Mother. 

When they finally did meet on that train station in Farhampton, it all just clicked between them. And all of the tiny coincidences… Like Tracy first seeing Ted at his class at the university, even though she studied economics and he taught architecture. Or the yellow umbrella! Probably one of the sweetest things in the world.

And even though the finale was quite disappointing, because the Mother deserved better than being written off (she died of some kind of sickness) … I am no longer angry; I just wish we got to see her more. More of Tracy hanging out with the gang. 

            These tiny scenes in which we got to see how she effortlessly changed the lives of every single person in the crew… The “you are finally home” vibe she gave Ted – man, she truly was my favorite character in the entire show. She was the glue no one knew they needed. 

Some couples always support each other, and some couples always challenge each other. But is one really better than the other? Yes. Support is better. Way better.

            I think what really hurt all of the fans in the world was the fleeing happiness Ted experienced. For years we were watching him try and fail; for years we wanted him to finally be happy, truly happy. And we got it – in visions and flashbacks. And somehow that wasn’t enough.

Not for me, that’s for sure. Part of me saw myself in his story – though I am nowhere close to finding my soulmate. Or… Maybe I am? Who knows, the universe works in mysterious ways. I am the last person to question it. One thing I can say though is… Nothing good ever happens after 2 am ;).

Took me a couple of years to realize and appreciate the genius of that infamous ending; the finesse of these short, but sweet scenes between Ted and the Mother. Love, however strong, cannot go underappreciated. You have to cherish every single (im)perfect moment, because you just never know. 

I used to be in such a hurry all the time. Everything was so urgent. Now I figure, if it’s going to happen, it’ll happen when it happens. I’m not going anywhere; she’s not going anywhere. What’s the rush, right?

            And maybe that is what the creators wanted to show us from the start. Or maybe not, but we cannot question it. I still am on the fence here, with a slight nod towards “it was a good finale, it made sense”. Because, in a way it did – Ted and Robin had a pact, that if they both are 40 and single… 

I know, I know. Not the point. The reviews of the hour-long finale were polarized, from drastically slamming the showrunners for twist ending and literally building Mother’s character for nothing… To critics saying it made sense. Because nothing is sure in life, not even the goddamn taxes. 

See, what angered me was that Ted’s happy ending was earned and well deserved. Part of me got scared, that all happy endings will… Well, end with such a twist. And what if my twist is not as great? Or good for me? I am taking these things way too seriously. But that is who I am, so…

Say goodbye to all the times you felt lost, to all the times it was a No instead of a Yes, to all the scrapes and bruises, to all the heartache.

            The Mother deserved better, that’s for sure. But I don’t want to judge the entire show by its finale. That would not be fair. Sure, HIMYM with this shit-ass ending earned a spot in the list of “final episodes that disappointed me”, with LOST leading the way.

But overall, this show is pretty damn great. Watching a few episodes over the last few days made me sure of it. It’s not perfect, but really great and worth giving it a try. For all of the great songs and wonderful life lessons that you can carry with you everywhere. 

For me, this re-watch is sweeter rather than bitterer. Truth be said, it makes me miss a few things and people, but… I think I am looking at all things with a kinder eye. Because… You know, some things don’t have to always make sense. 

Love doesn’t make sense. I mean, you can’t logic your way into or out of it. Love is totally nonsensical, but we have to keep doing it or else we’re lost and love is dead and humanity should just pack it in. Because love is the best thing we do.

Ted Mosby

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