— Conan O’Brien’s commencement speech for Dartmouth’s graduating class of 2011.
So last night I finally watched the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. Now, I understand that everyone was incredibly pissed at the ending when it first aired, and the amount of angry statuses I witnessed at the time prompted me to look up the episode descriptions for season 9, thus “spoiling” the ending for me.
However, in being aware of what was coming, I was able to watch the episodes in a way that allowed me to genuinely enjoy them, as I wasn’t searching for a huge payoff in the end. I just wanted to genuinely watch their journey.
For the amount of critics and friends who have gotten mad that Barney and Robin divorced 10 minutes into the finale after 23 episodes leading up to their wedding, I have this to say: a) duh, they had been hinting that it would likely not work out for the entire series based on their character developments and b) divorce doesn’t nullify the journey.
Barney vowed to be honest with Robin, and when confronted with her question of, “is this working?” he is completely truthful in telling her that her career, as amazing as it is, is straining the relationship. The fact that he does honor their wedding vows shows that he absolutely does love Robin, but no matter how much you love someone, sometimes things just don’t work out. I think they did the right, albeit heartbreaking, thing by divorcing one another.
I admire HIMYM for this, because they show that marriage is complex and there are not always happy endings, and goddamit, it’s okay. We don’t need to make huge statements about the state of marriage- we just need to look at Barney and Robin’s journey together to the alter and understand that the best way for them to honor one other’s vows and to demonstrate their love for one another was by letting each other go. Divorce and marriage are complex, and Barney and Robin are not bad people, just human. And it’s okay to have a show demonstrate that to us.
Now, on to The Mother.
The mother is shown as having lost her first love tragically and her own struggle to let love in again, ultimately setting us up for her story to become Ted’s own story when she passes away. I like that the show also demonstrates that even after a significant other passes away, the other one is allowed to love again.
Life is complicated and it’s okay, dammit. The fuck do you want? Perfection? It’s also a fucking finale to a sitcom. Congrats, you got invested, and you didn’t like the outcome. JUST LIKE LIFE.
I really need to stop writing about this now.