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SPOILER ALERT: HIMYM finale not legen…dary

It was always Robin.

God damn it.

In less than an hour, the writers of “How I Met Your Mother” proved what every fan had been saying all along; that everything that happened after season 4 was filler, uninspired crap. The finale we got last Monday night would have been a perfect ending to “How I Met Your Mother” circa season 4. An ending before the development of Barney and Robin as a truly legitimate, lovable couple, before Ted’s story got so grandiose that any viewer who took the show at its word would have believed that Ted was always in love with the mother and was unhappy without her, before Ted got over Robin and truly started seeing her as a platonic friend and confidant.

The worst part of the finale was how it quickly ruined so many great moments of seasons 5-9. How about “The Robin”? One of the show’s crowning late run achievements was Barney’s proposal to Robin. But in that debacle of a finale this becomes as hollow as all of Ted’s pronouncements about how important the mother was for him. Let’s put it this way: Based on this final episode, I assume Barney abandons his daughter at age 6 to return to his partying ways and 12 years later runs back into his daughter, now with some daddy issues of her own, and they…Oh yeah, I went there. This episode made me about as sick as that.

In less than an hour the show destroyed everything it had built. It destroyed any ability to be trusted as a narrative piece. The whole show rings hollow now. If Ted was an unreliable narrator (which the finale suggests) then what was real in the show? Nothing? We spent 207 and a half episodes trusting Ted as an omniscient narrator. It may have been unrealistic, but we bought it. The writers depended on us buying it. That ending puts everything into question; no story within that world can be trusted now. Maybe in a smarter, more mature piece of narrative work with inspired ways of looking at universal themes, having an unreliable narrative could work (and has). But in a story like HIMYM, which was never mature, never smart, and never about anything besides Ted’s happiness, an unreliable narrative makes the only thing that ever mattered on that show – the story – become nothing but a lie. There’s nothing to prop it up, the whole thing. Nine seasons worth of storylines is nothing but a deflated balloon now, an airless work that will be remembered only for its disappointing conclusion.

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