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"How I Met Your Mother," the finale

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 31, 2014

Well, crap.

On a stick.

Every time I try to say much more, I start winding up for a much longer rant than I want to write. I get it. The show decided years ago that Ted and Robin would end up together, but had also promised that Robin was not The Mother. So there had to be a Mother, and then something had to be done about her, and the hint that the show dropped some time ago was genuine, not some massive misreading by the denizens of social media.

At the same time, Robin and Barney had to split up to make it possible for Ted and Robin to end up together, even though that was the most heartbreaking part of the finale, because in a weird way I had come to believe that Robin and Barney really were a fit, that their sensibilities meshed in a way that Ted's and Robin's have not since early on. Even if they had to break up (and to break up because of Robin's job? What kind of message are we getting there?), I kept thinking that they would get back together, that Barney would finally act on the inadequacy of a 31-woman month, or would be changed by parenthood so that when Robin showed up for Ted and Tracy's wedding there would be a reconciliation ... Only that didn't happen.

And The Mother -- TM, also her initials -- had to die. And that sucked. Yes, I wiped away a tear. I know something about that kind of loss. But this, too, was something that I had rooted against because she and Ted were happy together -- and that scene of them not only meeting at last but recognizing the destiny in their meeting, was lovely -- and as unfair as life can be, the place to end the show would have been with Ted & Tracy and Robin & Barney and Lily & Marshall all settled into lives of some contentment.

And, yes, some of you are saying that life is not always like that. But life isn't like "How I Met Your Mother" most of the time; we're not all constantly clever and self-referential and complexly but neatly plotted in a satisfying way. (Well. except for this last season, which has now somehow been made even worse). So I will take my fulfilling ending over the one the producers chose.

I suppose if you believe that Ted and Robin had to end up together, then so be it. That has certainly hung over the show from early on. I remember at one of the first "HIMYM" press conferences wondering if Robin was going to turn out to have a twin who would marry Ted. That would have been a crappy ending, too. But this one was worse.

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