Another long-running TV show ends, and again fans are left disappointed. Can you say “major disappointment?” (of course, along with Ted and Robin hand salute).
The popular CBS TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” ended its nine-season run this past Monday with an hour finale, and according to social media, it will not be considered “legend….wait for it…dary.” It’s not that fans didn’t want the show to end – its time certainly had come, if not a season or two late, it’s how the creators chose to end it.
The entire final season took place over Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend. Sure, there were flashbacks and flash forwards per the show’s usual style, but the majority of the episodes focused on two major events – the wedding between two of the major characters and the courtship of Ted and the evasive mother of the show’s title. We sat through a mediocre, sometimes amusing, mostly barely tolerable final season, hoping that all the buildup would lead to a satisfying finale. But after 23 episodes of buildup toward those two major events, the creators inexplicably decided to render them irrelevant.
During most of the show’s run, I always felt that Ted and Robin should be together, like Ross and Rachel of “Friends.” It was just a matter of time before those two hooked up, and some even speculated early on that Robin could be the mother referred to in the title. But then the writers forced Robin together with Barney the past few seasons and while it initially didn’t feel right, the show’s commitment to this relationship forced fans to go along with it and eventually accept it, especially after the entire last season was dedicated to their wedding. But then just about a third into the finale we discover that Barney and Robin get divorced. “What the damn hell?”
Then there’s the mother. She was finally revealed in the Season 8 season finale, and I eagerly anticipated learning more about her courtship with the hopelessly romantic Ted during the final season. Instead, the season concentrated more on her interaction with the other characters and then in the finale, we learn that she died, ultimately allowing Ted to finally get back together with Robin. “You….son of a b—-!”
So why is it that long-running shows just can’t seem to end on a high note? “Seinfeld” was a major downer. “Friends” was a bit anticlimactic. And while I liked the ending to “The Sopranos,” I could see how it left many fans empty. Is it because after so many years fans feel like they’re more familiar with the characters than the writers themselves? Or is it because the characters have simply run out of amusing tales to tell?
But it’s not impossible to end a popular show on a high note. You know who did it right? “Newhart.” That’s right. I still remember watching that show’s finale and being blown away by it when it was revealed that the show’s entire eight season run was all a dream by Bob Newhart’s character from his previous hit, “The Bob Newhart Show,” complete with his TV wife from that show, Suzanne Pleshette. Yes, I know that I’m really dating myself, but it was an unforgettable moment in TV history for me.
So what did you think of the “How I Met Your Mother” series finale, and what was your favorite series-ender ever?