Like most fans of HIMYM, I’m pretty emotional about the upcoming series finale. Obviously, a show I began watching in my 20s about people in their 20s trying to figure out their lives is going to have a pretty strong hold. In 2005, when HIMYM debuted, I was 25 going on 26, I had just finished graduate school and I was anxious to see how the next phase of my life – career, relationship, family – would play itself out. I was a Ted Moseby who wanted to be a Lily, only I didn’t have the same assurance of an older-me narrator to guarantee that it was all going to work out. Nine years later, I’m married, and I have an adorable nine-month-old and a mortgage. I will miss this show and these characters because I feel like they’ve been there with me on the journey.
As a long-time fan, I also have to express my great distress over the pesky Internet rumor that HIMYM will end with us learning that the mother has died and Ted is about to marry Robin.
I am a devoted Robney shipper, but that actually has nothing to do with why I’m so opposed to this ending. I don’t like this ending because it doesn’t fit with all that HIMYM is about and has been about for the past nine seasons.
The thing about searching for “the one” is that you have no idea what you’re looking for until you find it. Until you’ve found “it,” it’s all just supposition and guess work. While this statement might sound as empty as “it is what it is,” you can’t know until you know. And no matter how much you want something, you can’t make yourself get there before you’re there. It happens when it happens. At its heart, HIMYM is a love story, and the most amazing part of all our individual love stories is that we have no idea what moment is going to change our lives forever. Everything else only gains significance in hindsight.
The whole arc of HIMYM – as evidenced most clearly in the title – is leading us to that one moment for Ted. Which moment in these nine years will be the defining one that shapes everything that comes next? We see all of the close calls – dating her roommate, being so near the yellow umbrella, walking into her class – and all the women who might be “it.” But, of all those thousands of moments, it’s meeting the wedding singer.
None of us can know what that moment will be in our own lives until we’re in it. I met my husband at a practice for a local improve comedy group on a Sunday afternoon when I had a terrible hangover and hadn’t washed my hair. We all have, or are waiting for, our life-changing moment, and I think it’s that part of Ted’s journey that touches us and makes the show so appealing.
Until I met my husband, I thought at least six different people were my soul mates and made a lot of questionable decisions – including one possibly ill-advised transoceanic flight – to that end. I have my own Victoria, Stella, etc. (And I won’t even get into the not-quite-soul-mate-level people that I also spent a lot of time with and made yet more questionable decisions because of.) For a good six years, I was sure that I would eventually end up with one particular person. For me, that person is my Robin – the one you’re sure you want and that you can come up with so many reasons that you two should be together.
But, you won’t end up together.
Because he or she isn’t the one. And you can’t know that you’re chasing shadows until you find the real thing.
I think that in the best-told story, Robin remains the one Ted is sure he wants before he finds the one that’s really meant for him.
HIMYM addresses topics and themes that pertain to singledom/life in your 20s and early 30s in a way that is heartfelt, honest and usually very funny. Some examples? When Ted discovers that he’s inadvertently recreated his parents’ relationship. When Ted realizes he has feelings for someone that is married. When Ted has to face the idea that being an architect might not be in the cards.
This isn’t about “getting the girl” in the unrealistic romantic comedy sense of star-crossed lovers in a will they or won’t they pull. This is a story about finding the one. And obviously, especially for those poor kids trapped listening to this story, there’s a lot that comes before finding the one. And nothing about the people you love before finding the one negates how great and wonderful it is once you find it.
Ted can love Robin with his whole heart and still be meant to find a better and more satisfying relationship with the mother. Those two coexist in the real world all the time. We all love people that aren’t the one. But, the person we build a life with still gets to trump all.
The real love story on HIMYM is just beginning, and the better more honest story is in what becomes of Ted after he moves past Robin and opens himself up to the possibility of a better love. (Enter the mother …)
Because how do most of our real life love stories go? Do you spend years pining away for someone only to have the person realize one day, years after you’ve met, that yes, you two are meant to be together and now a great relationship begins?
No. When you meet the one, it works. And it usually works right off the bat. That’s the beauty of the one. And it’s the very same thing you can’t force or make happen or twist and bend into submission. It happens when it happens. Until then, we’re all just waiting and searching and hoping.
HIMYM needs to end exactly the way it told us it was going to end nine years ago – with Ted Moseby meeting the love of his life and the mother of his children. Any other ending – dead mother and Robin reunion included – is disingenuous to the story telling and the truth of the human experience.