After nine years of following the love story of the least likeable character on television, I have been slapped in the face one final time by the inconsistent, unrealistic sitcom that once used to make me laugh: How I Met Your Mother.
The following material contains spoilers to the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. You have been warned. However, to those who haven’t watched the finale just yet, here’s another fair warning: Accidentally reading spoilers for that trainwreck of a show angers you less than actually watching it.
At its heart, How I Met Your Mother was nothing but the drunk, confused cousin of Friends. Granted, sometimes it’s fun to hang out with a drunk, confused cousin. It can lead to moments of true emotion or unexpected hilarity. Unfortunately, these moments grow boring and annoying after a few minutes. How I Met Your Mother decided to do this for nine years.
Friends was a show that captured the evolution of six peoples’ personalities, relationships, careers and world views. It was a view into young America at the turn of the millennium, and it was as relatable as it was poignant.
How I Met Your Mother was about an old man telling his kids about the hundreds of girls he hooked up with before he married their dead mother, and then explaining how he wanted to start dating his best friend’s ex-wife for the fifth time.
In addition to the extremely disappointing and contrived ending, How I Met Your Mother suffered from several other flaws. Possibly the most serious of these flaws was the slow, painful degradation of the show’s protagonist, Ted Mosby.
In the first few seasons of the show, Ted is portrayed as the hopeless romantic. He is genuinely kind to his friends, and it is almost impossible to not root for him.
Fast forward seven years. Ted has become a whiny, annoying hypocrite who complains about being left at the altar as he drives Victoria away from her own wedding.
Completely forgetting the lack of a believable or likeable protagonist, How I Met Your Mother suffered from another fatal flaw: its ridiculous length.
Actor Jason Segel, who played Marshall Eriksen in the show, was originally meant to act for only eight seasons. However, the show creators strong-armed him into playing the character for another final season. In an interview with GQ after the fifth season finale, Segel complained about playing Marshall for so long.
“When your idol is Peter Sellers, playing one character for eight years what you’re trying to do. I don’t really feel like I have that much more to offer with this character,” Segel said.
Segel’s words proved to be prophetic. Ultimately, the show failed due to its overstretched length. The characters eventually stagnated, leaving behind an uninspiring plot, unfunny jokes and an absolutely devastating series finale.