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Opinion: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ draws to long-awaited close

Josh Radnor as Ted (left) and Cobie Smulders as Robin on CBS' 'How I Met Your Mother.' Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Cobie Smulders as Robin (left) and Josh Radnor as Ted on CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Mother.’
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Just when it seemed like viewers knew exactly what would happen in the “How I Met Your Mother” series finale, writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas threw us one last curveball.

After giving details over the course of the series about the fateful meeting between Ted Mosby and his future wife on the Farhampton train platform, it appeared fans already knew everything that would happen in the final episode. Spending the first 22 episodes of the final season over the course of three days on the show, the double-episode finale skimmed over many years to catch us up with Future Ted and his children in the den of his Westchester County house.

After 208 episodes over the course of nine seasons, America finally saw exactly how Ted Mosby met the mother of his children in the two-part series finale Monday night.

Viewers first joined Penny and Luke Mosby on the couch as Future Ted, voiced by Bob Saget, began his incredibly long-winded tale when “How I Met Your Mother” in September 2005.

Over the years we had watched Ted, played by Columbus-native Josh Radnor, stumble through many failed relationships that somehow all led to him meeting his future wife at the wedding of Barney Stinson and Robin Scherbatsky, played by Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders, respectively.

Viewers had already met the mother, played by Cristin Milioti, who was first seen in the season 8 finale. Ted’s best friends Barney, Robin, Lily Aldrin (played by Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall Eriksen (played by Jason Segel) had also all met her throughout the ninth season.

In fact, we had already seen Future Ted and the mother’s first date, one-year anniversary and various other future family events in several flash-forwards woven throughout this season.

“HIMYM” creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas had agonizingly stretched the three days leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding over the first 22 episodes of the final season, using an overabundance of flashbacks and flash-forwards to fill each half-hour time slot.

As every plot point introduced throughout the series had been resolved, from Robin finally being reunited with the locket she buried in Central Park to the ring bear strolling down the aisle, the only thing left to be exposed was the actual meeting of Ted and his yet-to-be-named future wife.

I’m sure I’m not the only longtime fan who was looking forward to the series finale just to bring an end to the disappointment of the past few seasons. Although there had been a few occasional bright spots in recent seasons, the past three or four seasons were generally bland and featured far too many boring and pointless subplots.

The intrigue of the first six seasons centered on whether or not Ted’s girlfriend at the time would eventually turn out to be the mother. The series began to lose the element of mystery as details about Ted and the mother’s meeting were revealed, starting with the finale of season 6, when Future Ted explained that he met the mother at Barney’s wedding. Therefore, we knew that every new character introduced in seasons 7 and 8 would prove to just be another ex-girlfriend along the way.

The show’s humor had also dropped off in recent years as sad moments, such as the death of Marshall’s father in season 6, and family drama, such as Marshall and Lily’s fights in season 9, had become more prominent and frequent than in the first five seasons.

Still, loyal viewers such as myself tuned in week after week, hoping for a laugh or two delivered by the always excellent Neil Patrick Harris.

The show had gone the course of a relationship, where at first it was exciting, new and fun, then it began to lag and feel stale and you considered breaking it off, but you stuck with it because it was familiar and comfortable. Fans’ loyalty should be rewarded by a funny and legen — we-have-already-waited-long-enough — dary finale.

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