Three finales, one angry viewer

21:25, May 20 2013

Three season finales aired last night - How I Met Your Mother finished its eighth season, New Girl finished its second, and horror-thriller The Following wrapped up its first. Now, one of these three finales made me angry. So angry, in fact, that it may have put me off the show entirely. Can you guess which one?

(Warning: spoilers from the finales of How I Met Your Mother, New Girl and The Following follow.)

New Girl didn't make me angry. I don't even know if it is possible to be angry at New Girl; that show seems to be made of equal parts happy and hilarious. The second season has been fantastic, one of the funniest shows on television. The Nick-Jess storyline has been handled well. And I'm excited for a third season.

The Following didn't make me angry either. I enjoyed the first couple of episodes of its debut season, but around mid-season it became clear what The Following is and how it would proceed; using twists as a way to move the plot along is a nice trick once or twice a season, but it becomes comical when every episode begins to depend on that turn. I probably won't bother tuning in if/when it returns.

How I Met Your Mother, though ... I'm still fuming about that one.

It wasn't even that the episode itself was bad. It was actually pretty good compared to most of Season 8, even if I find myself more interested in whether or not Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) are going to Italy, together or apart, than in when and how Ted (Josh Radnor) meets the mother and whether or not Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) marries Robin (Cobie Smulders).


The reveal of The Mother at the end of the episode was a nice way to close out the season, too. I'm not familiar with Cristin Milioti's work, but at first glance it seems she'll fit in nicely alongside the existing cast.

But in spite of a reasonable finale, and the long-awaited reveal of The Mother, this was an infuriating half hour. Why? Ted Friggin' Mosby. Ted Worst-written-character-on-TV Mosby. I really hate that guy.

You know, it's only been a few months since Barney proposed to Robin in that bizarre rooftop ceremony involving the playbook. During that episode, it was revealed that part of the plan hinged on Ted's approval; to get Robin on to the rooftop, Ted had to talk her into going, thus absolving himself of any lingering feelings for her.

Ted did his duty, professing himself clear of feelings for Robin, and spending much of the second half of the season whingeing about being alone and telling anyone who would listen about how he's ready to settle down.

Yet, last night's finale revealed that Ted does still have feelings for Robin. I wasn't surprised. I knew it would be an irresistible card for writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas to play again before the show was done. But, as a viewer, it turned the last 12 episodes of the show into a pointless exercise in circular storytelling.

Even worse, it was revealed last week - after the finale aired in the USA - that the ninth season would take place over the course of Barney & Robin's wedding weekend. And, in a move that turns The Mother into - essentially - a carrot on a stick to keep viewers coming back, Ted won't meet her until the final episode ever.

You read that right. Anyone who decides to tune in will be sitting through 24 episodes that take place over the course of two story-world days that will somehow cover Lily and Marshall's decision to move to Italy (or not), Barney and Robin getting married (or not), Ted professing his love for Robin (again, or not), and Ted eventually meeting The Mother.

In other words, Season 9 sounds like a colossal waste of time.

How I Met Your Mother hasn't been great for the past few years, even if it still manages to produce a few laughs every week. But the decision to introduce the mother to viewers now, and then delay her introduction to Ted for another year, while simultaneously covering such a short period of story-time next season, feels like a betrayal.

Shows often drag on for years longer than they need to by telling all manner of contrived stories. How I Met Your Mother is dragging on for years longer than it needs to by repeating storylines again and again, and holding viewer's hostage with a plot point that, really, could have been covered by now. It'll be a struggle for me to tune in next year.

What did you think of the HIMYM finale? Were you as angry about how things ended as I was? And what do you make of the plans for Season 9? Will you tune in next year?

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