The Millennial Sitcom Comes to An End: Thoughts on HIMYM finale
How I Met Your Mother has always, rather ironically, reminded me of divorce. Even though it’s a show all about love, I started watching at age 11. My parents split up around that time, when the show was on its second season. And my dad moved out, into the land of No Cable.
Every week, he videotaped the episodes, and then we went over and watched them. It was the type of show that me, my brother, and him could all agree on and all throughly enjoy. At this point, I just liked the show. Then, it got syndicated. And it was put on Netflix instant. Things got a little weird.
I’ve seen every episode of HIMYM at least 3 times. There are some episodes I’ve probably seen 8 times. I can quote every character, can remember every women Ted has dated, and can tell you for sure that, at this point, the entire cast has made out with one another. Including Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal in a blooper. The pineapple, the yellow umbrella, all the doppelgängers. I’ve seen it all and I’ve seen 83% of it an unhealthy amount of times. Every break from my school my brother and I watch it, my best friend and I watch it, and I watch it alone. Every time I want a break, a laugh, or to remind myself how much I love this show, I watch it. Like I said, it got a little weird.
But there was one big problem. I didn’t buy it. At least, not all of it. HIMYM is all about love, which, as Ted tells Robin is “the best thing we do”. Ted’s the big romantic, Marshall and Lily are the perfect couple, and Robin and Barney emphatically don’t want to get married. Until the finale, I always thought we were heading into Lily and Marshall, Robin and Barney, and Ted and the Mother, all living happily ever after.
I am so glad we didn’t get that.
HIMYM is the millennial sitcom. And millennials know better than any other generation that while love may be the best thing we do it’s also….messy. In my life, people fall in love, they fall out of it, and, above all they get divorced. The idea of everyone getting together and living happily ever after was always hard for me to swallow. HIMYM is a sitcom, but it’s always been a sitcom that doesn’t gloss over life. Instead, it shows life how you wish it was, in a beautiful, nostalgic haze where the good times are great and the bad times are for growing. Everything is funny, there’s actually a belt, and you can go to the bar every night.
We’re the generation that let love out of its straight jacket. HIMYM is all about that kind of love. The gang all truly love each other, but not in neatly cut lovemarriagebabies way. They love each other as friends, above all. But that love doesn’t mean that they will always be in the same city, or hanging out everyday. And all the couples love each other, even when their circumstances don’t allow them to be together. Romantic comedies show us love that changes things. HIMYM showed us how to let love be the best thing you do, but still be you. It showed us love that changed, that grew, and that didn’t hold anyone
The finale reminded me that love is still there, even when its not coated in nostalgia and is instead splashed with reality. It reminded me that love is important, not silly or trivial. That even though I associate HIMYM with divorce, and with things not working out perfectly, that doesn’t mean I can’t associate it with love. And really, that is far more than I ever expected from my favorite sitcom.