Ted's RPG Rant

A place to rant about RPG games, particularly the Temple of Elemental Evil. Co8 members get a free cookie for stopping by. Thats ONE cookie each, no seconds.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Last year, around March, I thought I was losing my mind.

I was walking around constantly teary-eyed and sad. I thought I had depression, or some other such mood issue. I was irritable, demotivated, drinking heavily. I talked with wifey about needing therapy, maybe medication.

Then I realised: I was grieving. I was going through the stages of grief.

I was grieving for my favourite show, How I Met Your Mother, and my periods of teariness and sadness corresponded to those days when I sat around watching YouTubes of "Best Moments of...", or re-watched the alternate ending, or otherwise reengaged with something I should have moved on from.

On days when I was too busy or otherwise distracted, on the other hand, I was fine.

Fans of the show will know it finished some time back, but I only saw the end when Yvy got me seasons 7 & 8 for Valentine's Day, and then the final season 9 for my birthday later at the end of February.

I binged watched them, of course. I had come to the show as a fan quite late, certainly after it had been on a few seasons, but got hooked somewhere along the way. Yvy got me the box set of seasons 1-5 for Christmas 2010 (the Suited Up Edition in yellow-umbrella box) and I binged watched those for days (I was off sick from work at just the right time) and a few years later I got season 6.

Why the hiatus before seeing the final seasons? Well, I guess I was savouring it. I occasionally saw one on TV but otherwise I was putting off getting the last few seasons because I didn't want it to end. But finally my need to find out what happened got the better of me (plus a fear of spoilers) and my darling wife accomodated and got me the last few in early 2016, as mentioned above.

And I watched them, and it was over, and I grieved.

Why is it my favourite show? Other than the great characters and unique premise, refreshing in the shitty cookie-cutter "let's try nothing new, let's just do a remake!" and god-awful reality-TV world we live in, I guess it was because I really related to the main character (another Ted) because I am a genuine romantic. Someone who looked for years and years to find the right person, and finally found her on the other side of the world. Married her, had gorgeous kids, living the dream :)

Before that, though, I suffered the long search - I suffered as Ted suffers on the show (with far less in the way of casual dating than Ted does, I must admit). I didn't get left at the altar or any such thing, but I related.

And it has Barney - who doesn't love Barney???

Which brings us to the issue of the ending - fans will understand that we have to discuss the ending, which was polarising, shocking, and is the reason I am taking up the keyboard after all this time. (I watched the alternate ending again on YouTube yesterday after realising, to my horror - apropros of nothing, btw, just something that jumped into my head - that I couldn't picture Marshall's doppelganger. I looked it up on YouTube - it was Mustache Marshall).

[Spoilers, obviously, since I am going to talk about the ending.]

The ending was a brilliant episode, where each character got closure, awesomely (Fudge Supreme? Barney finding the woman of his dreams? Awesome!!!) and many running gags were cited (cockamouse FTW!) There was Lily's glorious moment dressed as a whale, the mother got the best gag in the whole episode imo ("so where are you registered?") and Robin's reaction to everything and her drift away from the group brought the depth behind the humour that the show did so magnificently.

But... there were 3 problems:

- Barney and Robin split up, in TWO SCENES, after we spent, what, one and a half seasons waiting for them to get married.

- The mother that we had waited 8 seasons to meet, and spent a season falling in love with, was KILLED OFF SCREEN.

Neither of these were bad in and of themselves - on many if not all levels they worked - but the way they were handled felt rushed. At a time when we thought we were working through resolutions of plot and character lines, these were foist suddenly upon us in a manner that was unsatisfying. They could have been done better, and were blemishes on what was an otherwise great ending episode.

And number 3 problem - Ted ends up with Robin. After we spend the whole damn series waiting for him to end up with the mother, and when we knew from episode 1 that it was not Robin, suddenly that's how it ends.

This was jarring, and confronting, to watch, and left me feeling a little disappointed - different from some of the other classic endings of series I have seen (Night Court had a great ending for memory, Bread's was appropriately heartbreaking, Scrubs had an awesome ending, Raymond's was good, Sienfeld's was legendary... I digress). But I have long since come to appreciate it, and will now defend it.

If there were 3 problems to the ending, I will put forward 3 defenses:

- firstly, the creators were always working toward this, and for all the initial cries of "bah, continuity error!" that was people's first reaction, I am quite sure a more sober consideration will show that they ALWAYS worked toward this. Go back and watch it all again (God willing, I know I will one day) and tell me it's not there over and over beneath the surface. And sometimes just flat-out stated, like when Ted tells Robin something to the effect, "if you love someone, really love them, it never stops". The alternative that many people put forward - that the creators should have changed their plans when they realised how much the fans would be disappointed by it because they had come to love the mother so much, well, think about it - that makes no sense. Were the creators mind-readers? Mass mind readers? Sitting there week after week reading every review / fan post and weighing up what the fan position was? Nonsense. Try making a show that way - it will suck, I guarantee it.

- secondly, it made sense of something that was otherwise a bit annoying about the series - that they kept coming back to the Ted/Robin thing. Over and over and over, ad nauseum. Til we screamed at the TV, "she ends up with Barney - you've flash-forwarded the wedding - and he ends up with the mother!!!! STOP IT ALREADY!!!" Only it turned out there was a reason for it all.

- finally - and to me this is the important one (it won't be for others, but it shows how invested I am in the show that this matters so much to me) - it makes sense of the Victoria plotline. Victoria was F***ING ADORABLE! So utterly perfect for Ted that we all wanted her to be the mother. In fact, according to some of those "10 things you didn't know about..." YouTubes, she was MEANT to be the mother if the series didn't get picked up - Ted would have met Victoria and there's the mother, they live happily ever after, yay. But in the end she wasn't. And this only comes about, not only after she flies off to another country, but after she bails out of her own wedding to give Ted another crack. And in the end she leaves him.

Why? Because of Robin. Because she says Robin will always be the woman Ted loves.

As it is, this is fair enough, Ted and Robin end up together and it all works: if Victoria gets her heart broken, we've also seen Ted have his broken because women leave him for the men who turn out to be the love of their life (Stella, and the girl for whom The Window Is Open). That's the nature of love and romance. You appreciate love more when your heart has been broken - you appreciate everything more when your heart has been broken. Only through bitterness do we reach the sweet, as I think Tolkien put it. Or Van Helsing. Maybe Stephen King.

If Ted and Robin didn't end up together, well, Victoria walked away for nothing. That just sux.

Finally - and this is not a defense of the ending but just a really nice touch - it's the best way for Robin to get a happy ending. She gets the man who was always right for her, and she gets children whom have come to love her like a mum. If they had just ended up together from the beginning, then that part would never have happened (following the logic of the show, which is that Robin can't have kids).

But may I say, the alternate ending is great too, which just finishes with that superb scene of them finally meeting under the umbrella and a montage of Robin / Stella / Victoria / the mother's flatmate etc that led to them meeting). I'm tearing up just thinking about it. I need a drink.