I never watched a single episode of How I Met Your Mother. Not saying that I didn’t like it or it just wasn’t my thing, it was simply one of those shows I never made the decision to get into (and considering the sheer volume of programming out there these days, that’s often what following any particular show involves: a conscious choice).
With that in mind, I can’t personally tell you whether I thought tonight’s series finale of How I Met Your Mother was a fitting send off to a beloved sitcom, an unforgivable betrayal of all that came before it and a giant fuck-you by the writers, or something in between. Like I said — wasn’t watching. But I can definitely relay to you the general pulse of the HIMYM Nation on Twitter, which is really all you need since Twitter reaction is the only metric that matters anymore in our culture.
The consensus: The writers and producers of HIMYM are Fredo to a lot of very angry fans tonight.
During the lead-up to the first season finale of True Detective — a show I’m very glad I did make the decision to get into — showrunner Nic Pizzolatto tried to downplay expectations for the rapidly increasing audience of devotees and amateur online investigators the show had spawned. He did this because he understood that in the age of social media, fans often create their own narratives which can occasionally take on a life of their own. Pizzolatto knew that the show was in the can and couldn’t be changed, but the cult that had developed around his creation had mapped out its own expectations — expectations he was almost sure wouldn’t be met. Obviously True Detective and How I Met Your Mother are vastly different shows, but like all pop culture touchstones, they drew their respective fans to Twitter and became each group’s hashtagged property.
It’s tough to imagine what the reaction on Twitter would be to, say, the Sopranos finale — or Seinfeld, or M*A*S*H — were they to air today, with everyone plugged in and ready to offer his or her praise or derision in 140-character bursts. Again, I can’t tell you whether the outpouring of disappointment and frustration over the final episode of HIMYM was warranted, but unless the show had been called Breaking Bad there were almost certainly going to be people who were angry over how it all ended. Never mind that the writers of the show basically had the end in mind from the very beginning, it was never going to be the “right” ending for many of those who felt that the series was their own. Even though they might not have envisioned a time when everyone would share their creation on social media, the writers and producers of How I Met Your Mother were probably always doomed to become victims of their own success. Of course most of us wouldn’t mind being that doomed.
On the bright side, at least Suey Park can’t try to make #CancelHIMYM a thing.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.