How I Met Your Mother’s controversial series finale remains unpopular to this day, but it explains one perplexing pilot episode choice.
- How I Met Your Mother opens with Ted seemingly telling his kids the story of how he met their mother, but most of the show focuses on his life before her.
- Starting the story with Ted meeting Robin was intentional, and the series finale brings things full circle.
- The controversial series finale reveals that the actual point of the story is for Ted to indirectly ask his kids for permission to pursue Robin.
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The ending of How I Met Your Mother is controversial, but the way Ted’s story concludes explains one perplexing aspect of the show’s pilot episode. Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, How I Met Your Mother has a fairly common premise: it follows Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and his four best friends as they navigate life in New York as young adults. However, the sitcom’s storytelling structure is what makes it so unique. The events of the nine-season series are narrated by Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget), who is telling his two children the story of how he met their mother.
It sounds simple enough, but How I Met Your Mother is anything but. Despite Ted’s insistence that he’s telling his kids how he met their mother, the majority of his long-winded story has nothing to do with her. Although he does eventually get around to meeting their mother, Tracy (Cristin Milioti), Ted spends most of the show telling the story of his life leading up to that point. And the controversial How I Met Your Mother finale finally makes sense of where he begins his narrative in the pilot episode.
RELATED: How I Met Your Mother’s Ending Controversy Was Impossible To Avoid
Ted Spends The Entire How I Met Your Mother Pilot Talking About Robin
The pilot episode of How I Met Your Mother begins with Ted sitting down to tell his kids the story of how he met Tracy. He recounts locking eyes with a woman from across the bar and thinking, “I’m going to marry her someday.” He recalls their first date and how he kept blowing it by coming on too strong. The entire episode leads the viewer and the kids to believe that the woman in question will end up being the Mother. However, the pilot has a major twist ending, with Ted eventually declaring, “And that, kids, is the true story of how I met your Aunt Robin.“
It’s a funny gag, leading the viewer and his children to believe that this episode-length anecdote is the whole story of how he met Tracy, when in reality, this is just the story of how he met Robin (Cobie Smulders), one of his oldest friends. It’s initially depicted as a tactic to subvert the kids’ expectations of what (and how much) this story will entail, and it challenges the viewers’ expectations about the concept of the show. This is not going to be the bare-bones story of how Ted met the Mother, but instead, all the seemingly unrelated events of his life leading up to the moment they eventually meet.
The How I Met Your Mother Finale Reveals Why Ted Started His Story There
Although it originally seems this way, Ted starting How I Met Your Mother‘s pilot episode with the super long tale of how he meets Robin is not just a storytelling strategy to subvert expectations. The decision is no accident. Ted needs to start the story somewhere, but the How I Met Your Mother finale reveals why he starts with the events of the pilot specifically.
One could argue that the story begins with the pilot because that’s when Ted’s best friends, Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), get engaged. Their engagement is a real wake-up call for Ted, as he comes to the realization that he’s 27 and still single, which motivates him to finally find “The One.” Ted falters on this journey many times over the course of How I Met Your Mother‘s nine seasons, but it eventually leads him to Tracy. So, it makes sense that he begins the story of how he met the Mother with the catalyst of his quest to find her.
It’s a valid argument and seemingly what Bays and Thomas wanted viewers to believe. But after watching the series finale, it becomes clear why Ted starts the story where he does. The writers always intended for the Mother to be dead all along — and for the story to be Ted’s indirect way of asking his kids for permission to go after their Aunt Robin. Knowing this is how the series wraps, and that it was the writers’ planned ending all along (via USA Today), it makes a lot more sense that Ted kicks things off with his love-at-first-sight encounter with Robin.
The HIMYM Finale Is Controversial But It Brings The Story Full Circle
To this day, How I Met Your Mother‘s series finale is one of the most controversial endings of a TV show ever. Viewers waited years to meet the mysterious Mother, and after making them — as well as Ted and the other characters — fall in love with her, the writers killed Tracy off fairly fast. There are hints throughout the final season that Tracy will eventually die, but it’s still a bold choice to go with this ending of How I Met Your Mother. And structurally, it makes sense.
What viewers thought was the point of the story and the driving force of the show — Ted eventually meeting The Mother — was actually a ploy to get Ted and Robin back together. While it may have been a disappointing and puzzling conclusion for many viewers, it certainly brings the story full circle. Ted meeting Robin serves as the starting point of the story, and How I Met Your Mother returns to this romance in its last episode, confirming that the two are endgame.
Source: USA Today
- How I Met Your Mother Release Date: 2005-09-19 Cast: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Bob Saget Genres: Comedy, Drama Seasons: 9 Story By: Carter Bays; Craig Thomas; Rob Greenberg Writers: Carter Bays, Craig Thomas Network: CBS Streaming Service(s): Amazon Prime Video Directors: Carter Bays Showrunner: Craig Thomas