Sadness and the Big Moments: The Finale of “How I Met Your Mother”

“We’ll always be friends. It’s just never going to be how it was. It can’t be, and that doesn’t have to be a sad thing.”

And so here we are again, with a series that most of us here at NPI liked–if not enough to offer serial reviews—ending in highly scorned fashion. How I Met Your Mother has gone the way of Lost, or even of The Sopranos, its conclusion drawing ire from fans and critics alike.

Series finales, especially for quote-unquote comedies, are really difficult, for the reasons John S laid out a year ago post-The Office. I mean, let’s face it: Endings in any fictional work are hard and typically forced, because in real life things don’t really end. The kind of closure we expect from a story isn’t intrinsic. There are always going to be loose ends and unexplained details and things we never find out. Fiction writers have to navigate their way around this, usually by killing characters or by having them unwittingly broach the fourth wall by weirdly acknowledging a finality that shouldn’t exist diegetically.

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