I really wish I didn’t have to write this letter, but after your season finale I felt I had to say something… Okay, I am beginning this all wrong. Let me try again-
Do you remember when we first met? What a wonderful and magical summer that was!
My wife and I discovered you during the end of your third season and over the summer we rented your two first seasons, watching them back to back and even a second time. We would talk about you all the time. You were recommended to friends.
We laughed at all your jokes, even the bad ones, we could not get enough of your company! You were an additional guest at our table; and while I quietly thought the first season was a little weak, I brushed it off since I enjoyed your visits so much.
Sadly what you don’t know, and what I have never told you before, is that even then there began to form cracks in your logic and premise that bothered me. Oh, I would pooh-pooh those issues, trusting you that it would all work out and this was just because our friendship was new. And really, we were still getting to know each other, right?
This could all still work out, I promised myself… So I tried, I tried to forget the fact that no respecting father would tell some of these stories to their children (like threesomes, drugs, etc.), and just tried to enjoy the friendships and the comedy.
I’m sorry, but sadly even that was not enough. The last few seasons began to have some really weak episodes; oh there would be the occasional good episode that would draw me back, but usually I was more disappointed than happy. Yes, I am sad to admit- some of my laughs were fake, but I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I’m sorry.
What I hated the most with you was the trampoline way you would handle character development and relationships. I’m not going to say you were manipulating us as the audience, but I know you were trying to drag the show on for a few more years, and I could see, like in The Wizard of Oz, the poor wizard behind the curtain struggling to keep up the illusion. You never were very subtle, were you?
For example, can we talk about Barney and Robin? You remember how you teased us and teased us about them getting together, and then when they finally did you ended it so quickly? Not only did you end it, but you made us feel guilty that we wanted it in the first place. Look at how bad they were together! What were we thinking? Well, now thanks to the season finale, we know we weren’t crazy, you DO like them together; you just didn’t want them together yet. Frankly, How I Met Your Mother, that hurt a little. Yes, it hurt a little right here (I’m pointing at my heart).
Okay, I brought up the season finale, but lets look at it a little more because I think it shows a lot of the weaknesses that are driving me to write this letter to you. A letter I wish I never had to write, believe me.
How I Met Your Mother, did you want us to cheer when Ted drove off into the sunset with Victoria? You directed the scene like you wanted us to! But we all know that the relationship would not last! So why present it like it is a good thing? A magical lovely thing? Others may have been happy that Ted didn’t stop by the church, but I kept thinking of the poor soul in a tuxedo waiting for her to arrive (something Ted kind of knows all too well, right?). How is that a good thing? How does that deserve a ride into the sunset with hands together? I just don’t understand what you were thinking…
And how about the proposal of Barney to Quinn? You spent almost your entire season creating a perfect match for Barney; one that as a friend I was really happy to see develop. Barney ending up with a stripper felt right. It felt right to you too, I could tell. So why make the switch to Robin at the end, a relationship that you made us feel guilty for wanting last time since it almost destroyed the both of them!? I don’t understand (You can’t see me right now, but I am shaking my head in a sad fashion).
I feel frustrated… so very frustrated. Maybe it is all my fault. Maybe I was expecting more from this than you were really planning to give in this relationship. Your premise to begin with didn’t sound like American television at all. It was almost refreshing, and I could imagine it being more on the BBC than on stodgy CBS. But on the BBC, you wouldn’t have dozens and dozens of episodes, you would probably be more focused to the actual premise and then pay off in a very satisfying and surprising way.
Maybe that is it really? I am blaming myself for believing you were something more than you are, since I wanted you to be that way.
Talking about the possibility for greatness hurts too much. I want to talk about something else. Have you ever watched Friends?
I know a lot of people compare you to that show, but there is one big difference. See, one of the great ironies of Friends is that almost every single episode is based on one friend lying or hiding something from another friend; in other words, not acting as a friend at all. They are sarcastic and sometimes very mean to each other, yet they are still friends. And we all know that those relationships would never really last in the real world. See, you can’t lie that often to someone and still have them be a friend.
Okay, so that is Friends, but in your world, you are not mean to each other, you are just very mean to everyone else! Look at Barney and all he has done to women. Yes, I am sure a lot of the women understand what they are getting into when they go home with Barney, but you do present a lot of characters that believe his lies, and we all pretend it is all okay (I still feel a little dirty about many of those. Did you want us to cheer then too when a lie worked?).
Let’s move on, because Barney is too easy to complain about here, but look at Ted, he seems blind to the fact that he is just as bad as Barney in many ways. Thanks to the season finale, he has now ruined two marriages for selfish reasons; and we all know as an audience that these relationships would not last. Is he in telling these stories to his kids saying it is okay for them to do the same?
The only character that doesn’t seem to suffer from bad character development is Marshall, but a part of me wonders if that is because he is played by Jason Segel and Jason is an accomplished writer in his own right. Jeepers, the man was able to make me cry over Muppets! Muppets! Cry! Actual tears!
Okay, I need to stop writing.
This is too painful for both of us I know, and we both know where this is heading. While I admit that there is nothing else on Monday worth watching, I still think it is time you let your kids get off the couch. I think I will get up as well.
A TV Watcher.
PS. I thought Robin Sparkles was hilarious.
If you liked reading my article, why not check out some of my books? I had two novels published in the last few years, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!