Yes, I was one of the many incensed fans who tried to text out their rage on Twitter following the series finale of HIMYM. Somewhere I felt like, "Are they just messing with us or what?" and was angry that the end of nine seasons was such a downer. But somehow, over the last six months, my wrath has abated and I started reflecting more about what the ending meant in relation to the rest of the series. Though I haven't seen the alternate ending, maybe the fact that there really is a "happy ending" out there made me think about it with a more open mind. So, drawing inspiration from this article on IndieWire, I'd like to present three reasons why I finally stopped hating the HIMYM finale.
(Just in case you've been living in a cave this past year, ATTENTION: SPOILER ALERT!)
Reason 1: The ending makes the show more realistic
I know a lot of fans felt wronged by the way the show finally ended (myself included), especially because you get quite attached to the characters and their lives after nine seasons. At the same time, it also brought a certain degree of realism to the show, which is rare in situational comedy. Of course, nobody would have wished for Ted's wife to die, but when you think about it, unfortunately, cancer is not a rare disease -- a lot of people get it. And while it sucks that just after we finally get to meet Ted's wife, she gets ripped away from us, you have to admit that this sort of thing does happen.
In my own life, three people from my immediate and extended family have gotten cancer and only one of them survived, so that fact is something I can relate to. And although I may not be fond of this kind of stark Teutonic realism, I can appreciate the writers wanting to push the envelope by going ahead with an ending that risks making them unpopular.
Reason 2: Half the show revolves around Robin
Although the fans who liked the series finale were probably in the minority, I think most of the people who were happy about the ending were the die-hard fans who always hoped Ted and Robin would get back together. When you think about it, really half the show is about Robin and her life, even after she and Ted broke up. Ted keeps telling his kids how she goes on to become a famous journalist and her personal life and problems are highlighted more than almost anyone else's. A major story arc from the second season onwards is Robin's journey from a career-motivated go-getter to someone who puts her relationships first and allows herself to become vulnerable.
The way the story progresses after season one, the show's producers must have planned this from the start. Ted and Robin's relationship and interactions pretty much form the bulk of the series, even after they break up. Why else would Ted spend so much time telling his kids about her and building her up in their minds? Leaving the writers' commercial considerations aside, my reasoning is that he wants to explain to them why he and Robin got back together, otherwise why would he go on about it for nine seasons? It's a delicate situation, he needs to let them know that although he truly loved their mother, he and Robin always shared a deep bond. Which brings me to...
Reason 3: Ted never stopped loving Robin
Let's face it, in the pilot episode if Robin had said, "I think I'm in love with you too," (however unlikely that may seem) then the whole series would have been over in one shot. Ted was just hankering to bend down and pull a ring out of his pocket, so it seems pretty likely that eventually they would have gotten married, if Robin had been open to the idea.
And although their romantic relationship was over pretty soon, I think it was Ted's deep feelings for Robin that really kept them together as friends. His comment to her when they broke up is pretty indicative of that - Robin: "You stole the blue French horn for me." Ted: "I would have stolen you a whole orchestra." And then there's the Christmas episode in Season 7 where he decorated the whole apartment just to cheer her up. I don't think anyone - even the other characters on the show - really felt that Ted "got over" Robin. Also I don't think it was a coincidence that Ted finally met his future wife only after Robin got married. Even Victoria points out to Ted that Robin is the main reason why none of his other relationships have worked out. I think maybe he's only able to let her go after she finally gets married to someone else.
Maybe these things were clear to other people beforehand and so the series finale was just a natural outcome for them. But for me, since Ted was always telling his kids about their "Aunt Robin" from the beginning, I just ruled out the possibility of them getting together and was excited to see who his actual wife was. So when it was revealed that she ends up dying of cancer, I just felt miffed about the whole thing, which led me to swear off HIMYM for quite a while. In the end, even if I wasn't too happy about the ending, maybe that's the whole point of the series anyway -- the story is basically about Ted getting back together with Robin after so many years.