I think the final episode of How I Met Your Mother will go down in history as one of the worst endings ever, all because the writers decided to make their devoted audience cry instead of rejoice. Call it an artistic choice, but it was a bad one.
Hey, writers, did you forget that for nine years you have been writing a romantic comedy? But instead you turn it into a drama during the last two minutes of the show.
Hey, writers, did you forget that romantic comedies have happy endings because that's what the audience loves? But instead you decided to stick it to your devoted audience by thrusting a sad ending upon them.
Hey, writers, did you forget that audiences are made up of people who need time to grieve? But then within a period of less than two minutes, you tell the audience that mom died, and then you send Ted into the arms of another woman, Robin.
Hey, writers, did you not understand that your final twist means that, at a deep level, Ted might never have loved mom as much as he loved Robin? That means, in many ways, that mom was simply a runner-up in Ted's life.
Hey, writers, didn't anyone ever tell you that when an audience loves a character, that those characters become as much owned by the audience as they are by you? So you should treat them with care.
Hey, writers, you can call it artistic expression if that helps you sleep at night, but it was simply bad storytelling based on strategically bad choices. Within two minutes, you shifted from romantic comedy to a drama, from happy ending to a tragedy, from loyalty to mom to loyalty to Robin. But more importantly, you stole a happy ending from your devoted viewers. While that often happens in dramas (you can read my separate post on that), it is not forgivable in comedies. All that great writing for nine years, dashed in two minutes.
And that's how I met a dreadful ending.