It was 2009. Justin had already graduated and I was braving my last semester of college alone. I was close with only two people who were still in school with me after so many of our mutual friends had also graduated. One of them introduced me to a show she watched while she’d been studying abroad in Australia. She explained that in Australia, peer-to-peer sharing wasn’t illegal like it is here. Even though this TV show had been on the air for four years by then, Kristen was able to download the first several seasons while she was abroad and then she was able to bring them home with her. After hearing her talk and rave about how funny this show was, she asked us to watch it with her. So, we crammed on her bed in her little shoebox of a dorm room to watch the pilot episode on her laptop. It didn’t take long for me to become completely enamored with this show. From that first episode, I wanted to learn more. I wanted to see how these characters developed, and, most importantly, to hear the rest of the story.
“Kristen, what’s this show called again? I love it!”
“It’s called How I Met Your Mother.”
And so began my love affair with the abbreviated HIMYM. Through several other outlets, including Hulu and Netflix, I was able to catch up on the show before the next season started. And I have tuned in every Monday since to see what antics Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney, and Robin are up to. These characters have come into my living room every night for the last five years and have never overstayed their welcome. If anything, I wish they could have stayed longer.
The story is simple. Ted, the main character, begins the series in the year 2030 by sitting his kids down on the couch and telling them the story of how he met their mother. Little do they know, it’s a long story. The show centers on Ted and his four friends: Lily and Marshall, the perfect couple whose engagement prompts Ted to find the love of his life; Robin, the one who got away but stayed anyway; and Barney, the womanizer who always has a good story. Each individual character goes through their own storylines in addition to the main story arc.
This show is one of the most noteworthy examples I’ve ever seen for continuity. Jokes made in the first season finally receive a punchline in season 9. A single line from a one-time character is remembered many episodes later. The plans made so early on finally come to fruition later. There are no open-ended questions. Whatever happened, at any point during the series, is addressed at some point. And I LOVE that. If there’s one big thing I could praise HIMYM for, it would be that.
These characters have become my friends. I’ve invested my time, love, and attention into their stories and their troubles. I’ve rejoiced when things went right and sympathized, if not empathized, when things went wrong. I’ve come to understand each character as the person they are and why they are that way. I screamed in joy when Marshall told Lily they were having a boy and when Barney and Robin got engaged. And I bawled my eyes out at the end of “Bad News” and “Symphony of Illumination.” And goodness do I want to know about the origin of the pineapple!
Despite the fiction behind their existence, these characters — these people — are very real to me. They endure real heartache and real joy that is similar to my own. During the six days between our meetings and especially during the many weeks between seasons, I feel like I am missing a friend. I’m waiting each week to see my friend again.
With the show airing on Monday, sometimes I would remember the upcoming episode and suddenly Monday wasn’t so bad anymore. After a long weekend, or even before beginning a long week, I would be in the middle of a task at work or eating lunch and suddenly recall the day — “Oh man! It’s Monday! HIMYM’s on tonight!” And then everything was better, I just had to make it to 8.
Today, on this Monday, I am waiting until 8 for the last time.
HIMYM ends tonight. With a one-hour finale, as if that amount of time could actually close up all the loose ends. Tonight will be the last time that my best friend Molly and I can watch the show with each other on the phone, making comments about what’s happening.
This last season hasn’t lived up to its predecessors as well as the fans may have wanted. I personally think we could have done with a half-season, in favor of skipping the many filler episodes that aren’t getting us any closer to the mother. But, in any case, the last episode is tonight. Ted meets the mother. Ted dates the mother. Then, he marries her and they have Luke and Penny (still kinda bummed her name isn’t Leia). We are finally here. The moment we’ve been waiting for, for 9 years, is upon us. Who would have known it’d come so quickly, and yet not quick enough?
I am going to miss this show so much. There will never be another one like it. There will never be another couple that we all wish to be like, like Lilypad and Marshmallow. There will never be a better “one of the boys” like Robin. There will never be a better secretly kind-hearted ladies’ man like Barney. There will never be a better unlucky-in-love true friend like Ted. And there will never be a better group than the one who meets in the same booth every time at MacLaren’s, even after they’ve all moved away. There will never be another show like this, and I am so sad to see it go.
So, tonight, we say goodbye to you, HIMYM. Goodbye to the fish jokes and the ducky tie, to “Haaave You Met Ted?” and “Suit up!” Goodbye to Marvin and the future Daisy. Goodbye to the red cowboy boots and miracles. Goodbye to everything that made this show so spectacular and fun to watch. To everything that made this show the pioneer that it was. No other show will ever live up to it.
Thank you, HIMYM.
I’ll probably tear up at least once later tonight, as I say goodbye for the last time. I just hope the finale is as legen, wait for it, dary as the rest of the show has been.