The finale of How I Met Your Mother was a good ending and appropriate to the show's themes
Debate Rounds (3)
WARNING: SPOILERS TO THIS SHOW ARE ASSUMED. DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE A FAN OF THE SHOW AND HAVE NOT SEEN THE ENDING.
The long running sitcom How I Met Your Mother ended last night, and had a rather controversial fate for the main cast. The show jumps ahead decades to show what life turns out like for the various characters and what happens after the wedding of season 9.
The debate topic is this:
Did this finale do justice to the show, meaning that it gave sufficient closure to all of the main cast members and lived up to the themes of the show? Did the resolution to the 9 seasons give an ending that properly fits the themes that have been established throughout the shows run?
Please note, this is about the show as it is presented to the audience. I fully respect that the show creators have their vision of how the series should have ended, and they are entitled to the ending they want. Please do not use "It's their show and they can end it how they like" as your thesis. While I accept that, this debate is intended to be about whether the ending is consistent with the messages that the plot and character arcs behind the rest of the show as a whole.
I will be debating as CON, the challenger PRO. I will support the position that while any ending can be sufficient if the show it ends supports it, the How I Met Your Mother ending undermines some of the ideas that seem to drive the show and many of the character arcs of the main cast.
Pro will present reasons why this ending is fitting for the show, in whatever way they deem appropriate.
Sources will not be used, as it would be rather difficult to watch every episode to find the one moment either of us is thinking of to support a general point. If you want to cite an example from an episode, you can just describe what happened and not be penalized. I ask that voters leave the "better sources used" point as a tie.
Debate is to be 3 rounds.
-Round 1 is acceptance, and a general thesis statement if Pro wishes, although not necessary
-Round 2 is presentation of arguments
-Round 3 is responses to opponent. Please refrain from adding new arguments not related to responding to a previous argument
4. This debate is not meant to be overly formal. Feel free to present your case in a relaxed style and have fun with reminiscing on this show
I welcome anyone who is a fan of this show to accept this debate and look forward to debating with you.
Bannanawamajama forfeited this round.
sophialindsey forfeited this round.
Sorry about Round 2, I hadn't realized someone had accepted the debate till it was too late.
I. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENTS
Robin- Robin breaks up with Barney a few years after the wedding, although this ends up being a few minutes in show time, making the whole thing feel rushed. Afterwards, Robin continues to become highly successful as a reporter, which leads her to become less and less invested in her friends, isolating herself from them. This is partially because of her history with Ted and Barney, but mostly we can trace this back to Robin following the same habits as early in the series, where she is established as an isolationist who doesn't accomodate her friends and acts in self interest rather than considering others.
For the first half of the series she is shown to be more concerned with her career than social life, and outright claims so. This supposedly was to change after meeting someone who she could see herself actually settling down for, like Kevin or Barney, but she quickly abandons this after the breakup, leading the others to not see her for long spans of time.
Barney- Barney gets completely shafted in this finale. Not only does his whole life start going downhill, but he also reverts back to the same character he was in the first episode, only to unconvincingly snap back a few minutes later. We already know from season 9 that Barney soon afterwards colludes with the Feds to sell out his boss for vengeance, meaning he no longer has a job. He falls back instead on his blog, which we see in this episode struggles. With no real skillsets and no real experience, having had a meaningless job for the past decades, Barney has few prospects for the future.
To pile on to that, Barney and Robin split. He loses everything and quickly falls back into old habits, even making a speech to Lily about how he needs to be himself and that he can't change. This about face turn takes place within minutes, and last for minutes more, before he immediately is punished by an accidental pregnancy, and follows with seeing his childs face and immediately deciding to turn his life around(again). There is no reason to believe he won't give up on this just as easily.
Marshall and Lily- Not much went wrong for these two in the finale, but then again, not much happened to them at all. We find that they had another child, and thats really the only new development. We have already seen in past episodes that Marshall and Lily eventually move out of their apartment and that Marshall runs for state Supreme court, eventually winning. None of this was novel even though it was mentioned in the episode. This is unsurprising, as Marshall and Lily were the stoic characters of the show. While they got stronger as a couple, they remained relatively consistent as a stable happy couple who matched well together.
Ted- Ted builds up a story for 9 seasons about how Tracey McConnell is the perfect woman for him, and we see this evidenced by shots of her interacting with the rest of the gang in this episode as well as all their interactions throughout season 9. It is perhaps the first tiem a girl has perfectly matched Ted the way he thinks every girl he dates does, and his over-the-top romanticism seems to have finally paid off. He then promptly mentions she is dead in the last few minutes of the show so that he can instantly become free to date Robin. Technically this is a 6 year gap, but the audience can hardly tell.
This episode jumps around like crazy, spanning decades in about 30 minutes, if you don't count the wedding scene and the talking to the kids at the end. This is such a jarring break from spending an entire season in a 3 day window, that the audience can't keep track of this. We have been trained to think of time as moving slowly, so when these abrupt jumps in time occur, it is hard to process them.
As such, when we see things like Robin and Barney's marriage falling apart, or Ted losing his wife and the next second turning his attention to his next option, there is no way to understand it. It makes the wild character developments that occur happen with no context and seem unbelievable. There is no evidence that the marriage wasn't going to work out because we just had a dozen episodes to the contrary and no explanation as to why that turned out not to be true.
III. TED AND ROBIN
Ted and Robin do not belong together. They have dated multiple times before, and it was clearly shown that while they get along as friends, they did not work as a couple. This is because they have different personalities and want completely different things. Robin is self driven and motivated, where as Ted is focused on his relationships first and foremost. Robin wanted a career, Ted wanted a family. The writers tried to cop out of this by letting Ted get married to someone else and have a get his family beforehand, and let Robin become succesful before they get together, but this doesnt solve the issue that their outlooks on what is important in life are different.
In one episode, when Robin breaks up with Kevin, she laments at how no one would be able to love her because she couldn't give anyone kids. Ted at the time says he is willing to be with her and he doesn't care if it means he can't have a family. This completely undermines that sentiment. According to this, yes, Robin was right. Without the promise of kids, she is unlovable, and the only time Ted can supposedly be with her was when he cheats the system to have his cake and eat it too.
Contrast this with Barney, who knew about Robin's problem long before proposing and did so anyway. It wasn't an impulsive descision like Ted, Barney, knowing what he was giving up, was willing to sacrifice a family to be with her. This is why Barney was clearly the superior husband. Barney's zany antics might not have exactly been the same as Robin's personality, but they showed over the seasons that they were a good couple with chemistry. Robin has gone out with Barney to engage in his wild lifestyle when Ted isn't around, and pulled it off perfectly. They are able to make witty banter and even pull of Barneys constant high fives. Meanwhile, Ted is a hopeless romantic while Robin is direct and straightforward. She doesn't go for deep symbolism and gets frustrated at Ted's over the top displays of emotion without subtltey.
III. TED' S CHARACTER REGRESSION
Ted was supposed to evolve past his idealism and romanticism. All his previous relationships failed because he saw them how he wanted to see them and ignored the issues he needed to deal with. Thats why he ran off with Victoria after she found someone else and couldnt handle Zoe not supporting him and never understood Robin. Usually he chases incessently after the nearest available girl to him, but immediately forgets about them once they're not within his grasp anymore. Giving up Robin in season 9 was supposed to mean he finally learned realism and maybe could see people as they really were instead of his fantasy, but clearly this isnt the case, as he jumps at Robin again once she is available despite evidence that he doesn't belong with her.
HIMYM was never about the mother, but it WAS about how Ted and co. matured over 9 years to become the people they were, because that was supposed to be important. So what does this mean that all that maturity was moot? The only possible explanation that doesn't destroy all meaning in the show for the sake of a big twist is that its message is what Barney says: People don't ever change, you are who you are for life. This is somewhat a darker tone than expected from a lighthearted comedy, but it could work. Except it doesn't. Ted gets this idealistic ending where he and Robin both get everything they want out of life and a perfect relationship that shouldn't have worked. All the messages that were created over the past years were discarded, and the only message that could have made sense is defeated by the last two minutes of the show.
sophialindsey forfeited this round.
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