I really liked most of the last season (with a few unfortunate exceptions) with all the little hints with other cast members meeting the children's mother, and Ted not quite doing so yet, but having flashforwards to things they did together.
I'd assumed that any ending would be a let down, assuming that Ted would meet the children's mother in the last episode, and there was no possible way that could be a surprise. But I was very pleasantly surprised that they built up a whole season showing Ted and the children's mother continually nearly meeting, and showing her meeting the other characters, and building her up as a character, it felt like if they just capped it off with the expected meeting at the end, it would have been perfect, much better than I expected for a show built around a premise that encapsulated its own ending, and dragged out for nine seasons.
Aaaaagh! Now I've finally got to the last episode I see why everyone was so annoyed!
Ted's wife is killed off by a never-specified terminal illness, and he tries AGAIN to get back with on-again off-again love interest Robin.
Aaaaaagh! A few seasons ago that would have been really sweet, but it's too late! They've moved on! The ship has sailed! They are not good for each other any more!
OK, first, to be fair, the creators planned this all the way back in the first couple of seasons, which was really quite a clever idea. I'm incredibly impressed they were ABLE to pull off a twist ending in a series with such a built-in ending point. Especially one built up, and intertwined with the continuity over nine seasons, and parts of it recorded back then before the actors playing Ted's children aged too much, and never let the ending be leaked.
I really wish MORE series could plan their plots like that.
It was really really really clever and it was what I thought I wanted. But I was wrong, I didn't want clever, I wanted happy.
They were wrong! We were all in love with the children's actual mother, she and Ted were EVEN MORE perfect for each other than Ted and Robin were, and Barney and Robin were happy together. I wanted the happy ending! And Ted and Robin wasn't happy any more, it was just sad :(
In the penultimate episode, when we saw Barney and Robin were going to break up, I had a horrible feeling Ted and Robin would get together after all, either Ted dumping his wife, or (preferably) them having children but recognising they were wrong for each other from the start. And then in the last episode, I thought it wasn't going to happen after all, and then it did.
Ted and Robin isn't "happy" any more. Ted's already had children, already had his planned out "ideal" life he wants. He and Robin are already best friends again. They're content, their careers may or may not be compatible any more, Robin never wanted to "settle down" with anyone ever... At this point, whether they're best friends, or best friends-with-benefits, is NOT the major life decision of either of them!
And it just makes me sad for everyone else. Lily and Marshall rumble through an ok life. Barney loses all the character development he'd had, loses any sort of ambition, and then suddenly has a facile reversal at the last minute. The children's mother dies :(
Sure, it's realistic that real life is kind of depressing and pointless but people muddle through as best they can and it turns out mostly ok. But if you spend nine seasons setting up the premise of "the one" and then throw it away in the last episode then you're going to make EVERYONE cross with your show, whichever side of the argument they're on.
You can also comment at http://jack.dreamwidth.org/902013.html