As How I Met Your Mother ended its seventh season, Ted Mosby ran away with an old flame, Victoria, just minutes before her wedding. This could be an interesting way to end a season, the lead getting back with the one who got away, if this was any other show but How I Met Your Mother. Viewers know nothing will come of this because, while creators have sprinkled “clues” throughout the series’ 164 episodes, they really haven’t led anyone closer to figuring out the identity of the ever elusive mother, but they have made it very clear who she certainly is not.
So far, viewers know the mother is in possession of a yellow umbrella, took at least one class at Columbia University, has ankles, showers, and, at this point, has not met Ted Mosby. Ted’s narration has repeatedly told us he has yet to meet Mommy Dearest, so having him drive off into the sunset with an ex-girlfriend is just the creators’ way of telling the audience “We’re going to waste your time and you’re going to take it!” We know this is going to end and, most likely, it’s going to end horribly. The creators rely on the old adage, that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, but what makes a journey so magical, is not knowing what the destination will be and here viewers are constantly told exactly where they are heading.
The season ender also had another major development, professional womanizer Barney Stinson proposing to his girlfriend Quinn. However, as the finale came to the close, it is revealed in a flashforward that Barney’s future bride is not Quinn, but Robin. This means in season eight not one, but two relationships will fall apart. What a way to say good-bye to your fans for the summer.
When the series first began, creators were unsure how successful the show would be and wanted to make sure the mother was met. Rumor has it the creators had back-up mothers, just in case the show was canceled. These early seasons had a sense of fun to them, as viewers kept their eyes peeled for possible mother sightings. However, the show wasn’t cancelled and since the creators seem to want the show to end with the initial meeting of the mother, they have been forced to stall, shoving in random girlfriends as a way to kill time. As with many other high-concept series, the gimmick weighs down on How I Met Your Mother as seasons progress.
Two major characters making life altering decisions should be a solid and exciting way to close a season, leaving viewers eagerly awaiting what the future holds for their heroes. However, the writers of How I Met Your Mother botch the execution and spill the beans that we are still no closer to the mother than we were when we first met Ted and the Gang seven years ago. If the writers kept their “clues” to themselves and stopped making promises to the fans early in the season, only to have to scramble when the finale comes, then maybe fans wouldn’t be so eager for the mother and still be enjoying the journey of finding her.