After nine years of holding out for Ted's perfect person... I think that maybe, I've learned a thing or two about love... SPOILER ALERT!!!!
by David Davila (a hopeless romantic)
If you haven't seen the series finale of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER yet then you probably want to stop reading right now because I'm about to ruin the ending...
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER hits very close to home for me. The entire time that Ted has been waiting to meet his perfect match, I have been waiting too - to meet my perfect match. You see?
Nine years y'all!!!!
It isn't exactly crazy to think that Ted wouldn't meet "the one" during the entire nine year run of the show because in all those nine years I never met "the one" either. I'm still waiting to meet my "the mother;" my version of Tracy...
... and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER gave me hope that there was still someone out there for me that I hadn't met yet. It didn't matter if Ted had already had the most romantic relationship that there ever was, (giving Robin the blue french horn) or the most romantic three minute date (with his fiance Stella), or if he'd run off with the perfect woman at her wedding to someone else (Victoria!!!!!!). It didn't matter if all of these high expectations and romantic gestures seemed like the be-all-end-all, because there was still the promise of the "BIG ONE" that would somehow top everything that ever came before it.
You know the saying: "Someday someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else."
I have been seriously holding on to this romantic idea for years and years and years! Now that I'm in my thirties I've begun to wonder if it's all a falacy. If there isn't one perfect person for everyone. If we just choose someone that we can stand to be around and that we work well with; someone we enjoy sharing meals with and also like having sex with - someone we don't murder on long road trips.
Eventually, those of us that don't fall madly in love in our early twenties and run immediately to the chapel to get married... we just sorta settle for someone. After all that's why it's called "settling" down right?
When Ted finally meets Tracy he's completely given up on love. The love of his life has just married his best friend, and Tracy's entrance into his life seems like fate. There are no big gestures. There are no romantic notions. There are no blue french horns or rose petals. There's only a promise to call the next day and a shared interest in driving gloves. After a year (or two?) of dating, Ted gets Tracy pregnant, and several years later they finally decide to get married.
That's how Ted met the mother of his children. They shared ten years together and then she died of cancer.
Life isn't fair for everyone I guess. It sure wasn't fair for Tracy and Ted. Still Ted never stopped loving the other love of his life: Robin. The one he fawned over for nine years, the one who is the star of the elaborate story he's telling his children. The one he always wanted was Robin... (it even ruined his relationship with Victoria not once but twice) and with the mother of his children gone and Robin divorced, he finally had the chance to be with the woman he always loved. In the end, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas seem to be saying the one thing that no one ever wants to hear:
The one that got away... might actually have been the only one for you...
It's the theme that Stephen Sondheim explores in his classic musical FOLLIES. It's one of the worst ideas imaginable. What if you meet the one you're supposed to spend your life with when you're too young, and you're too stupid to realize it? OR... What if you never get over the one who broke your heart in your twenties? (like Sally in FOLLIES)... What if you never love anyone as much ever again? What if you're in your fifties and you endlessly obsess over "the road you didn't take?" (like Ben.)
("Too Many Mornings" from FOLLIES)
Maybe the real moral of the story is that perfect happy endings don't exist in the real world. Ted was holding on to the overly romantisized notions that are constantly perpetuated in American romantic comedies.
He thought that all his troubles would magically dissapear when he met the perfect girl... but there are no such things as happy endings because again, as Sondheim teaches (in INTO THE WOODS)... if fairy tales got a second act we'd only see our characters long for more things, and collect more troubles until they all eventually die - like Ted's wife Tracy.
It's hard for someone who believes in fairy tales to learn once and for all that they aren't real - and that's what I learned from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER...
It's no wonder so many people hated the ending. It took away their hope for love and happiness. It took away my hope...
Or did it?
Like Ted, I don't know if I could ever give up on hoping. Hoping at least that I'll meet someone who I enjoy sharing meals with and also like having sex with... someone who I won't murder... and who hopefully wouldn't murder me...
Someone like Tracy... if only for ten years...
Maybe I didn't learn anything.
... and now for the 90's jam of the week. This just felt appropriate, since Ted never got over Robin. It wasn't a single, but it's a classic. This whole album is now a classic even though none of the songs were ever hits... it's actually a masterpiece. If you don't have this album you need to get it IMMEDIATELY!!!! It's The Magnetic Fields' 69 LOVE SONGS... "I don't wanna get over you."
DAVID DAVILA is the guy behind those 52 SONGS concerts and author of the Tex-Mex plays ADAN Y JULIO, MEN OF GOD, ABUELAS OR THE POVERTY CYCLE, CREDO, REQUERDOS OF MY LIFE, ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, and AZTEC PIRATES AND THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE ON MARS. He's also the composer/lyricist of the musicals VOX POP, CORNER GIRL, FUCKING BEAUTIFUL (with Sean Havrilla), and the song cycle TALES FROM HIGHWAY 281. He is a self proclaimed Voxist, a Diva enthusiast, and founder of Lone Star Theatre Co. Wanna talk about it? www.daviddavila.net
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