I can’t say the finale was love at first sight like how Ted felt about Robin when we first meet the characters at MacLaren’s. The drama, or rather, the mysterious origins of Ted’s wife was allowed to sizzle in a slow-cooker for eight seasons before being thrown away in the trash for a brand new and more upbeat narrative–How I Met Your Step-Mother.
But as Ted’s kids point out, perhaps this was the narrative all along. Perhaps the show wasn’t about reliving the days of detective Mosby, picking up all the clues to the yellow umbrella bearing bass player that is Tracy, the biological mother to Ted’s children. Perhaps the show was always about Ted and Robin, evolving through the years, their drama being the friction by which their characters grow and mature, until realizing the timing is right and they are right for each other.
My favorite moments in the show are when Ted goes to extraordinary lengths to please Robin. These moments are plentiful in earlier seasons, with inexplicable phrases like “I Love You” slipping from his lips to ruin even the most endearing romantic moments. However, as Ted becomes increasingly hardened from his experiences, these moments become harder to trace. And when Ted jumps off of a bridge and into a creek to swim for Robin’s locket, it shows us, the audience, that even after being left at the altar he still believes in love. It’s no shock, then, that I also loved Ted’s last emphatic hooray for love in the closing moments of the show, even after losing his fairytale, God-sent wife.
How I Met Your Step-Mother is not nearly as attractive as a concept as How I Met Your Mother. The roots of such deceit might be part marketing, part plotting, but it’s also exactly what the show is about. The concept of love isn’t always pretty–I mean, the happy ending we get is a union between a divorcee and a widower–but more importantly, it shows us that love is unshakable, the feeling of destiny that swept me when Ted lifted up that stupid blue French horn for the final time.