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As you should know by now, the “How I Met Your Mother” series finale was Monday night, and it left many fans feeling crushed, cheated, and disappointed. The directors misled us and lied to us about characters we spent nearly a decade coming to know and growing to love, and we didn’t understand when character development receded and the stability of the show’s world got ripped out from under us. Many considered the finale to be wildly disappointing, and it can be easy to lose faith in the sitcom industry for just going after ratings, but we can still have hope. After all, before “How I Met Your Mother,” there was an original group of friends who gathered in a coffee shop and gave us hope for life, love, and friendship. “How I Met Your Mother” may have failed us, but the “Friends” finale will stand the test of time.
A Decade’s Worth Of Build-Up Actually Led To A Heartwarming Conclusion
We watched Ross love Rachel since the pilot episode. We watched him stand outside in the rain at Central Perk. We had our hearts broken when they couldn’t recover from their infamous break, and when they couldn’t make their Vegas marriage real. We watched them love each other at different times, something too many of us can relate to. We watched Monica want a baby more than anything, and we hurt for her when we found out she and Chandler couldn’t have their own children. After 10 years of growing to love these characters like our own friends and wanting nothing but the best for them, nothing could have made a better finale than Rachel getting off the plane and Monica and Chandler finally getting to hold their precious twins. Ted may have let us down after misleading us on his search for what true love really is, but we’ll always have the “Friends” happy ending to satisfy us.
True Friends Stick Together, Beginning To End
If I learned anything from “Friends,” it was that no matter what, your true friends will always be there for you. “How I Met Your Mother” let us down when we realized that the show’s lesson was that true friends will always be there for you–unless there is any kind of sexual or romantic tension. Then your group will fall apart forever. Your true friends, the ones who, in some cases, are more family than your own blood, are so important because you know they’ll never leave for any reason. Sure, we’ll disappoint each other from time to time, but there’s nothing that trapping yourself in a box on Thanksgiving to think about how you’ve let down your friends can’t fix.
Embrace The Curveballs Life Throws Your Way
Any good TV finale forces us to embrace some huge surprises. Erica having twins? Ross going to the wrong airport? Instead of letting those surprises defeat them, the friends showed that people can rise above, fight back, and take charge of their own lives. Monica fights for her children and will do anything to protect them–both of them. Phoebe calls Rachel to warn her about the missing phalanges while she races Ross to the airport to meet Rachel before her flight takes off. Instead of these changes hurting relationships or defeating hearts, we found that true love–the love between couples, best friends, and parents and children–will always find a way to fight back and prevail.
Love Is Worth Risking It All
“Even if she shoots me down, at least I won’t spend the rest of my life wondering what would have happened.”
One of the biggest chances most of us take in life is risking it all for love. It takes time (10 years!) for Ross to decide to give it everything he’s got with Rachel. When it hits him that he has to go the airport, we know he’s taking a huge risk–but we also know the only other outcome is a life half lived. He finally reaches Newark and Rachel gets back on the plane. We weren’t living in indecisiveness and questions about how Ross really felt. We knew he risked everything emotionally to be with Rachel, and that’s the kind of bravery we all hope we can find with love.
When You Find True Love, You Never Let It Go
If this scene doesn’t fill your heart with joy and make you tear up, I’d question whether or not you have a heart. After this, we’re left with no questions about Ross and Rachel’s feelings–which is quite unlike the confusion we felt with Ted. Did Ted half-love his wife? Did he always hope to get with Robin at the end of it all? Was Tracy the love of Ted’s life, or did we spend nine years listening to him justify his need to hook up with an old flame? Whichever option you pick, you see Ted minimized the importance of true love. Ross and Rachel taught us that fighting for true love and holding onto it despite the circumstances is worth everything. No, these shows aren’t always realistic. But they exist to give us hope and promise for ourselves and for our friends. They give us images to look up to and aspire to. They show us anything is possible, and that hope inspires us and causes us to take chances for life and love. And that is worth everything.