How I Invalidated Anyone Who Isn’t A Mother

4 Apr
    My main problem with the dreadful season finale of HIMYM: its appalling value-setting that only having children makes you a worthwhile person.

    I had many problems with the season finale of How I Met Your Mother, most of which have been well-documented elsewhere. I have no problem with the mother dying per se (a bit cheesy though), but the bizarre fast-forward timeline, after a whole series where time was slowed down, smacked of bad writing, I will never forgive them for breaking up Robin and Barney.

    Alternative ending

    I thought series 8 was the final series. At the end, I marvelled at the beautiful subtlety of that ending – though you haven’t yet seen Ted meet the mother, it’s all laid out throughout the series arc is flash-forwards, and the story has been told. You know how they meet. I will continue to switch off rewatching and declare ‘the end!’ after series 8 a la Phoebe in Friends.

    Lilly giving birthBreed or fail

    But that’s not my main issue. My main issue is that despite a seemingly diverse mix of characters, the show’s finale gives out one message loud and clear: unless you have children, you’re a failure.

    Obviously Ted had kids, that’s kind of the point of the show. Fine. Their mother doesn’t have to stick around long though. The show might have been better titled How I Managed to Have Kids.

    Lilly and Marshall, throughout the process of fastforward, go on to have a further two kids. Lilly is never shown not pregnant, and her career is never discussed again. She’s happy though, of course, and wants everyone to be happy and together and sunshine and daisies. This doesn’t work out because of…

    …Robin. Robin can’t have kids – a genuine tragedy for anyone who wants them, but she didn’t, so it’s not a cause for concern. She does have an internationally fabulous career and enjoys massive success. But she can’t keep friends, because they have children and she doesn’t. She is presented as uptight and miserable, friendless – until she gets her happy ending in the form of getting Ted back – nicely stocked up with a couple of premade children. Then she can have friends again, and be happy. Phew.

    Barney has to be split up from the love of his life, Robin, so the scriptwriters can give him a child, through a drunken end-of-a-chain-of-30 one night stand. It’s fair to assume that he doesn’t know the mother of his child well at all, but still manages a relationship with the child (a girl, of course) that is free of any kind of acrimony. Because he’s a father now, and therefore complete.

    Even fricking Karl, violent bartender of MacLaren’s, is given a kid at the end, so he can finally find happiness. Seriously?

    What’s wrong with having kids?

    I have no problem with children – I’m 8 months’ pregnant with one right now. I expect this to bring me a wonderful sense of joy and satisfaction that is unlike any other. I’m contributing towards the continuation of the human race. But I also expect to maintain a career, and have a whole set of joys and frustrations in my life that spans different parts of it. And I expect anyone who doesn’t want kids to have a different set of joys and frustrations. They’re contributing to the world not being over-populated and to my children having a decent future. It makes me sad that popular shows like HIMYM continue to peddle this misogynist crap.

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