The Woman With The Yellow Umbrella
The first episode of How I Met Your Mother (from here on out “HIMYM”) that I watched was the one where Lily surprises Marshall at his office, drunk, wanting him to sleep with her so she gets pregnant. I was on a flight back to New York after a boring spring break at home in Miami; it was March of 2009. I was in the budding stages of falling for a girl who would later become the bane of my life. I enjoyed the episode just fine, enough to give the show a shot when I got home, and so I downloaded seasons 1 through 3, and zoomed through them pretty quickly. The premise of the show was so alluring, especially because we didn’t know yet at the time that Robin was not the mom and I had obviously grown to like her (I am a sucker for Canadians, and Cobie Smulders is great).
SPOILERS FOR SEASON 8’S FINALE BELOW THE PHOTO. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.
Anyway, here I am 5 years later and at the end of season 8, looking into the abyss that is the summer break before the final season of HIMYM. And wouldn’t you know…we met the mother! We did, but not Ted. We met her and she sort of looks like what I imagine a hybrid of Robin and Lily would look like, which is weird and almost off-putting, but somehow perfect. I don’t know who Cristin Milloti is aside from what her Wikipedia tells me, but I have high hopes for her. That being said, this is not about the mother, who I’m sure we’ll get to know somewhat but not fully next season.
No, this is about me and my relationship with a show that has at times been emotionally devastating, in so much as a CBS sitcom with a laugh track can be emotionally affecting at all. There are certain moments in HIMYM that stick out to me, usually set to music that I recognize from my life, one way or another. The two that stick out most to me are from 6-ish years apart: the ending of season 1, with its Bloc Party song and message of hope followed swiftly by season 1 Marshall crying, in the rain, and the ending to the first episode of season 8, with Band of Horses’s “The Funeral” inappropriately (yet still comfortingly) soundtracking the foreshadowing of The Meeting between Ted and the mother, also in the rain.
And now, here we can add another moment, with the Shins working way better than they ever did in Garden State, as "Simple Song" introduces the moment that maybe we weren’t waiting for (I was convinced that we would see her face in the last scene of the last episode of the show), but still a moment that felt so right. If there’s one complaint most people have about HIMYM, it’s not that the jokes fall flat or the characters have grown into caricatures of themselves; it’s that the writers have consistently jerked us around for 8 seasons, faking us one way or another for the sake of ratings and more seasons and money.
Yet in one 5 second scene, all that was forgotten for me. We met the mother, she is real, she exists in the universe of How I Met Your Mother. And if Ted can exist on the same plane of existence as his future wife and the mother of their children, maybe the 8 years we were jerked around were worth it. At the very least, HIMYM has earned the very illogical place it has in my heart. 184 episodes later, the show can still fill me with a smile and a desire to sit for 22 minutes with these characters. My only hope is that they can knock the last 24 out of the park, but that’s mostly irrelevant. The end of Ted’s journey is coming, and I’m ready for it.