How I Met Your Mother: Bob Saget Defends The Divisive Finale

Bob Saget shares his two cents regarding the divisive ending of How I Met Your Mother. The CBS ensemble sitcom chronicled the personal and professional adventures of a group of friends living in New York. The title, however, pertains to the character Ted Mosby, with the story told from his perspective. While Josh Radnor played the role on screen, the Full House actor provided the narration as Future Ted. It’s a cool storytelling trick that was inspired by The Wonder Years from the ’80s.

How I Met Your Mother followed the footsteps of ensemble sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld in chronicling the day-to-day lives of a group of young individuals living in New York. It’s the narration, however, that separates it from the just your-typical-ensemble show. Like its predecessors, it gained a following and ran for nine seasons. Throughout the years, the show had gone through unexpected turns, but it remained faithful to the title, with Ted meeting Tracy — the mother of his two kids. But, through one final twist, she died, resulting in Ted, ultimately, reuniting with Robin (Colbie Smulders), who was his original love interest.

The ending brings How I Met Your Mother full circle, but considering the fact that a lot had already happened in the nine years, many didn’t like how things capped off. For some, it defeated the purpose of its main story; meanwhile, others argued that it’s a forced send-off send Ted and Robin had drifted apart. According to Saget in a new interview with Alabama Life and Culture, this was always going to be how the sitcom wrapped up. As for the fans who weren’t on board with it, the actor implied that it’s okay because nailing a sitcom’s ending is rare anyway, citing only Cheers as the one that was able to do it.

I sat there through the reading and I cried with everybody else at the sad ending. And if you get the DVD box set of “How I Met Your Mother,” you can hear that whole episode narrated by me. We did a whole pass at it. It doesn’t change the ending. The ending is what it is, but that was their premise from the moment they started the show. The fans didn’t love it, but who loves the end of a show? I guess “Cheers” had the best send-off. That was probably the one that had the most of a flourish, when you realize that Sam (Malone, the “Cheers” bartender character, played by Ted Danson) loved the bar more than he loved anyone else.

Saget is talking about NBC’s Cheers, which is largely deemed as one of the best sitcoms of all time. It’s about a bar of the same name in Boston and the people who work and visit it. While it’s an ensemble show like How I Met Your Mother, its unofficial lead is Sam Malone, the bartender/owner of the pub. In the first few seasons of the sitcom, he started an on-and-off romance with Diane which many viewers supported, which was why Shelly Long’s departure from the project almost ended it. At the end of Cheers‘ run, Diane returned and almost rekindled her romance with Sam, but after everything that happened after she’d left, he realized that he loved the bar and its people more than he loved anyone.

How I Met Your Mother and Cheers have very different premises, but their endings demonstrate how the latter was able to move on and adapt after it outgrew its premise, while the former held onto it. At this point, it’s difficult to say how different the reaction would be had Ted and Robin remained just friends. In any case, with the sequel, it’s safe to say that the sequel How I Met Your Father learned a thing or two about its predecessor’s divisive ending.

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