How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor has a theory for why fans hated the series finale so much. The CBS sitcom ran from 2005 to 2014, amassing a large fanbase and becoming a sizable part of the cultural zeitgeist along the way. How I Met Your Mother followed the everyday lives of a group of friends in New York City, led by Ted Mosby (Radnor). In the future, an older Ted recounts the story of how he met his wife to his two children; each episode serves as another stepping stone in his lengthy journey.
How I Met Your Mother has long been a favorite among audiences, but its final episode left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. Season 9 finally saw Ted meet the titular Mother, Cristin Milioti’s Tracy. What seemed like a happy ending quickly took a major turn, when How I Met Your Mother’s final episode revealed Tracy had actually died before Ted began telling the story to their kids. He then gets back together with his best friend/off-again, on-again girlfriend Robin (Cobie Smulders). That story decision, along with several others, has led to How I Met Your Mother’s series finale earning a negative reputation among the fanbase.
Radnor has an opinion about exactly why that is, and he shared it with fellow Ted Mosby actor Bob Saget (who provided the voiceover for the older Ted). While appearing on Saget’s podcast Here For You, Radnor explained his theory, which deals with the concept of anger over grief. He stated:
“Anger is an easier emotion than grief. People were more comfortable being angry than sad. They were sad their favorite show was ending and they were sad it didn’t end the way they wanted it to. Rather than sit with the feelings of sadness or loss—which is what [creators] Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas] were asking people to sit with… not everyone was up for that.”
Radnor also said he believes time will be kind to How I Met Your Mother’s ending, especially since audiences are still flocking to the show. “I think [we should] give it some more time. It doesn’t feel like [the finale has] dimmed enthusiasm for the show at all. In fact, I feel like show is, more globally, kind of in the zeitgeist than it’s ever been,” Radnor added. That, at least, might be true, since How I Met Your Mother still ranks among the most beloved comedies of the 2000s/2010s. Some might disagree with Radnor’s take on the finale, since many of the criticisms stemmed from a genuine anger over how the series killed off the Mother fans had waited so long to meet.
Positive or negative thoughts aside, there’s no question that the ending to How I Met Your Mother is one of the most polarizing ones in recent memory, and perhaps ever. A bad finale can sully fans’ feelings toward the entire series, but there’s still some happiness to be found with How I Met Your Mother. The show put in multiple seasons of well-received episodes, and that shouldn’t be overshadowed by a bad conclusion. Fans can still rewatch the show and remember why they loved it; they just might skip the last episode.