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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How I Met Your....Wait, What?

Oh me - well, after nine years and 208 episodes How I Met Your Mother took a final bow on Monday, March 31st and I have to admit that as I sat and watched the series finale I cringed far more often than I thought and I actually only cried once...and not for the reason I thought I would. The series finale had it all - laughter, moments that tugged at your heart strings and a wrap-up to the gang's story-line and even if it wasn't what I'd have chosen, it is what it is.

Having said all that, I'd like to look back on my ten favorite episodes from the past nine years I've spent with Barney, Robin, Marshall, Lily and Ted.

My Top Ten Episodes (in order by season...not necessarily by rank)

1) Game Night - The gang reveal their most embarrassing moments with Barney's being the reveal of how he went from being a granola-eating, peace-loving hippie bound for the Peace Corp with his girlfriend to a suit wearing womanizer with more money than he has good sense. The gang tries to reassure Barney that everything is fine and he quickly assures them that he knows everything is fine - he has women, suits and money, his life isn't just alright, it's awesome! The game of Marshgammon is invented in this episode and nobody knows how to play it...
  • Game Night - how-i-met-your-mother Photo
    Granola Barney....who knew?

2) Something Borrowed/Something Blue - Marshall and Lily finally tie the knot; although not in the way they'd planned. After weeks of declaring that she won't freak out if anything goes wrong at her wedding, when everything seems to go wrong: the harpist goes into labor, the flowers don't arrive, Lily's ex-boyfriend shows up and tries to win her back, Marshall shaves a stripe down the middle of his head in an effort to correct the horrible frosted tips that Lily's cousin gave him and the photographer gets knocked out and replaced with a camera phone...well, Lily freaks. The couple decide to escape the madness of the impending disaster nuptials and head outside where Barney; recently licensed to be a minister, marries them with Robin and Ted watching - and Barney, hater of all things love and marriage even tears up. After their simple ceremony outside, they are able to continue with their planned wedding - even if it is something of a disaster.

Marshmallow & Lilypad tie the knot!

3) Sandcastles in the Sand - Robin is anxious about a visit from an old boyfriend, Simon (hello James van Der Beek) , who once upon a time was the coolest person she knew and she reverts back to her younger mindset. The gang reminds her of all the reasons she is so awesome and all the reasons Simon is not (he still lives with his Mother, he works at a water park with no wave pool and he never became a rock star) but when he walks in the bar, even fat and slightly balding, Robin somehow reverts to being smitten with Simon - much to the group's dismay. History repeats itself and Simon ends up breaking up with Robin in the back of his van for the same girl - Robin goes to the bar and is mostly inconsolable until Barney manages to remind her of all the reasons she is so much more than she used to long ago. As a thank you for cheering her up, Robin allows Barney to watch the second music video that she made as Canadian pop star Robin Sparkles - a more somber song called Sandcastles in the Sand. This episode marks the first time Barney and Robin get together - it also gives us "revertigo" - the phenomenon that takes place when you hang out with old friends and revert to who you used to be.
  • 3.16 - Sandcastles in the Sand - how-i-met-your-mother Screencap
    Robin Sparkles strikes again...

4) Three Days of Snow - Oh man, this could be a complicated recap but this episode perfectly illustrates something that HIMYM did so well, twisting the time lines on stories through flashbacks and flash-forwards. The story takes place over three days during a huge snowstorm and follows Lily as she returns from a trip, Marshall and Robin as they go to the airport to pick her up and Barney and Ted as they attempt to run McLaren's. While watching the show, you realize that what you thought was happening in a linear timeline was actually unfolding over three days - as I mentioned, the brilliance of the storytelling that was sometimes present on HIMYM. For a more in depth recap - check here. This was where we first learned about Barney & Ted's plans to open a bar called Puzzles - which would come back up in later episodes.

File:Three days of snow - ted and barney tend bar.png

5) Girls vs. Suits - The 100th episode of the show which causes Barney to ask himself if he prefers girls over suits when the conquest he sets his eyes on disdains men in suits and he must adjust accordingly to get the girl. He chooses the girl at the end by convincing her that he doesn't love his suits but it's just a bait and switch since he bursts into a musical number at the end all about his love of suits. You can check that out here - it's excellent and my friend Lisa and I can both sing it word for word, from memory. Ha! In the other arc of the episode, Ted dates the future Mother's roommate and we get a glimpse of the Mother's foot - intrigue abounds!

Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit...

6) Last Words - Even though HIMYM is a comedy, it proved from time to time that it could be very dramatic and this episode was proof of that. While Marshall struggles with the importance of the last words from his Father, each member of the group of friends tries to find their "job" at the funeral: Robin is the go-to for anything and everything you could need, all conveniently stashed in her purse, Lily becomes something of an emotional punching bag for Marshall's Mom and Barney and Ted try their best to make Marshall smile. The death of Marshall's father causes all of the group to let their own respective fathers know how much they mean to them and it also spurs Barney to call his Mom and finally learn about his father.

<p>The gang tries to comfort Marshall on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>
Last words are important...

7) Symphony of Illumination - Ooh wee, you want to talk about an episode tearing you up - this one did it for me. The episode shows Robin telling her children how she met their father, Barney; a pregnancy scare terrifies Robin and thrills Barney and as Christmas draws ever closer the two try to decide how to prepare themselves for the prospect of being parents - a role Robin has repeatedly stated she does NOT want. As the episode nears it's conclusion, Robin finds out that she is not pregnant and furthermore she will not ever be able to get pregnant. The children from the start of the episode fade away and Robin realizes that while she thought she never wanted children, she at least wanted the option to have them and now that is gone. The group senses she is upset and while she never confesses why, (at least not at this point in the series) Ted assumes she is homesick and decorates the apartment to cheer her up - which only reduces her to tears when she comes to terms with what she's lost. And yes, I know - what a sad episode....but it was also excellently acted and made me have all the feels - and that's a sign of a good show.

Merry Christmas Robin...

8) Trilogy Time - This episode tells the tale of how the guys make a pact to get together to watch the original Star Wars trilogy every three years, regardless of what is happening in their lives. The guys do this to cheer Ted up and show him that even though he thinks his life hasn't really changed all that much, when they look back on each of the times they've gotten together Ted sees that his life really has improved year after year. The guys also imagine what their lives will be like in three years to come - I guess this should have been foreshadowing enough since Marshall always saw himself as a Judge married to a very pregnant Lily, Barney always had a new bimbo in tow and Ted was always married to a woman that looked like...Robin! I'd like to think if I looked at my life via "trilogy time" I'd be just as encouraged as Ted...

I need some trilogy time....

9) The Final Page Part 1 & 2 - Oh, how I love these episodes and honestly the finale tarnishes them for me and that breaks my heart a little bit. After months of making Robin think he was dating her co-worker Patrice and misleading her in every way possible, Barney reveals that is was all one big play. It was the last play in his infamous playbook to be exact - and the play is called "The Robin" - because once he's pulled it off, he won't need a playbook to get women any longer because he'll have the one woman he can't live without....(please excuse me while I go weep in the corner because HIMYM ruined this...) And Ted is actually the person who delivers Robin to the rooftop, giving Barney his permission to propose - releasing Robin to him, as it were. This is easily one of my top three episodes and might actually be my favorite...but don't tell the others! You can watch one of the best HIMYM moments play out...here. It's delightful.

Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris in the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Final Page Part Two." Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/Fox.
Oh finale...you kind of tarnished this perfect moment...

10) The Rehearsal Dinner - Last but not least, the episode I loved most from the final season; the whole of which took place during Barney and Robin's wedding weekend (cue quiet weeping in corner...) at the Farhampton Inn. Robin becomes increasingly concerned that Barney has decided to have their rehearsal dinner at a Laser Tag Arena despite telling him numerous times that she wants no jokes or tricks, just a rehearsal dinner. Near the end of the episode, as the two start to fight in what appears to be the office of a Laser Tag Arena, Barney pulls off his big surprise - that their rehearsal dinner is nothing short of a Canadian extravagance since he knew his bride-to-be was missing Canada - they couldn't get married in Canada, so he brought Canada to her.

How I Met Your Mother "Rehearsal Dinner"
Loved it. Also a wee bit tarnished by the finale...*sigh*
So - there you have it. The episodes I enjoyed the most over the past nine years. Granted, I probably could have made a list that went on for miles about all the episodes that I loved because up until Monday night I really hadn't seen an episode I didn't like. 

I guess if I watched 208 episodes and I only disliked 2 then that's a pretty good record but I still can't help but feel a little bit cheated by the way it all wrapped up. I've thought about it over the past couple days and maybe one of the reasons I wasn't thrilled with the ending is that it wasn't that happily ever after I was hoping for. I don't know about you, but I tend to watch shows to serve as a bit of an escape and I suppose the ending to How I Met Your Mother was all too real - life doesn't always wind itself up in a perfect happy ending. I suppose it's like Ted tells his children: the greatest gift we have in life is to love and when you find the person you were meant to love, you love them with all you have for as long as you can and cherish every moment.

I don't know that I'll ever really like the way the series ended but with 208 episodes worth of laughs, tears and catch-phrases, I can still find plenty I didn't just like about How I Met Your Mother, I loved it. So, adieu to the gang. It was a fun nine years.

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