It’s official: How I Met Your Mother is in its final stretch. Between the series’ eleventh-hour renewal for a ninth and final season and Ted’s acknowledgement that Jeanette was the last girl he dated before meeting the mother, his kids must be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
(Or dinner, just out of frame of their eternal, bored-on-the-couch establishing shot.)
Being so close to the end lights new fire under a debate that fans have been divided on since the start: Should we meet the mother, or shouldn’t we?
We know that the meeting is nigh. It’s just a matter of time before Ted chats with the pretty bassist of Barney and Robin’s wedding band. But how much should the audience get to know her? Should we see her face, know her name, get a date, a proposal, a wedding? Or should it be eye contact, and fade to black?
Proponents of the first say that because we’ve waited this long to see her, we deserve some payoff. We’ve watched Ted struggle and suffer and grow for the past eight years – it’s about time we see him settled and, most of all, happy. After all, by the time we meet the mother we’ll have gotten to see all of Ted’s friends pair off in matrimonial bliss; it seems unfair (both to the character and to the narrative) to not get the same for our intrepid architect.
Those who argue for the latter point to the title of the show. It’s How I Met Your Mother, not “How I Married Your Mother,” and putting a name and personality to the mother leaves too much room for disappointment. We all have our conceptions of who the woman under the yellow umbrella is really like, but there’s no way to please everyone. For some, the story isn’t even about the mother in the first place. It’s about Ted, and (like he said back in season 3) Ted growing into the man he needed to be before he met the woman of his dreams. Who she is isn’t as important as what she represents.
Obviously it’s a choice that will shape the way this season ends, and how the next one plays out. It’s also likely a choice that’s already been made, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to argue.
What do you think, fans? Now or never?
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