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'How I Met Your Mother': Does it suffer from Wrong Title Syndrome?

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How I Met Your Mother
Eric McCandless/CBS

For the past few days, I’ve been following the comment saga on Tanner Stransky’s post about the How I Met Your Mother finale, and after last night’s episode, I’m convinced the show has outgrown its title’s intentions. A case of the Cougar Towns, if you will.

While the show certainly began as the story of Ted’s romantic life, it’s grown to be so much more. As has been the case most of this season, last night’s best plot, which found Lily and Robin on the search for the perfect cocktail that would open up the lines of communication between Marshall and Barney, had nothing to do with Ted. And these days, I think many of us find Ted’s romantic life — particularly his doomed relationship with Zoey — to be the least interesting part of this show. (I’m with Barney on this one: She’s a whiny, self-righteous chick with a megaphone.) And while there was a noble attempt to humanize her activism last night, with the reveal that she once lived in the shanty apartments at the Arcadian, I’ve never been emotionally invested in that character enough to care about her motivations. Perhaps I should have had a beer before watching. (By the way, did the Arcadian always have apartments? I must have missed that mention.)

It’s moot to discuss this as the show closes its sixth season, but the reason I bring this up now is because last night really hammered home what has been boiling underneath my adoration for this show for a while: This is about so much more than the mother. This is about Barney and Marshall, who really broke my heart last night. In fact, I found myself continuously trying to justify why they both wouldn’t treat each other that way. (“Marshall’s too good of a friend! He’d never poop on Ted’s dreams and Barney’s career.” “Barney has a heart. He knows Marshall just lost his dad and is looking for something to believe in.”) The truth is, people sometimes act irrationally. Most fights between friends are irrational. And this scuffle won’t last. As co-creator Craig Thomas reminded me once, we know the end game.

I know this show is not going to change its title now, nor should it necessarily have been named something different. But after all this talk about the mother and viewers’ frustrations with the delay in revealing her identity, I needed an episode like last night’s to remind me how little she matters to me at this point. My personal frustrations with the matter — and yes, there was a time when I was a little peeved — have dissipated. Title be damned.

Thoughts, PopWatchers? Did you feel the same way about last night’s episode? Are you excited to see how all of this comes to a head in the finale? And did you have nightmares about the cockamouse, too?

Read more:

‘How I Met Your Mother’: Will we meet the mother in the season finale? We have your answer!

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG