Nine seasons is a pipe dream for any new TV show, let alone one with as unusual a premise as How I Met Your Mother had when it premiered on CBS in 2005. Not only was it a multi-camera comedy that filmed without a studio audience, but it was—as my Season 1 DVD set has reminded me—"a love story in reverse." Ted Mosby's search for the titular Mother as told through a series of flashbacks might seem like a completely normal idea in 2014, but at the time it was a risky move for TV show created by two guys who'd never made one before.
A lot has changed since How I Met Your Mother premiered, and after a short hiatus for the Winter Olympics, the series will kick off its final stretch of episodes on Monday, February 24. At this point we're only a few hours away from Robin and Barney's wedding—and, of course, to Ted actually, physically, literally meeting the Mother of Penny and Luke. That means it's crunch time when comes to tying up lingering plot threads. So far this season, we've seen plenty of familiar faces return, including Marvin, Stella, Cindy, Victoria, and Ted's mom, and we've enjoyed plenty of callbacks to gags like the Naked Man, Gazzola's pizza, zitch dog, Puzzles, and the Proclaimers. We've even discovered what it is that Barney actually does for a living. But since How I Met Your Mother co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have promised to wrap up every single thing they possibly could before the series signs off forever, here are five things I want to see happen before the end of the series finale on Monday, March 31.
1. C'mon Barney, "Suit up!"
Barney's catchphrases have become a large part of our popular culture, and most people think of "legendary" and all of its "wait for it" glory when they think of Barney's contribution to the world. But because Season 9 opened with Barney telling Robin he no longer needed to wait for it because he's got her, I'd rather like to see How I Met Your Mother bring back some of Barney's other familiar lines, like "Suit up!" It's been awhile since he uttered those words, and considering he's getting married soon, there's a perfect opportunity for one last delivery of the phrase.
2. While Ted is meeting THE Mother, can we meet Robin's? Also: Where the heck is her sister?
We've met Robin's father, played brilliantly by Ray Wise (is there anything Ray Wise has done that can't be described as brilliant?), but we have yet to meet her estranged mother. To be honest, I never gave much thought to meeting Robin's mother before Robin said in "The Lighthouse" that she wouldn't be attending the wedding. Given how few times Robin's mentioned her mother over the years, I'd almost completely forgotten about her, and hadn't even considered we'd meet her at the wedding. But considering how frequently her absence has come up during the wedding weekend, I'd be very surprised if she didn't appear before the series signs off for good.
And speaking of Robin's family: Where's Katie? Robin's little sister visited New York in Season 2 and hasn't been heard from since. Did she die? Is she in Witness Protection somewhere in Pennsylvania? What gives, HIMYM writers? Lucy Hale is obviously very busy as a regular cast member on Pretty Little Liars, and she's now attempting a music career, but it simply doesn't make sense that Robin's sister isn't at her wedding.
3. Won't you join me waving a lighter for one last Robin Sparkles encore?
This is an easy one, and the way I see it, you can never have too much Robin Sparkles. Another music video would be overkill, but another, simpler appearance from Robin's popstar alter ego would be a great way to tie up the series, especially, if say, she came out at the reception. At a press event in January, series co-creator Carter Bays said the was a lot of live music coming up, and while I'm pretty certain he was referring to Cristin Milioti's performance of "La Vie en Rose," I'm also not ruling out any other cast performances just yet.
4. Keep the callbacks—and tie-in websites—coming
There've been so many good ones already, including eating a sandwich, pausing a fight, the idea that nothing good happens after 2am, "Bang-Bang-Bangity-Bang," and the recent return (and passing on) of the Playbook, but there are still a few more that I'd like to see. It might be tough for the writers to squeeze them all in given how quickly we're approaching the actual wedding ceremony, but in a perfect world, here are the jokes I'd like to see HIMYM return to in its last few episodes: the Swarley nickname, Teddy Westside, the doppelgängers, lawyered, interventions, and Bob Barker. And while we're at it, how about one last tie-in website, too? There's only been one so far this season (LegalPokerAruba.com), and I sure am going to miss the CanadianSexActs.org, ItWasTheBestNightEver.com, and TedMosbyIsAJerk.com jokes once the series signs off. There's not a show on TV that does a website tie-in better than How I Met Your Mother.
5. Slap it to me, one final time
This is obviously a given for most fans. And personally, I'd call it a make-or-break moment. The Slap Bet is How I Met Your Mother's longest-running gag, and one of its best. Whether or not you liked the recent "Slasgiving 3: Slappoinment in Slapmarra" is beside the point. The final slap is important to the series' mythology. Bays remained tight-lipped when I asked him about the final slap in January, and while I can see the merits of leaving that last slap hanging in order to let fans envision it however they choose, I do think the Slap Bet is one storyline that needs to be wrapped up, whether it happens in the present timeline or in a flash-forward to the year 2030. As a longtime fan, seeing the final slap is non-negotiable to me.
However, for everything I want to see revisited or explained by series end, there's one mystery that I think should remain unsolved: the Pineapple Incident. Some things are just better left to the imagination.
What's on your HIMYM end-of-days wishlist? What questions do you want to see answered (or be left unanswered)?
AIRED ON 3/31/2014
Season 9 : Episode 24