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'How I Met Your Mother' finale leaves fans feeling cheated

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For nine seasons, the CBS sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother" was the darling of primetime, winning over audiences with it's talented cast and it's witty and endearing humor. And then the series finale came, and pretty much single handedly ruined everything.

Ouch, bro.

Following the one hour finale, which aired on Monday, March 31, 2014, fans lit up Twitter and Facebook with outrage about how the final episode unfolded and where it left the characters we have spent nine years becoming emotionally invested in. If you haven't seen the episode yet, this would be a good time to stop reading and come back when you've seen it.

You have been warned....

So, why all the outrage? Well, there were a lot of factors. First there was the fact that creators Carter Bay and Craig Thomas asked us to put up with an entire final season (22 episodes) that revolved around the wedding of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders), only to promptly divorce them 15 minutes into the finale.

It also may have been the fact that after asking us to care about Barney's transformation from a disgusting ladies man to a caring and loving partner for Robin, they turned around and whored him out again, pretty much negating every nice moment Barney has had over the past three seasons. And then he bragged about hooking up with 31 women in 31 days -- the "perfect month" -- which led to him being saddled with a daughter. Dude. That's just nasty.

But yeah, that's how Barney went out. After nine seasons, it took him having a daughter with a one night stand to teach him to respect women. And it's really up in the air if he even learned that lesson.

But the biggest slap in the face has to go to The Mother (Cristin Milioti). Already behind the 8-ball for being absent for the first eight seasons, Milioti finally appeared in last season's finale before appearing in a handful of episodes leading up to the long awaited moment when she would finally meet Ted Moseby.

And then they met. She had the yellow umbrella. All of the close calls and near meets dawned on them in a nice little moment. And then she got sick. And died apparently. Which led to an aged looking Josh Radnor -- not Bob Saget -- to finally tell his kids, "...and that's how I met your mother". But did it end there? No. It should have. But it didn't.

Instead, his kids blew off his story and teased him for being in love with Aunt Robin. Yes. They went back to Robin and the blue French horn. So yes. Ted got to meet the woman he would marry and have kids with. Robin got to have her career as a globe trotting journalist. In the end, they got everything they wanted. It was one big sucker punch to the gut.

For years, Ted and Robin was an on again, off again relationship. But the wedding to Barney seemed to seal that fate. Sure, maybe it should have been Robin all along, but the writers made their choice a while back by setting the Barney and Robin wedding in motion and then setting the entire second season around their big weekend.

Bay and Thomas didn't owe fans anything but the best episode they could come up with as a creative team. They didn't have to do anything fancy. We all knew how this was going to end, or at least how it was supposed to end. All we needed was closure. After nine seasons, we just needed to see Ted meet the Mother, and be able to say goodbye to the gang one last time.

But no, that wasn't good enough. It would have been perfectly fine to learn that this story was being told because the mother was dead. But they just had to throw one last twist in there and Ted ending up with Robin felt wedged in as if the writers were trying to satisfy everyone, which you just can't do.

Just ask Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

Sure, life is full of surprises and it never works out how you think it will or how you want it too. But to set something up for nine years, only to brush it off as insignificant at the end of the finale is just -- well, lame. Suddenly it was never about the mother at all. It was always about Ted and Robin. Yeah. Whatever.

Like most shows, especially sitcoms, "How I Met Your Mother" probably went on a few seasons too long. At one time, it was arguably the best sitcom on network TV. Maybe it's not fair, but it's going to be remembered for it's finale and pulling the rug out from under it's loyal fans.

But remember, before this unnecessary season and the tragically bad finale, there were a lot of good times. And slaps.

Sound off below. Let me know what you think of the "How I Met Your Mother" finale. How would you have ended the show? What are the best and worst series finales?

Stay up to date by subscribing to my Movie Examiner column at the top of the page and you'll get my articles and reviews sent right to your e-mail.

You can also follow me @tbenglish on Twitter, on Facebook or check out my new podcast, The Tim and Lo Show, with fellow critic and Examiner Lonita Cook.

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