in which jackie has not-so-fictional emotions about fictional characters

Weird thing about today. It hasn’t been anything special. Standard work stuff, junk mail, etc. Other than a nice chat with my dad and the glorious weather, today was pretty ordinary.

But the day just felt…off.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was up, until it just hit me: How I Met Your Mother ended last night, and now there’s a little hole in my heart.

 

ALERT: Possible mild spoilers ahead. No plot details, but general feelings are discussed. Read at your own risk.

Now, I’m not going to go into my specific feelings about how the show should or shouldn’t have ended. I’ll save those emotions for Tumblr. This post only has to do with my feelings about how the show is just over.

I’m one of those people who gets seriously emotionally invested in fictional characters. Books, TV, movies, theatre…I get sucked into them all. I’ve shed so many tears and yelled at so many screens and pages that I mostly try to read/watch things by myself now out of fear that someone will think I’ve gone a little nuts and try to get me committed.

It’s especially bad with book series and TV shows because I have so much time to love these characters. I learn about them as I experience their journeys alongside them and watch them grow throughout it all. This is the point of a book series or TV show, of course, and I fall hook line and sinker for it every time.

The number one culprit for me, as it will always be, is Harry Potter. Even though I was incredibly late to the party on this one, I still carry these characters around in my heart on a daily basis. I get into legitimate arguments about characters and their futures and who-knows-what-else. They are so very real in my head because the series means a great deal to me.

I don’t feel quite as strongly about Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney, but How I Met Your Mother is still a show in which I heavily invested. It was really the first “grown-up” show I watched while it was still airing (Gilmore Girls was the true first, but that was via ABC Family reruns). A friend (Cameron) recommended it to me, and, bored over Jan-Term my freshman year, I binged-watched every episode online. I was hooked from the first notes of the theme song.

It became a staple of my college Tuesdays to watch the previous night’s episode on CBS.com, and I grew to love these very imperfect, very human characters. This was a show that handled character development like very few others, and I was always excited to see the ways that the gang would mature and grow each week as Ted kept telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. And while I don’t view the HIMYM characters nearly as “real” as I view those in Harry Potter, I still cared a great deal about them (like I said, emotional over-investment is my jam).

No, the show wasn’t perfect. There were many episodes that seemed silly or superfluous, and other times it seemed like the showrunners were beating a dead horse plot line. I disagreed with the show on more than a few moral issues. But there was something very genuine and real about the characters and the show, even when it got ridiculous. It had heart. And I loved it for that.

So now it’s over, and I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that HIMYM won’t be gracing my TV screen anymore except in syndication. And no matter how I felt about last night’s finale (like I said, saving those emotions for another forum), I’m still very grateful for the entertainment and joy the show provided for me and my friends who had taken it into our hears and loved it.

So thanks, How I Met Your Mother. Thanks for the laughter and tears and the occasional yelling fits. Thanks for the slap bet, “Have You Met Ted?”, and the yellow umbrella. Thanks for interventions, Bob Saget voice-overs, and “LAWYERED!” Thank you for characters and stories that felt real, no matter how real they weren’t. Thank you for everything.*

And to all the writers and other creators who produce the works that suck you in and make you a part of it until the day you die: Thanks to you, as well. Though my emotions would probably be a lot better off if you just didn’t, I’d also be more than a little sad without you in my life. Much love to you all.

*Except the way you ended the finale, but I’m doing my best not to talk about that here…kay, thanks. Bye.

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