Episode 114: Marvel One Shot Tie Ins

I was recently introduced to the Marvel One Shots via Facebook comment threads with friends as we discussed the newest Captain America (which is super special awesome and I recommend to everyone). The above video, if you haven’t seen it or already, serves as a bridge between the two Captain America films as Peggy Carter continues to fight the good fight once the war is over. It has all the action and humor that you’d expect from a Marvel feature, if only much shorter. This and the other short vignettes that have shown up as bonus content on the various DVDs but have found their way online so if you do a little bit of digging I’m sure you’ll find them and revel in their amazingness. They serve as a transmedia extension of the narrative that has been brought up in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, much in the same way that Agent’s of Shield does as a tie in to the overall story but without parallel ongoing serialized plotline. The One Shots provide official extras to the story and can be seen on their own, though they generally follow a specific film. My personal favorite is “Article 47” which is around 12 minutes long and is a cool narrative bridge between Avengers and Agents of Shield and even gives some extended screen time to a familiar face or two.

Until the next beginning,

G

Episode 113: Dreaming about Batman

Dreams are a fairly mysterious thing. Freud believed that they are one of the few ways of getting at the subconscious segments of the human mind. Then again, he also said that you subconsciously want to have sex with everyone so maybe we should take that with a grain of salt or with whatever other seasoning you prefer. The other I had a dream during one of those unexpectedly accidentally extra long naps that stuck with me. It may not have the potential to change society as we know it like Dr. King’s dream but it has the chops to maybe turn into decent fan fiction. This was a very convoluted story involving the Dark Knight himself and the rest of the Bat family. I adjusted it enough for it to make sense. Allow me to share with you the crux of the story here. Fair warning: I’ve never really had a chance to follow Batman in all his comic book narrative glory but I do know the basics of what is going on. There are probably a ton of inconsistencies from the main/current continuity.

Set up: Batman is around 50, slightly older but still just as good, even if he needs extra Bengay here and there. He knows his peak has passed and is on the way to passing the torch. Soon after Damian his son/newest Robin being killed in the line of duty (which happened in the “New 52” issues recently) and after Alfred dies (a personal touch that really hits at the heart of Bruce Wayne and Batman which is why included it my last piece of DC fan fiction found here https://midnightsnackserial.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/episode-95-a-new-batman/) Tim Drake in his late teens maybe early twenties comes back to be Robin and help with everything. Dick Grayson/Nightwing is almost 30 and has been more active in becoming the next hero of Gotham, even if he doesn’t want to officially inherit the cowl. Bruce has been working on spreading Batman Inc. to more and more places but feels like a big meeting/training seminar with his global counterparts needs to take place. The place of the meeting has been set as Tokyo, or whatever fictional Japanese super city DC has, within a few weeks. Shortly thereafter, an announcement has been made by some kind of cryptic mystery villain who promises to detonate an atomic weapon over Tokyo by X date (the day of the previously mentioned meeting) unless someone kills Batman. We have no idea if this bad guy has officially set up that day purposely to coincide with the meeting or if it’s a coincidence but everyone in Batman Inc. is quite pissed about coming together in a place where they have targets/might be nuked. Bruce decides to investigate the members of his hero corporation to appease their fears and try to find a potential mole/leak in their network so he travels the world and maybe helps out a few of the new heroes with their own problems to regain some trust. Nightwing in the meantime will stay in Gotham and defend the city while shaking up the well-known Rogues gallery to see who if any of them could have access to such destructive force. Tim as Robin will then go directly to Japan, where the Prime Minister has publicly set up a bounty for Batman’s head and a team of assassins has reportedly taken the job. The declaration was a shock to everyone but the Prime Minister is very adamant that one hero should be able to sacrifice himself to save millions that have already been ravished by destruction before. “If Batman does not accept his fate for him, then I will sacrifice him by any means necessary to keep my people safe.” The date in question is a month from now and tensions are running high. My dream mostly followed the exploits of Tim Drake but I can see all sides developing simultaneously to a pretty sweet conclusion as everyone comes together. For now, let’s follow the sidekick as he searches the land of the rising sun for answers.

Most of Batman’s friends and contacts in Japan are pretty pissed at him for a nuke coming their way soon so Tim is pretty much alone while the country is in a sense of foreboding panic. The only recruit for Batman Inc. was killed by Yakuza a short time ago and no replacement was yet found. Tim Drake is fluent enough in Japanese thanks to training from Bruce who had his fair share of super karate masters to train him way back when. But knowing the language and knowing the customs are very different parts of living in a foreign land, especially one where fear over a potentially imminent demise is the overall feeling in everyone’s mind. His initial investigation focuses on trying to find out who the assassins are, since that is the most immediate threat and finding where the bomb might be if it is already there. After a myriad of different bank transfers from banks around the world, Robin finds two names, one familiar one and one new. The first one is Deathstroke, deadly but predictable enough to be avoided. The other one was new to the field of mercenary work and no information was on him besides that he goes by the name of Oni. The two might be working together or independently but they are quite a threat, regardless.

While walking around the outskirts of Tokyo as an American tourist, he sees a group of men harassing an old shop keeper. Tim immediately tries to help the frail octogenarian but realizes immediately that he has interrupted a Yakuza shakedown of a protection bracket. Knowing that any action taken here would just bring more trouble later on for the locals, Tim pretends to run away in fear while pleading that they spare his life. The trio of yakuza chases him and are surprisingly quick, especially the fat one covered in tattoos. Tim believes he can give them the slip with some stealth and acrobatics but that one fat guy is always right behind him, the other two give up and are quite tired after a few minutes of running after him. On a rooftop, Tim decides that he needs take down this Kung Fu Panda wannabe but his normal tactics and strikes don’t seem to work on this guy. Tim barely avoids the blows and in a moment of desperation he trips his adversary and makes him fall several stories to his demise. The boy wonder is startled at himself that he would ever break the bat commandment of no killing and has to force himself to look at his fallen foe only to notice something quite odd. This was no human being, it was a robot. Specifically an android that looked human enough on the outside but with a decent mechanical inside (think original Terminator). Tim sifts through the scraps and is able to find the logo of a nearby factory/steel mill, which he obviously investigates that night.

Once there, he finds that the other two Yakuza that he outran are trying to explain what happened to their boss, and they are very freaked out about their friend being a robot. The boss, who is surrounded by beautiful women and several bodyguards and a guy that looks like a Pimp-named-Slickback, chides his minions for not doing their work is outright furious towards the pimp dude. What follows is a back and forth as to how the androids work which serves as a nice exposition. Basically, all the robots work are the same until they are programmed. Reprogramming happens via electrocution of a person through a particular tool, which shorts out the nervous system, you then put a thing over the head of the now unconscious person which passes down muscle memory and other physical attributes to robot. Other machines make a proper “human shell” for android that is solid enough to avoid detection normally so outside of constantly having X-Ray scanners around, there’s no real way to figure out human from robot. With enough time, the head device will be synched up enough to start getting memories which can then be shared. In the meantime, you have a quiet duplicate without regular human weaknesses with twice the strength, agility, etc. Pimp guy reiterates that he is only the middle man, his boss/ the inventor of the whole thing is being very generous with wanting to give the Yakuza some free samples of his work in exchange for “volunteers” and that the fact that they were able to take down a Batman wannabe should be good enough to show that they are worth the investment of more people, regardless of them not being super invulnerable. “Besides you don’t complain about how your body guards are no longer distracted by your women.” At that line, one of the beautiful women disarms a gun and sword from the bodyguards and proceeds to destroy them within a few seconds. Bullets and blade mesh perfectly in a symphony of destruction as this young woman takes out 5 Yakuza androids while the henchmen and the rest of the ladies run out. She subdues the remaining real people and proceeds to almost behead Yakuza boss and pimpy mcpimp before Robin swoops down and stops her. She drops her weapons and they fight for a bit but stop once she realizes that the pimp had escaped but Robin explains that he put a tracker on the pimp before the fight started. She clams down, puts on a coat as her skimpy outfit is far too cold and reveals herself as the heroine Katana, the daughter of the man joined the Bat Corps only to have been killed by these cyber Yakuza.

Robin and Katana from here on out team up to solve this new mystery while trying to save Japan because that’s still a thing. In the new Batman cartoon they have Katana act as Robin so I’m sure her harsh yet honorable demeanor works well alongside Robin during this mission and maybe a potential relationship surfaces. Anyways, the original dream gets hazy from there. Basically, they find out that the whole robot mind transfer technology comes from an old Wayne tech prototype that never really worked. They follow the pimp to another factory where they have more robots, some of them with the shell already made so that they can take charge once people have been replaced. Amongst the construct clones you find pretty much the whole UN and Batman. Robin and Katana decide to blow the whole place up and the plan goes well enough until robot Batman springs up to life and helps pimp guy escape. Someone got Batman, which means that if Bruce was still alive his memories are about to be passed along to some mystery villain. Either way, whoever took them down would probably want to talk to the man who put the bounty out on them.

Here the shenanigans get even crazier. Deathstroke ends up fighting Robin and Katana and almost kills him before the reinforcements come in the shape of another Batman robot. This one is the prototype that was developed earlier that Bruce had been tinkering on a while ago and gained “consciousness” as the time as the other one went live. Nightwing figured out enough of the situation once he heard that one of the Batman Inc. people barely survived an attack from a mysterious assassin that nearly killed him and knocked out the Dark Knight but he was barely able to escape and bring the unconscious caped crusader with him. Not nearly as fast or as strong and definitely a robot, it is still helpful enough to help defeat Deathstroke, who is also a robot (what a twist!). This robot was a lot sturdier than the others and good robo Batman was pretty much destroyed in the fight but was able to relay the message (from Nightwing) that the Bat Team in its international will still meet at Japan but will come early, though a few of the members are incommunicado to help with bomb issues. Robin and Katana know that they are running against the clock before memories are extracted so they go over to the Prime Ministers house, through the front door. Turns out that Katana is the grandniece of the guy in charge but that side of the family doesn’t really talk to her after her dad became a vigilante. Inside, they find the Prime Minister talking a dark figure with a horned red mask that we are informed is Oni, who has evil robo Batman beside him. They are arguing as to how the bounty can’t be paid in full until we have a confirmed dead Batman and that his robot buddy isn’t helping the situation because the bomb threats are still going on. Oni is about to do the electrocution thing on the Prime Minister but Robin and Katana jump in and save him. They fight for a while but damn this cyber impostor is awesome and Oni just kind of slips away and he and his cyber assistant escape once again. The Prime Minister thanks his grandniece and Robin while also begging for their forgiveness for hiring the assassins in the first place. With only a week away from the intended detonation time, Robin, Katana, and Nightwing need to come together alongside Batman Inc. to save Japan and stop Oni who has the potential to do a lot more damage if robot replacement of other key figures/heroes (as he has some of Bat Inc. robofied unbeknownst to the group) keeps going on.

And then I woke up. No idea how to finish the story from there or who any of those new mysterious characters are. Maybe a new dream will show me the way eventually.

Here’s hoping that your ships don’t get sunk (the theoretical relationships between characters, but naval vessels too).

G

Episode 112: On Bronies and Fandoms

Simultaneously occurring alongside the URI Graduate Conference was the URI Gaming Convention. An all weekend extravaganza of gaming in any and all forms. Previous years have included such gems for me as playing the incredible Dungeon of Fear and its sequel, far too many hours of booth time, epic matches of Tetris Attack, and play testing URI Gaming Con: the board game (of my own invention). There are a handful of special events that take place at the con, some of those mentioned above, but the one that changes every year and makes the con unique is the special guest star. Normally it’s a band some sort of appeal beyond the local scene with maybe the coolest one being the time that Anamanaguchi came by with Peelander Z. Good times. This year we had Uncle Yo, a comedian that works a lot with Gaming based humor and whose ideal/intended fans would be gaming con attendees.

I met the familial stand up comic during initial booth duty and he is a swell dude that complimented me on my Tuxedo Mask cosplay for the day. It’s a shame that other responsibilities kept me from going to his later panel on a history of old school role playing games (though he was kind enough to show me the abridged power point) and a session of Call of Cat’thulhu, a one shot Call of Cthulhu game where you are housecates trying to stop the Ancient Ones from manifesting in this realm of existence. His comedy show was pretty good but I’m sure that had I brought one of my roommates or non-gamer/geeky friends they would not have appreciated his brand of humor. Any show that calls out bronies in the first two minutes and then proceeds to explain why Rarity is a surprisingly good character is fine by my book.

During his show, Uncle Yo in all of his derogatory humor to each kind of fandom repeatedly stated that each fandom should learn to coexist with the others. One of the problems that anyone can find with a group that focuses on inclusion as a point of pride will actively exclude other people by any means necessary. On the large scale we see that with religion during the Crusades. On a smaller scale you find that with gangs on a high point of danger and tweens classifying themselves as Team Jacob or Team Edward on the lower scale. Then again, Uncle Yo also said that it’s easy to make fun of fandoms without ever having actually read/seen what they are passionate about. So I should try and aim for a higher degree of humor. So yeah, groups that really like something should fall under the live and let live category. After all, we don’t want Comic Con to devolve into The Warriors style of all out team centered/costumed brawls (now that’s the kind of jokes I need to go with, also, that does sound kind of cool in an evil kind of way.)

To each his/her own. However if you like something enough, you want your friends to join along. It’s part of human nature and it helps makes sure that your tastes are actually enjoyable to someone beyond just you. Speaking of, here’s Uncle Yo’s website so I can spread the laughs around. http://www.uncleyo.com/

 

May the sequels never outnumber the fingers on one hand,

 

G

Episode 111: On the Perils of Live Tweeting

The Perils of Live Tweeting

and probably not be live tweeting anything soon, follow me at https://twitter.com/Ranzunar A week or so ago I did my yearly academic duty of assisting with the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate Conference. However, the amount of help I provided was a fraction of my previous attempts at assisting. Even at year one of URI for me I did a lot more. The easiest way to measure my work output is via quantities of cheesecakes baked for committee people from planning all the way until the day of the conference. The fact that this year that number of dessert confection was one goes to show just how divided my attention and energies are these days. Still, from an outsider’s perspective I saw that a lot of people worked like crazy to make URI Grad Con a success so I tip my metaphorical hat off to them. However, one thing did occur that garnered some angry digital looks my way.

Academia tries to jump on bandwagons once they see that they are not nearly as threatening as once imagined. Some scholars are a bit more avant-garde while others are very much staunched in their ways but most practices take some time before they are considered common place. Technology has a very special as a particular flavor of the week and live tweeting conference presentations is the new trend. I tried out this form of digital brief archiving with the hashtag for the event. I focused on the keynote speaker and the faculty panel, each a little over an hour apart. As is proper etiquette, you tell your followers that a live tweet is about to occur but unfortunately my five minute warning time wasn’t enough for the people whose feeds were about to be engorged with my constant sound bites.

 

In the end, I was the only that tweeted like at all for the conference and came close to 100 tweets. Roommates and friends that had nothing to do with the conference and weren’t fans of academic conversations on interdisciplinarity. However, somebody actually complied all tweets with that hashtag so if you want a reverse chronological order of bite sized bits of information go here. https://storify.com/AlyciaPhD/uri-gradcon-2014-opening-spaces-enabling-engagemen?utm_source=direct-sfy.co&awesm=sfy.co_ifO0&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_campaign=

Also, if you want to follow me on twitter

Hope your serials don’t get soggy.

 

G

Episode 110: Archive Abuse

I’m on a train with no wifi and not much to do. I picked up a few books to read with some academic rigor and a few Deadpool stories but those seem far too passive for the day I have a head of me of sitting and waiting. I’d rather be catching up on all these blog posts I have to do. Since my previous How I Met Your Mother post was much longer than some of my more usual online writings, I think that entitles me to a break of sorts and write with a bit more brevity. Since I am backtracking through my quota of online writing, it seems appropriate that I discuss the concept of archive backtracking.

As I have mentioned before, webcomic authors have a lot of power over the entirety of the text that other people don’t wield. Imagine that you could not only write a book and publish it on your own but that you could change the pages inside for everyone whenever you feel like it. In webcomics you have that potential, though it’s something that cartoonists don’t really employ at their whims. In this blog, I could theoretically edit every post (I don’t, trust me) and replace them with anything, or remove them altogether. One of the cooler things is the ability to retroactively add installments, even with the caveat of changing the time of publication to an earlier date. Just imagine what you could if you could send any email and make it look like it came at the time of your choosing.

One of my favorite examples of this authorial performance is something I, and a lot of other people on the Internet, refer to as “archive abuse”. Perhaps the most egregious application is with mezzacotta a webcomic by David Morgan-Mar et al. Allow me to quote a part of my MAEE thesis that describes it better than I ever could again: It originally started inOctober 2008 but the webcomic cartoonists decided to backdate several installments before thewebcomic started. By searching through the archive, one finds that the first issue of mezzacottais backdated as occurring on January 1, 9999999999999 BC. It has a comic for every day of theyear beyond that point. As of October 2008, this webcomic has ostensibly a total of3,652,425,000,732,961 installments, by far the most of any webcomic in existence. It iscompletely done in a gag a day format and has no narrative beyond any single issue. It contains a“random” hyperlink, as well as the option to search via date, with the option to look forinstallments in years classified as BC or AD.

Upon first going through the webcomic, the drawings were simple and the writing was very direct. For a small moment, I considered the math as to whether it could be possible to have that many installments, especially if you have a group of authors writing like crazy. The vast quantity of course defied all kinds of logic possibilities as three quadrillion plus individual comics apparently laid in wait within those archives. Even if you had the combined manpower of China and each installment took five minutes that would still be years of nonstop everything to come even close to those numbers.

Over the next day or so I will update a bunch of blogs on here so get ready for a lot of material over a short amount of time.

Hope the wait isn’t too long,

G

                                                               

 

Episode 109: Struggling with the How I Met Your Mother Finale

I have like a week’s worth of blog posts to finish up on but this one just seemed more pressing to complete and send out. A long time ago, I wrote about the How I Met Your Mother season finale where Robin was revealed to be the bride. It seemed fitting giving the circumstances that I expand my thoughts on the shows actual finale. I’m assuming that you have already seen it if you have found your way to my homely little blog but just in case spoilers abound from here on out so be warned. A lot of people, many of whom are more talented and smarter than myself, have already expressed themselves on the topic but I still want to share my thoughts with the blogosphere and join in on the conversation.

HIMYM is one of my favorite shows ever and one that has inspired a lot of critique from the standpoint of academia and overall fanboyness. I got in late to the show so I admit that the emotional investment I made towards the characters and story does not come to par with some of the more hardcore fans that have been there since day one. As someone who considers himself a mix between Ted Mosby and Sheldon Cooper from that other CBS popular show, I felt a kinship to the protagonist and his quest for love. Since the eponymous premise of the story is done through flashbacks and narration we always knew that Ted “Evelyn” Mosby would find the love of his life, no matter what. Ted the character would falter and despair with each misstep but Ted the narrator was weary with years and the experience that came from pain and heartbreak that was healed over with true love. As an expy of the search for the “one” I and many like me mirrored their own relationship troubles through our hero and knew that someway, somehow, our patience would reward us and karma/the universe/some kind of deity would finally put our soul mate in front of us. As viewers, we knew “the mother” (later revealed to be Tracy) was someone so special that it made all the pain and waiting worth it. The final season showed us just that but the finale sort of unraveled it one fell swoop.

What made the finale particularly amazing from my perspective as a serial was that it worked as an incredibly long epilogue. We had already seen several moments of Ted and Tracy together through snippets of lovely moments before they had officially met. Even though her character was not nearly as well developed as the rest of the gang, she had her quirks that somehow fit perfectly with all things Ted. Even though the perspective his eschewed in his behalf, you could see chemistry. Even as normally happy people, when they were together their smiles were just a little wider, something that at least I never saw Ted do with his previous relationships. That one episode where we see Tracy’s life unfold beyond the tiny glimpses Ted saw of her showed that she had her own troubles and tragedies alongside her dreams and ambitions. We see someone struggle and reconstruct their lives as the focus and direction were gone in one heart wrenching moment. It was a dense episode, but it made me love “the mother” as her own individual character, not just because she was the one that would make Ted’s life feel whole for maybe the first time. The final season, Hell the entire show was about the journey that would bring them together and yet we found a destination that we never thought coming during that last hour of programming.

As a romantic and a lover of serials I know that most “happily ever after” endings are cliché but they feel the most satisfying as a conclusion. They could have cut a lot of things from that episode and it would have been a perfect amount of nostalgia and things coming together. The extra material confused me to the point of sadness and it took me a long time to come to grips with the ending in all its manners. Let’s go over all the things that made for variable feels along the way.

Barney and Robin Get Divorced:

The first shocker that came during the epilogue was that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin decided to end it. Part of me wanted them to be together forever, to be happy, that their messed up love could beat the odds. Considering that the mere telling of the exploits of their relationship killed a priest, I thought that they were just weird enough to work. However, after a lot of world hopping, they decided that staying together was just too much. After talking about it with my girlfriend, I realized that they just weren’t in a good position to be together forever. It’s easy to blame to Robin’s flourishing career as being a taxing strain on their love but there a lot more things to keep in consideration. First off, Barney didn’t have a job because he had snitched out the questionable practices of Goliath National Bank to the feds. He had enough money to be comfortable on his own, as did Robin through her family. Without that part of his life he was “free” to follow Robin and wherever she ended up as part of journalistic career. She had the serious stuff and Barney’s blog became silly to the point that they eventually came to lose respect for the other’s respective work. More than that, I believe they ultimately lacked the emotional maturity to talk about their problems as they were developing, rather than when they couldn’t be ignored anymore. We saw during their first attempt at a relationship that their method towards dealing with conflict was sex, booze, and overall hedonism that distracted them from reality. Yes, they loved each other but I don’t want to think that the entire buildup towards their marriage was a “waste” because of the divorce. Barney is and always has been a drama queen who wants the spotlight while Robin wants to be recognized as her own person, not the son her father would have preferred, but as someone who earned her own merits. Ultimately, he needs attention that she couldn’t give and Barney would somehow steal her thunder in one way or another to still feel relevant as his legendary adventures were behind him. In one way, they were at the crossroads of their lives, Barney about to settle down while Robin achieves further fame and the strain between the two outlooks was just too much.

Robin Doesn’t Want to Stay Friends with the Gang

Again, this goes back to the different directions in their respective lives. Robin’s friends were now married with kids as she was jet setting around the world. It might not be what she wanted but it was definitely what she couldn’t have (between the divorce and not being able to have kids) and witnessing just that all the time must have been like a constant slap in the face. Not to mention that Barney had regressed to his old shenanigans by then, it just seemed that everyone was happy but her. Maybe it’s just me being a feminist, but I struggle with believing that Robin choosing career over family should be blamed or wrong in any way. It was her choice and should be respected just as much as Marshall having to endure that horrible corporate law job for years to maintain Lily and their kids. Robin kept seeing the parts of her life that she thought she wanted (marriage, kids, Ted) go on without her and being close to that just kept reopening that emotional wound. Yes, it was a bit selfish but I’m sure it was the only way to go. Besides, we do see that she becomes a prominent part of Ted and Lily’s life through flashbacks and having the honorific title of “Aunt Robin” to their kids so it’s safe to say that she came back and reforged those friendships.

Barney Has a Kid and Is Somehow a Decent Person

Barney is the self-proclaimed “Player King of New York City” so anything that would hinder his womanizing ways should be avoided by all means necessary. For a while, that was serious relationships but later found that a sense of stable companionship wasn’t all too bad. After giving all that up for Robin but having that not work out, it was clear that a spouse or soul mate would not temper Barney being, well Barney. And then a perfect month led to #31 being pregnant and he thought his life was over. The callback to “Not a Father’s Day” was both hysterical and almost cruel, just before he was about to meet his daughter. But then he saw her. Ellie in that one moment changed him like nothing else ever had and so “legendary” Barney Stinson became a responsible dad. The change was sudden, almost too much by most standards but it made a lot of sense once you go back and revisit his character. Barney grew up without a dad but was still the sole focus of his mother’s affection. He was spoiled but felt deep down that there was something missing in his life. Even during his own wedding he tried to reunite his mother and estranged father (even with them being in their own respective relationships) to be able to finally have the family he so desperately needed. As much as Barney may prefer going after girls with daddy issues, he knows that in his core he suffers more than the prey he stalks. Upon realizing that he is a father, he accepts the challenge (though not with his usual declarations of bravado) of being there for his daughter and make sure she never feels the agony of a broken home. I don’t know how much being a parent changes everything but from what I have vicariously experienced through other literary characters and my dear friends and family, Barney’s sudden transformation isn’t as farfetched as you first imagine. He now has a new focus, one that will soon enough come to reciprocate that attention and treat him as an important part of her world and that’s what he really needs. I doubt that he and #31 will end up being in a loving relationship of any kind but he will strive to be the father he once yearned for and that may be the happiest ending of all.

The Mother Dies

The Internet had been buzzing with this theory for a while now so it didn’t catch me completely off guard but boy did it hurt. It was a hurried moment for the viewer to just see it hand waved as “she got sick”. Again, by Ted’s perspective he is telling things to his kids that they did not know beforehand and as young as they were, the memory of her mother’s illness and passing is still pretty fresh and shouldn’t have to be relived. As much as Tracy was a part of Ted’s life, the story was about the journey he underwent to be the best person he could be for when he finally would meet her. Once she is present the story doesn’t have to go on. Our overall expectations was that once their lives intertwined everything would be great and nothing else needed to be said. However, life keeps going long after the initial meeting, the leap into parenthood, the deferred marriage, and all the other moments they shared. The story ends for you, and only for you (unless you are particularly devoted to the concept of an afterlife and/or reincarnation) once life meets its inevitable end. For Tracy, her story ended from our perspective almost as soon as it began but for Ted and for their children it keeps going. Which brings me to the next point that for many undid nine seasons of romance in a few minutes.

Robin and Ted End up Together

This one made me audibly groan as I tried to find the right words to express my emotions on multiple occasions. The story was set up from the beginning to have the mother be the be all, end all of relationship summits. Ted finds her and everything should be good. They were trying to find each other for almost a decade and spent another one together. To see it suddenly shift all that emotional attention to Robin once again just made me go into several WTF?! moments as the final minutes happened before my eyes, The book end to the first episode with the blue French horn making a comeback was proper according to serial protocol but for a long time it felt that the previous nine seasons were all for naught if he was just going to end up with Robin in the end. It took some serious ruminating to find that there was another character who reflected the sense of loss and rediscovery of love. He was there but only a few sentences but ultimately Max is the most tragic character in the entirety of the show. Max was Tracy’s boyfriend that died unexpectedly in some form of unexplained accident. They were perfect together, he gave her the most amazingly weird gifts like the ukulele that were exactly what she wanted. Max and Tracy looked to have a long and happy life together before tragedy struck. It took her a long time to love again and she did but that guy just wasn’t “the one” even if he swore he was. He proposed, and even with Max’s blessing via appropriately timed wind, Tracy chose to keep looking for love. Luckily a few days later she found Ted so yay. However, How I Met Your Mother has always been a show about the journey, not the destination. Ted could have met Tracy before during any of their almost chance encounters and vice versa but neither one was ready yet to be with the other. Ted had to be hurt and Tracy had to heal before they could deeply fall in love again. They had to let go of their previous loves before they could catch each other. HIMYM plays a lot with the concept of finding “the one”. For Marshall and Lily it’s obvious and had they messed with them there would be riots right now in front of CBS HQ. The epilogue of the secondary characters also diversified the idea of one true love as couples would stay together or drift apart. All of the gangs’ parents would find the one but lose them via divorce or death. Marshall’s mom is an interesting example as she lost her beloved husband but later ended up with Lily’s dad. Ted had many relationships in which he swore that he found the future mother of his children but mostly to no avail. He reminisces about the life he had with the friends that were still there but nearly as close as they once were. In the process, he and his children realize that Robin continued to have a place in his heart. I’m not saying that she is the one that got away or that she is the one but rather that there is love between them and that should be worth trying to rekindle. For the same reasons that Barney and Robin ended up divorced are the same reasons why they weren’t together after season 5 in the first place. He wanted marriage and kids, she didn’t and couldn’t. I hate to break it down to that simple point but their long term outlooks were in different directions. With Ted already a father and Robin more settled down from what we can surmise as a regular news anchor in New York they have a chance to be together again. Robin isn’t Tracy just as much as Ted isn’t Max. One wasn’t a stepping stone for the other. We have no idea if these two lovebirds can make it work again but the idea that life, and as an extent love, goes on no matter what is the real lesson behind the show and why I still love it.

The finale was complex and unexpected so I give the writers props for pushing the envelope beyond the cliché. As much as I or the readers want a neater and tidier ending were everyone ends up happy and together, reality doesn’t abide by those expectations. Serial fiction walks a careful balance between reflecting and escaping that reality to make it both believable and enjoyable. For nine years, I and many others saw Ted fall and pick himself up again until he met the love of his life but ultimately and more importantly, we saw friends come together in good times and bad to achieve something legendary. And that is something worth watching over and over again.