How Facebook Ruined Your HIMYM Finale…

I’m hastily writing this at 2am after having just watched the How I Met Your Mother season 8 finale. I wrote about HIMYM not too long ago, so I wasn’t really planning on writing a postseason wrap up of it. But some interesting things happened tonight, both on and off the screen, and I feel like commenting on it. (SPOILERS AHEAD)…

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I’ll talk briefly about the finale itself. Overall, I was disappointed. I mentioned in my HIMYM post in March that Ted was meeting the mother in this season’s finale. They were building toward it with every 2013 episode that aired. I wasn’t sure how they were going to do it and still have one season left, but I was intrigued.

But Ted didn’t meet her this season. And Barney and Robin’s wedding hasn’t happened yet, either. It seems like this finale was supposed to be setting up the final season of the show but it really felt like setup for a season finale that would air next week. Actually, it felt like setup for a series finale. With an entire season coming out way in the fall, that thought worries me.

In my HIMYM post I mentioned my annoyance with the constant fan outcry over Ted “not meeting the mother” yet. This is the first time in the history of the series that I’ve felt annoyed that Ted hasn’t met her yet. I was really hoping for the epic meeting to take place at the end of the finale, leaving us wondering what could possibly be next. Instead, we have more of Ted pining after Robin.

I’m excited to see how this locket gift thing will turn out. Really, I am. But I’ve bemoaned this Ted/Robin thing for a few seasons now. Ted and Robin were done in season 2. We knew Robin wasn’t the mother in the first episode. What’s the point in dragging out Ted’s adoration for Robin? Ted doesn’t know she’s not the one, sure. But he’s had ample faux-closure to get over her. Six years have passed since “Something Blue” aired. Pushing Ted and Robin onto us is getting really tired.

As for the big reveal at the end of the finale, I get the feeling that we’re going to be treated to an “How I Met Your Father” style final season. I’m okay with that, actually. It will give the writers new characters to work with and develop. It will give them an excuse to push the meeting to the series finale (like I’ve always wanted) while actually developing the mother.

I did feel a little cheated by the finale. As a standalone episode I thought it was just okay. Having said that, I do think it’s nice to have a face to go with the yellow umbrella. Which brings me to what happened off the screen last night…

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Well, it was still on a screen.

Facebook exploded last night. The social media person in charge of the HIMYM Facebook page posted the above image to Facebook just before midnight EST.

I’ve been checking the comments on the page periodically while I write this and wow. People are pissed. I’m sitting back and watching it unfold since I was fortunate enough to avoid social media until I watched it. Here are some of the comments I’ve seen…

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I’m not quite sure where I stand on this, though. The admins of the page should have known better. This is 2013. Network television can fight it all they want but watching a show as it airs isn’t something the majority of viewers do. Technology has freed us of scheduled programming. To presume that the majority of fans (the ones using social media, no less) have watched the finale by midnight of the night it airs is a gross error on their part.

2013-05-14 09.20.21Then again, is it really that big of a spoiler? Had I loaded Facebook before I watched the episode, I would have seen it. Would I have been upset? Maybe. Really, though, I’m not sure. I was working under the assumption that Ted was meeting the mother. Seeing the face of the mother wasn’t going to affect me that much. If anything, it would have prepared me for a meeting-less episode.

Some of the people who are pissed off seem to be annoyed that the mother is someone we haven’t met before. One girl wanted it to be Robin. Another commenter wanted it to be “coat check girl.” I’ve never understood the fans who guessed who the mother would be. It’s been continuously reasserted that the Ted hasn’t met the mother yet. Why would the mother be a character Ted dated for a year (and why the hell would the mother be the kids’ AUNT Robin)? And where’s the magic in the mother being a girl he flirted with 7 years ago? She was always a new face.

I don’t normally browse fan comments on the shows I like and this is all exactly why. I’m glad that the mother is cast, though. It will help tone down the aggravating fan meltdowns I sometimes come across. Then again, maybe it won’t…

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Really Rhihin? I’ll take that bet.

I’ll leave you with Charlotte and Sarah’s comments. They made the best points out of the comments I saw.

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What did you think of the season finale? What direction do you want the show’s final season to take? And where do you stand on the great Facebook fiasco that happened last night? Leave a comment and don’t forget to follow the blog on Twitter @ObsessiveViewer and like the blog on Facebook.

UPDATE – 4/4/2014

Listen to my friends and I breakdown the How I Met Your Mother series finale. Click the image below.

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14 responses to “How Facebook Ruined Your HIMYM Finale…

  1. Ha, some of those comments are hilarious. Spoilers are definitely a problem, but curation is key. I’ve stopped following several of my favorite shows on Facebook and Twitter for this exact reason. I think we have to assume the networks and show pages will post about the current episode as soon as possible to reach the largest number of people, but if you want to avoid spoilers, you can always unfollow them.

    Friends are a different story…but luckily my friends are good about posting vaguely instead of “Noooooo, RIP [character]!!!”

    Like

    • I agree with Sarah W, but a lot of people will say they shouldn’t have to stay off the internet.

      I’m also going to take the side of the HIMYM media person. I think the people in a huff would have had a valid argument had they posted the spoiler before midnight. I like the idea of event television, and The Mother reveal happened last night. I get that some people are working or busy when it airs, but that was the day to watch it, and if you couldn’t, too bad. HIMYM is free to watch and CBS has no responsibility to keep stuff like that a secret at all any time after they plan to reveal the secret. At 8:28 EST, the Mother was revealed, what happens next isn’t their problem. Charlotte (the poster in your picture above) should have watched the episode when it aired if it was that big of a deal.

      To be pissed about it reveals a sense of entitlement that has permeated our culture, and I hate it. DVR and TiVo are detrimental to TV ratings and ad times. You called it a gross error on the part of networks to assume that viewers have watched a show by midnight. I agree, but I don’t think they assume that to be the case. I think they are fighting it, and they have every right to. If not, then we get into the dilemma of how long does the world have to wait before a spoiler is okay to talk about?

      People post the score of a football game the minute after it happens and nobody gets pissed. Why is that different? The NFL says THIS IS WHEN THIS GAME AIRS, and CBS says THIS IS WHEN HIMYM AIRS (ps. we’ll keep it secret for a few hours too.)

      I keep going back to the idea that, for the most part, TV is free. I say this because I think there is a certain responsibility to keep movie spoilers a secret. Not everyone can make it out to a theater to see a movie. But I’m so very certain that more than half of the people complaining COULD HAVE watched HIMYM when it aired. Why didn’t they? Why is their time more important that CBS’s agenda. It’s not. TV is a business and they want to spread the word about their new (presumed) cast member.

      Maybe I’m just old fashioned.

      Like

      • Mike, you make an interesting point about the people griping revealing a sense of entitlement. I agree with you there. Technology has spoiled us to the point where appointment viewing is dead. When we’re reminded of our bygone era of DVR-less television, we lash out.

        However, I think the problem is deeper than it appears. You pointed out that DVR and Tivo are detrimental to TV ratings and ad time. You’re right. My issue is that TV ratings are detrimental to television in general. I know the art is secondary to the business of TV, especially in network television. But networks analyze inexact data from the all but obsolete Nielsen ratings. They cancel shows and alienate viewers (read: consumers) based on what a portion of the population watches.

        Instead of networks fighting the changing culture with spoilers, the powers that be should be figuring out how to adapt. Like it or not, event programming is dead and the networks are fighting a losing battle. If I felt like watching a show live would have any influence at all on the ratings, I would make the effort to watch all of my shows live. No question at all about that.

        The parallel you drew to professional sports doesn’t necessarily work. Television is arranged according to time zones. Event programming works for sports because it’s a live event. We can’t say the same for regular television because the east coast gets first dibs on a new ep while the west coast has to wait a few hours.

        So by default there’s a built-in delay where you’d be a dick for spoiling an episode because the west coast haven’t seen it yet. The admins of the HIMYM Facebook page were gracious enough to wait until the episode aired across the country. But what about overseas viewers? According to the comments, the picture was posted before the episode even aired in some countries.

        I’m not saying we should wait a month or two for the statute of limitations on safely discussing an episode to expire. But if networks are going to keep the severely antiquated Nielsen ratings in play, I think they should at least wait until the DVR numbers are counted before unleashing spoilers. Otherwise they’re just shooting themselves in the foot.

        Like

    • Thanks for reading Sarah! I am usually more worried about friends spoiling things for me than I am about official social media.

      I thought it was surprising that they would post that so soon. International audiences hadn’t even had a chance to legally see the episode yet.

      We’re in an age where the Internet is our water cooler. It’s really easy to alienate a lot of viewers by jumping the gun.

      Like

  2. It’ll be interesting to see the condition of their shot feet at the start of next season. I predict ratings will be through the roof, and the online spoil won’t hurt CBS or HIMYM a bit. In fact, my guess is that they were banking on the people who have said, “I won’t watch it until they reveal the mother,” will start watching because of the widespread spoil.

    To be honest, I’m surprised by my own reaction. I really don’t like to be spoiled, and honestly, I might have been a bit perturbed by the picture had I not watched the episode, but something about the whining bugs me. I guess because I work with teenagers, I feel like so many people have a “I’ll get around to it” attitude, and I hate that.

    I’m embarrassed that I didn’t think about overseas viewers. That’s a problem, and I’m on their side. I just think my reaction was influenced by that every growing statute of limitations on spoilers. Maybe I’m just an elitist. I watch must-see movies and must-see TV as soon as they are available because I must-see them. I love watercooler moments, but now they’re definitely a thing of the past if you can’t talk about them in fear of someone getting pissed.

    In response to my football blunder. That was an incomplete thought. I agree that those are all live moments, but I forgot to mention awards shows which are not always presented live on the west-coast, and those winners are announced immediately, but nobody seems to flip out about that.

    Time to teach a class. This is also incomplete ramblings. Sorry.

    Like

    • Ratings will be huge either way considering it’s the final season and they revealed the mother. You’re right that there won’t be much fallout. But I doubt it will make more people watch it live.

      That makes sense. I doubt I would have been that upset over the picture. It’s the last scene of the show and does reveal the title character but, honestly, it’s not like she’s someone we know yet. I’m just annoyed that they would do that to begin with.

      The day after the episode aired, they posted a picture of her legs and the yellow umbrella from seconds before the reveal. I don’t know why they didn’t just go with that the night it aired.

      Part of me kind of wonders if they intended to post them in that order but somehow they got mixed up.

      Like

  3. Rosie Baillie

    I haven’t seen the episode yet, in fact I’ve not had chance to watch any of season 8 yet, so I was really annoyed and disappointed when I saw it on Facebook. The writers worked so hard to create suspense and keep us all guessing and for me I feel like it’s been ruined now.

    I can’t believe the social media team didn’t even spare a thought for viewers overseas or even US viewers who had it on record or were planning on watching it later.

    Like

    • Thanks for reading, Rosie. Yep. It was pretty irritating that they would do that. It makes me really nervous about what the social media team will do next season. It was just pure dumb luck that I didn’t see the Facebook post until after I watched the episode.

      Like

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  5. Carole Khosla

    Look I am a big fan of HIMYM, have been form the very beginning. Now to clarify, I am European, and did see the episode 2 days after it aired because I was working both days. Now I don’t want to say that it’s the fans fault that they saw the picture, or that it is the social media team for HIMYM for posting it either. I have been on fb for many years and have gotten used to the fact that most of my favourite shows will post “spoilers” on their page. First of all, I don’t agree that they are spoilers, since there is a very easy way that one can be a fan of the page but their posts do not appear on your news feed. It is not only HIMYM that does this but almost every show will post some pictures etc which to some fans will be spoilers. The key is to block these items from your news feed and then you can only see them when you go on the page yourself. So from the fans part this is what should have been done. From the HIMYM social media I agree with The Obsessive viewer, I think they meant to post the legs and umbrella first and then the face later. I still think they jumped the gun though, because even other shows always wait a day before updated their fb page (for example SYTYCD), so I think that was wrong on their part. However for the fans who are solely blaming the HIMYM socail media organiser I do not think that is fair because they had some part in it too. You do not have to stay off the internet for the period of time until you see the episode, but if you know the finale is going to be on that day, then from that day until you see the episode do not go on the fb page AND make sure that when you “like” a page you stop the notifications from appearing on your news feed. After all this I will say that I loved the mother, she is not as pretty as I expected BUT I think she is perfect for Ted. I look forward to next season and hope other fans will too.

    Like

    • Hey Carole, thanks for reading! The more I think about it, the less I blame the social media team. As far as American viewers are concerned, they were in the clear as the episode had already aired. I knew that there was a risk of being spoiled, so I stayed away from Twitter and Facebook until I watched it.

      I made the argument that it was a sign of networks failing to adapt to the digital age of TV viewership. But the people who were up in arms over the picture (at least stateside) failed to adapt as well.

      I have high hopes that the mother’s backstory will be a big part of season 9. I hope it turns out great. It will be sad to see the series end, though.

      Like

      • Carole Khosla

        I agree, especially since some viewers actually replied on fb that the reason they did not unclick the notifications was because they did not have time. I think that is the lamest excuse ever since it literally takes seconds!! I took precautions for not getting spoilers and everyone knows how to do it, and if they don’t then all they have to do is ask! I am looking forward to it too, and am very happy with the new storyline and I hope they make the best season the last one.

        Like

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