Apr 2 2014 7:15am

Don’t Look Back in Anger: Can the Ending Ruin the Journey?

Hearts and social media alike imploded on Monday night during the series finale of the nine-year story of How I Met Your Mother. Ted's epic tale to his children of how he met their mother ended with a fizzle and more than a few yells of rage. It brought back to mind how viewers felt after the finale of Lost.

The HIMYM ending had many people swearing off watching the show ever again. Others decided the show was best if you watched everything except the finale. What do you say? Have you ever watched a show or finished a book and not be satisfied with the ending? Can you go back and still appreciate the journey you took before you reached the end?

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1. Scarlettleigh
This doesn't sound mature or very forgiving, but I am one of those that for the most part can't forgive and forget enough to appreciate the journey IF I am truly vested in the ending.

I followed a series for years, anticipating a certain scenario but then the author did a switcheroo on her readers. I gave all her books away to my local USB and haven't read one of her books since.

I don't watch How I Met Your Mother, but sometimes I think creative people get so caught up in their own cleverness, that they lose sight of their audience, and how they will feel.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
If being not mature or forgiving means not having to suffer through a series knowing the ending is disappointing--then I am TOTALLY not mature or forgiving.
There are many series where I won't even start because I know the ending is bad (Richelle Mead's Swan series, for example).
Jennifer Proffitt
3. JenniferProffitt
@Scarlettleigh, I don't blame you at all. It was because of the HIMYM finale that got me thinking that I might NOT be able to go back and read it. Also, recently I read a book where everything was great and the ending wasn't bad it just fell flat to my expectations. Mostly it's about the characters, and in the case of the book and the show, the ending went against the characters and it felt disingenuous
4. wsl0612
Well I have refused to believe that the 3rd Season of Veronica Mars exists and I couldn't watch Seasons 1 and 2 for so long. But now the movie has come along and made it all better for me :-)

And I can't watch Quantum Leap knowing how horrible the ending to that series was for me.

So I guess I can't forgive, I need a "fix".
5. Kareni
Interesting question. I'm not a television watcher so cannot address that area; however, I can talk about books. I think that sometimes with a series the buildup to the finale and all the expectation makes even a good book seem subpar. For example, Lorraine Heath's Waking Up With the Duke did not meet my expectations. It's not that it can't be done -- Mary Balogh's Slightly Dangerous ended that series on a very high note. And now I'm wondering about Lisa Kleypas' long awaited Brown-Eyed Girl.
Jennifer Proffitt
6. JenniferProffitt
@Kareni, I had a similar reaction to another Lorraine Heath book when the epilogue led to the death! I loved the journey up til that point and so if I re-read that book it's without reading the epilogue.
kathlyn smith
7. castiel
Had this with a series of fantasy books once. It was really good, up til the 'tie up ALL the loose ends' last chapter. was just the WRONG ending that totally wrecked the previous 5 books. Time travel to erase any of it happening?! Wtf!?! This was nearly 20 years after Twin Peaks, but there's still NO excuse for 'but it never really happened' endings!
I gave them unheard of act for me, book hoarder extraordinaire!
8. Bell
First I have to say I love that song. Oasis hit big while I was in high school and still listen to their first two albums. I still have not read the last Sookie book and thinking about the final ep of Will and Grace still upsets me. I think creators need to stay true to their vision but it is also ok to reward the fans for years of support and loyalty. It also depends on the genre and themes. Mad Men, SOA, Justified to end with heas all around. Friends I expected happy endings for Jerry and the gang maybe not so much.
Jennifer Proffitt
9. JenniferProffitt
@Bell, I agree that it has a lot to do with expectations. No one ever thought Breaking Bad would end on a high note, SoA, Mad Men? Likely not a high note either, but my expectation for comedies in particular is that everyone has learned a good lesson, they've grown as people, and they live happily ever after.
10. crafty becky
I have a lot of trouble with Gilmore Girls. I adore season 5 but if you actually watch it from the 1st season a bunch of character and plot inconsistencies pop up. After season 5, things are just sad and season 7 has So Much Awful.
Carmen Pinzon
11. bungluna
I've been burned by series with wtf endings so now I try not to watch episodic series, though some still manage to suck me in. As for books, yes, a bad ending can totally ruin a great series for me. Now as to what makes a bad ending, opinions differ.
12. AngryhippyXer
A bad ending can totally ruin a whole series. After investing all the time and emotions into a series and it just fizzles out or the characters don't evolve really piss you off. That is why I stop reading Laurel K Hamilton.
13. KashyaCharsi
To that point, Ted's senseless obsession with Robin, despite her being the opposite of everything he wanted in a woman, was only annoying, especially considering Ted passed up better chances just to keep pining for her from afar. After the character developments, it even reminded me of Freud's definitions of uncanny, as in regressing into some lost, already outdated stage. And the shrill, narcissistic mess Robin became, she was particularly not for someone as mature - even if also a little messed up - as Ted.
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