In 2030, a man sits his children down to tell them the story of how their parents got together. Nine seasons later, audiences are still eavesdropping on the Longest Story Every Told, How I Met Your Mother (Series Finale, 8 p.m. Monday, CBS).
Is it a gimmicky narrative device? Sure. Would it be disturbing to hear your father recount all of his sexual conquests and general debauchery leading up to the moment he met your mom? Of course. But that hasn’t stopped millions of viewers from falling for Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily as they’ve shared their own stories of love, growth and absurdity over beers at MacLaren’s Pub.
Thanks to a time-warped final season full of flashbacks, skips forward and even an entire episode devoted to the titular matriarch (“How Your Mother Met Me” gave viewers a full episode — the series’ 200th — from her perspective, down to the opening credits), the audience knows quite a bit about the mother already. However, that hyped-beyond-belief moment when Ted and his still-unnamed future wife meet awaits audiences in this week’s hour-long finale.
The rumor mill is abuzz with theories about HIMYM’s end: Is the mother dead or dying in 2030? Will Ted end up with Robin despite all signs that point to the contrary? Is Ted even narrating this mess? Why would his voice change so much between the ages of 35 and 52? (It’s Bob Sagat doing the voiceover, after all.)
See the cast discuss all things Mother on a new Inside the Actors Studio (8 p.m. Thursday, Bravo).
WEDNESDAY MARCH 26
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – The Pritchetts/Dunphys/Tuckers do Vegas with guest stars Fred Armisen, Stephen Merchant and Patton Oswalt.
Psych (Series Finale, 9 p.m., USA) – Say goodbye to Gus and Shawn! The finale is followed by the “Psych After Pshow,” where creator Steve Franks and the cast dish and reminisce with fans.
Broad City (Season Finale, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) -– It’s Abbi’s birthday and the girls celebrate at a swanky restaurant where their charming waiter is not so nice behind the scenes. Executive Producer Amy Poehler directs and guest stars. Season Two is a go!
THURSDAY MARCH 27
Surviving Jack (Series Premiere, 9:30 p.m., Fox) – SVU fans rejoice! Elliot Stabler is back on primetime, this time playing a strict dad new to the Mr. Mom role. Honestly, it’s not going to be very good, but there’s really no downside to more Christopher Meloni screentime.
Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – Joel and Peet celebrate their construction project; Max, Sydney and Victor are due for some cheering up; Mr. Cyr is back!
Portlandia (10 p.m., IFC) – Bikes must be over because Spyke is getting a car; Claire and Doug realize they’re much more affectionate with their dog than each other, so they change their relationship dynamic.
FRIDAY MARCH 28
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) -– Well, Beverly is toast. What’s unclear is what she was so shocked by before Hannibal found her in his secret dungeon. Abigail Hobbs, you down there? Freddie Lounds and Dr. Gideon (Eddie Izzard) prove helpful to Will.
Helix (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Syfy) – Julia desperately searches for her mother on the base; Alan fights the Scythe to prevent worldwide catastrophe.
SATURDAY MARCH 29
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) -– With Louie on hiatus, it’ll be nice to see Mr. C.K. on the small screen again (just 16 months after his last hosting gig). Sam Smith performs.
SUNDAY MARCH 30
The Walking Dead (Season Finale, 9 p.m., AMC) – Rick, Michonne and Carl encounter grave danger (well, more than usual) on the way to Terminus — which is where people go to die, right?
MONDAY MARCH 31
House of Food (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., MTV) – The Real World meets Top Chef, because why not.
TUESDAY APRIL 1
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Premiere, 11:30 p.m., NBC) – We knew Leno had a history of coming back from retirement, but this is ridiculous. The host has reneged on yet another agreement, forcing poor Jimmy Fallon to join Conan O’Brien in the Jay Leno Took Our Jobs club.*
Inside Amy Schumer (Season Premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Amy explores interracial relationships, tennis and herpes scares. Paul Giamatti guest-stars as God.
*April Fools, nerds.