'How I Met Your Mother' Finale: And the 'Mother' Is...

After 8 seasons, the titular character has finally been revealed! But it's probably not who you expected...

So you've waited eight years to find out who the 'Mother' is. Finally, Monday night's episode of How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8 p.m. ET) brought the big reveal. The yellow umbrella wielding, titular character is … drum roll, please… 

Oh. It's some unknown actress you've never seen on the show before.

You might say that the series has missed a chance at a big TV moment here. Thousands of fans have spent years theorizing about this woman's identity. The payoff would be more satisfying if, say, the reveal made you draw in breath and cry, "Wow! It's … her?!" You know, somebody big, like Sarah Michelle Gellar or Jessica Alba. Or even if it turned out it was Katie Holmes (who did a cameo on the show last year) after all. 

But before you start tweeting your disgruntlement, consider this: Some critics are applauding the decision to go with Cristin Milioti, an actress who's relatively unknown to TV viewers. "Ted has never met her before, so why should we know her?" asks TV Guide's Joyce Eng. "Viewers can't have any preconceived notions of what she might be like based on the actress playing her, like they would with, say, Jennifer Morrison or Sarah Chalke." 

That's certainly true, and the producers didn't just pluck a brand new actress off of a high school stage, either. Milioti's had a Tony-nominated role in the Broadway musical Once. And TV viewers probably have seen her before, too -- in small roles and in commercials. Watch her below in this Ford Edge commercial.

She also played Johnny Sacrimoni's daughter Catherine in three episodes of The Sopranos. And most recently, she had a scene-stealing role on 30 Rock as Abby Flynn, a female comedian with an egregiously infantile persona. It takes about two minutes for Tina Fey's Liz Lemon to realize she shouldn't have brought this "sexy baby" into her show's writing room.

You've got to admit, HIMYM could have done a lot worse than this versatile actress. So let's give her a chance to win us over in Season 9!

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