Last night’s episode was much better than weeks prior! Still not great compared to earlier seasons, but it did feel more like old times with gang. The Barney storyline was great – just what we would expect from him. Marshall and Lily’s long-term bets are perfect for their relationship, and Robin did the right thing. I laughed through the whole episode!
Except. Oh Ted. I’ve realized why Ted’s “no pressure” confession of love bothers me so much! Part of what is awesome about this group of characters is their bond of friendship. Even when they hook up and break up, they can maintain their connection and comradery. But this season has taken their unconditional love for one another and made it awkward. Uncomfortable. Suddenly characters are not able to handle things that they could handle before. Things that we loved about them!
These aren’t just your average group of friends – they’re an awesome group of friends that are awesome together and have awesome adventures. If I wanted to see friends hook up, break up, and be depressed and weird together, I don’t need to turn on the TV. That’s just real life, and I have plenty of that without HIMYM, thanks very much. I want to see these guys have fun with the awkwardness, but retain their BFFness. Is that so much to ask?
The “get married if we’re both still single at 40” thing, for example. That’s fun! That’s something that friends actually do, and not just because they’re harboring secret crushes deep within their hearts. It’s because they get along and love each other and it’s a fun thing to consider in the future. We don’t have to suddenly have them taking shit seriously and holding on to the possibility like it was a bona fide proposal of marriage. Ted’s optimism and faith in destiny makes him a very likeable guy, and it doesn’t mesh at all with the idea of him waiting decades for Robin to hit that mark and still be single. That doesn’t seem true to the character of Ted, and that really, really, bugs me.
I know that Ted isn’t actually that popular among many viewers. People say that he’s not really funny, he isn’t the true star of the show, and he’s boring. I disagree. I think Ted’s character is – usually – hilarious. He’s more subtle than Barney, and his little personality quirks (like being pretentious with quotes and LOVING pros and cons lists) crack me up. They’re the things that make real people funny, but blown up a bit, and that makes them perfect for the show. Usually. Ted hasn’t been funny at all in a while, and that’s just too bad. He’s the glue of the group, and the moral center. He’s their Eric Foreman!
But for so long now, we’ve been mired in his morosity. Seriously, I just want to tell Ted to grow a pair and get over this. He should already know that him and Robin don’t work out. If he is incapable of understanding this after seven effing seasons, I am incapable of enjoying his character like I once did. He’s not supposed to be stupid, or dense, or a bad bro. But he was all of those things in this episode, and it pissed me off. He isn’t a throwaway character that they can use to propel more exciting plots – he’s the main character in the show, for God’s sakes. He’s supposed to be likable despite his eccentricities, stumbling on the road to romance but always moving forward towards his destiny. He’s not supposed to be dumb and annoying.
I get that they’re having Ted revisit past loves – but I don’t think it’s necessary. At least not to this degree. I would find it funnier – and more authentic – if Ted saw Victoria with her German, Robin with Barney, Stella with Tony, hell, even Karen with an equally douchey husband. Nobody wants or needs Ted to consider going back with any of them – he delved far, far, far into those possibilities in multiple episodes past. Enough already, seriously. I’m not even insisting that we meet the mother ASAP, I just want the plot to progress in a way that stays true to the characters and overall theme.
So, ultimately, Robin isn’t amenable to Ted’s idea of them trying again. Well, yeah, no shit. Tune in next week when Barney pursues Quinn and I get even more pissed off about the current pairings of characters! :)
What I did like:
Ted blurting out “I go camping in secret!”
Marshall acknowledging that Ted totally would put together a symphony of illumination for his platonic friends (“you’re such a good friend Ted!”)
Random Conan O’Brien cameo at that bar. Irish pub, Irish guy, it works for me. Glad that Conan’s walk-on appearance (won at a charity auction) has been realized.
The blue French horn being locked up. This symbol of their relationship is quite clearly chained to the wall with no chance of breaking free again, and I hope that this represents how Ted and Robin are similarly NOT meant to be together. Ever. Again. That is all.