Sit down kids, I’m going to tell you the story about how I was a total piece of garbage before I met your mother… The HIMYM fanbase is one of the most avid out there. I myself am currently on my 7th or 8th watch through of the show. What’s not to love? A tight-knit group of friends, lovable hijinks, feel-good moments, dramatic presence, its got it all! But maybe the most prevalent thing to come out of the show is the ongoing debate between fans on which character represents them best. They each represent a type, right? Marshall, the goofy but loyal best friend. Lilly, the protective and kind matriarch. Robin, the brave and assertive one. Barney, the fun-loving party guy. And of course, Ted the hopeless romantic and focal point of the show…but is he such a pure character?
Right from the get-go, Ted is painted as this lovesick hopeless romantic. We are supposed to feel sympathetic and connected to him. But who truly is he written for? He alienates the romantics with his antics with Barney but alienates the party bros with how he acts about the Mother and Robin. A case can be made that this is an attempt to make him the everyman because he is constantly changing. But pardon me if I’m not on his side when he spent the entire time telling this story to his kids with the ultimatum of asking out Robin. Your kids seem open to a conversation… you could have just talked to them about how you were thinking of asking Robin out instead of making them relive the trauma of their mother dying. Also if this is the first time they are hearing the story of how Ted met Tracy, why is he using it as a segue to date someone else… But to be honest, Ted’s downfall can be summed up in one episode…
No Tomorrow. Season three, episode 12. Which episode is that? It’s when Barney convinces Ted to go out with him for St. Patrick’s Day. Ted seems to take the higher ground at the beginning of the episode but when Barney dangles the slightest bit of adventure with single ladies in front of him, Ted bolts to meet him. He proceeds to essentially ditch his dates, steal, and be a part in committing adultery, all in the name of living like there’s “no tomorrow.” He acts like a total dirtbag. In the end, Marshall shows him some tough love and gives him a wake-up call. Ted is ashamed of himself and vows he will be different. This was middle of season three… there were nine seasons. Ted recognizes how awful he can be… and continues to act on it for six years. I know what some of you may say? C’mon Andrew, he was engaged to Stella during season four, can you really count that time against him? Yes, yes I can…
Stella, the woman who crushed Ted. The woman who set Ted back. The woman who left him at the altar. Terrible right? Not so much. You know how their relationship started? Ted literally not taking “no” for an answer. Granted the storyline revealed she wanted to go out with him but she told him no in some form for 10 weeks. 10 weeks he strived to turn that no into a yes. Even Barney, misogyny incarnate, said there was no way to turn a no into a yes. That theme alone is off-putting, turning a no into a yes. Then they start dating, and it gets worse from there. At one point he feels it’s getting too serious and tries to break up with her. He only reconsiders after a near death experience. THEN goes the opposite direction and asks her to marry him. After all this, he assumes that Stella and her daughter are going to leave their full-size home in New Jersey to live in Ted’s apartment on the upper west side. And in the final moments of their relationship, she begs not to have their ex’s at the wedding, to which he replies by bringing both ex’s. There’s no excuse for leaving someone at the altar, but Ted had been causing issues for months. So isn’t there blame to go around?
I know there are a lot more factors to take into consideration. Don’t even get me started on the Zoe and Victoria sagas. I know Ted is a good person (or written so) but sometimes I feel we blindly follow him into the dark. Maybe addressing his negatives will help us take the journey with him. Maybe if we realize he is flawed it will make the character more human. Maybe it’s ok to identify with someone who can be somewhat of an asshole sometimes because can’t we all be assholes sometime? Maybe it’s just a sitcom and we shouldn’t put so much weight in what these characters say and do? If you know this cohost then you know that’s not how I roll (maybe I’ll address Scrubs on here one day…). I will continue to be emotionally invested in the characters and play through their stories. And at the end of the day isn’t that the mark of a solid show?
Check out more on Episode 16 where we talk all about How I Met Your Mother! Available here or on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify! Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @HoldUpASecPod. Stay Passionate!