Last night, we experienced a bit of a mindfuck on “How I Met Your Mother.” The whole episode, featuring three Barneys, three Teds, a fight betwixt Robin and Marshall over an admittedly tasty-sounding drink, and a harmonious rendition of “For the Longest Time”, happened in Ted’s mind, not dissimilar to *that* episode of “Scrubs” that makes us all sob a lot. And there are those who took issue with it, generally Ted-loathers (of which there are many). You all know I myself have a bit of a soft side when it comes to Teddy Westside. I think it’s because I’ve known enough Ted Mosbys in real life to remain okay with him, because he’s honestly way less annoying than some of the real ones. And I enjoyed the turn of the episode, mostly because it’s made vastly less melodramatic now we know the titular Mother is in sight. Forty-five days in sight, as a matter of fact.
Now, that revelation is what leads us to the question of the day: is The Mother dead?
That question was posed a lot on these vast internets last night. Ted’s tears as he delivers one of the most powerful speeches the show has ever given us, his impassioned longing for 45 extra days with this woman, to some, was an indication that he’s lost her somewhere along the way. However this shapes up, the heart-hitting impact of this moment cannot be overstated. It was, put simply, a really beautiful moment of television, and a reminder of the depth of a relationship we haven’t seen yet but are still so invested in after all these years of build up and legend.
Now, I didn’t watch that and think “she ded; u cry evrytim” upon first viewing, and I still don’t. Ted’s monologue to his still unseen lady love felt Ted-ly enough that it didn’t sing “deeeeeaaadd wife” (that was to the tune of the “wo-oh-oh”s in “For the Longest Time” fyi) to me. To me, it was more about Ted’s present feeling of desperation and longing. Ted’s been varying shades of lost throughout the whole series. Yes, the fact that he is now in his mid-thirties gives it an added layer of “Jesus, man, get your shit together” but the whole show has been Ted’s journey to completion, and, right now, he’s at a low point. He’s alone, abandoned by his friends as they focus on their own lives and their own happiness. Ted’s seen lately just how much his life is entwined in theirs, and how he really has little of his own while they’re living their own stories, as he’s become a supporting character in not only this television show, but in the character’s own story to his children. And, without his friends there beside him, Ted doesn’t have a true story to tell. And he won’t. Not for 45 more days.
But I know there are many who disagree, citing his pleading hopeful agony as proof that, yes, this woman, she with her yellow umbrella, bass and great taste in books and music, is gone, and Ted is instead sharing with his children a story of a mother they’ve already said goodbye to. And, while that would be disappointing, it’s not impossible.
Since I have no answers, there’s clearly only one way to end this.