As we close the book on yet another month of “How I Met Your Mother” sweeps, one thing is for sure: of all the Ted Mosbys in the world, Ted is the Ted Mosbyest.
Here’s where I show my colors as Defendress, Defender of the Show: sometimes that’s not terrible.
Don’t get me wrong. It can be terrible. Really terrible. This just wasn’t.
So, let’s go back. We started with “The Burning Beekeeper,” perhaps my least enjoyed episode in years. I rarely like the episodes that are over-the-top silly without a purpose, and this was up there with Marshall getting mugged by a monkey. And at least that one had the nifty King Kong ending. This one gave us an awful lot of not much. And, as it was largely filler, I don’t need to spend much time on it, but it did lay some manner of groundwork for us to get a re-glimpsing of Ted and Robin, just so the following week didn’t come out of nowhere.
The last three episodes have fared far better. I’m a big proponent of this season, as I think the quality and consistency of the episodes has been the best it’s been since season four, but here’s the problem: when you know who a character is supposed to be with (or who they are not supposed to be with) it takes any enjoyment out of a new relationship arc, particularly when this relationship arc is occurring within a show so based upon the chemistry of the leads. A new addition never feels right, and we rarely get that feeling of someone fitting in that well. That’s why the assumed—and prayerfully still the case—built-in end of this show works so well: in theory, we’ll meet the mother in the last couple episodes, if not the show’s finale, and get all we need to know about how things end up in one nice montage, rather than watch as the show flounders in attempting to shoehorn in some stunt casted mismatch.
You know. Like poor Kal Penn.
Bless him, he did his best. His best just wasn’t right for the show, and it always seemed like there was more happening sub-textually than was ever put on screen, like what a creepy loser he was for a) dating a former patient, b) practically manipulating her into staying with him after she cheated on him and c) asked her to marry him when she clearly wasn’t that into him. Because she clearly wasn’t that into him. And, because she clearly wasn’t that into him, I was annoyed that a bigger deal wasn’t made of Robin’s lack of feelings, that she considered—and accepted—his proposal, not because she was confused and vulnerable, something they’ve made a big point of saying this year, but because she’s actually supposed to love him, and only her inability (and lack of desire) to have children was the clincher? It bugged me. Sometimes they write Robin so perfectly—other times, it seems they forget how to explain the motivations and feelings of a character who doesn’t talk about her motivations and feelings, and turn us all into twelve-year-old girls on LiveJournal, clinging to unpresent, off-camera assumptions.
Perhaps I was so bothered by the Robin/Kevin arc, though pleased that it was finally over, that I was made extra okay with the ending, where Ted tells Robin that he loves her.
Here’s the thing—to me, this didn’t feel like a rehash. This felt like the most honest sitcom moment I’ve ever seen. In every sitcom involving a pair of exes, life just goes on as normal, the two friends again with minor moments of plot-centered awkwardness and little else. And that’s fine, that’s the nature of sitcoms involving groups of friends, but in reality, that does not happen. Particularly if you know a Ted or two, and I do. And, trust me, those feelings would, in real life, pop back up again like Whack-a-Mole heads. Not because they’re real, but because they used to be there, and these delicate Teds have trouble letting go.
So, I understood, and, in retrospect, I like that they went there, that they used the opportunity to take the obvious mental endgame possibility away from him, allowing him to actually grow enough to meet “your mother.”
That said, I was actively rooting for him to get crushed like a Molson can against her proud, northern forehead.
And crushed he was. In “No Pressure” Robin not only tells him she doesn’t love him, but moves out. Which she needed to do, and we knew had to happen at some point. What I didn’t see coming was Ted following suit, moving out at the end of last night’s “Karma.”
Our little gang is growing up.
Of course, it wasn’t all Ted and Robin and general Mosbying. There was also more Marshall and Lily stuff, which is always fine (and I’m very excited about the prospect of them moving back to the city, though them going from apartment-owners to homeowners back to renters is weirding me out) but the nature of their solid relationship means they never get the juicy cliffhangery stuff. Which is fine. I can only take so much. There’s also this Quinn business with Becki Newton, who I enjoy and all, but spent a lot of time yelling “golddigging whorefarmer” at the TV last night. Though I remain ever vigilant that Robin and Barney are endgame, my concern is that we will get a wedding fakeout, the season ending with Barney choosing Quinn, and I will go into labor. This is incredibly possible. I’m due during finale week, like Lily. And, honestly, breaking my water because of Barney Stinson just seems too probable.
So, it would appear that, from here on out, we will be focused more on Barney. Ted doesn’t Mosby again until he meets the mother, so we get to neatly avoid all that. Marshall and Lily will be moving back to the city, apparently, and getting ready for the baby. Robin will pick up some career momentum. And Barney? Barney will date Quinn, get very serious, mostly for the point of adding a viable bridal candidate to the mix, and then will make me go into labor. Thanks a lot, show.