How I Met Your Mother’s eight-season long death march finally ended last night, and the remaining fans of the once-proud show were sorta-kinda rewarded last night with the first shot of the titular character.
Throughout its run, HIMYM has stressed the importance of accepting signs from the universe. But the universe that Ted worships has a cruel sense of irony. At HIMYM’s outset, Ted was the most eager of the show's five friends to marry and begin a family. Eight years later, Ted is the fifth wheel amongst two married couples. He has been locked in emotional cryogenic stasis since Barney and Robin announced their plan to marry, floundering as he sees the cad become an honest man and his college friends start a family.
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It’s typical HIMYM-melodrama that Ted would finally meet the One in a scene out of Brief Encounter as he’s scurrying away from Barney and Robin’s wedding a discouraged and lonely man, a far cry from the wide-eyed dreamer we met in the show’s premiere. HIMYM expects the audience and Ted to remain obedient to love’s divine plan as the universe emotionally ravages him.
As relieved as I was to finally catch a glimpse of the person we've been told for the past eight years is the greatest woman ever, because HIMYM champions spontaneity despite contriving every major life event I’m prepared for rocky sailing before we reach Happily Ever After.
HIMYM has transformed Ted from a Hopeless Romantic to Love’s Bitch, all with a smile on its face. The Ted who stole a blue trumpet or engineered an evening’s date to fit in a two-minute lunch break is not the Ted waiting on the platform in Farhampton. HIMYM castrated Ted by removing all of his likable qualities, rendering him into an utter sad sack.
Robin’s specter has relentlessly haunted Ted for eight years. Now, in a sneaky sleight of hand, HIMYM fast-forwards 56 hours—from Ted despondently selling his dream home because Robin’s marriage is so depressing to running into the Mother on the train platform.
But HIMYM‘s creators haven't given us any reason to believe they won’t simply create more ridiculous or frustrating obstacles to beat Ted over the head with. In a just world, HIMYM would allow Ted to actually have an adult relationship for the first time since season four.
Ted’s universe has been pretty damn cruel to him and dishonest to us. At least acknowledge Ted’s journey will be difficult and don't just expect us to lap up every trinket of info about the mother. Eight years of these shenanigans are four too many.