The Ted And Robin Problem On ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Rears Its Stupid Head Again

There’s one (1) person on this planet that likes Ted Mosby. She lives in South Boston. She has a club foot and halitosis, and she’s so dumb that she rolls her Rs when she says “blow job.” Everyone else thinks that Ted is a douchebag. This is incontrovertible fact. I shouldn’t even be mentioning it because it’s so obvious that to do so is like pointing out that the sun is hot. Ted Mosby is so awful that people in other countries hate their perfectly acceptable and otherwise likable version of Teds in their versions of How I Met Your Mother by virtue of the fact that he’s based on the same character.

But this piece is not about how we hate Ted. This piece is how How I Met Your Mother showrunners Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are using Ted like a Scud missile and launching him into the middle of an otherwise perfectly acceptable ensemble cast and DESTROYING How I Met Your Mother, which — let’s be honest — is kind of like launching missiles into Afghanistan: You’re just blowing up rubble.

But here’s the thing: I’ve been willing to overlook the glaring Ted problem on How I Met Your Mother for years because, despite itself, How I Met Your Mother still has (very occasional) moments of greatness. Last week’s bachelor party for Barney, for instance, was a classic HIMYM episode with TWO twists: One you may have seen coming, and another — in which Karate Kid’s William Zabka removed his clown mask — that took EVERYONE by surprise. It was in-wait for it-credible. But Ted is kind of like a cancer on the foot of How I Met Your Mother: At first, he just like a benign lump on the big toe, but now, he’s starting to spread, and if it continues, we’re going to have to amputate.

The problem, you see, is the Ted and Robin relationship. For years — no, the entire series — there’s been an off-again, on-again thing with Ted and Robin, but they have ended it, ruled it out, and put a lid on that coffin SO many times that it no longer has any effect whatsoever. THEY WILL NEVER BE TOGETHER. We know she’s not the mother (she can’t have kids). We know she will never end up with Ted (because she will marry Barney). SO WHY DO BAY AND THOMAS KEEP PLAYING THAT CARD?

If this were a simple Ross and Rachel thing, it would be wearying, but acceptable: I get it. They’re meant to be together, but we have to keep them apart until the end. Blah blah blah. But it’s NOT. There’s another guy involved. A main cast member. Barney. So, when Robin — as she did in last night’s episode — makes googly eyes at Ted and expresses doubts about marriage, that’s not just a tired trope, IT DEVALUES HER RELATIONSHIP WITH BARNEY, who we still kind of like, even if he spends an entire episode playing laser tag.

That right there is the issue with How I Met Your Mother. Marshall and Lily are a perfect couple (and in fact, so perfect, that more often than not of late, their plotlines are inert). Ted is a douchebag. But what the show has still had is Barney and Robin, and though most of HIMYM’s episodes are televised chlamydia, every once in a while, Barney will say something sweet at the end of an episode about his love for Robin and redeem the episode, like antibiotic spray.

But when the Ted and Robin issue rears its stupid little head again, it CHEAPENS the relationship between Barney and Robin, and since Barney and Robin is the only reason remaining to watch this show (seriously, why are we still watching?), it cheapens the entire series. I think what I’m trying to say is: STOP IT. Stop trying to make us think that Ted and Robin will happen, because we know it’s not going to happen, and every time you try to make us think it might happen, you not only insult our intelligence, you destroy your show a little more, and that makes me mad because I’ve been watching this damn thing for eight years, and I’m going to watch until the bitter goddamn end, whether I like it or not.

The end.