I've spent the last couple of months trying very hard not to write a rant about How I Met Your Mother. No one cares about that show. Even people who like it only sort of care. I've been trying hard to keep my feelings at bay, but no. They burst out, in an insane, sloppily-edited rant over at Bullett.
Yep. I’m talking about Ted Mosby, superschmuck.
I’m not going to get too deep into how unbearable the show’s narrator and hero is. Anyone who’s seen the pilot knows that this brain-dead mediocrity’s search for The One got tiresome after 22 minutes, nevermind nearly 4,000 of them. I used to think that the only way to watch this show was to ignore the man at the center, to forget the framing story of an aged dweeb’s rambling attempt to explain to his children how they were conceived, and focus on the comparatively delightful supporting cast—Willow from Buffy, Nick from Freaks and Geeks, and Doogie Howser. But I’m here today to tell you that that’s wrong. You can’t watch How I Met Your Mother without focusing on Ted. Like a mutilated cat, he’s impossible to stop staring at. The only way to watch this show that I and nine million others are, for some reason, still watching is to focus on his awfulness, and accept one miraculous truth.
Ted Mosby is a psychopath.
Read on if you dare.
Interestingly, the article got picked up by Meaghen Hale, over at TV Consultants, who responded to my unbalanced jabbering with a very reasonable, very sane response.
Ted is romantic and sentimental. He makes grand gestures. He puts his heart on the line. He breaks into Robin’s apartment to serenade her with a cerulean symphony.
Maybe it is insane—but not in the way you think.
Ted is possessed by the insanity of love.
Hear me out. There is a certain point where the cost of love seems to outweigh the benefit. You have to put yourself out there. You have to wait. You have to try and fail, sometimes with a lot of people. You have to take a risk on someone. You have to be vulnerable. You have to give yourself fully and receive wholeheartedly. You have to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.
Fair point, Meaghen! One thing, though—you say that Ted's "eidetic memory" is evidence of his sanity. I think it's the exact opposite. No one can tell such vivid stories accurately. Either he's embellishing the narrative to make himself the hero and not the villain, or the whole story has been fabricated by his twisted, broken mind. His memory isn't eidetic—it's hallucinatory.
Or it's just a totally pleasant TV show that I maybe shouldn't make such a big deal about. That could be it too.