I have a lot of conflicting emotions about How I Met Your Mother. On the one hand, they have tons of funny callbacks they constantly refer to (interventions, slap bets etc). But on the other, they have a laugh track.
On the one hand, they have a compelling premise to the show. On the other, they taunt us with answering this premise to the point that we’re either annoyed by it or ready to just go away and read about it on the internet in 10 years when the show finally ends.
On the one hand, they have an iconic character like Barney Stinson. On the other hand though, they have a character who is the equivalent of a bowel distress: Ted Mosby.
I can’t think of a character in recent memory that has united people in shared contempt like Ted has. We asked a question on Twitter and Facebook recently about people’s favorite HIMYM characters and Ted was always dead last or very close to it. How does that happen? How can a character, who the show essentially revolves around, be so extraordinarily unlikable that people from all different walks of life can uniformly say, “Yes. That guy sucks really, really hard.”
1. His lovelorn-ness is annoying
OMG what? Ted wants to fall in love? That is CRAZY. What a noble and unique concept. We should focus on this because NO ONE else is dealing with wanting to find companionship and agape love for the rest of eternity especially in NYC. Hey, Writers of Ted’s Character? WE GET IT. Ted wants to fall in love. WE GOT IT THE FIRST INFINITY TIMES YOU DROVE THAT POINT HOME.
Also, we get that this desire for love will ultimately result in the revelation of the elusive mother character so it’s worth revisiting. But that doesn’t mean you have to smear this in our faces EVERY EPISODE. We’re moderately smart. Understanding the desire for love is kind of an involuntary thing, so you don’t have to show Ted pouting or doing stupid romantic gestures EVERY episode.
2. His personality is annoying
There’s very little redeeming about Ted. He’s pretentious, condescending, whiny and SUPER self-absorbed. We’re supposed to believe that he is exceedingly intelligent but yet he’s constantly flummoxed by small issues like, I don’t know, thinking every female he interacts with could/should be his wife.
Also? If I hear another architecture joke I’m going to build a skyscraper and then demolition it to fall on the head of the writer who is pushing that series of jokes onto us. THE ARCHITECTURE HUMOR ISN’T LANDING. Seriously. If I can find out who is responsible for that line of jokes, I will run for public office, get elected and sponsor legislation to make sure that writer has to wear a blue french horn on their head for the rest of time. THIS I PROMISE.
3. His role within the show/group is annoying
Let’s face it: 12 times out of 10, we’d all rather watch an episode where the plot hinges on someone other than Ted. Barney with laser tag, Marshall dealing with people trying to destroy the rainforest, Lilly yelling at the kids in her class, Robin doing anything regarding Canada. I’d even rather watch Ranjit than Ted. The less Ted, the perfecter.
But by the nature of the show, these episodes are few and far between because a) each episode must be some kind of commentary on how Ted met his wife so that the show can keep with the idea of Ted telling his kids (those poor, poor kids. They probably don’t even care anymore. They’d probably rather it lit charcoal than have to listen to Ted talk about his younger days) precisely how he met their mother and b) because Ted is the everyman glue character that binds the group together. Not focusing on him makes the show feel disjointed because he’s centrally relevant to not just the plot, but to the group of friends. He’s the bridge that unites everyone. It may be an awful bridge that sways and pieces of it fall off while you’re walking on it and most people just wish the bridge would collapse and go away, but it’s still the thing uniting the characters.
More specifically, Ted’s role on the show is like living in a dumpy house. You can go out and eat at awesome restaurants or go on fantastic trips to exotic locations, but you always have to come back to your awful, dumpy house whose voice is SUPER annoying because that’s where you live.
What’s Ted’s worst quality?