Nine seasons. Four days. One man. No life.
Watching How I Met Your Mother (again) gave me a look into Ted Mosby’s sad and at times predatory search for love. With Barney we expect sexist and misogynistic behaviour, Ted’s attempts at sensitivity make him as much as a jerk. The show should be called how I made a thousand women feel uncomfortable before I met the one who can put up with my shit.
I cringed so many times I eventually lost interest in keeping records. These moments add to an (overall) enjoyable and successful television program.
Season 1 episode 7: MATCHMAKER.” He propositions at women he knows is engaged even going as far as to use information he’d gotten on the sly to try and woo her. Viewed outside the prism of situational comedy this feels kind of rapey.
In the 10 or so episodes here, Ted meets, falls in and out of love with Victoria and becomes estranged with Robin in the process. Victoria is the bakery lady who ends up going to Germany.
Season 1 episode 19: MARY THE PARALEGAL.” Barney tricks Ted into thinking he’s on date with a prostitute at Robin’s dinner for some journalism award or whatever, the show closing on the message treat women like a whore and they’ll sleep with you. Ted stands in a hotel lobby talking to the woman, who’s actually a paralegal, and makes his fridget attitudes towards prostitution known, which gets him a slap in the face. Maybe this wasn’t the message and they were trying to get the opposite idea across; however, if this is the case they need to tone down their high-brow messaging because it went straight over my head.
Season 3 episode 4: “LITTLE BOYS.” Ted Freaks out right when he’s about to win a bet with Barney over sleeping with a woman, he breaks up with her instead. “All I could think about was you being there first,” Ted says to Barney. Barney tells her a lie, he says he already slept with her before setting up an elaborate ruse whereby he ends up getting to sleep with her.
When Ted is about to make his move on the woman, little Barneys appear exclaiming how they’ve been on her different body parts before and actually going as far as to plant a flag on her lips.
If you’ve made it this far, revelation: It’s simply a result of too much time on my hands to rag on one of the most successful sitcoms in recent history rather than being a constructive member of society.
Will we look at these moments in years to come the same way as we look at The Honeymooners? The not-so-subtle representation of domestic violence was a representation of the times, but did we learn anything from it? Are we supposed to learn anything from these types of shows at all? In most cases, the difference between a romantic and a pervert is whether the woman finds him attractive… Lucky for Mosby.