How I Met Your Father, Season 1. Most sitcoms don’t hold up very well over time. That doesn’t have much to do with politics or society because people’s tastes in comedy change so quickly. Suppose you think back to one of your favorite comedies from the early 2000s. You’ll notice that many jokes aren’t as funny as they used to be. It’s how humor works, and it’s one reason why comedies can be hard to make. One of these is How I Met Your Mother. Now that the series hasn’t been watched week to week for the past ten years. It’s easier to see where it fell short.
For example, many of Neil Patrick Harris’s (Barney) jokes aren’t as funny as they used to be. They use a lot of the famous “LOL So Random” humor. But the most strange thing about the show, as it’s gotten older, isn’t even the comedy. It’s how one of the main characters, played by Cobie Smulders, is treated.
Robin comes into the show as a love interest for Ted (Josh Radnor), who doesn’t end up with her. After Robin and Ted started dating and broke up, she became a more complex character in the leading group of friends. She was the opposite of many of the typical love interests on sitcoms from the past 30 years. It’s surprising and new that the main female character in a sitcom wants to focus on her career and friendships instead of her family.
There’s nothing wrong with living your life that way or having those goals. But the TV has become too dependent on it over the years, which is a problem. A lot of comedic TV shows had women play homemakers or romantic interests. On the other hand, Robin is a Canadian who carries a gun, smokes cigars, and drinks whiskey.
Later, viewers discover that her father’s wish for a son is part of why she turned out this way. And she always tries to meet that need. She was also a one-hit-wonder singer who gave up after seeing how the world treated her when she was a young star. It’s a nice change of pace because it changes the kinds of stories comedies with female characters tell.
The problem is that the show kept going, and the writers didn’t know what to do with her to move her forward instead of making her go backward. It was new and exciting to have a character who didn’t care much about relationships and didn’t want children. But the show never felt sure about any of her character arcs, making the point pointless. Early in the show, they knew where she came from and how she would end up with Ted.
It might have been funny if the show had ended about five years earlier. But as the seasons went on, Ted and Robin broke up and got back together more than once. The same happened with Barney and Robin; they even got engaged and married on the show. In theory, all of that is good because viewers got to see how Robin changed over ten years to want to get to that point and get married. The fact that she wanted to marry Barney, of all people, shows how well her character was written. But about 15 minutes after she married on-screen, she and Barney broke up.
Not only did they get a divorce, but Robin spends the rest of the How I Met Your Mother series finale feeling very sad and alone. She is very unhappy with how her life turned out and upset that she has a successful career but no one to share it with. In the show’s last scene, she was right back where she was in the first episode: living alone with a bunch of dogs in a lovely apartment. Again, this isn’t a problem in theory, and the goals are reasonable, but it didn’t work for Robin anymore. The writers didn’t think less of her because she wanted this kind of life. But the ending makes this way of life look sad and pitiful. Robin is worth a lot more than that.
It would have been cool if her life was going well and she was happy. But she keeps closing herself off more and more, and it’s sad to see a fun character that fans have loved for years end up being alone and painful for the rest of their lives.
She even tells Lily (Alyson Hannigan) that she doesn’t want to hang out with them anymore because her friends are her ex-husband, ex-boyfriend, and a married couple. It’s a normal feeling, especially for someone getting a divorce. But Robin, not wanting to see Marshall (Jason Segal), Lily, and Ted, seemed so out of place.
Even worse, her surprise roll at the end of the first season of How I Met Your Father made everything even sadder. At the end of the spinoff, she shows up in an episode about ten years after her wedding and almost eight years before she and Ted get back together. At least, that’s how things work in the show.
She’s just sitting alone in the bar where she and her best friends used to hang out in every episode of the first show. She was drinking alone and staring at the booth where she spent a lot of time—asking strangers about their love lives and crazy relationship stories, like How I Met Your Father’s main character Sophie (Hillary Duff).
After hearing Sophie’s story, she stands up and suggests they meet at the bar again in 10 years. Because she thinks she will spend the next ten years alone in a bar and miss her friends. Sad is that we know she’s almost right because of how the first show ended. She’s just a couple of years off.
The last scene of the original show comes next. But, as we’ve already said, this reunion doesn’t feel happy. Most of the time, it reminds me of how Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ended. Yes, our favorite characters are back together, which should be good. But when you look at the whole story, you can see that these characters will try again and fail.
Robin Scherbatsky was a badass. She was funny, charming, and rich. She had a comic backstory and character arc for most of the show’s run. But the way she ends it is too much. We can cross our fingers and hope that Robin’s life gets better by the end of How I Met Your Father if she sees Sophie again. That would make history.