TELLING ANYONE, FRIEND, STRANGER, family member that I watch How I Met Your Mother means getting to verbal abused and on one occasion having a rock thrown through my window with a note taped to it that simply said ‘Why?’ HIMYM might be watched by millions and might be in reruns at so many hours of the day that I feel like there’s a hidden, twenty-fifth hour that lands between the turn of the clock from eleven fifty-nine to twelve am, but the major reason that people seem to hate HIMYM is not that it’s being injected into their eyeballs but put as simply as dad could as he poked my chest, “it’s because of that motherf**king Ted motherf**king Mosby!”
Why do people hate Ted Mosby? Is it his dog-gone, do-good, optimistic, love matters, my wife and kids are perfect, nice guy personality? Or is it Ted Mosby’s success as a famous architect in greed eat greed New York before he’s 30! To the last reason even I have to say get the f**k off. Let him push around coffee, have a sore back, and live a dreary 8:30 am to 7 pm existence that most all 30 year olds are suffering through. If the last reason isn’t good enough any of the others would explain why people get so frenzied when they hear the Mosby name.
Here’s another reason to hate Ted Mosby. Or maybe a reason to love him, knowing how many of you loath the Toronto Maple Leafs. There are rumours floating around that during the last five minutes of the Bruins-Leafs game seven, Bruins coach, Claude Julien, whispered to the players that Ted Mosby didn’t think the Bruins could win. That Ted Mosby was watching and laughing at the Bruins. That was the turning point in that sad, defeated, moment that secretly, most Leaf fans, even up two goals, knew was going to happen. Though, they’d never guess that Ted Mosby cost them the game. Well, really, the Stanley Cup, because every year that the Leafs make it to the playoffs we think we’re going to win the Cup. Until we don’t. And then there’s always someone, some entity lurking, a conspiracy of shadows like Kerry Fraser one year or Ted Mosby the next who snatches away our Cup.
But I’m not here to blame Ted Mosby for that game seven loss. With the help of a svengali named Moe, I’ve learned to let that rubber nightmare fly away like a butterfly. Today, I’m here to pull back the corners of hate, to peel the skin away from Ted Mosby, and find out what’s inside, or in Mosby’s case, who’s inside, causing all our hate.
If you don’t watch How I Met Your Mother here’s a quick debriefing. HIMYM is a wish fulfillment sitcom for young professionals and for all those broke people in their late 20s and 30s who live in basement apartments or with their parents or with a roommate who keeps his door open when he’s entertaining ladies or have to spend two hours on the phone every month with a Student Loan Centre like I do finding out what amounts I owe and what accounts I owe them to and is it possible that I can have some loan forgiveness (though this has now become a running joke for me because there is no loan forgiveness or if there is I haven’t figured out the secret code to unlock the spell).
And this is why, as a show, HIMYM is so hate-watchable. The show is a bunch of people my age, living in New York, the expensive New York, characters with their great jobs, that are friends with one of the worst 1%’s around (Barney – who, played by Neil Patrick Harris, performs so well that Barney’s too damn likeable to hate, which, of course, makes him even worse), who all seem to be having fun hanging out in a bar paying New York prices on beer and New York prices on food. And meanwhile most of us are working crappy jobs, and too many of us are looking for jobs, and politics in North America has gone zealot, and Iran has nukes, and North Korea won’t use their phones unless Dennis Rodman is calling, and the Toronto Raptors can’t make the playoffs. I mean aren’t there enough problems in the world — why do I have to let my eyes and ears get walloped by a group of five people who are enjoying themselves so damn much?
Now, if I sound bitter about HIMYM, I’m not. I’ve watched the show more then I’d care to admit and for a while I obsessively loved the familiarity of it. However, since moving to the UK, I’ve been overloaded on the show. I’m probably breaking twenty-seven international laws when I tell you that British television is not as great as you think when you actually live here. There aren’t enough new shows being produced and that means that the Freeview channels are congested with American television and HIMYM is on everyday with back to back episodes. These episodes are repeated on eight different channels at eight different times every day. And worse, my eyes are bugging out because I can’t stop watching them!
The two other big shows, showing all-the-time, are The Big Bang Theory and Charmed. An aside. When I was in the basement of the Plymouth University library looking for books, I went down one musky aisle, the lights flickering on and off as all the lights down there do, and found the entire series of Charmed on DVD lined up and politely dusted. There are certain occasions, certain moments in a person’s life like that one when asking why is a futile action. And if the question was ever answered the sheer banality of the response would almost be too much to bare.
Me: Why do you have all the seasons of Charmed?
Answer: The kids just love them three sisters and their magic acts.
But, to answer your question, yes, I am sick of seeing HIMYM everyday. But I’m not sick of it because of Ted Mosby.
But why Ted Mosby? He’s so harmless, right? Well, if you type ‘Why do people hate Ted Mosby’ into Google or Bogworld or Thoughtshit or whatever search engine you use, you’ll find other people who have a hate-on for Mosby as well as all their very different, personal reasons. But what they haven’t tapped into, what Josh Radnor, the actor that plays Ted Mosby couldn’t anticipate, is that he’s an echo of another actor who we never really got to collectively pile hate. An actor who a generation embraced only to realize that we didn’t like who we were embracing because he was holding us too hard and he wanted more from us than we realized (until last winter when he started begging us for money).
Ted Mosby meet your father, Zach Braff.
For those that don’t know Scrubs or Garden State, I praise you. Don’t run to your Wikies or your IMDBies. This is the only time I suggest you stay ignorant. For those of you who do know these things, and might still have a Zach Braff poster in your closest, who loved Garden State one day, who went out and bought the soundtrack the next when we still bought music, or laughed at Scrubs, welcome brothers and sisters, I feel your pain.
There are numerous reasons why Mosby/Radnor and Zach Braff are the same. They’ve both written and directed and starred in movies that are so sugary-bubble-doobleby sweet that even seeing the title of Radnor’s first movie Happythankyoumoreplease sort of blinds me and anyone else who just read it. Both Radnor’s movies and Braff’s Garden State deal with, romanticize really, the drifting, lost late twenty year old. If there was any truly major difference it’s that Braff’s Garden State put such a heavy spell on people while Radnor’s films were quieter affairs that, really, not as many people have seen.
Also, like Mosby, who anchors HIMYM, Braff was in our face from the get-go, sticking his shifty Scrubs smile, and sad, maudlin Garden State face, through the camera like some lame-ass Iago.
At some point we all realized we were being smile-lested by Braff. But the problem was that he disappeared. I think Josh Radnor reminds us of that Braff-face and our long simmering backlash. I think that until Braff finally came out of the shadows with his hand out for his Kickstarter project, just after he hosted the Jessica Simpson Wedding in his backyard, we’d never really had our collective moment of outrage. Scrubs went on for so long and on so many different channels, and there never was a follow up to Garden State, that Braff was able to disappear before we realized how much we hated his persona on TV and in that movie.
And that’s when Ted Mosby shows up, all ah-shucks, and our blood started boiling. And maybe all these years later, after watching Mosby take all the abuse, Braff decided to show up like some wrestling heel begging encouraging the boos. With the last season of How I Met Your Mother about to begin, Braff knew he had to step forward so people could stop hating Ted Mosby for one year. Maybe Braff took for the Mose.
Or wait! Maybe Braff caused the Leafs to lose that…no. The Leafs lost to the Bruins in the playoffs because I fear God might be a Habs fan.
And that might explain why I’m agnostic and my father’s an atheist.
This is the for the How I Met Your Mother viewers only. This is how I think the series is going to end. I have no inside scoop. No one is popping out of any of the submarines that coast underwater outside my apartment and there are no old grannies (which is city is crawling with) slipping blueprints of the final scripts to me while I try to buy HobNobs. This is speculation. Also, if you don’t watch the show, look away, I’m about to become a fan, and while I’m ashamed, I also can’t help myself.
The major absence during the entire run of HIMYM is, of course, the mother. I know she’s going to be a part of the narrative in the ninth season but why would Ted Mosby be telling his kids the story of how he met their mother by himself? I think the reason is that, in the very last episode, we’re going to find out that the mother has passed away by the time Ted starts telling the story. And that way, the real narrative force of the entire series, which has been the relationship between Ted and Robyn, can finally be concluded with them getting together.
And yet another reason to hate Ted Mosby.