It has been a long, long time since I’ve posted, mostly because I don’t have a lot of spare time to write anymore. I tried writing today, but my 4 1/2 month old baby only accepted being ignored for about five minutes. Meanwhile, while she was napping, I was trying to eat.
But nevertheless, I have come out of hibernation, and I have come out of hibernation because of a tv show. A tv show, you ask? Yes.
**Spoilers ahead for How I Met Your Mother and Game of Thrones.
I’ve always been the type of person to get emotionally invested in tales of fiction. It’s why I can’t watch horror movies, especially those involving torture–I have way too much empathy. Lately, that empathy has gotten ratcheted up when I see a situation which directly relates to my life: that is to say, it deals with finding love and beginning a family. The infamous Red Wedding on Game of Thrones aired when I was newly pregnant, still in my first trimester. My husband had been trying to make me pregnancy cry as a sport for weeks, and every time we saw something touching and/ or kid related, he’d give me puppy dog eyes. Well, when they stabbed the pregnant lady in the stomach, I absolutely lost it. I sobbed, because I was already so fearful of the precious little bean I had inside me suddenly losing hold and slipping away, and to think that someone could end something so innocent with such violence left me shocked.
The finale of How I Met Your Mother is actually not that far off with its emotional betrayal. Actually, it was worse. At least Game of Thrones warned you with Ned Stark’s death not to get attached to anyone. Ever. How I Met Your Mother charmed me, lured me in. And promised me emotional payoff. It was right there in the damn title.
At first it seemed like we would get the payoff. We saw more and more glimpses of the Mother over the final season, and she was utterly perfect for Ted. She didn’t just get him, she shared things with him. He has a flail from the Renaissance Fair, she has a jousting lance. She dressed up as an old Floridian lady to his hanging chad. It reminded me very much of how me and MR are together. We share a lot of things, things that when I was single I worried would put off guys, but no. And those quirks we don’t share just make us more endearing to the other.
That’s the thing. I get Ted. I’ve always felt he reflected what it’s like to be a true romantic and single and aching to find ‘the one.’ Before my sudden and crazy romance began, Ted was my touchstone. First his boundless hope, then it slowly running dry and the fear and exhaustion that sets in. I could go through episodes, but the list would just be far too long. In fact, his attachment to Robin was pretty tangential to me as I watched the show.
‘Trilogy Time’ aired just months before I got married. At the end of the episode, Ted walks in cradling his baby daughter in his arms, and we knew his happiness was just around the corner. I felt so much the same way. Just a year before that episode aired, I was like Ted, having given up on the hope of having a husband and a family, wondering if the future could possibly hold anything for me. But then things changed overnight, just like that, and I was on the cusp of my own happiness.
And that’s where the betrayal lies. In ‘Shelter Island’, when Ted is about to marry Stella, Robin gives him this big speech about how he deserves his own grand ending, because he is the grand romantic, and instead he is sinking into someone else’s life. That’s exactly what happened–instead of getting his grand romantic moment with Tracy, Ted just circles on back to Robin, and instead of being celebrated, becomes subsumed.
Moreover, it sends a troubling message to those of us who empathized with Ted, who felt the pain and the fear of being single, and who know either now or in the future what it is to find happiness. HIMYM says ‘You know that dream that seems so ethereal that it might not ever materialize? It will. And then it will DIE.’ In other words, after years of patience you get a second of joy. HIMYM tells me that since I’ve found happiness, I’m going to lose it. And that turns a sweet and funny show into something crushingly depressing.
All to turn their intelligent, human characters into Ross and Rachel for the teens
Not so very different, so what does this say about our fate?