January 12th, 2009
Ted Mosby is a jerk.
This is a fact that, when How I Met Your Mother addresses it, is one of the character’s most entertaining qualities. When Ted is held on a pedestal like the last great defender of romance in today’s young people, though, the show screeches to a halt: unless the result is as charming as “Ten Sessions,” it is inevitable that we will not feel nearly as in love with Ted as he and the show are in love with his view on love and marriage.
But when the show is willing to actively present Ted as a jerk, someone who is doing something that is kind of cruel, kind of mean, and ultimately hurtful towards people he cares about, I like him a lot more in terms of his role on the show. As Ted and Robin enter into a friends with benefits relationship, we know as an audience that this is hurting Barney, who is in love with Robin, and the show is smart to let that period linger in a series of entertaining montages as opposed to swept under the rug to keep our “good guy” from being sullied.
We know from moment one that this is all a monumentally bad idea, but letting it play out in “Benefits” (even if the conclusion could have been, well, more conclusive) gives us a great chance to see these characters in some of their best roles.