The Greatest Love of All

by graceelena on November 15, 2013

I love this season of How I Met Your Mother. Sure, some of the jokes are tired and I roll my eyes every time Lily says, “Thanks, Linus” while still being able to function, but I still love it.

For one, we have met Ted’s future wife. She is adorable, quirky, and exactly what I thought Ted’s future wife would be. Collective “awws” and sighs are heard across the United States whenever she is in a scene. She is easy to love.

Secondly, I like that this season is one long episode. One of the reasons I enjoy tv is the character development. Movies often leave out critical information but tv gives back story and you watch the characters evolve over the years. This isn’t easy for sitcoms though, so this new format gives us great insight into the characters we love.

Speaking of, my love for Barney and Robin is intense. I have written before about hating when bad behavior is excused in most romantic comedies but in this case it’s different. Barney definitely embodies bad behavior but when it comes to Robin he changes.

Barney loves Robin unconditionally but he is scared, as is she. Everyone knows that Barney and Robin are meant for each other. We know this before they know this. We all watched them spend a “bro night” together in the first season and rolled our eyes when Robin said she had feelings for Ted.

We then watched Robin and Barney resist each other over and over until finally diving in. It was perfect. It was legen–wait for it–dary. That is until they no longer knew how to manage so much awesome. They fell into a rut and neither one of them knew how to get out. They did what most of us do when we are scared or things get hard: they quit.

As much as I screamed at the tv, telling them both they made a mistake, I think they needed that time. Of course, it didn’t need to drag on for multiple seasons, the entire show could have been condensed to five or six. Anyway, it was during that time that Robin and Barney tried unsuccessfully to move on. Such awesome people could easily find other awesome people. Soulmates? No. Too many people in this world for that. (I agree, actually, but that’s not the point.) Finally, after Barney’s run-in with Ted’s future wife, things changed and the two truly realized that life without the other wasn’t a life at all.

What I love about these two is that they are the most real depiction of love and loss in the entire cast. Ted’s search for his wife, while adorable at times, is cliché and sad. He sets himself up for failure constantly. Yes, the wife is exactly right for him but the story line to get him there is so contrived that at this point we can no longer truly appreciate him or his journey. Lily and Marshall are cute but they are also too polished. Other than Lily’s brief stint in San Francisco, the couple has never truly fought. It’s endearing to see an everlasting love, but that too reeks of fake Disney magic.

Barney and Robin are flawed in a way most of us are. They are closed off emotionally, afraid to commit, and terrified that “settling down” will somehow diminish the quality of their lives, or that they will miss out on someone better. They look at each other and recognize the potential over and over again but then, both realists recognize the potential pain. The heartbreak that may or may not come. No one likes that feeling but for these two especially there is this sadness that permeates their beings. When dealing with heartbreak they are completely different people. In their minds they are weaker and less awesome and everyone can see it–one thing they cannot stand.

It is easier to never grow attached. To never experience the love and possibility of the relationship. That way they can continue to be seen as awesome and strong. But we all know the truth and finally at the end of last season so do they.

Barney’s play to propose to Robin is probably not the best for most couples, but it was perfect for Barney and Robin. It represented the years of longing, suffering, and awesome that they experienced together. It showcased the lengths each was willing to go to keep the other around. Even if they were not together, they needed each other.

Barney proved his love for Robin and Robin finally let down her guard and said yes.

It’s the perfect example of dating in this generation. The constant desire to showcase ourselves in only the best light. To prove to everyone how well we are doing when we are actually hurting. It’s falling into the trap that somehow we need to constantly be searching for something more when in reality what we have always wanted is right beside us.

Technology allows us to meet people instantly. Dating sites tell us who we will or will not get along with. Our online footprint lets us research others before we go on dates. We have access to everything we could possibly want. And it leaves us thinking that we need or want more. This isn’t about settling. It’s about recognizing what is in front of you and not waiting nine seasons. It is about taking a leap of faith, letting guards down, and saying yes.

Barney and Robin forever.