'How I Met Your Mother': Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Or Is It?)

Ted ends his relationship with Zoey, and the audience is more relieved than sad

HIMYM_Landmarks_post.jpg

CBS


Since the beginning of How I Met Your Mother, co-creators and college friends Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have always taken on the task of writing the important episodes. This means they write the season opener, the season finale, and a few in between. Bays/Thomas episodes rely heavily on sentimentality. They usually give minor hints about that pesky mother question, but always involve Big Life Decisions, like Lily leaving Marshall for art school at the end of Season 1, and Robin and Ted breaking up due to irreconcilable life goals at the end of Season 2. In these types of episodes, HIMYM is surprisingly effective at conveying the sense that something is truly at stake—that the decision is a difficult one. But in this week's episode, when Ted chooses his career over Zoey, Bays and Thomas fail to elicit any emotional impact because of one simple flaw: we were never rooting for Zoey.

A public hearing to review The Arcadian's proposed landmark status sets the stage for this decision. Zoey and Ted have been wafting along in their relationship, choosing to ignore the glaring issue that Zoey wants to save the building that Ted is obligated to destroy. At the end of last week's episode Ted grandly announced that he'd cede his position for love. But in the days before the hearing Ted realizes a few things. In the short term, it's not only his job that's at stake, it's Barney's too. In the long term, and perhaps more importantly, he'll likely never fully recover from giving up his dream project of designing a Manhattan skyscraper, and this regret will plague any chance at a healthy relationship with Zoey. When Ted is called in front of the review board, he votes against her.

On paper, the choice is hard. Love or career? On the show, Jennifer Morrison's Zoey never seemed like a girl worth fighting for. She was beautiful and feisty and recently divorced from a very wealthy man, but besides that, she was at best boring, and at worst annoying and manipulative. The show put a lot of effort into Zoey's story, her past, her unhappy marriage, and her devious and generally unethical methods of protesting, but over the course of her 13 episodes on HIMYM, the writers seem to have forgotten to make her likable. That small but significant failure took a toll on the entire arc of their relationship. We were always just waiting for it to end.

Ted closes the episode by reminding us that "sometimes things have to fall apart to make room for better things," which seems fitting for the final episodes of Season 6, too. Now that Zoey is gone, Bays and Thomas have the room to finish out the season strongly by returning the focus to Lily and Marshall, and the rumored reunion of Robin and Barney.

Presented by

Lindsey Bahr is a writer based in Chicago.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In