The Wife:

I think we all knew that Ted and Stella’s break-up would be coming, but I can tell you that I didn’t expect it to happen like this. And even though I don’t care for Stella (just like all of Ted’s friends), I didn’t expect to be this saddened by her departure.

I’m sad for Ted, because he put all his hopes and dreams on a woman who was, somewhat understandably, not entirely over her ex. Both she and Ted wanted to get married and live their romantic dreams so badly that they tried to force a relationship on one another that just didn’t fit, as Robin so astutely pointed out when she begs Ted to reconsider his rushed marriage after Stella instructs him to un-invite his ex:

“That’s not the amazing ending you deserve. That’s not Ted Mosby.”

But I’m getting ahead of the catalyst to all of this sadness. Ted and Stella decide spontaneously to take over Stella’s until recently vegan sister’s wedding when her fiancé leaves her a week before their date with a non-refundable dream venue at a nature retreat on Shelter Island. Ted actually only wanted to help out Nora by paying for her steak-and-bacon dinner, but Stella jumps in and suggests that there’s no better time for her and Ted to tie the knot. Given how vehemently against the idea of Ted rushing into marriage his friends were in last week’s “Intervention,” I’m incredibly surprised that there was not more protesting of him getting married so hastily. Even if they all conceded in Intervention that they actually liked Stella and urged Ted that “when it’s right, it’s right,” I think they’d all he just a little hesitant to head up to Shelter Island for a weekend wedding that they had not previously been prepared for. Robin even flies back from Tokyo Ichi, the Metro News 1 of Japan complete with monkey co-anchor, to make it to Shelter Island in time.

But nonetheless, they all go to be at Ted’s side on his special day, despite the fact that Nora’s chosen venue is somehow everyone’s personal vision of hell: no booze for Barney and Robin, no meat for Lily and Marshall. It’s Robin’s presence that’s a problem for Stella, who doesn’t want any exes at the wedding for fear that seeing an ex might cause uncertain feelings and make Ted and Robin rekindle their spark.

The Suck It, Robin that could have been.

The "Suck It, Robin" that could have been.

It’s not Robin, however, that Stella’s no exes rule was really about, as Robin only wanted to see Ted get his happily ever after, but not in someone else’s dream wedding. It was Tony, Stella’s baby-daddy, that she was worried about. Ted ended up inviting Tony to the wedding as a ploy to get him to let Lucy, their daughter, attend. Tony’s presence, however, spelled this wedding’s doom. As Robin sat dejectedly on the ferry home to Manhattan, she saw Stella, decked out in her sister’s bridal gown, running back home to New Jersey with Tony, who apparently has finally decided that the mother of his child is the woman he wants to be with. That fear is why Stella, so desperate to find some semblance of happiness, had wanted exes banned, which Ted realizes when his bride is missing and he plays her warnings about rekindling one’s spark with an ex over and over again in his mind.


Even the Barney plot this week, which started out promising so much levity as Barney puzzled in a Numbers-style math board sequence over the eternal equation: “How Can I Have Sex with Robin Again?” After factoring in drunkness, the crazy-to-hot ratio and other such Barneyisms, he realizes that Ted’s wedding is the perfect opportunity to bed the scrappy Canadian former pop star with whom he is secretly head-over-heels in love. After hearing this theory, Lily bets Barney that he won’t be able to save him self for Robin at the wedding and will instead bang the first slutty bridesmaid he finds. Enter Stella’s jilted sister Nora as Barney’s ultimate temptation: she’s just lost her dream wedding and her fiancé and she’s looking to do dirty and depraved things with the most sordid bachelor available and Barney fits that bill to a T. His near-cracking each time she propositions him is superb comic work by Neil Patrick Harris, but he holds out, waiting for Robin to arrive on the flight he didn’t tell her to cancel when he called on Ted’s behalf and said he would.

Unfortunately, Lily was right and Barney doesn’t remain celibate for Robin, hooking up with the hotel desk clerk. Robin discovers Barney in this situation when she skulks off to his room after her fight with Ted, armed with some smuggled Scotch that she hopes to share with her best bro. Despite Barney’s best efforts to “tidy up” for Robin (insisting that they go to her room, which she doesn’t have, because Stella didn’t book a room for her), he has to watch her drag her suitcase down the hall and leave Shelter Island for good. NPH’s face in this moment brought an intense sadness to a storyline that I hoped would provide me with all the levity I needed from the math board sequence. But no. Instead, I was left with the impish sadness of a wounded Barney Stinson and a dejected, jet-lagged Robin, riding the Shelter Island ferry home alone, watching Stella canoodle with her ex.

The vegan dream wedding that wasnt.

The vegan dream wedding that wasn't.

This show continually breaks my heart, and I wish more people would realize that How I Met Your Mother is so much more than just a CBS comedy with a laugh track.

The Husband:

Well, here’s the first episode of HIMYM this year that made me cry. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long, but considering how many silent, warm tears fell during the show’s final five minutes, I think it more than makes up for the earlier s4 episodes (ones that were mostly great, but missing a bit of the emotional impact I’ve gotten from the show since the very first episode of the series).

I think that the way the show is handling the Barney-Robin relationship is simply incredible, as it satisfies both sets of fans – the ones who don’t think Barney would ever gush over anyone (so in essence he’s still being himself but slowly learning that he can be happy and awesome in a completely different way) and those ‘shippers, like myself, who appreciate that his character is evolving (lovestruck Barney, to me, is both hilarious and heartbreaking). The plots are giving equal time to both characters and dealing with very complicated emotions and not just unrequited lusting. It broke me down when Robin caught Barney in his room with the hotel clerk after nearly falling apart in front of Ted, because it’s an adherence to both of their character traits and yet also provided that added layer of doubt, sadness and hope. It’s more than a will-they-or-won’t-they, because they already did-the-deed, and instead is more of a will-they-understand-each-other-one-day and a please-don’t-fuck-this-up. Not bad.

And curse you, Jason Jones, for flying into Los Angeles from New York after a stint on The Daily Show only to ruin Ted’s marriage by stealing your woman back from him. I’m gonna have to take that up with Samantha Bee.