Season 7, Episode 17
For those of you who were frustrated by Ted’s declaration of love [again] to Robin last week—and I know you are out there—then you should have taken heart that it opened new doors in tonight’s episode, “No Pressure.” I have to say, though, that I was likely in the audience minority of the Ted-Robin romance being revisited scenario in that it didn’t bother me much. On the contrary, we all knew that Ted and Robin have a very strong bond, and when you add that to a single Ted on Valentine’s Day and a heartbroken Robin, it made a lot of sense to me that Ted would feel the urge to proclaim his love, yet again.
Before I dive into tonight’s intriguing episode, I am going to go one step further in defending Ted to the haters out there. I know a lot of people complain that “Ted is annoying/the least likable character of the show” and “Ted isn’t even the star of his own show anymore.” I happen to think that Ted’s flaws are endearing and necessary to his character. Ted stays true to Ted, and I think that is pretty important for the main character. And, while the whole ‘how I met your mother’ storyline often takes a backseat to the lives and loves of the rest of the gang, I think this show works as well as it does because of the center force that is Ted Mosby. He is the constant glue of the group, the spoke of the friendship wheel. And I think his function is sometimes overlooked and his comedy sometimes overshadowed, but I am glad we have Ted. I think this is important to recognize in an episode like tonight’s, because it seems that Robin, Marshall, Barney and Lily would agree.
This episode picked up right where we left off last week, on top of the roof with Ted dropping his “I love you” bomb onto a distraught Robin. It was a serious moment, and Ted really meant it. Future Ted even told us that this “I love you” was the last time he said it to a girl before the Mother. But thank goodness this show knows how to bring an intense situation back over to funny really quickly. After Ted and Robin had a chance to sleep on it, and Ted told Robin “No pressure,” he quickly analyzed lies he could create to explain his behavior. And Robin was just as jittery and awkward the next morning, so much so that she went into a tailspin upon learning her flight to Russia for a work trip was leaving imminently. It was very convenient that Robin was out of the picture for most of this episode since it gave the rest of the gang a chance to reflect on the situation and analyze how to proceed. It sort of reminded me of Friends when Ross had to head off to China, leaving Rachel to suddenly learn of his love for her.
What’s even better, the B-story this week fit perfectly within the Robin-Ted relationship-reboot conundrum. Barney woke up in Marshall and Lily’s bed thanks to a busy night on the Drunk Train. That alone was priceless, but a still inebriated Barney made it his personal mission to find a supposed sex tape of Marshall and Lily. Challenge accepted. You’ve got to give Barney credit for at least being a thoughtful perv—he pre-ordered his cleaning service to help with a messy ransacking. He didn’t have much luck initially in finding this elusive tape, but he did find something else quite interesting: a box called “Long Term Bets.” This is definitely something Marshall and Lily would do, and as a hobby no less. It all started ten years ago when they bet each other that Ted would break his leg skiing. Ted broke a bunch of other stuff, but not his leg. But the thrill and excitement of that bet could only mean one thing—“NEW HOBBY!” I loved some of the bets, like what kind of hair some of them might have ‘down there.’ Or whether Future Ted would even have any hair. But there were some serious bets too, the most timely being whether or not Ted would end up with Robin (Lily thinks no, Marshall thinks yes) or whether Barney would ever find/watch their sex tape (Marshall thinks no, Lily thinks yes).
These bets led to some hilarious visuals, like Lily and Marshall each enacting scenes from the infamous sex tape to get Barney to watch/not watch it, and some heartfelt conversations between bros Barney and Ted. Even though Ted was sure that Barney still had feelings for Robin—and finally admitted that he saw Barney the night of the rose petal break-up!—he decided to see if his love with Robin could be rekindled. Cue the bistro with the pad-locked blue French horn. Ted and Robin quickly realized that their love will never work because they truly do work best as friends. Ted could tell that Robin still carries a torch for Barney, and Robin could only admit that she needs Ted in her life as a constant friend who will make her a magical light display when she is down. But I would say the most touching moment came when best bud Marshall went to Robin to tell her what Ted could not: she needs to move out of the apartment. This was major. Of the entire gang, Marshall still clings to Ted-Robin hope more than anyone, yet even he knew that their current set-up was only damaging and preventing Ted from moving forward with his life. If the Ted-Robin roommate break-up didn’t bring a little tear to your eye, maybe Ted’s final monologue set to Florence + The Machine’s “Shake it Out” did, in which a new world of yellow umbrellas opened up to him. Or maybe it was Marshall again, still not giving up on his bet to Lily about Ted and Robin: “Not yet.”
So what did you think of this game-changer? No more Ted and Robin apartment…the dynamic has certainly changed, as Victoria predicted it would. And, did anyone else kind of think that the sex tape bet in the Long Term Bet box would actually turn out to be a literal booby trap by Marshall and Lily so that Barney would only assume there was a tape? I wouldn’t put it past Lily and Marshall to add that as a fake bet simply to mess with Barney. But Barney getting his hands on a VHS tape made for a great moment when he ultimately smashed Ted’s VCR. Hey, it’s a V.C.R.