The fact that How I Met Your Father had Robin Scherbatsky return for the season 1 finale proves that How I Met Your Mother’s Ted wasn’t the show’s most popular character. It is not that unusual for the ostensible lead character of a sitcom to be overshadowed by a supporting star. For example, Bart was originally intended to be the star of The Simpsons (and led some fan-favorite episodes), but Homer soon overtook his young son in the hearts of audience members.
However, this can be a problem for some sitcoms when the less-liked lead character plays a pivotal role in the series. How I Met Your Father chose wisely when the sitcom spinoff made Hillary Duff’s Sophie its narrator, as most online reviewers agree that she is among the show’s most likable characters. However, its predecessor How I Met Your Mother was not as lucky in the show’s choice of lead.
How I Met Your Father’s season 1 finale brought How I Met Your Mother’s Robin back for a heart-to-heart with Sophie, and this decision reflects an unfortunate reality about the earlier sitcom’s biggest issue. Robin’s How I Met Your Father return, along with the online demand for a Barney cameo, draws attention to a strange longstanding problem that How I Met Your Mother faced for years. Namely, How I Met Your Mother’s narrator and POV character Ted was far from the most popular character on his own show.
Why How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Was So Hated
Ted’s character flaws led a lot of viewers to like him less than Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney, something that has been outlined in countless articles and video essays since How I Met Your Mother ended in 2014. There were articles arguing that Ted didn’t deserve Cristin Milioti’s charming, short-lived titular mother character and claims that Robin deserved better too, while some How I Met Your Mother viewers disliked Ted ever since he cheated on Victoria to hook up with Robin. The fact that this indiscretion occurred in How I Met Your Mother season 1 gives an inkling as to how long the sitcom struggled with this issue.
Unlike Ross from Friends or Jess from New Girl, the fact that Ted was both the lead character and one of the least-liked characters was a real issue for How I Met Your Mother. After all, Ted was also the narrator of How I Met Your Mother, so there were very few episodes that didn’t center him and his perspective to some extent. Later seasons of the show (aside from How I Met Your Mother’s worst episodes which focused on Ted’s unrequited love for Robin) avoided this with ever more ambitious plots that focused on other characters, but the issue nonetheless persisted. Ted never really won over viewers in How I Met Your Mother, as proven by the choice in How I Met Your Father to bring back Robin instead of the earlier show’s ostensible hero.
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