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No more Ross and Rachel

April 16, 2009

When I was in high school, I loved watching Friends. I thought the characters were funny and Ross and Rachel were one of the first couples I was ever excited about (after Tony and Angela on Who’s the Boss). But the characters were in their twenties and I was a teenager, so I never really identified with them.

I realized while watching How I Met Your Mother this week that this show is my generation’s Friends. These characters are all my age, going through the same life milestones I’m facing, and doing it in a hilarious way. It really is comforting and endlessly entertaining. It can also be very dramatic at times, especially when looking at Marshall and Lily’s relationship. It’s great that they have been able to keep the two characters amusing as a couple for quite a while.

But what really got me this week and continues to draw me in is the potential relationship between Robin and Barney. First of all, I love Neil Patrick Harris. Second of all, I love Barney. The combination of actor and character in this role has created a chemistry that is hard to deny. And Robin’s character, while boring when paired with Ted, is vibrant and hilarious with Barney.

And as much as I love the pairing and love that, little by little, Barney’s secret feelings for Robin are coming out, I don’t think I want them as a couple. At least not yet. I think, on sitcoms especially, it can be hard to sustain interesting relationships. This is what happened with Ross and Rachel on Friends. How I Met Your Mother already has one long-term couple that still works, but I’m not sure how it would be able to keep two long-term couples in compelling story lines and somehow still include Ted in the dynamic. And although I could really care less about Ted, the show is technically about him so it wouldn’t work if he wasn’t included.

Ultimately, despite the fact that stories like Barney’s jealousy over Robin affair with Ted’s assistant makes me yearn to see them together, I have to push that desire aside. Instant gratification in this case will not lead to satisfaction. Instead, I hope they continue to draw this out for as long as possible, and when it comes time, give the audience the satisfying conclusion we deserve.

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