Isn’t that a great opening line?
So, I was watching The Avengers last weekend with my roomie (good movie! Evil brothers, kickass ladies, just what I like) and an agent fighting on the side of light and wearing tight pants like all the important people in the Avengers do, caught my eye.
SARAH: That’s Robin! Robin from How I Met Your Mother! I love Robin!
ROOMIE: I know you love Robin.
SARAH: I’m going to go straight home and watch How I Met Your Mother.
ROOMIE: We’ve been down that road before. You know how that ends.
How I Met Your Mother has this very common problem. The HIT problem. HIT does not mean ‘is hugely successful!’
It stands for Hero Is Terrible.
It is a sitcom told from the point of view of a dude who’s telling his two kids how he… met their mother, who over seven seasons is yet to be revealed. It’s mostly about his wacky hijinks with his bunch of friends.
Side characters, awesome! Lovely couple Marshall and Lily, free-wheeling singletons Robin and Barney. Ted, the hero on a search for fairytale love who acts like fairytale love is owed him and is deeply narrow-minded, however, gets up my nose so far he hits brain.
It also has the common sitcom problem where there is very little character continuity or development and sometimes all the people in it are just amazingly awful for the sake of comedy. What can you do?
So I watch it on and off until I get annoyed/Ted becomes unbearable/I get annoyed because Ted is unbearable.
But I always love Robin. That does not change.
Let us talk about Robin Scherbatsky, Canadian lady reporter living in America, commitmentphobe and sass bucket, dedicated to fun times and good drinks.
Admittedly, Robin’s job is not a huge feature of the show, except for when it causes her to have comic mishaps.
Ted: So, you're a reporter?
Robin: Sorta, I do those fluff stories at the end of the show, like... Monkey can play a ukulele. I'm hoping for some bigger stories.
Ted: Bigger... like, a Gorilla with an upright bass? Sorry, you're very pretty.
(Thank God, Ted does not get the girl! TED, THE PREMISE OF THE SHOW—ALL ABOUT HOW THIS TERRIBLE DUDE MEETS THE GODFORSAKEN MOTHER OF HIS UNFORTUNATE CHILDREN-- FORBIDS YOU ROBIN'S HAND! PRAISE THE LORD, GLORY HALLELUJAH. Because though people put themselves down all the time, other people don’t have to put them down, and dudes do not have to dismiss ladies’ jobs.)
But it is always shown as an important thing to Robin, who is ambitious.
Don: Look, Robin. You seem like a nice kid, but this is my 39th morning news show, and from those 39 shows I've learned a few things. 1. Avoid the all you can eat sushi buffet in Bismarck. 2. Don't go to the bathroom with your lapel mic still on, and 3. Your entire audience at this hour is one half-drunk slob sitting in his underwear.
Robin: Well let's do a great show for that half-drunk slob.
The one time Robin was shown as not taking a job because of a guy... well, that was shown as a mistake, and I'm not saying it always would be a mistake. But I am saying that 'Other Stuff Is A Valid Choice To Make Over Romance' is a message I like seeing.
Robin has national pride as well as pride in her job.
Robin: I am Canadian. Remember? We celebrate Thanksgiving in October.
Ted: Oh right I forgot. You guys are weird and you pronounce the word out, oot
Robin: You guys are the world's leader in hand gun violence; your health care system is bankrupt and your country is deeply divided on almost every important issue.
Ted: ... Your cops are called "mounties."
Robin: I'm proud to be Canadian. We may not have a fancy NFL team, or Prince, but we invented Trivial Pursuit—you're welcome, Earth.
Robin very casually dismisses traditional gender roles: not just interest in marriage and commitment and babies, but even interest in cleaning up. It’s fine to be interested in those things… but it’s also fine not to be, and I like that Robin is always very casual about it. She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like, and there’s an array: pretty sundresses and Scotch and sexy good times, yes! Babies, no. Robin is clear about what she wants and where she stands, always. Even when a lot of people are trying to make her feel bad about what she wants and where she stands—or are just dismissing it or making fun of her, she says the way she feels is valid.
Also, she was briefly a pop star and she can fly a helicopter if she has to and shut up, Ted.
Ted: [Seeing Robin eat cereal] That looks good. I’ll have some of that.
Robin: Sorry. No milk.
Ted: But I just saw a carton of milk in the fridge yesterday.
Robin: It’s empty.
Ted: Then throw it away.
Robin: Can’t. Trashcan’s full.
Ted: So empty the trash.
Robin: I would, but I’m eating cereal.
Ted: Robin hates kids.
Robin: I don't *hate* kids!
Ted: Well, you don't want to have any.
Robin: I like sports cars, but I don't want to push a Ferrari through my vagina.
Robin: Babies are scary, OK? They have giant eyes, and come on, the soft spot? If there's gonna be a self-destruct button, at least hide it somewhere it won't accidentally get pressed!
Robin (to Lily and Marshall): Look, I hate most babies, but your baby; I'm going to love that kid so much. I'm going to pick it up and everything.
Robin finds out, pretty late into the series, that she can't have biological children, and it is seen as sad--having a choice taken away from you always is--but not life-destroying. It doesn't make Robin suddenly sure she did want marriage and babies, and it's absolutely not a punishment for her not wanting them. It's shown as one of those things, sad senseless things, that happen and that you have to deal with.
Marshall Eriksen: So Robin, do you have a playbook?
Robin Scherbatsky: [motions at breasts] Two volumes, right here.
Robin has no time for ridiculousness.
Marshall Eriksen: You don't understand love. You're like a robot who asks someone who's crying "Why is your face leaking?"
Robin Scherbatsky: Okay, robot initiating parking-on-the-curb-until-jackass-apolog
Robin: You think the only way to be in love is to have pet names, or leave each other stupid little notes or go charging off into a blizzard for no good reason. You know what you are? You’re a love snob! There’s lots of ways to be in a relationship, and you would know that if you ever left your little ‘Love Snob Country Club.’
Robin: Look at me, I've sworn off relationships.
Marshall: She is so about to get married.
Ted: I gotta work on my toast.
Marshall: I gotta make sure my tux fits!
Robin: I will bang your heads together like coconuts.
Ted: Gee, is that ice cream cone big enough?
Robin: Uhhh, it's delicious enough.
Ted: Seriously, where do you see yourself in five years?
Robin: Where do you see yourself?
Ted: Honestly, in five years, I’d probably want to be married.
Robin: And I’d probably want to be in Argentina.
Robin: Or Tokyo, or Paris. Look Ted, I don’t know where I’m gonna be in five years. I don’t wanna know. I want my life to be an adventure.
'I want my life to be an adventure' may be the best quote in this post.
While Robin is obviously an awesome single lady, I admit I do have a wish for who I want her to end up with: her friend, the womanizing compulsive liar, Barney.
She and Barney did date for a little, but it was so poorly handled that I have deleted it from my brain. However, I think they are a sweet couple and while they both have their issues (Barney has so many. So many. More than Vogue), I think they work well together. There is much smiling and dancing and actually genuine fun times had.
(Convince me the couple have fun and you've got me.)
Barney is frequently disgusting, but at least the show treats him like he is saying terrible stuff constantly when he says terrible stuff constantly, and Robin—as is her way—smacks him down all over the shop.
Barney: It's my apartment and I need to assert my dominance as a man.
Robin: Don't ever say that to any girl, ever!
She nursed him when he was sick, as he feebly protested 'Don't look at me! I'm hideous!' Aw, sickly boys into their appearance. No, I don’t even know what’s wrong with me.
Robin: You know what game I really miss? Battleship. I’ve never lost a game.
Barney: Neither have I. Of course, I cheat.
Robin: Oh yeah, me too.
Look, good partners! And I support their amoral ways. They also enjoy running through museums in formal dress and touching all of the exhibits.
They’re both insecure and both have daddy issues and both act out, but nobody is perfect! Indeed, that is part of what makes couples interesting: healing each other and working through stuff together.
Robin Scherbatsky: No.
Robin Scherbatsky: No, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, Barney and I are not together. No. No.
Barney: Really? Sixteen 'no's? Really?
Robin Scherbatsky: You're right. This is a mistake.
Barney Stinson: Yes... No!
Robin Scherbatsky: I love you.
Barney Stinson: Let's be friends.
Robin Scherbatsky: Okay, friends then.
Barney Stinson: I love you.
Robin Scherbatsky: Ah... Let's get married!
Barney Stinson: No! You're smothering me!
Robin Scherbatsky: Okay, forget it!
Barney Stinson: Gaah!
Robin Scherbatsky: Gaah!
Barney Stinson, Robin Scherbatsky: *Kiss*
Barney: Ah-ah. Boyfriend? I don't wanna be Robin's boyfriend.
Lily: Well, what do you want then?
Barney: I don't know... I just wanna be with her... all the time. I wanna hear about her day, tell her about mine... I wanna... hold her hand, smell her hair... but I don't wanna be her stupid boyfriend!
Robin: I'm such a mess. Why do you even like me?
Barney: I guess cause you're almost as messed up as I am.
Robin Scherbatsky: No matter how bad things got, Ted really did love Zoey for a minute there. Didn't he?
Barney Stinson: Yeah... he did. And she loved him, too. Didn't she?
Robin Scherbatsky: Yes, she did.
(Aw, kids! Talking in code.)
What I like most about Robin and Barney together is that Barney obviously adores her and is constantly showering her with support and with compliments.
Barney: Holy crap, you’re beautiful!
Barney: Look at her Ted, she’s the greatest woman on the planet!
Barney: You’re the most awesome person I’ve ever met. Well, second.
Robin: Right, first being you.
Barney: No, actually, it’s this guy I know who lives in something called the mirror. What up?
Robin: Hey. Um, when we were dating, did - did I make you feel needed?
Barney: No, I didn’t feel like you needed me at all.
Robin: [sighs] That’s what I thought. Uh, I’m sorry. [turns to leave]
Barney: Wait, where are you g- that’s a compliment! You’re the least needy woman I’ve ever met. That’s awesome! No guy’s gonna say “Who’s your daddy?” to Robin Scherbatsky; you’re your own daddy. And mommy. And weird survivalist uncle who lives in a cabin with a shotgun blaming stuff on the government. And that is what makes you the most amazing, strong, independent woman I’ve ever banged.
(... while he’s still terrible...)
Barney: When I let a day go by without talking to you, that day’s just no good.
And best of all, Barney is shown as thinking that Robin’s job is important, and as supportive of her career. The rest of her friends pretend to have watched her early morning show, when he says he doesn’t watch it: but he secretly does. And, much more important, he steps up to the plate with support when she needs it.
Barney: I finished your video resumè on my own. Messaged it to every news station in the city. A guy from Channel 6 called: he loved you, he wanted you to come in and audition.
Robin: Oh my God.
Barney: I told him no. Robin Scherbatsky doesn't audition. He gives you the job, or nothing.
Robin: So-so I got the job?
Barney: No, he cursed me out and hung up. But then Channel 12 called! They also loved you, they offered you a job hosting their new morning talk show.
Robin: Barney, that's amazing!
Barney: I told them to shove it.
Barney: It's only made them want you more. So they jacked up their offer by 10%. Congratulations, Miss Scherbatsky.
Robin: Okay. There's a job opening at a new cable network that would be perfect for me. Completely legit world news, interviews with people who matter... ah, but I decided I'm not gonna apply.
Barney: Why not?
Robin: Because I'm a joke. I'm just the scary news lady from some stupid local news channel.
Barney: Hey. We both know you're more than that. Promise me you'll apply.
Robin: Barney, it's not as easy as -
Barney: Promise me you'll apply.
Robin: Okay. I promise.
D’awwwwww. Reporter ladies who rock and boys who adore and support them for the win. Also, comedy!
I admit... I have a favourite fanvid. (Yes, you have correctly assumed from this confession that I have watched more than one.) It is, of course, from Robin's POV.
And of course, a lady reporter with an imaginary man is extremely relevant to my UNSPOKEN interests.
Ted Mosby: You are driving me crazy! No wonder your fake husband moved to Hong Kong!
Robin Scherbatsky: [deadly serious] He moved there for business!
I love you, Robin. Shut up, Ted.