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Ship Wars: Who does Robin really belong with?

Ship Wars is back for another battle! It’s time for the How I Met Your Mother fans to finally decide: Whom does Robin Scherbatsky really belong with? Is it crazy romantic Ted with his blue French horn, or smoother-than-smooth Barney Stinson, who was willing to give up his playboy ways for the love his life? Check out our two opinions for each side and let us know which side you’re on in the comments below.

Cristina Iskander, Team Barney: I love Ted. I live on the Upper West Side, I have a yellow umbrella, and I’ve been known on numerous occasions to be romantic. I would choose Ted any day. The truth of the matter, though, is that I’m not Robin. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more different from Robin than me. The Robins of the world aren’t meant for the Teds of the world. But maybe, just maybe, they’ll find a love with the Barneys of the world that is simply … legendary.

Most HIMYM fans I know fall into one of two camps: “I loved the finale” or “What just happened? I’m going to set something on fire.” I fall squarely in the second camp, and the conclusion to Barney and Robin’s story is a huge reason. Robin ending up with Ted didn’t feel earned—and running through the show’s seasons, it didn’t really make sense.

To me, Barney and Robin always had the stronger connection. While Ted was the beating heart of the show, Barney and Robin were the characters who went through the most significant emotional transformation, their eventual union a result of both transforming into better versions of themselves. Their relationship was imperfect and messy, but also grounded in a true understanding of who the other person was. (This was true whether the other was a gun-loving cigar smoker or a laser-tag aficionado. Just as telling, these are activities the two shared and enjoyed together, while Robin had to hide her gun-magazine subscriptions from Ted for fear of what he would think.)

From that very first scene in the bar, Ted was transfixed by Robin. She was his dream girl, and he held on to that for years. Despite efforts to have relationships with other women, he still clung to this childish vision of what be believed Robin could or should be in his life. Shortly before her wedding, he symbolically lets her go, and it’s supposed to be seen as a grand gesture of how deep his love for her is—that he would let her go in order for her to be happy. Since Ted is our hero, after all, we accept that … but really, he’s just a man who couldn’t accept the writing on the wall. Robin didn’t love him; they weren’t right for each other; they viewed the world too differently. His perception of Robin was always through rose-tinted glasses. While that’s lovely for a while, that’s not what gives a relationship staying power. In fact, it prevented him from building relationships with women far better suited to him. (I’m looking at you, Victoria!) Plus, too often, he saw the issues in their relationship as a deficit in her, not as a signal that they simply were meant for different paths.

Barney, on the other hand, celebrated the things that made Robin, well, Robin, particularly her self-reliance and independence. He didn’t have certain expectations of who she was or needed to be; they had fun together (remember the Natural History Museum episode?); and they had insane chemistry. (Sorry, but no scene between Ted and Robin can rival the Barney/Robin dance of season seven.) They experienced ups and downs, but ultimately they grew in a way that made them better positioned and more open to loving the other. Their love wasn’t a fairy tale, but one grounded in similar approaches to life and, most important, their desire to choose each other again and again.

Zakiya Jamal, Team Ted: First, let’s just get the finale out of the way. I argue that there’s a third camp: “I hated the finale but I’m glad Robin and Ted ended up together.” I agree that the ending was convoluted, but the result was not. To say Ted and Robin were meant to be would be a copout, so instead I’ll say that they work best together.

Did they have their issues? Sure—but so did she and Barney. Robin and Barney broke up the first time because they realized they were actually detrimental to each other, which is the worst kind of relationship. A relationship should be about growing with another person, and Barney and Robin never had that. Sure, they had their fun, but that’s all they really had. Differently, however, Ted and Robin challenged each other. Ted wanted a family and Robin didn’t. Robin loved her guns, and Ted … well, honestly, I’m not sure, but it could be assumed that he was against them. Robin was strong and Ted was sensitive—and, let’s be honest, emotional. But they worked.

It was love at first sight for Ted. Maybe at first he put her on a pedestal, but it was that time they spent as friends that allowed him to see Robin for who she really was. It allowed him to see her flaws and her imperfections—and that only made him love her more. He struggled to be with other women because no matter how hard he tried, that love he felt for Robin was still there. Deep down, he knew she was the one for him. The only reason he “let go of that love” was because he also loves Barney, and thought that was the best thing to do for Robin and Barney. He never really got rid of his feelings for Robin; they were just put on pause.

Moreover, Robin’s love for Ted grew over time. She fell for him because of how he took care of her, how he could make her laugh at the silliest things, how he was so different from her but in the best ways. He understood her and what she needed. He wasn’t just some guy to have fun with—he was someone with whom she could have a real, serious relationship.

The only real issue they had was whether to have kids or not. Still, people change over time. At first Robin hated kids, but she got to know some through spending time with Marvin—and then, I think, even Ted’s kids in that terrible jump into the future that we didn’t really get to see. Even though she couldn’t have her own, she realized they weren’t so bad. And she didn’t change her mind for Ted. She never compromised her ideals for him; she just made up her mind on her own.

I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, so I love the idea that despite all their struggles and everything they went through, Ted and Robin still found their way back to each other. One could argue that the mother was just a way to let Ted have his cake and eat it too. Yet I think that sometimes you find the right person for you, but at the wrong time. Ted and Robin finally got the timing right at the end, and there was no better way to show that than with the same blue French horn that started it all.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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