The Most Romantic Moment I've Ever Seen
It's no secret that I watch a lot of television. Sitcoms, CSI in all its variations, reality competitions - a little of everything finds its way into my Tivo.
Edited 03-06-06 to add: Since writing this post, I've had a comment from Amy, who created the fan website for the show at http://www.howimetyourmother.org . The site is new, but she's off to a good start at gathering all the details, episode summaries, reviews, and trivia that true fans will be interested in. Good site design, too - clean lines and clearly laid out content. Check it out! - FC)
The premise is that, 30 years in the future, a dad (voiced by Bob Saget) we only know from his voice-over is talking to his teenage daughter and son (who sit bored on the couch), telling them the story of how he met their mother.
Ted (Josh Radnor) is the future dad. His best friend and roommate, Marshall (Jason Segal), is engaged to Lily (Alyson Hannigan). Seeing their happiness, Ted has decided that he's ready to find The One, to commit to a relationship with the woman he's going to spend the rest of his life with.
All his friends, including slimy womanizer Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), support and aid him in his quest, even as sometimes they think Ted has set unrealistic expectations.
We have watched through this inaugural season as Ted has journeyed through the world of dating and relationships. First he met Robin (Cobie Smulders), a reporter for a local news station, and we really thought this was it. And even the future voice of Ted told his kids, "And that's how I met your..."
Kids: "Our mother!"
Ted: "Nope. Your Aunt Robin."
And this was only, like, episode two. The interplay between Ted and Robin continued, though we knew now it was doomed. But it was interesting to watch as they danced around each other, Ted wanting a committed relationship, Robin very interested in Ted, but very certain she didn't want to marry yet.
All of this is supported by intelligent writing, a great sense of humor, a good sense of place (the show is set in New York City, and the character of the city is evident in every episode), and believable performances by the cast.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
A week ago Monday, Ted and Robin danced closer together again as Ted cajoled two friends who were getting married to let him bring a date to their wedding. He figured it was a great way to try things with Robin again after she'd been seeing someone else who then dumped her. Robin was looking forward to going, and Lily had helped her find a killer red dress. But just as tuxedo'd Ted arrived to pick her up and was floored by how gorgeous Robin was, she got a call to fill in as a weekend anchor on the news program - an opportunity she'd dreamed of forever.
Well, she had to go. Ted's so nice a guy he'd never consider anything else. And Robin, while clearly upset about it, certainly didn't consider saying "no" in favor of going to the wedding with Ted.
So after annoying the heck out of the bride and groom to get permission to bring a date, Ted shows up dateless to the wedding. At the reception afterwards, however, he looks across the room and locks eyes with a pretty woman (Ashley Williams) sitting alone at another table.
This week, we picked up where we left off. As I sat knitting yesterday (notice insertion of obligatory knitting reference!), I watched the continuation on my Tivo...
Ted being open to possibilities, and knowing in his heart that Robin could never truly commit to anything but her career, goes to talk with the woman.
They click immediately, making small talk about the issue of hooking up at a wedding. She has a rule against it, but she proposes that they try to get all the good parts of what makes such an encounter memorable, while establishing ground rules to avoid the bad parts. They'll have their amazing night, and then never see each other again. They'll forget about each other except that one memorable encounter, they'll never try to find each other, the whole nine yards.
Ted agrees, and the evening begins. They grab some champagne and glasses, and he takes Victoria by the hand as they dart out of the reception hall.
Ted and Victoria find an empty room with a piano, and spend time singing, talking, laughing, dancing...they consider kissing, but Victoria points out that the best part is always everything leading up to the kiss itself - the "drumroll", as she puts it. After that point, there are too many things that can go wrong...too much tongue, not enough tongue, you name it.
So T&V lean in...closer...closer...closer...the tension is astounding, I kept wanting to scream at them "Kiss each other already! You both know this is real love!" But no, they hold to the promise.
Later, they find their way back to the reception hall, only to find that everyone else has left. Ted finds a boombox on a table and turns on the music so they can share one last dance together. They comment about how wonderful the whole things been, then as they dance, they lean in for a kiss again....closer...closer...and then they pull away.
Ted comments on how he's going to have all these wonderful memories of this fantastic evening, except for one horrible, horrible one - the memory of her walking out the door. Victoria says, "Ted, close your eyes and count to five." Ted does. At one, she's still standing there looking at him. At two, she's made a slight motion with her hip as if to turn, but her eyes are still locked on Ted, and she seems torn. By five, Ted opens his eyes, and she has vanished.
Recounting this to his friends the next day, Ted realizes he has to see Victoria again. The thing is, he knows nothing about her - not her last name, not where she lives or works. He risks permanently alienating the bride by calling her as the couple waits in the airport to leave for their honeymoon to ask who Victoria was - with a malicious glee in her voice, the bride says there was no Victoria on the guest list.
Ted and friends try several other things to find Victoria's whereabouts, but finally, a little sloshed from a complimentary drink while waiting for their delayed flight to leave, the groom has convinced the bride to give up the information. Turns out that Victoria wasn't on the guest list because she's the baker who made their wedding cake! The Buttercup Bakery is her place, and Ted and friends pile into a taxi to find her...
A moment later, Ted gets out of the cab, and stares through the window of the bakery at Victoria. She's in the back, icing cupcakes, and doesn't see him. He hesitates - is he having one final battle over whether to spoil the perfection of the night before, or is he steeling himself for the rush of emotions? The bell on the door jingles as he walks in, and he stands there, silent, just looking at her. Victoria looks up, and in a breathless voice exclaims, "Oh, thank god!" as she runs to him. They embrace and kiss, and we cut to closing credits.
Single. Most. Romantic. Moment. I've Ever Seen. On TV.
My eyes are tearing up even just reading my own description of it.
It's not been explicitly stated, but I get the impression that we've now met Mom.
You can keep your Bachelors and your Temptation Islands. For romance on television, I'm sticking with How I Met Your Mother. (Mondays, CBS, 8:30 p.m. Eastern)