I just saw another post talking about the Ted/Robin/Barney love triangle and was hit with a revelation. In the second episode of the first season of HIMYM, Marshall jokingly calls Ted “Gatsby”, and good God they couldn’t have hit the nail more on the head years in advance.
Ted’s love for Robin is so mirrored in Jay Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan, and that’s probably why the finale bugged me so much.
Right when Ted and Robin meet, he blurts out that he loves her even though he doesn’t really have much evidence to base that on. After they split up, he spends years being certain that she’s the only one or the perfect one for him. He spends years trying to be the perfect one for her. They both grow and change and don’t quite work anymore, but he still fixates back on that one time they were happy.
He put Robin up on this pedestal of being absolutely perfect (in the same way Gatsby did to Daisy) and at the end of it, didn’t even seem to see her as a person anymore, just some flawless entity he couldn’t live without having in his possession.
THIS is why Ted and Robin didn’t work, and they inadvertently foreshadowed that in the second episode. Craig and Carter really should have listened to themselves. Or at least Nick Carraway.