Spoilers for "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I pay a good price for 12 pounds of nutmeg...
Ted Mosby, why must you anger me so? You're already the fifth most-appealing character in an ensemble of five, you're destined to age into Bob Saget, and now you spend almost an entire episode hating on my birthplace? Feh.
Actually, Ted's pathological Jersey hatred didn't bother me that much. After all, he had declared it previously (albeit in one of the worst episodes in the history of the series, last season's "We're Not From Here"), in part because I've encountered similar bigotry throughout my life. Hell, during the period when I lived in Hoboken, I was occasionally guilty of a niche brand of that same prejudice, as I would occasionally try to act like urban, NYC-adjacent Hudson County was somehow better than the rest of the state.
(Now that I live in the 'burbs, of course, I could bore you to tears with a discourse on the beautiful parks and scenery, surprisingly wide-open spaces, interesting backroads trips, and all the many ways that Stella did a poor job of selling the advantages of Jersey over New York, but that would be... well, boring. Either you live here and like it, or you don't.)
What bothered me about "I Heart NJ" was that it took Ted's simplistic view of Jersey and seemed to apply such broad, black-and-white thinking to everything. "HIMYM" looks like a traditional sitcom, but it doesn't usually act like one; this time, it did, and a mediocre sitcom, at that. The running gag about Barney's inability to put his arm down, Robin dancing throughout the entire part of the phone call about it only being a job audition, Ted not understanding that Stella was being sarcastic about moving to New York -- all of it sacrificed believable behavior for some jokes that weren't that great in the first place.
Even the big emotional moments didn't work. Robin's triumphant moment seems like the kind of thing that nobody really thought through -- sure, it's a rinky-dink local operation, but quitting in the middle of a newscast isn't the kind of thing that's going to look good to a potential new employer. And while Stella articulated a lot of good reasons for why she wouldn't want to move (if not why Ted might still enjoy himself there), I don't see how reading one bedtime story to her kid might suddenly sway him.
If it wasn't for some good throwaway gags like Barney's quest to seduce a lesbian, or the converted Jerseyans getting excited about dog shirts (note that Marshall was wearing one in the final scene), or the script acknowledging that Marshall (whom we already know isn't the kind of guy who likes being out late partying) would probably be a lot happier outside of Manhattan, or the use of Springsteen's great version of "Jersey Girl," I would have been extremely unhappy with this episode. Instead, I was just disappointed.
What did everybody else think?