For a brief moment, Stella (Sarah Chalke) was great. She and Ted begin their cute romance in Season 3. Because Stella already had a daughter, no one seriously expected her to be the mother, but it was still fun to watch, especially when they went on a two-minute date or Ted introduced her to Star Wars. Things start to get serious — Ted even considers moving to New Jersey for her — but then Stella breaks his heart by leaving Ted at the altar. But we did get one good thing out of the relationship: the fictional movie The Wedding Bride in Season 5.
Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) and Ted had a love-hate thing going on at first. He designs the office building that is supposed to take the place of an old hotel that she is protecting. To no one’s surprise, Ted realizes that he is in love with her even though she is currently married to The Captain. Those two get a divorce and Ted jumps right in, but the relationship doesn’t last because neither can let go of their differences. Zoey was despised by a large portion of HIMYM fans, even ranking as Ted’s most disliked girlfriend in a 2011 poll, because she was annoying and hypocritical, and was prominent around the time the series started to feel stale. But hey, at least she didn’t leave Ted on their wedding day.
Jeanette (Abby Elliott) was the last girl Ted dated before he met The Mother. A NYC lieutenant, Jeanette was definitely the craziest of Ted’s girlfriends. They meet after she stalks him and starts a fire (which he thinks is romantic). Sure, she’s insane and terrible, but she at least ignited some flames, literally, into an otherwise dull season. Plus, she put Ted in a place where he needed to be in order to meet and fall for The Mother — and her actions helped him see how irrational his own behavior could be.
Robin (Cobie Smulders) is my absolute favorite character on How I Met Your Mother, particularly during the earlier seasons, and the only reason she isn’t ranked #1 is because she’s far too good for Ted. The tension between Robin and Ted made for a few wonderful seasons, and there was a brief period when the will they/won’t they storyline felt like one for the history books — until it unfortunately overstayed its welcome by like, four seasons. Robin will definitely be happier with Barney than with Ted, so let’s hope HIMYM doesn’t pull some other “twist” tonight and ruin everything.
There’s a caveat here: Season 1 Victoria (Ashley Williams) is easily one of Ted’s best girlfriends, but Seasons 7 and 8 Victoria was pretty awful. Victoria and Ted had a good relationship early on in the series, both so in love that they were willing to try a long-distance relationship … until Ted fucked it up by trying to sleep with Robin. Victoria, like a bunch of Ted’s girlfriends, got the shaft simply because she wasn’t Robin. Their connection is so strong, however, that she returns a few seasons later and the two reconnect. It looked like that this might finally be it, and Victoria might be “the one” — but surprise, she’s engaged! She leaves her fiancé at the altar in favor of Ted and they have a brief relationship until, once again, Robin comes in between them.
1. The Mother
This is the easy choice, but also the best. The still-unnamed Mother (Cristin Milioti) was revealed at the end of the Season 8 and has been prominently featured in this current, final season. The Mother is absolutely perfect for Ted and shares all of his dull interests and future plans — sure, it’s too easy for the show and too convenient, but after so many years, I’m just glad we finally have an answer. The Mother has been a welcome addition, and the heartbreaking “How Your Mother Met Me” is a definite standout episode of this season. It looks like Ted is finally getting his happily ever after.