HIMYM: Why Ted Never Sued Over The Wedding Bride (Is It A Plot-Hole?)

How I Met Your Mother has a handful of infamous plot holes that are difficult for even faithful fans to ignore, but one of the hardest to explain away is why Ted never sued over his depiction in “The Wedding Bride.” Beginning in 2005 shortly after Friends ended its historically popular ten-season run, How I Met Your Mother was a more ambitious brand of hang-out sitcom that used its titular premise to play with story structure and TV conventions while providing standard satisfying rom-com tropes too.

After Ted loses Stella to her ex Tony, Tony rubs salt in the wound by writing a successful rom-com based on the situation entitled “The Wedding Bride.” It’s a phenomenally popular movie, with even Ted’s friends admitting that they saw it in theatres and enjoyed the watch. They’re not alone, with “The Wedding Bride” going on to dethrone countless blockbusters and become the fifth most financially successful movie of all time in the world of How I Met Your Mother. Even fans who can’t stand Ted would be willing to admit that his equivalent character in “The Wedding Bride,” the poorly-veiled “Jed Mosley,” is a pretty cruel caricature. However, despite Ted usually holding grudges throughout the rest of the series, he never sues over this blatantly offensive depiction. Ted is a pretty relentlessly petty protagonist throughout How I Met Your Mother’s run, so why did he never sue the creators of “The Wedding Bride” over defamation of character?

The Wedding Bride’s Version Of Ted Mosby

As portrayed in “The Wedding Bride,” Ted is a whiny, insufferably clingy antagonist played by the infamously irritating Chris Kattan, while rom-com stalwarts Jason Lewis and Malin Akerman play Tony and Stella. The movie intentionally re-contextualizes real-life moments from Ted and Stella’s courtship to make Ted the villain of the piece, something that in reality could be used as evidence of defamation of character since the character is so unavoidably based on Ted. In “The Wedding Bride,” Ted’s many romantic gestures are rewritten as creepy and self-absorbed, something viewers can presume Stella and Tony was comfortable with the successful movie portraying. Ted is initially irritated and eventually accepts this as a fact of life, but why wouldn’t he sue over the offensive and obvious misrepresentation?

It’s fair that Ted simply accepts this incident as his lot in life, and by the end of the episode views it as a helpful way to learn that everyone has their baggage. However, it’s nonetheless jarring that he would allow himself to be publicly impugned without even attempting to defend himself. This is, after all, the same Ted Mosby who held a grudge against a college professor for literal decades before seeing him again and discovering that said professor had forgotten about him entirely in the interim. So if he is willing to stick with pointless grudges for so long, why is Ted willing to drop a legitimate and, judging by “The Wedding Bride”’s box office receipts, potentially extremely lucrative legal battle?

Ted Mosby Isn’t Rich (But Tony & Stella Are)

The practical reason that Ted wouldn’t pursue legal action is unlikely to be one that the writers of How I Met Your Mother had in mind when they came up with this plot, but it is a hard point to ignore nonetheless. Unlike Tony, Ted hasn’t written the fifth most successful movie of all time. He may be an architect who can afford to rent in New York City and is a relatively successful thirty-something, but there’s no reason for viewers to believe that Ted can afford to take the filmmakers to court. Even if he has a case for defamation of character, lawyers are prohibitively expensive and libel law is infamously messy, with Ted potentially being left deeply out of pocket and in debt if he loses the case and must foot the bill.

However, this explanation isn’t all that satisfying as one of Ted’s best friends is Marshall Erickson, a hotshot lawyer who is going from strength to strength at this point in the series is endlessly loyal to Ted, and has made a career of sticking up for the little guy. Furthermore, while Barney may not be as loyal or legally experienced, he does have a seriously large income available to him, something Ted could no doubt rely on should he head to court over “The Wedding Bride.” So if money isn’t the issue, why wouldn’t Ted sue over “Jed Mosley” (a caricature so obvious, one actor in “The Wedding Bride” accidentally slips up and calls him Ted)?

Ted Is Exaggerating (Or Misremembering) The Wedding Bride

Throughout How I Met Your Mother, much of the show’s humor and pathos alike come from revealing how previously balanced-seeming stories are colored by the storyteller’s perspective. Ted frequently exaggerates both how great and how terrible his different love interests are, so it wouldn’t be surprising if his recollection of “The Wedding Bride” and Jed Mosley are much more defamatory and offensive than the movie was, particularly when his friends enjoyed watching it.

It’s unlikely that the gang would have laughed at Ted’s expense if the movie’s version of him is completely heartless and cruel, but it’s much more likely that Ted would view any movie about how he lost Stella as an attack on his character. There’s a good chance, given Ted’s history of romantic digressions, that “The Wedding Bride” is no more of an indictment of his character than the action of How I Met Your Mother itself, but because he can’t control the narrative, Ted is offended by what he perceives as an unfair version of affairs. The reason Ted is so eager to accept that he can’t do anything about the movie’s depiction of him may well be because “The Wedding Bride” is relatively fair to Ted, but his wounded pride leads him to remember the movie as a brutally cruel caricature of the How I Met Your Mother antihero’s worst misgivings.

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