Last month I made this post about the How I Met Your Mother finale, because I fell into watching it again, and I really love the show. In rewatching I was once again reminded of an opinion I had developed before but forgot in all the nostalgia, and my hatred of the finale. Can you guess what it is? That’s right! Marshall was kinda sexier with that leather cuff- Ahem! I mean you guessed it! Lily is the WORST.
No shade to Alyson Hannigan who portrayed the character. Big ups in fact! She did a good job portraying the character. Now, I don’t know if it was anyone’s intention to make Lily a terrible person, but that’s how the cookie crumbled.
Of course everyone has good and bad moments, especially on a sitcom, and in the context of this one Barney probably gets the award for the absolute worst moment on the show, but overall his biggest fault is being a playboy. While that is indeed a fault (at least in the way he goes about it), Lily’s definitely worse than Barney is.
Anyway I’m just gonna go over a couple of the moments that really show Lily’s true colors. It won’t be all of them, but it will be ones where she was straight up in the wrong.
She abandoned Marshall
This is the earliest thing I can remember that she did. In Milk; episode 21 of season 1, after being with him since their freshman year of college, and saying yes to his proposal, she (narratively out of nowhere) got cold feet.
In fairness this kind of thing happens. You can be sure of something in a moment, and later be shaken. It’s what you do next that matters.
What Lily did was not talk to ANYONE about it (not anyone she knew that was already married, not her fiance, not a friend), and applied for an art fellowship on the other side of the country (from New York to California). Her excuse was that she just wanted to see if she could get in, but of course she ended up getting in and leaving Marshall to go do it. She also left Ted stranded on the side of a highway in the process after enlisting his help, even though she knew and acknowledged that he was about to meet a woman who was (on paper) his soul mate.
She rationalized her way into going to the interview despite Ted’s protests (he figured out that it was more about backing out of the wedding, because she could have chosen a program in NY one of the hottest beds of art and culture in the country) by saying: Even though she knew it was a mistake, she wouldn’t really know unless she did it. There could be something there, it could be unpacked, but she didn’t mean it. She was looking for an excuse to fully back out of marrying Marshall, and only brought it up to someone after she already decided what she’d do. I’d say he actually dodged a bullet, but eventually they got back together. Marshall, you poor, damned fool.
She nearly cost other people their careers.
In Aldrin Justice (s2e6), Ted got Lily a job at his architecture firm. While there, she noticed the way Ted’s boss treated everyone and disagreed. Instead of standing up to him, or attempting to inspire the employees to stand up for themselves, she decided to steal his signed Pete Rose (Pete Rose Pete Rose) baseball.
This was a technique she used in her kindergarten class to teach children to be nicer. Needless to say, a grown man that is in a position to fire people, (despite being an asshole and somewhat irrational) likely won’t respond to this method in the same way a child would. He decided that he would fire 3 people an hour if his ball wasn’t returned the next day. Lily’s response? “Wow, looks like bye-bye ipod.” She was going to steal from him a SECOND time.
First off, thievery is not the solution to this kind of problem. I’m all about employees being respected but this is not how you go about getting it. Secondly you do not double down when other people’s careers are on the line. Lily was just a clerical employee hired on a whim, but that job meant something to everyone else. Having witnessed Marshall deal with jobs he disliked she knew full well that higher ups at a job can be jerks.
She only gave the ball to Ted to return when she stood her ground prompting Ted to fire her. She also admitted to stealing from a department store over the course of the episode. There is a time and manner to punish the wicked, but this ain’t it, and she knows that.
She manipulated Marshall into getting a job he didn’t want to take.
In I’m Not That Guy Marshall delights his friends with the news that he got a job at the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council). This was his dream job, he wanted to work for no other organization more. He wanted to fight for the environment as a lawyer and that’s just what he was going to do at the NRDC, or at least it would have been.
Throughout the episode Lily ‘encourages‘ (and by that I mean manipulates) Marshall to going to an interview, and dinner, and so forth with the boss of a not so selfless firm; the kind of firm Marshall respectfully despised. Knowing they would try to win him over and hoping it’d work.
After Robin put some pieces together she finally asked Lily how she could afford all of her expensive clothes. After telling a couple panicked lies she finally admitted she just puts herself further, and further into credit card debt. Now, ruin your own credit, whatever, that’s on you, until it isn’t. Once she got married to Marshall, she brought her shitstorm to his door (and it will be an obstacle for them to deal with later).
Putting yourself in increasing debt is stupid, and she’s a bad partner for not telling Marshall that she had the debt at all, in addition to not stopping that foolishness. There’s no denying that, but what makes her truly awful, is the fact that she would push her husband into a job she knew he’d hate (a scenario she has previously watched him suffer through by the way!), from the job she knew he wanted from the beginning of his path as a lawyer. And she did it all because she put herself (and now them) into a well of debt. She didn’t even tell him about it! The manipulation tactics from the boos of the other firm ended up working, but that doesn’t free Lily from her role in it all. Marshall wouldn’t have even gone to the interview if not for her so it was very much a team effort from the two.
What more can I say?
A good bit actually, but this particular post is long enough. I’m already compiling a list of more of the awful stuff she’s done so definitely look for part 2. I’m also taking what is the worst of them all and making a whole post about it, because it is the core decision that led to the absolute abomination of a televised ending that was given to this otherwise masterfully told tale.
Farewell for now.