I will admit that until I started writing this, I’d never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory before. Honestly, there was just something about the concept of the show that really didn’t appeal to me. The nerdy guys on the show were treated like punchlines, but the women on the show were also treated like punchlines, so no matter how awesome the show was, it was always going to be tainted by that. How I Met Your Mother is different though. I’m not really a sitcom person and I loved this show. It’s kind of like the LOST of sitcoms, because it was totally serialized and you had to keep track of what was happening. It was also a cut above most other sitcoms because the characters were so well formed and flawed in the best way. One of the main characters was Robin Scherbatsky, who turned out to be the center of the show itself since, without her, the show wouldn’t exist in its current form.
Robin Scherbatsky wasn’t just your average love interest, she was a fully formed character with dreams, aspirations, and a depth to her that went a bit beyond your average female sitcom character. On top of that, Robin Scherbatsky is very easy on the eyes. More importantly, she puts Penny from The Big Bang Theory to shame. Everything about Robin Scherbatsky is superior to Penny in every way. This isn’t to say that Penny is bad or anything, it’s just to say that Robin is better. Here are just a few ways that How I Met Your Mother‘s Robin is better than The Big Bang Theory‘s Penny.
15. Robin’s Man Is Better Than Penny’s
Let’s be real, if Barney Stinson and Leonard from The Big Bang Theory were to get in a fight, Barney Stinson would win every time. Sure, Leonard is intelligent and I loved him on Rosanne, but Barney Stinson is Doogie Howser, the greatest awards show host of all time, and just all around legen– wait for it– dary. Barney Stinson has invented countless ways to get into the pants of random girls at bars and into the hearts of everyone who’s ever watched How I Met Your Mother. Also, no big deal or anything, but he concocted the greatest proposal seen on a sitcom of all time. Try and name a proposal that was more amazing than The Robin that wasn’t an attempt to go viral, and I can promise you that you will not succeed. This isn’t even considering the fact that when we were watching Barney, we were watching a character on a journey. No matter how we feel about how the show ended (and I have some strong feelings about where Barney ended up still), you can’t deny that it was one crazy awesome ride.
14. She Loves Dogs
Robin Scherbatsky is a dog person. We see this in both her first and last appearances on the show. She evidently collects them from exes, and they’re the only thing she’s kept from a relationship, according to one of the earlier episodes. She loves dogs so much, she had a short-lived ex that literally was a dog. (It makes sense in context, I promise.) This doesn’t just go to show Robin’s love of dogs, it goes to show that by the end of the series, she’d come a very long way dating wise. She’d gone from the woman who knowingly fell for the Naked Man play to the woman who made an honest man out of Barney Stinson. She’s also the woman who dominated the narrative of Ted Mosby’s life, even though I have some very strong feelings about that. Regardless, Robin loves dogs, so if you’re a dog person, you’ll probably like her over Penny.
13. She’s A Better Shot
Robin also loves guns. Sure, not everyone does, but not only does Robin have a lot to say about them, she’s also a person who knows how to use them. Very often in the show, this is played for laughs, with Robin shooting beer cans off of a roof or acting like she doesn’t care about gun safety. While Robin is certainly very liberal about guns and can be very cavalier while using them, it can’t be argued that she’s a better shot than just about anyone in the series. How I Met Your Mother isn’t an action series by a long shot, but there have been moments where action has been shown, like during the multiple swordfights or just when the characters are engaging in fisticuffs. There’s no reason why anyone in the show would ever pull out a gun, but if there was, we could all be comfortable betting our bottom dollar on Robin Scherbatsky to win.
12. Cobie Smulders Is Drop Dead Gorgeous
Let’s be real here, Cobie Smulders is a knockout. Not only is she a lovely person who’s been in a ton of Marvel movies by now, she’s beautiful. Looking at her throughout the series, it’s easy how most of the cast was in love with her at some point. The series wouldn’t even exist if Ted Mosby hadn’t fallen for her with one look in the first episode. This isn’t even counting her series long flirtation and marriage to Barney, and all the guys who’ve fallen for her over the course of the show. That still isn’t even counting Lily Aldrin, who despite her marriage to Marshall and her undying love for him, still had room to entertain a few lesbian fantasies about Robin. If any other woman had played the character, it could be argued that Robin’s extreme attractiveness would be an informed trait, but on Cobie Smulders, we believe it.
11. She Gets Turned On By Herself
Robin Scherbatsky is so gorgeous, there’s a whole episode about how she gets turned on by watching herself do the news. That’s really something, considering she’s spent a good portion of her life in the public eye. While her friends upon hearing about it see this kind of thing as shameful, her love interest at the time really seemed intrigued by it. This just goes to show that self-confidence and self-love are really attractive traits. Sure, none of us are going to record ourselves on TV with enough time to watch ourselves later on that night, but the fact that Robin has that much self-love is commendable if a little off-putting at times. Either way, this is a woman who knows how attractive she is, which is a pretty rare trait.
10. She’s Awesome At Sports
This is not a woman you would ever accuse of being ignorant about sports. If anything, Robin is way more informed about sports than some real life women I know, including myself. She probably knows more about hockey than anyone you know apart from actual hockey players. She’s also probably a great source for any sport that’s popular in Canada, like curling. If anything, it can probably be argued that out of the main five (or six if you count the Mother herself), Robin is the one with the most masculine hobbies. Think about it: Robin was the one getting into barfights in her spare time. Compare that to Marshall, the most emotional character on the series, Ted the red cowboy boot wearing, sewing architect who tried playing basketball in his mind, and Barney, the guy who knows enough about scrapbooking that he knows the word “decoupage.”
9. She Was A Teen Pop Star
Robin Scherbatsky lived the dream life many teen girls wanted, especially in the 80s and 90s. After spending her childhood being raised as a boy, she found herself on the weirdest kid’s show in the world with one of the Pussycat Dolls, which eventually paved the way for her rise to stardom with “Let’s Go To The Mall,” a song I still sing every time I step foot inside the mall a short bus ride from my house. Needless to say, I find myself humming that song a lot. Sure, her illustrious career as Robin Sparkles ended when she abandoned that name for the edgier Robin Daggers, who just wanted to make Paul Schaffer love her, but until that point, Robin was living the dream. She’s right though: touring every mall in Canada would grate on the nerves a bit, and you might not want to go to a mall ever again either.
8. She’s Gorgeous Even When She’s A Mess
We’d be lying if we said that Robin was always put together every minute of every day. We’ve seen her be incredible and strong, but we’ve also seen her crying under desks at her workplace with her shoes off and eating ribs on her kitchen floor. However, it can be argued that there’s a strength to that. Penny from The Big Bang Theory hasn’t really shown that level of depth. She’s definitely likeable and not the worst thing about the show, but no character on The Big Bang Theory is as complex as the characters on How I Met Your Mother, putting Robin aside for a moment. Then again, the shows themselves are different. The Big Bang Theory is a comedy with a story to it, while How I Met Your Mother is kind of an epic that happens to be funny. It’s that difference that matters, and it’s that difference that sets Robin apart from Penny, not just their hotness.
7. She Knows Who She Is And What She Wants
Robin was a character who spelled out her values from the get-go. She didn’t want to get married, and she didn’t want kids. She also wanted to be a world-famous reporter. By the end of the series, she would have accomplished all of that. She got married to Barney at the end of the series but was mature enough to realize the marriage wasn’t working for either her or her husband and gave him an out so they could separate amicably. She found out that she couldn’t have kids, which was tragic in its own way because the opportunity to change her mind was essentially taken away from her. However, there’s a whole episode devoted to how she didn’t want kids to begin with and how she makes peace with not being able to have kids, even leaving a relationship because the man she was with couldn’t accept that. And of course, she becomes such a famous reporter that her face is posted on the sides of buses and on billboards everywhere. Needless to say, she came, saw and conquered.
6. She’s Funny
Sure, there are times where her humor falls flat thanks to the reference not landing, but even then, Robin Scherbatsky is hilarious. More importantly, she never becomes a punchline for her gender. She might end up being one for being Canadian, but when she’s joked on, it’s generally not because she’s a woman. Penny, on the other hand, is basically on The Big Bang Theory to foil the nerdy guys on the show, either to show how socially inept they are or to show how intellectually out of her depth she is. Penny’s pretty smart in her own way, but she’s generally considered not as smart as the guys. Robin is different because throughout the show, she’s taken seriously as a woman, as a reporter, and as a person in general.
5. She’s Attractive To All Types
We touched upon the many guys who’ve fallen for Robin throughout the show, but let’s run down the list of guys who have done so. First, there’s Ted, the hopeless romantic without whom the show would not be possible. Then there’s Barney, the cynical player with way more depth than we thought. There’s also Lily, the married woman for whom Robin is a constant reminder that “sexuality is a moving target.” This isn’t even considering the people who’ve dated her on a more short term basis, like the Naked Man, therapist Kevin, dog-man Scooby, Simon Tremblay with the punchable face, and more. All of these guys (and Lily) could not be more different, and it just goes to show how universally attractive Robin herself is.
4. She Has Her S*** Together
Even when Robin’s a mess, she still seems to have it more together than the rest of the cast. When Lily and Marshall broke up, for example, both of them went a little nutty. Sure, their relationship was a decade long, but even then it was agreed upon in the show that neither of them kept it together very well. Robin managed to smile her way through not one, but two breakups with good friends she saw every day. For anyone who’s ever tried staying friends with their exes, you know that that is no small accomplishment. The only breakup she really got messy over was the guy for whom she gave up a major job opportunity, only for him to take it right afterward. When she divorced Barney, she was mature enough to realize that she wouldn’t be able to deal with hanging around him forever while he slept with random bimbos, so she took some distance from the situation to focus on herself, which is a pretty admirable thing to do. That’s an example of someone who knows what they can handle.
3. She Isn’t Talked Down To
Even when Robin doesn’t know something, she’s very rarely in a position where anyone can look down on her for it. Throughout the show, we find that Robin has some pretty glaring gaps in her knowledge. For example, much was made in one episode over the fact that she thought the North Pole wasn’t a real place. She also spent a good portion of her childhood thinking that her dog had miraculously become a turtle through some crazy procedure and trying to live with it like it was a dog still. However, while that’s a pretty silly thing to believe, it’s not like anyone else could really come at her too hard for it. Ted, for example, didn’t know how to pronounce “chameleon” until that episode, and Barney had never learned how to use even simple tools (which was played for drama, to be fair). Throughout the show, characters have been impressed by Robin’s ability to navigate life and learn from her experiences, so no one really has room to judge her.
2. She’s Confident
Robin Scherbatsky is a totally independent person. While a good portion of that independence is caused by her inability to open up to others, the majority of it is because she’s just an independent person. For example, there’s one later episode where Ted points out that Robin takes care of herself so much that she didn’t make him feel needed. That shakes her confidence a bit until she asks Barney about it and he reminds us why they were perfect together. “You’re the least needy woman I’ve ever met. That’s awesome. I mean, no guy’s going to say ‘Who’s your daddy?’ to Robin Scherbatsky. You’re your own daddy. And mommy. And weird survivalist uncle who lives in a cabin with a shotgun blaming stuff on the government. And that is what makes you the most amazing, strong, independent woman I’ve ever banged.” Now that’s love.
1. She’s Career Oriented
You will never meet another fictional character who’s more about her career. This is a woman who’s consistently been married to the job. More importantly, she takes her career and aspirations seriously, even when she loses her way. Sure, she said some funny words for Barney’s amusement early on, and found herself on a very bizarre news show in Japan, but this woman has consistently been shown to work towards her goal of being one of the best on-air reporters in the world. By the end of the series, that’s exactly what she’s done. This is a woman who knows what she wants out of her career, knows what she is capable of, and will do her level best to make that happen. That’s something to be respected, and that’s something that scares a lot of people away, but she never really cared about that. She knows what she wants and goes and gets it.