Kids, let me tell you the story of why How I Met Your Mother is one of the greatest shows of the 21st century. The American sitcom was first introduced to us back in 2005 and it ran its course for nine years, finally coming to a close in 2014. We’re not going to get too deep into the ending in this blog post, although, I am willing to make a post about it if we want to open up that can of worms again… What we’re really here to focus on is the overall greatness that is HIMYM—as its biggest fans will know it by.
Now I know this post may come across a little biased. But I will spend the next 700-ish words convincing you of the greatness that is How I Met Your Mother. Despite some occasional blunders (see the aforementioned ending), the show still managed to pack humor and heart into every single episode. From the jokes to the songs to the relatability, How I Met Your Mother perfectly blends the core elements of a good story together to form an impactful show that viewers will remember for years to come.
*DISCLAIMER* I tried to stay away from big spoilers, but even though I don’t go too in-depth on any one topic, I have to warn you that there may be spoilers ahead.
The make-or-break of a good sitcom. While the overall story frame carries over, shows like these don’t always rely on a dramatic plot to keep viewers coming back for more. Which means that the hook of the show lies in its characters. Ted Mosby, Marshall Eriksen, Lily Aldrin, Barney Stinson, and Robin Scherbatsky are all so dynamic in their own ways that half the fun is in discovering their personalities and seeing them change as the show progresses. Their differences also mean there’s always one character you can relate to at one time or another. And it’s more fun to see how these personalities fit in with the others.
Their friendship often reminds me of the ones I formed—and continue to form—in my twenties. The characters support and rely on each other (like when the gang tries to come up with ways for Robin to stay in the country after she loses her job or when Ted blindly goes around hating Renée Zellweger because Lily hates Renée Zellweger); they tease each other (like when Ted gets a tattoo); and despite where life takes them, their friendship is always of high importance. The characters are the core of the show, and their heart makes any bad coincidences, plot holes, and other errors all worth it.
Familiar Places, Songs, and More
MacLaren’s Pub, Ranjeet, Goliath National Bank—with ever-revolving subplots, it’s nice to have the consistency of these places and people. How I Met Your Mother also offers a lot of consistency in its inside jokes—the Zitch Dog game, the Bang-Bang-Bangity-Bang song, the Canada jokes. These consistencies range all the way from character quirks (like Ted’s weird pronunciation) to deeper symbolism (like the blue French horn). It’s fun for viewers to keep track of these small things, talk about them with other fans, and even reference them in real time.
Like I said, a consistent storyline isn’t always necessary or present in television shows. How I Met Your Mother does in fact have a story frame—Ted is telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. It’s a cute story that makes it easy for the show to work toward an end goal. The story also feeds into a lot of little nuances—the fact that Ted is such a sappy romantic or the themes of destiny and timing.
Depth and Development
I love good character development—and How I Met Your Mother definitely has that. Take Barney Stinson, for example. In the first few seasons, it’s very clear that Barney fits the “womanizer” role in the friend group. But as we move further and further into the series we find Barney in committed relationships—even getting engaged TWICE. He goes from being someone who cares so deeply about himself and his life to someone who cares about his friends and romantic partners.
In the same way that Barney develops, the show does too. The characters learn about stress and heartache in the same way we do, which makes the show incredibly relatable. I love the way How I Met Your Mother doesn’t shy away from deeper topics—like discussing marriage and children (how upset Robin becomes when she finds out she can’t have kids, despite not wanting them in the first place) or career paths (even though Marshall knows he wants to be a lawyer, he struggles for most of the series getting to exactly where he wants to go). Even though How I Met Your Mother doesn’t focus too long or too hard on any of these topics, if you look closely, the show is full of them. This aspect of the show really separates it from your inconsistent farce-like sitcom to a funny yet empathetic television favorite.
The Guest Stars
Substance aside, How I Met Your Mother had some of the best guest stars a television show could hope for. I mean, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Bryan Cranston, Alan Thicke—need I go on?
I know, I know—there’s a lot to unpack here. Whatever your opinion is on the ending, I included it here because I thought overall it was an ending. There were no loose ends and nothing left to be desired from the characters. The story had run its course. There have been moments when a television show doesn’t quite wrap up the series, leaving a lot of unanswered questions for viewers. And while the ending we got may not have been the ending we were hoping for, it was an ending.
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Is it the best show ever or what? Let me know what you think of the show, if you’re a fan, or maybe if you’re now thinking of becoming a fan!
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