Thoughts on How I Met Your Mother

Last month I got sicker than I’ve been in a while, and it was about all I could do to crawl to the couch, turn on my TV, and browse Netflix. Luckily, Netflix recommended I rewatch How I Met Your Mother, which was perfect since all seven of the last seasons are there. So away I went. Earlier this week my roommate accused me of being addicted.

As I marathoned, I was reminded of a facebook status a friend posted a couple of months ago:

How I Met Your Mother: One of the funniest, wisest sitcoms on life, love, relationships, and learning who you are and what you want in life. Entertaining and insightful, all at the same time. Can’t recommend it enough.

That comment spawned a discussion of the greatest lessons people have learned from watching HIMYM. I had always thought I just watched the show for the laughs, but with my friend’s quote in the back of my mind as I re-watched, I realized that wasn’t completely true.

  1. I think we all wish we had relationships like the HIMYM characters do. I still have friends from high school, college, and grad school I’m close to, but it’s not like any of us moved together and organically brought new people into our fold. By the time the show ends next year, we will have seen the gang revolve around one apartment and one bar for nine years, even as their lives did complete 180s. That’s some awesome friendship.
  2. Speaking of the Apartment and McLaren’s, don’t we all wish we had a haunt, where we know we can find at least one friend at some point in the day?
  3. Empathy. The episode that most comes to mind is Swarley from the second season. With a name like Ashley in the 90s, I had a lot of nicknames. Some I didn’t mind. Others I despised, which naturally made my friends use them all the more. I’ve never had more empathy for Barney than in the closing scene of the episode when he walks into the bar to a shout of “Swarley!” leading into the Cheers theme. I could feel his shoulder slump and frustration through the TV. Been there, buddy. I feel ya.
  4. The intricate inside jokes. All groups of friends form inside jokes and traditions, but do we have anything as awesome as the drawn out slap bet? Or interventions complete with hanging banners? We’d be so much cooler if we did.
  5. The interwoven story. Watching the show week to week you lose some of the story-in-reverse concept. But marathoning it you can really see the story come together, and watch the characters develop. The writer in me loves it.

My roommate may call it addiction, and that’s okay. Maybe it is. But I see a well executed slice of life. They live anything but perfect lives, and are usually the cause of their own misfortunes. But when watching a show entertains while portraying real life problems and still somehow making us envious of what they have, you know it’s succeeded.

So what about you? What are your favorite How I Met Your Mother moments?

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