I’ve always preferred sitcoms over serious shows that require following. I must have seen every episode of Married With Children, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boy Meets World, That 70s Show several times over.
I got into How I Met Your Mother this year, and although I initially liked, but not love, the show, it grew on me after I had a five-season marathon earlier this summer.
I can say that this show is seriously good. Not just good as in, it’s slapstick funny or has an iconic character (the show does), it’s seriously good because the writing is smart and downright innovative.
The show’s premise, about a father telling his kids the story of how he met their mother, initially seems like a gimmicky plot device. But the writers actually take advantage of the premise pumps out some creative narrative.
For example, the story is told by an unreliable narrator, which leads to funny gimmicks usually, and sometimes, a true thought provoking episode (the episode Zoo or False challenged audiences to decide which version of a story Marshall told was the truth).
Some episodes uses the parallel scene device (Taratino style) in some episodes. These shows often starts in an interesting predicament and we then see how each character got there.
Throw in the usage of flashback-within-flashbacks, proper foreshadowing, and the legendary theories of Barney Stinson, and that’s enough for me to love this show.
But what propels HIMYM to the pantheon, for me, is the fact that the main character is a good guy who wants the same thing I want. I’ve gotten annoyed with Entourage lately, because I got tired of watching a bunch of spoiled jackasses talking like stupid frat boys and not being responsible. It’s okay when one character does it, but when the main character and his whole crew is like that, it’s hard for me to resonate or care.
Ted Mosby teaches several cliche, but damn legit, lessons throughout the five seasons. There’s an episode late in the 4th season, which saw Mosby finally moving on with his life after a tough mopey stretch, that really hit home for me. The episode starts with the meeting and we then see how he got to where he is due to a chain of events (told via flashbacks and shuffled Taratino style). The lesson of that episode? Bob Sagat sums it up:
The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do, they’ll also be things that happen to you. Now I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life. You have to take action, and you will. But never forget, that on any day, you can step out the front door, and your life can change forever. The universe has a plan, and that plan is always in motion. A butterfly flaps its wings, and it starts to rain. It’s a scary thought, but it’s also kinda wonderful, all these parts of the machine, constantly working, making sure you’re supposed to be where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there.
The right place, at the right time.