There comes a time in our life when we wish the surrounding environment around us would last forever. The friends you have, the place you live, the life you live…. you don’t want it to ever end. It’s the greatest time of your life, and if you’re lucky you know it. Unfortunately, many of us don’t realize this time in our life until it’s too late.
How I Met Your Mother depicts five New Yorkers in the best time of their lives. It hit really close to home with me because with recently graduating college, I know the feeling and bond that these friends shared with each other. I’ll forever hold my college years at Central Michigan University in a special place. I’m not sure I will ever top the times I had with my five friends. The adventures, drunken nights, conversations we had, and emotions we shared cannot be duplicated.
The relationships I formed with my college friends, is the exact same relationships that Ted, Marshall, Barney, Lily and Robin form with each other throughout the series. It’s a special bond. It’s a bond that you desperately want to hold on to, because when it’s gone, it’s gone.
How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM for short) captured the hearts of the masses by pulling on the fond memories that we all have with our closest friends, at least it did for me. The characters are easy to relate to, their problems all too familiar, and their growth is something we hope to achieve.
That word might best describe Ted, the main character of HIMYM. I hated Ted right from the beginning of the series. A bumbling architect in his mid-late 20s who is so desperate to find the “one” he will fall in love with any woman that bats her lashes at him. I hated it, because I know people that are so desperate and terrified to be alone that they settle and that they “love” anything or anyone that shows them any attention or affection. Ted was a fool for love, and for that I hated him. His first run in with Robin, Ted tells her that he loves her on their first date. Major face-palm. Ted loosens up throughout the series, and drops the “I need to find the one” search for the most part. It made me like Ted much more and he quickly became a character I cheered for. Now, Ted, is telling his two current children how he met their mother, hence the show title. His story engulfs the entire series, and becomes a running gag on how long his story is. After realizing Robin and him weren’t right for each other after putting his foot in his mouth, Ted kind of becomes a man whore, I didn’t keep a running tally but he must of slept with at least 20 or more women throughout the show….but it all adds up to the one….The mother of his children.
But more on that later.
Barney Stinson. Say that name to 2/3 of New York’s female population and you will likely get slapped. Barney is the crazy friend who you want to have. He is filthy rich, wears only suits, pulls ridiculous elaborate pranks, is always down for an adventure, but will fuck your mother. I mean it. He probably has. Barney has slept with over 300 women, and by the time the series ends, I’m sure it’s close to 500. He runs his plays on women after writing the “playbook” a elaborate book of ideas, theories, and lies to get women to sleep with him. For the most part, it works. Throughout the series, Ted and Barney fight for the affection of Robin who goes back and forth with them. Barney also loves Star Wars which makes him even cooler. Barney deals with his own issues, not searching for the “one” but rather the next fuck, Barney grew up with his whore of a mother, and without a father figure Barney didn’t have a good influence. As a young adult, Barney was a hippie in love with a girl and had his heart broken by her as she left him for a corporate man. Barney then transforms himself to become “the man”, a suit and tie wearing, desk job, rich white collared guy. After twenty years in the business, he finally crosses the corporate man (who he works for) and has him arrested for some type of white collar crime. Barney purposely schemed this for 20 years to become the guy that signs the documents for these illegal activities just to get back at the guy that stole his girlfriend. That’s Barney in a nutshell. A sociopath, womanizer, jack ass, and despite all that, everyone loves him including me.
Unfortunately for Barney, the only growth he has is in his pants. His character disappointedly didn’t show much change. Barney at one point changes his ways to marry Robin but in a twist, it doesn’t work. He reverts back to his old ways and after going for the perfect month in which he sleeps with a different girl for 30 straight days, he knocks up the last one and becomes a Dad in the series finale. A sad moment, because at the end he is holding his newly born daughter, promising that she is his world, but how many girls did he say that to and break their hearts? Coupled with his own childhood issues with his parents, I don’t believe Barney. Do you?
Marshall is Ted’s best friend and college roommate. He knows all the dirt on Ted and the two go way back. In the beginning of the series the two live together in an apartment. I’ve never had a roommate, let alone live with my best friend. I wonder what it would be like sometimes. It would be cheaper, but I’m sure we would get on each other’s nerves. Marshall is the big teddy bear, he is probably the most level headed character in HIMYM. He has a good time with everyone, but for the most part, he doesn’t get into too much trouble. If Barney is chaos, then Marshall is stability. Marshall gest married to his college girlfriend Lily, the two move in together, Marshall works his way up the career ladder and has children. That’s where the first tear in the friendship between everyone starts to tear. When Lily and Marshall have their first child, they understandably grow distant from the others. It sucks, but that’s real life. It scares me to death to have one of my best friends have a kid, because once they do. They aren’t the same person, no more bar nights and staying up in the club at 3 am. Responsibility and their kid comes first. It bummed me out a little to see Marshall and Lily tone down the craziness but that’s life. I understand that’s what happens, and it makes HIMYM even more realistic. Marshall and Lily have their fights, but you always know they will sort it out, everyone has that stable couple in their life. It’s comforting and reassuring that with all the chaos around everyone, they still have each other and you can count on them to make it through it. The most touching episode of HIMYM happened with Marshall. His father unexpectedly passes away and throughout the show, it is shown how close he is with his father. His father is everything to him, just like mine is to me. My biggest fear in life, is getting that call saying something has happened to my dad. I know someday it will happen, I just hope it’s a long way down the road and not a shock like it was to Marshall. It was tough to watch Marshall struggle with his dad’s death but that’s life. Someday it will happen to me, someday it will happen to you, if it hasn’t already.
Lily, is the little spark plug of the show. I find her very cute with her spunky attitude and frisky side that she often shows, even when it’s with Robin. Lily has a shopping addiction which causes her to fall in debt, which Marshall generously takes on. As cute as I find Lily, she pissed me off in the series. She just gets up and leaves Marshall to live in San Francisco for three months to “find herself” or whatever. Marshall was a wreck, and if I was him, I wouldn’t of taken her back, but he does. Lily is a kindergarten teacher for much of the series before transforming to an art investment advisor (her true love). Lily probably has the smallest role of the main characters but she is an important cog in the friendship circle. I almost grouped Lily and Marshall together in their descriptions because they are always together, but Lily does have her own individual characteristics. She can’t keep a secret (for the most part) she gets drunk easily, which is always fun, and struggles to build a relationship with Marshall’s over baring mother. In the end, you knew Marshall and Lily would make it, and start a family.
Last, but not least is Robin. A journalist like myself who is in broadcasting, also like myself! Robin is almost the female version of Barney, not in the crazy sense but in the slut sense. Robin gets around, I mean think about all the guys she bangs throughout the show. It’s a lot. Robin struggles with the split in her life between her career and her love life. Does she focus on a career and move up in the most challenging and competitive career or does she focus on her personal happiness? It’s a tough struggle that ambitious people have to deal with every day. Will that person be there for you, are they the “one”? Does that job have security or is there a threat that you will be let go, or transferred? It’s not easy dealing with these, but Robin for the most part does. She picks her career after many failed relationship attempts and climbs the ladder. Whether that made her happy or not, I’m not sure. Robin’s back story is great. As a Canadian, she naturally gets made fun of for everything she does. She has a somewhat hidden identity as a Canadian teen pop star in her teen years. It’s pretty hilarious to watch her old videos and even better when she realizes how much sexual innuendo they had in them.
Seasons 1-8 are fantastic, they are some of the best television you will ever watch. Season 9 dragged on forever, I try not to think about it too much but about 21 episodes take place solely in three days. The worst part was it was in a different environment then the first 8 seasons take place, no apartment, no pub, just a wedding. Now, if you’re reading this I hope you’ve watched HIMYM. I’m obviously going to talk about the series ending which caused a lot of controversy. I saw it coming a mile away. Halfway through season 7, I started to think why is Ted telling this story to his kids? Where is the mother? Then I realized it. Ted’s wife and mother to his kids is dead. After meeting his wife at Barney and Robin’s wedding, they start a family together and marry. She gets sick from what I assume is cancer and passes away. Most fans hated the ending, but I rather enjoyed it. It felt real, just like HIMYM did with all the relationships. The one thing I’m not a fan of, is Ted still in love with Robin after all these years. Robin realizes she made a huge mistake when she married Barney, when she should of married Ted. With the blessing of his kids, Ted charges to Robin’s apartment (apparently they have stayed in touch) and bring the blue french horn he stole from a restaurant on their first date to her window, where the series ends.
In the final credits, the producers pay homage to the actors and characters. It was really touching and made me sad that it was over, but happy that I had experienced it. I remember seeing the empty apartment that Ted, Marshall, Lily and Robin had all shared at one point or another. It really got to me, seeing it empty. I remember the day that one of my best friends, John, was moving out of his apartment after graduating. His room empty, all the memories we shared, the nights we pregamed and listen to music before going out, the video games we played and the drunk nights where he gave me a room to sleep was all gone. Just like the apartment, it was empty. I would give anything to go back and have one night where my friends and I tear up Mt. Pleasant like we used to. I can’t though. Those times are just memories now, but unlike my bond and relationships that I shared with my friends, HIMYM does exist, you can go back in time and relive their adventures. That’s the beauty in the show. (And Netflix). HIMYM captures everyone’s greatest adventures and memories that they share with their best friends and lets you relive them, over and over again. The friendships and memories of Ted, Marshall, Robin, Lily and Barney will forever live on, even if mine does not.
A masterpiece of a show, it would be a perfect 10/10 if not for the final season that dragged. I forgive the show, and give it a 9.9/10.