Thursday, 8 October 2015

Overview: How I Met Your Mother

This was originally going to be an entry into the "Shows I Watched In 2015" article I'll be releasing at the end of December, but it sorta spiralled off into an article of its own. Enjoy. :D
Note: the woman on the bottom left doesn't appear until the
ninth season. Of nine. And she's the title character.
From indecisivelyrestles
Written 15/8/15

I've been watching this show for about four years, all told. Since Channel Four lost the rights to Friends, their student channel E4 has been filling its schedules with other US shows - which, since at least 2012 (probably before) has included How I Met Your Mother, the story of a 30-something New York architect and his group of middle-class friends, told through the framing device of the protagonist in 2030 telling his kids the story of "How I Met Your Mother". Unlike its obvious spiritual predecessor Friends, HIMYM relies a lot more on storytelling quirks like flashbacks, flashforwards, the Unreliable Narrator and, most notably, a large collection of running gags.
     The show spans 2005 to 2014 in-story, as well as maintaining storylines in flashbacks across several episodes. Ted Mosby and his college friends Lily and Marshall live in spacious New York apartments. Lily and Marshall have been in a relationship for seven years at the story's beginning. They also have a "friend" in Barney Stinson, a genius womaniser with abandonment issues. In the Pilot, Ted meets and falls in love with the beautiful Canadian Robin Scherbatsky, who becomes a member of the group. Among a nearly endless string of temporary relationships, there are two besides Marshall and Lily which define the plot - Ted and Robin, which lasts for two seasons and then has Ted's obsession with Robin starting up again in the last few seasons, and Barney and Robin, which the last season and a half focuses on.
     A lot of the characters undergo arcs as time goes on, but the main important ones are in the central love triangle, which for once isn't tedious and tiring. Barney goes from a serial womaniser incredibly sensitive about actual emotional issues into a mature, kind and caring adult, and his development (combined with his heavily meme-worthy dialogue) leads to his nature as the stand-out character of the show. On the other side of the coin is protagonist Ted Mosby, who starts the series as a sweet if naive young idiot and over time develops into an obsessed, delusional jerkass who still can't get over Robin despite them both getting married, him having kids with someone else, and 16 years having passed.
The two most heartless kids in all television. Assholes.
From screenrant
     The show's finale is its worst point (as has been the case on this blog before.) Written seven years prior, the show's evolution over time meant that the original ending they had planned (and filmed) made no sense. In the final episode, Ted finally meets The Mother (Tracy), a character flashforwarded to for the entire season. We then fast-forward, and discover that the couple the show has spent a season following around divorces very quickly. Tracy lasts long enough to have two kids and then dies, and, at the end, the kids Ted has been telling this story to actually encourage him to go out and get together with Robin, because it was all about her.
     HIMYM was a very fun show, especially in its earlier seasons. While it loses its way a bit around Season Five, it still remains entertaining and a lot of my favourite episodes are from those later seasons. The writing is great, and storytelling is clever (until the finale, as said) and over the course of my binge-watch I really got to connect with these characters, for their blessings and their faults. It's just a shame that such good moments are tinged with that finale, the overall messages of "don't give up on your obsessive crush", as well as the unfortunate implications that go along with Tracy's essential existence as a plot device to make the show's format make sense - or, using in-story terms, have the kids Ted always wanted and then die so he can go after Robin.
     Even the Lost finale was better than this crap.


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