'Tis the renewal season, and shows from every network are breathlessly awaiting the news. The small rated shows are getting the goodbye cakes ready, while the juggernauts are breaking out the champagne.
One show that is waiting, but should certainly not have to worry, is "How I Met Your Mother
" on CBS. This charming little sitcom is closing its third season soon, and it averages about 8.7 million viewers an episode. Recently it gained more notice with a cameo by Britney Spears
, but this long deserved attention is fleeting, and tragically it may never gain the popular notice that it rightly deserves. Here are five reasons why the show should get another season, and beyond that, why more people should give it a chance.
1. The characters - Haaaave you met Ted, Barney, Robin, Lilly and Marshall?
The most important thing about any show is obviously the characters that it surrounds. Are these the kind of people the audience will love, hate, or love to hate? Are they all three-dimensional, or are some meant to be only a humorous sketch of a human being? In "How I Met Your Mother," the characters are well developed from the pilot. Perhaps it is because the creators based them loosely on themselves, but for whatever reason, when the regular gang sits down to have a beer, you feel like you're right there with them. This is not a show about constant flying wit or to see who can out-snark the other. The dialogue does not run so fast that you are laughing at one joke, and miss the next three. These are fun but slightly average people, so when they tease one another it is like any ordinary group of friends joking around.
The deep and sustaining friendships between every character in this show is the heart of it and the reason why the fans become so heavily invested. Any of the five could be related to one of our own friends, and almost every situation can make you think 'oh jeez, that reminds me of this other time when….'
2. The premise - Who's Your Mommy?
In the pilot episode a future, older Ted tells his children the story about how he met their mother. In this episode he meets Robin, who he swears is the woman he is going to marry. Instead she turns out to be their Aunt Robin, along with Aunt Lilly, Uncle Marshall, and Uncle Barney. So the audience knows from the beginning that Robin and Ted can go through the motions of getting together and falling in love, but in the end it will not work out. This is tragic and yet interesting all at once. This is not Ross and Rachel
. This is not the common sitcom couple that go back and forth forever but then end happily ever after. He has a happily ever after with someone else, someone we have not yet met, and that in itself is something completely new.
The mother has not yet appeared, as far as the fans know, but perhaps she never will. Perhaps she is an urban myth that never needs to really show up because in the end, it is less about the mother herself and more about the journey Ted went through before he found her. And all of the viewers are on that road with him, waiting for his chance at that happiness.
3. New York City - A Loving Tribute
Our own Starpulse writer Mike Ryan recently wrote about this show
and how its attention to detail about New York City is one of its charms. Whereas at one point "Friends
" or "Seinfeld
" were the quintessential NYC settings, now it is "How I Met Your Mother," which goes in a different direction.
If "Friends" showed the somewhat pretentious and witty crowd and "Seinfeld" the quirky and bizarre aspects, this show goes straight to the heart. The main character is an architect that has a genuine passion and love for the city due to its beauty and history. There are loving details spread out in almost every episode, even if it's just a shout out about a certain Subway train or joking about the attitudes of different zip codes. As an outsider myself to the lively City That Never Sleeps, it paints a rather homey feel to an otherwise intimidating landscape.
4. Barney Stinson - Legendary Suit Man
There are often break-out characters in sitcoms that steal the show away from the main characters. In "Seinfeld" it was Kramer, and on "Will & Grace
" Jack and Karen completely stole the show. Barney Stinson, played beautifully by Neil Patrick Harris
, is another of these types of characters, with a little bit more. Rather than being like a cartoon slapstick character, they have added little parts to his characterization that make Barney a fully realized person. He was once a heartbroken, guitar playing, Greenpeace loving hippie who lost his love to a cruel man in a suit. Barney became this man, so he would never have to be that vulnerable ever again, and his hybrid of heartless philandering mixed with genuine love for his friends makes him stand out in every episode. By far the best written and most amusing, he is often represented as shallow and narcissistic. At the same time, however, Barney is cheerfully positive and works constantly to help his friends' life a happier life, even if sometimes he steers them in the wrong direction.
Neil Patrick Harris gained an Emmy nod for his portrayal, and it is easy to see why. If he is not shouting out highly quotable lines, or seducing every woman in sight, he is flying across the USA to convince Lilly to reconcile with Marshall before she loses him forever. The bad boy with the heart of gold has been done a thousand times before, but never with such gentle flair.
5. Slap Bet, Suck It Lilly, and Beyond
Quotable lines, sarcastic characters, and wacky scenes are staples of the sitcom formula, and "How I Met Your Mother" has it in spades. Each character has their own brand of humor, from Marshall's goofy singing to Robin's little digs about the USA versus Canada. Nearly every word out of Barney's mouth can be repeated, such as "Legendary," "Suit Up," and "Have you met Ted?" The laser tag scenes, Slapsgiving, Barney's blog, and Robin's pranks on live television are just some tidbits, and not one episode goes by without a truly memorable scene or interaction. This is the bread and butter of the sitcom world, so tune in at 8:30 on CBS every Monday, and get ready to laugh.
Seriously, give it a chance, or we'll make you watch Robin Sparkles music videos all day long.
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer