You know what How I Met Your Mother is? It's the millennial version of Friends, only far, far better than that overrated classic show ever was.
How I Met Your Mother is a show I almost missed. It appeared the year before I moved to Chicago, and it first didn't appear to have anything I might be interested in, with the exception of Alyson Hannigan playing one of the characters, Lily. Hannigan first rose to fame in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was the very best show I had ever seen for its first three glorious seasons before taking a jetpack-assisted leap over the shark in its fourth season. I knew Neil Patrick Harris was in the show too, and that people knew him from Doogie Howser, MD, but that show was never one I had any interest in. My TV-watching took a considerable dip when I moved to Chicago, but living in virtual isolation in one of Buffalo's outer rings now, I've had plenty of time to catch up. I started out with a casual viewing of How I Met Your Mother on FX, and now I watch it very regularly, albeit not in the proper episode order. But hey, that's why God created Netflix!
Admittedly, one of the first things that got me to stop the clicker on How I Met Your Mother was Cobie Smulders, the hot actress who plays Robin Scherbatsky. She's one of those actresses men will watch the show just to ogle at. Smulders has a voluptuous, full figure and long, dark brown hair, and that makes it easy to forget she also has a reservoir of talent necessary to play her character. Her character is a morning TV show reporter - a word Robin herself is privy to saying with the aid of air quotations, as she reports fluff pieces and isn't shy about showing her contempt for her role on the show - who is originally from Canada, prone to making bad, ill-timed jokes which she then tries to explain, and brandishing the occasional firearm. In the pilot episode, she proves a woman of exquisite taste when she quote Ghostbusters.
How I Met Your Mother is a show about how awesome Neil Patrick Harris is. It manages to convey Harris's awesomeness to the world despite a long, dragging subplot about a character named Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) telling his children the story of how he met their mother. Mosby is a struggling architect in New York City who dreams of making his permanent imprint on the Capitol of the World's famous skyline. He hangs out with his friends Robin, Barney Stinson (Harris), Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), and Lily Aldrin (Hannigan). (Bob Saget has an uncredited role as the older version of Ted, telling his story to his kids.) Ted is doing pretty well for himself, but when he sees Marshall propose to Lily - the two of them have been together for years - he sudenly develops a hole in his heart and sets out on a search for The One. His attempts are the crux of the show, and he has several girlfriends throughout the series, including Robin on a couple of occasions. It's implied very heavily that Robin doesn't turn out to be the girl of Ted's dreams, but that the two of them managed to stay very close friends - roommates at one point - and the two of them aren't nearly as annoying as Rachel and Ross on Friends.
One of the true standout aspects of How I Met Your Mother is the way the characters grow, change, and mature. The closest character in the show to a permanent juvenile is Barney Stinson, a womanizer who takes insane challenges and frequently holds to principles in even very bad situations so he doesn't come off as a hypocrite. But even Barney is a well-rounded character, a former hippie idealist who, when the show begins, is a face of corporate America. Barney was once engaged to a girl he was over the moon for, but lost her to a suit-wearing womanizer, and it's implied he still thinks about her every now and then. What's clearer about Barney is that later in the show, it begins to get very obvious that he's in love with Robin but can't figure out how to say so. Marshall and Lily also go through a number of phases in their relationship, including one where Lily backs out of the wedding, breaking Marshall's heart.
Part of the appeal of the show is that these five characters all genuinely care about one another. But all of them do things that are monumentally stupid in order to protect each other, sometimes for selfish reasons. There's always forgiveness in the end, though, and the brilliant writing and fantastic chemistry between cast members helps it right along. There are times when one character, in the best interests of another character, will do something that royaly pisses off the character they're doing it for. Even Barney, who is always spewing catchphrases, wearing a suit, and womanizing, has a heart of gold and is always on the lookout for the others, especially Ted and Robin. How I Met Your Mother is meant to be a heartwarming show, so these characters can't hold grudges. Although "aww" moments appear in virtually every episode, the audience doesn't mind because that's just the show's MO.
The show's writing is top-notch, and nothing I've seen from it yet dips into lowest-common-denominator territory. Despite the prevelance of sex on the show, the writing manages the trick of taking the high road even when it's taking the low road. The show frequently goes into fantasies and flashbacks in order to set the context for a current scene. This can sometimes be interruptive, but they're usually short and sweet, and they often reveal something about the characters we didn't realize before.
The nature of the show makes it impossible to possess a reset button where things shift back to normal at the beginning of every episode. How I Met Your Mother is a true serial; everything which happens in one episode is going to have consequences in the following episodes. This makes it tough for newcomers like myself to decipher what's going on, but that doesn't get to be too big a problem with the writing making a lot of references to the recent past.
How I Met Your Mother is worthy of all the acclaim audiences and critics have been giving it, and for every reason. When we look back at the best television of the millennial decade, How I Met Your Mother will immiediately scream out right at us as a show that will be regarded as legen.... Wait for it....
An American television sitcom centered around Ted Mosby, who in the year 2030, recounts to his son and daughter the story of how he met their mother (hence, the title).
Created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, How I Met Your Mother airs on CBS and stars Josh Radnor as Ted, Jason Segal as Marshall Eriksen, Alyson Hannigan as Lily Aldrin, Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky, and Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson. Each character outside of Ted plays a critical role in his life and decision(s).
How I Met Your Mother debuted on September 19, 2005 and as of 2008, is in its 4th season. The show's end point is presumably when Ted's children -- as well as the audience -- learn who Ted married. Each episode deals with an event or moment critical in Ted's life and integral to the path that will ultimately lead him to his future wife. Episodes often refer to past and/or future events, which are in fact clues to what may happen in the end.
Bob Saget provides the voice of future Ted, narrator of each episode. "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids is the series' theme song.