Note: The author does not, and will never support piracy. The best way to enjoy TV shows is to wait for them to be telecast in your own country, or buy the DVDs, rather than watching them within an hour of original telecast on sites like this or this. Please do not click those links, because that would be piracy. And piracy is bad.
So after months and months of trying to come up with the appropriate post on How I Met Your Mother that is admiring and critical without being a shamelessly over-the-top show of affection, I've decided to go for a shamelessly over-the-top show of affection. So how do I love the show? Let me count the ways...
- HIMYM is to me what Jhalak Dikhlaja or Indian Idol are to their respective followers. I'd have said Kyunki... or Bade Acche Lagte Hain, but those shows are daily meals, never commanding the kind of frenzy that surrounds the latest season of the popular talent show. From September to May each year, I wait for Monday evenings like a dumb twat, only to realize that the show only runs on Monday nights in the US, which is late Tuesday morning in India.
Typically, my cyber procrastination on Monday comprises scouring the Net for sneak peeks of the coming episode, which usually amount to the few pictures and video clips tactfully leaked by CBS. Tuesdays are for reading the episode synopsis and reviews on various official and unofficial sites. (Of course I don't watch the actual episode until much later, when it is officially telecast on Star World, because, you know, I'm against piracy.) Wednesday onwards, its back to watching out for scoops on the coming episode and awaiting Monday like a dumb twat.
- My first tryst with HIMYM was when I randomly watched the season 3 episode "How I Met Everyone Else" on TV. I cannot think of a better entry point to the series for anyone who doesn't know the show and its characters yet. That episode is vintage HIMYM: with multiple flashbacks, flashforwards, varying versions of the same story, some of Barney's most famous theories, complete with graphics, and basically a good introduction to all the characters in a way you won't forget. By the time I cottoned on to what an awesome show it is and caught up with all the previous seasons by watching
CDs my sister burned for meofficial DVDs, it was time for the Season 5 premiere, and the beginning of a whole new chapter of my life (see para (1) for details).
- I couldn't care less who the mother is. It's cute how they keep revealing the story of how Ted actually met the Mother one detail at a time, but the Mother thread is really the narrative gimmick to distinguish this show from a regular ensemble comedy about friends hanging out together and going about their lives and growing up, a la Friends. The narrative is actually a cross between The Wonder Years and Friends.
Also, the flashback framing device allows for a lot more tricks that the show keeps delivering consistently. As audience, we are frequently treated to peeps into the future and little scoops of information that the characters are unaware of, making the viewing experience more interesting. Some of the cutest flash-forwards have nothing to do with the Mother arc, like the story arc of Wendy the Waitress. Even the husband, who is perpetually in eye-roll mode whenever I'm watching or talking about the show (and that's a lot of eye-rolling), cannot contain his curiosity on whether Robin and Barney eventually do marry. (They do - oops, spoiler.)
Above all, the real story that is being told under the pretext of Ted's Great Love Story is one with a lot of heart. Anybody who claims to not care what happens to Marshall & Lily or Barney & Robin and wants them to tell us about the mother already, is lying.
- I lurve Barney. Actually Neil Patrick Harris. I mean his performance as Barney. I couldn't love NPH because I know he's gay and ALSO, I'm happily married now, although I wasn't when I first started watching this show. But you get the point.
Every modern ensemble comedy series has a douchebag - the goodlooking guy who may be the dumbest, weirdest and most pointless guy in the group but who inexplicably gets the most girls, going through non-committal relationships and one-night stands as a matter of routine. Seinfeld had Kramer, though as an early template, he wasn't so bad as some of his successors. Friends had Joey, and among later shows, Rules of Engagement has David Spade, New Girl has Schmidt, and the Exes has Phil. One of the greatest mystery of American television for me is how the Douchebag manages to stay friends with the female members of the group. Anyway...
Come to think of it, you'd hate that guy in real life. It is to NPH's credit that he brings in the right mix of goofiness and vulnerability besides of course the requisite comic chops to Barney's character to have made him the breakout character of the series. But one must also appreciate the writers for creating one of the most complex jackasses of all time. Right from the first season, you see hints of a more layered person beneath the narcissistic pile-on. Very subtle hints, mind you, because nobody on television has ever tried so hard to conceal their goodness, their need to be around friends and be loved, as Barney does. In terms of overt douchebaggery concealing a good heart, he out-Sheens Charlie Harper.
- Lily and Marshall - Lilly and Marshall :)
- Robin kicks ass. I'd tell you how, but this post is spinning out of control now, and I can't get myself to edit the Barney part. But Robin totally rocks. So does Ted.
- Did I mention I love Barney?
- The husband thinks Ted, Barney and Robin should just have a threesome and get it over with. Thought I should mention that.
- Marvin Wait-for-it Erikson is the most awesome baby name ever!
10. They've revealed The Mother! Damn, didn't see this coming. I mean of course we all saw this coming, but you know what I mean. Not since Voldemort has the first appearance of a fabled character given me so many butterflies. (And yeah, if that was a spoiler for you, too bad.)