January 25, 2012

How We Got Into How I Met Your Mother

If you look at all of our favorite TV characters flashing before you on the upper right corner of this page, you'll probably notice one thing:  Nearly all of the post-2000 comedies that we watch are single camera shows.  I'm not quite sure why this came to be. We love the traditional multi-camera sitcoms of the 90's (Friends, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc.), but for some reason, the more recent multi-camera shows to come out (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, Whitney, etc.) just seem so formulaic in plots and joke setups that it's hard to watch, particularly right after a night of single camera television.

So why then did we get into How I Met Your Mother?  Well in traditional HIMYM style, we'll tell you the long, drawn-out, and often tangential story of how we got into How I Met Your Mother:

You see kids, it all started about 2 years ago in our local public library.  We were bored and looking for something to watch.  I had heard about How I Met Your Mother, and was intrigued by the show partly due to it's intriguing premise, but mainly because I already knew 60% of the main cast from various movies (Jason Segal from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Alyson Hannigan from American Pie, and Neil Patrick Harris from the Harold and Kumar films).  So we decided to rent the first season and give it a shot.  We watched the first season and enjoyed it enough.  The episodes were funny and the story was interesting.  But we weren't fully hooked.  The main character Ted was kind of whiny and annoying, always complaining about how he'll never find true love (even though we knew he somehow eventually ends up with this mysterious mother) and despite the big season 1 finale cliffhanger, we returned the DVD and decided not to get season 2.  We had enough shows to watch, we thought, and we were busy with other things, so we decided to end it there.

As the years passed, sometimes we'd come across syndicated episodes of HIMYM while flicking through the channels on TV.  But somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that we might continue watching this show someday, so I never watched the them in fear of spoiling the older episodes that we hadn't seen.  And when our favorite comedy music star "Weird Al" Yankovic tweeted that he would be making a cameo in an upcoming episode, even then we did not watch, so that our brains would still be in the mindset of where we left off at the end of season 1, in the unlikely event that we someday would continue to watch the show.

We had pretty much forgotten about How I Met Your Mother, until one fateful night last month, during our winter vacation, when a friend randomly brought the season 2 DVD to my apartment.

And with that we were hooked.  We watched all of disc 1 that night, and 2 and 3 the next day, ending season 2.  The next morning, we woke up in a panic, needing to know what happens next to Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lilly!  Desperate for more, we drove to our local Target and bought seasons 3 and 4 rushed home to watch.  A few days later, we returned to buy seasons 5 and 6, and when we finished those, we turned to Amazon Instant Video to download the first half of season 7 so we could catch up in time for its mid-season return.    We watched 5 and a half seasons in about 8 days.

Now what is about this show that got us so hooked?  Well, unlike most TV comedies, the show is very plot-oriented, as we're slowly trying to figure out what's happening as we go along.  We know that Ted eventually ends up with this woman who is the mother of his children, but we don't know who she is or how he meets her.  But along the way, we discover little clues.  Also, Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious as Barney.

Since we watched several years' worth of HIMYM for the first time in this multi-season marathon, we ended up becoming rather impatient for clues about the mother.  We became very annoyed with the show.  Specifically, because we knew that the mother won't be revealed until the end (or will she?), any woman Ted meets and dates along the way can't possibly be the mother (this was even more so when we were watching the season 3 DVD knowing that it's currently airing in season 7), so we rarely got emotionally attached to them. We also knew that the show has already been renewed for at least another season, which means that we probably won't find out who the mother is for another year and a half. And if the show gets renewed past that, then the story might get stretched out even more.  And while many of the episodes reveal clues about the mother or lead to events which allegedly help Ted meet the mother, many episodes in between simply seem to just be random.  This makes sense, in that the story can't possibly be so complex that all 200 or so episodes are actually relevant, but it is kind of frustrating that the show is supposed to be about how he met the mother, and sometimes it's more about Ted just hanging out with his friends.

Nevertheless, we can't stop now, with all the work we put into catching up!  It has officially been added to the schedule.  Also, watching on a normal time scale has made it much more enjoyable.  

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