Everyone knows Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross. But not enough know about Marshall, Lily, Ted, Robin and Barney. And you really should. “What, another show featuring attractive twentysomethings, living in improbably large and clean apartments in New York City?” I hear you ask. Please bear with me.
How I Met Your Mother begins most episodes with an older version of Ted Mosby, an idealistic lovefool, telling his teenaged children about the adventures he and his friends embarked upon, all leading to the climax of how he met their mother. So far so schmaltzy, right? But HIMYM has learned much from it’s elders – great writing, timing, beautiful people, catchphrases and singalong-able theme tune. Crucially though, it has left out a couple of things us cynical viewers hate: the ridiculous moralising and the need to make human nastiness cuddly. So while Friends hardly ever showed us the pain and destruction wreaked by Joey Tribbiani’s bedhopping ways, HIMYM cackles bawdily before moving onto the next adventure. The runaway star of the show, Barney Stinson, is like a more hardcore version of Joey. Played by former child star Neil Patrick Harris, Barney is a narcissitic, self-absorbed, womanising arse. But the writers routinely give him their best work (see a selection here), as well as the sharpest suits.
Much like Friends, HIMYM has already introduced a few things into our cultural lexicon. Have you found yourself using “awesome” more than usual lately? Or perhaps you’ve taken to celebrating with high fives? You can thank creator-writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for that. E4 is currently showing Season 2; so far we’ve had revelations of Robin’s shameful past as a Canadian teen popstar, Barney’s gay, Black brother, the reunion of long-term couple Marshall and Lily and so much more. With no shark-jumping in it’s immediate future, HIMYM is currently, in the words of Barney, “Legend- wait for it… and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is dairy!”