Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why 'How I Met Your Mother' is legen...wait for it...

Ever have a show that you'll watch any time it's on, even if you've seen that episode before? Even if that episode was just on, you'll watch it again? Right now, that's how I feel about How I Met Your Mother, which is a fine, fantastic show that I recommend to anyone.

There are many reasons I love that show. Let's start with the premise. I admit, I wasn't sold on it. I had no idea how they could stretch that premise into six-plus seasons, but the more I think about it, the more it works. Meeting a person is more than just a chance encounter. Every choice you ever made, good and bad, brought you to that point. The choices my wife and I made brought us together, and it's terrifying to see how just one of those choices would have meant we'd never met. I like how the show is tracking all those decisions that draw Ted closer to meeting The Mother.

Plus, I like that we know how it's going to end. The first line in the show is "Kids, I'm gonna tell you an incredible story. The story of how I met your mother." Right there, you know where this is going, but the journey is incredible, and the big reveal isn't where you end up, but how you get there. It's a prequel done right.

I identify with Ted, the man who will find his wife. We're the same age, going through many of the same frustrations, and we both have taught college. He tells the same stupid jokes that I tell. Ted's my guy.

I also love the future perspective that allows for great storytelling license. In some episodes, we are told that 'This is how Robin swears it happened.' Like when the opposing team had a Teen Wolf. Plus, the narrator is Bob Sagat, and he's perfect, really perfect. He's a nice blend of the aspects of Danny Tanner that don't make you want to beat him to death with a plunger, and the filthy comedy stylings of one Bob Sagat. (Watch his comedy uncut - it's amazing.)

I really enjoy how the show will set things up that take years to pay off, like 'The Goat.' I believe the writers took their cues from Arrested Development because it's smartly written with great running gags and foreshadowing. The episode 'Slap Bet' is an perfect example, and one of the greatest episodes ever made of any show, and if you don't know who Robin Sparkles is, you must. That episode, in many ways charted the course of the series forever after.

The show is romantic, sweet, sometimes filthy (thanks to Barney) but it's worth watching whenever it's on. If you've never seen it, go grab the DVD of season one, pop it on, and I dare you to watch just one episode. Then you'll find out how they've been able to stretch the premise this far.

 Finally, this show inspires me, because this writing is what I want my writing to be. I want people, years from now, to take lessons from what I've written and do newer and even greater things, and right now, that's the effect How I Met Your Mother has on me. That, and it's inspired me to wear suits more often, because I look good in a suit.

I can do more than talk pop culture. Check out the book I wrote.

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