Why I Fell Out of Love (and Back In Love) with How I Met Your Mother

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How I Met Your Mother was the first sitcom I watched on purpose as an adult. I had been avoiding them because of the cheesy fakeness of the whole genre. I was never a fan of: “Oh I fell.. ha ha ha.” or “Oh, isn’t Generic Stereotypical Character so funny when they do the same thing they did last episode?” Yet, I gave HIMYM a chance and I was happily surprised at how un-sitcomy it was.

Sure, there was humor, but there was also a cast of characters who developed and changed (rather than being magically reset back to zero). They grew up over the seasons. I admired them. The show didn’t shy away from handling some harder issues and some very dramatic moments. Most of all, it was a show that remembered. In-jokes, references to previous seasons, and more find their happy place in this show. I was totally in love. I bought the first five seasons on DVD as they came out and happily watched again and again.

Then season 6 came. I found myself going back to the show a bit less and less. The ratio started going off, we felt more and more dramatic than funny (plus my favorite character, Barney, had nothing but problems and was given the short end of the screen time stick in my mind). When season 7 came around, I wasn’t as excited to see what happened next. I remember trying to watch the season, but the characters that I had grown to love over six years were being so badly beaten down that it was way too painful to watch.

It wasn’t until I mainlined season 7 and 8 this weekend that I realized my problem. I had huge empathy for these characters and they were having really horrible times. Plus, there were personal issues the drama parts kept bringing up that I didn’t want to think about. The sitcom that made me laugh was making me cry – a bit too much.

It seems kind of weird because I’m usually watching emotion-driven shows (Buffy, anyone?), but at the time that season 7 came out I had enough real life drama of my own to deal with – jobs that I loved and hated, friendships and relationships. It was all a bit too much, I wanted a bit more escapism than realism.

This weekend I watched both season 7 and 8. Once again, I felt the pangs of “why am I watching this, it’s so sad?” But then I fell back in love with the show. It was like watching my friends struggle and find victory. Plus, I think the having the no-waiting period before the next episode helped ease the pain.

Still, it wasn’t the same feeling I had before. For awhile I felt kind of like I was checking off a to-do list (“catch up on HIMYM”). It wasn’t until the episode featuring Barney’s bachelor party when it finally hit me – I missed these guys. I missed the reassurance of their foibles and fumbles. I missed their dedication to each other. I even missed all the Ted-ing out. Mostly, I missed my friends.

So, here’s the final season of How I Met Your Mother. Thanks to all of the previous ones, even when I thought I hated you. Thanks for every high-five, slap bet, mysterious pineapple, and long-running catch phrase. I really am not sure how life will be without you.

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2 Comments

  1. 2nd Awesome
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    It’s funny you wrote this today. I got home from work and was totally craving HIMYM for some reason. I found an ep on demand and watched it and felt so much better!! The ep was Marshall’s bachelor party.

    • Tabz
      Posted September 5, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      Ohhh that’s a good one.

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