Thursday, 1 January 2009

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #06 How I Met Your Mother

First post of 2009 (I'll post some thoughts of the new year up later)

As much as it pains me to say, How I Met Your Mother is good. Damn good. I'd been recommended to watch it by several people and it wasn't until a friend wouldn't shut up about it back in May that I decided to take the plunge and watch it. In fact that was my summer project (along with a job and relax of course...oh and make a short film). Well in my eyes, How I Met Your Mother is probably the best sitcom on television at the moment. The only reason it's higher up than The Office, 30 Rock and Arrested Development is because I love this sort of comedy and also it's such an inventive show. The Office, 30 Rock and Arrested Development are all this new age of comedy. They aren't filmed in front of an audience. They're not done on a set where you can only see three walls and they all like to play around with the conventions of comedy with stuff like breaking the fourth wall. How I Met Your Mother has two things I love about it though, for starters there's actually a mystery!!! It's been four seasons and we still don't know who the mother is and I'm fine with that, because the comedy is still good. Secondly the show likes to mess around with the timeline of it's stories. Episodes like "Ted Mosby, Architect" and "The Pineapple Incident" like to mess around with the conventions of storytelling making it a fun show to watch.

It doesn't just mess around with the conventions of time though there's the fact that it is like we are being told a story. As the name of the show suggests that story is "How I Met Your Mother", so we follow Ted Mosby and his friends around as Ted tries to find wife. This is all set around the backdrop of Ted Mosby in the future telling this to his children. Because of this some of the details get lost along the way so names get forgotten (and replaced with Blahblah) and some details are smudged (sandwiches are used as a substitution for marijuana so the kids don't find out that their dad smoked). All of this is used to great effect because it actually feels like we are being told the story along side the kids. Plus it helps that it's actually a pretty funny story to boot. In fact one great moment comes at the end of the episode when after 20 minutes of having this one girl set up as being the mother (this is the first episode so what did we know) and then the narration tells us "and that's how I met...your Aunt Robin" it's a great punchline to an already great pilot episode (any show that can use the words "smurf penis" is instantly awesome).

Alright the cast is made of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slay and American Pie), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and the perennial favourite Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris, Dr. Horrible). The cast are great, you can actually see there is chemistry between them. Ted is the lovelorn main character, Marshall and Lily are the married couple who are constantly horny and deeply in love with each (they've only had sex with each other) and Robin is the Canadian person trying to make it as a reporter in New York. Then there is Barny. Barney is quite possibly the greatest comical character to ever grace the planet. How I Met Your Mother has been compared to Friends multiple times (it is a show about a group of friends living in New York so it's not exactly unwarranted). If Barney is any character in Friends then he is Joey...except AWESOME!!! Joey was a bit of a dopey playboy. Barney is slimy, wears suits and just loves to have sex with women (despite being played by a homosexual). In fact Barney is so awesome lets go into more depth below

Barney is just an amazing character. Every single episode is packed full of just choice quotes. I mean in the first episode he comes out with amazing quotes like "Lebanese girls are the new half-asians" and "Suit Up!". Barney is just an hilarious who will regularly steal the show. In fact I can't help but go through a list of his awesomeness: his Christmas carol rewrites about having sex with Ted's sister, his letter to a girl who he's just had sex with explaining how he's a ghost, the tour of his apartment, the bracket of trying to decide who the craziest girl he's ever slept with is, the bro-code, driving lessons, the hot crazy scale, and the list just goes on. Barney proves one things, that it is still possible to make an amazing character with a catch-phrase. How I Met Your Mother also proves that the regular sitcom isn't dead (although shows like Do Not Disturb would desperately like to prove that wrong).

How I Met Your Mother is also unique for sitcoms in that it isn't actually filmed in front of an audience which means it only takes about three days to film an episode. It also makes it possibly for them get guest stars like Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Britney Spears. Believe it or Britney was actually quite good and proved that whilst she had that psycho meltdown she could still come back from it (it also made the South Park episode a bit less funny for me).

Alright last thoughts. How I Met Your Mother is funny, damn funny. Neil Patrick Harris is awesome. There's a load of little geeky references. It actually strives to do something different with it's story telling. It's got an awful lot of heart but at it's a core it is about romance and relationship and whilst that might turn some people just remember that Neil Patrick Harris is awesome.

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