It’s never too late to suit up.
Whether or not you’re familiar with “How I Met Your Mother,” now is as good a time as any to start watching. Even though the series is nearing the end of its seventh season, with at least one more planned, it still manages to entertain fans and critics, just as it did at the start. While the humor and tone have certainly evolved over the course of the show’s run, loyal fans are continually rewarded for following Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) on a journey to find the woman of his dreams.
Set up much like “Friends” (1994−2004) and “Coupling” (2000−2004), “How I Met Your Mother,” or “HIMYM” as fans often refer to it, follows five friends through their everyday exploits. The original twist comes in the form of narration, as an unpictured Ted from the future (Bob Saget) chronicles each episode as if he were telling an ongoing story to his children. That story, of course, recounts how Ted met his wife.
From the start, “HIMYM” has always had an element of sentimentality deeper than most sitcoms on television. That’s not to say it’s a drama by any means; the antics of playboy Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) ensure this is never the case. Yet, as “HIMYM” has progressed, this sentimentality has permeated the series. The characters have matured over the years, and the focus of the show has shifted from simple, episodic plotlines to depictions of how each character moves toward full−fledged adulthood. Now more than ever, with Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) expecting a child and Robin (Cobie Smulders) finally making it as a lead TV anchor, the series is concerned with establishing the futures of the characters that fans have come to love.
Things are getting serious for the five 30−somethings who once spent the majority of their time drinking in the bar beneath Ted’s apartment. Even though some measure of comedy has been lost as Ted and his friends have grown up, the show has not lost any of its value, as viewers grow along with them. Whether you watch the entire show in a month or have been faithful from the start, you empathize with the group and realize that their maturation is, and perhaps always has been, the true essence of the show.
Despite this evolution, the show is still rich with humor. “HIMYM” started with a unique form of comedy, as the narrator knows everything that is going to happen and often references the future by hinting at gags to come. Furthermore, constant flashbacks provide character development while serving as humorous reminders of what the characters used to be. Even in one of the most recent episodes, “Trilogy Time,” these two strategies are employed effectively, allowing the viewer to laugh about the past and look eagerly toward the future.
After seven years of development, each character is now associated with various tropes that serve as reliable sources of humor. For Robin, this means constant jabs at her Canadian heritage, while in Marshall the audience finds a goofy yet lovable dreamer that only Segel can embody. Clearly, series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas realize how ridiculous the idea of telling one’s children a seven−year story is, and in the most recent seasons, have even begun to make jokes about Ted’s hopeless romanticism with hilarious success.
As his numerous Emmy nominations can attest, though, it’s Harris who steals the show as Barney. Although he is starting to evolve of late, Barney has changed the least over the years and can always be depended on for a solid laugh. It could be his unhealthy love of suits, his constant efforts to hit on women or his recurring one−liners, but either way you’ll laugh with him and come to love him.
To please loyal fans, “HIMYM” has begun to depict future events that imply Ted will meet his wife in two years or less. This means that the show is finally nearing an end, but there is still time to catch up and take a seat at MacLaren’s next to this fantastic cast. While the series may not be quite as legendary as it was when it began, if you start at the beginning and watch these characters grow, you’ll want to know how he met their mother just as much as the rest of us.