My Guilty Pleasure: How I Met Your Mother

Television, more so than perhaps any other medium, can suck you in, 20-minute by 20-minute chunk. Personally, I often have a tendency to get sucked into half-hour sitcoms, and my latest obsession is How I Met Your Mother, a CBS sitcom about a guy named Ted Mosby, who lives in New York City as he tries to find The One.

How I Met Your Mother is by no means high-brow entertainment; many of the show’s important jokes come from Barney Stinson (played by the always lively Neil Patrick Harris), who is portrayed as a despicable womanizer and a pathological liar. Yet, perhaps the comforting crudity of the laughs in this show is what keeps me coming back. Barney’s exploits, often witnessed reluctantly by his friends, are often funny no matter how ridiculous they are.

One part of How I Met Your Mother that is truly well-done is the way it examines relationships. Ted Mosby is a very romantic guy, but this need for commitment often ironically sours his love life. The show, regardless of how well the storyline is, does a very good job of summarizing a relationship, and often has its most powerful moments when recapping a relationship with a well-placed montage.

The side characters of How I Met Your Mother are generally solid to back up Ted, whose only real defining characteristic is his romanticism. These characters are not very deep, but they are still fun to watch. Ted’s best friend Marshall, played by Jason Segel, is a gentle giant, whose best moments are often when he plays the dumb guy, being the last person to get a joke, for example. Marshall’s wife Lily, is probably my least favorite character on the show, and her personality seems to be a carbon copy of Marshall’s despite their very different background. Robin, Ted’s former girlfriend, is the Canadian and gun-loving newest member of the group. She always has a unique perspective on things, being somewhat of an outsider. Barney, the most inexplicable member of the group, can always be counted on to hit on several women every episode and break all of their hearts. Most sitcoms seem to have a Barney, but few play him as well as Neil Patrick Harris.

Ultimately, How I Met Your Mother is not a deep show, it isn’t usually a profound and poignant show, and it doesn’t seem to have a lot of redeeming qualities on the surface. Yet, I always seem to keep coming back to it. There’s something comforting about How I Met Your Mother, and the exploits of Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney. This show is my guilty pleasure, but I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m sure my feelings for this show are not unique, as it is now in its eighth season. I do hope the show ends soon, though, because I am itching for answer to the show’s central, defining question: How Ted met his wife, and his children’s mother.