Mar 20, 2014

[TV] How I Met Your Mother: Season 1

The irony is not lost on me that as How I Met Your Mother is pretty much wrapping up its 9-season television run, we've only just started to watch the show. But isn't that always the way? For one reason or another we don't immediately get into one show or another  but then later on we marathon the whole thing once you get on board.

I wasn't sure how to feel about this show in the beginning. All that I really knew about the show was (1) it was taking forever to answering the lingering question of who the mother is and (2) Neil Patrick Harris plays a sleazy womanizer character that has become very popular. Not much to go on, but I've started shows with even less knowledge than that.

So thanks to an office file-sharing party, we managed to get copies of most of the prior seasons, and so we can start watching in earnest. And given Tobie's appreciation for romantic comedy movies and Jason Segel, this was certainly right up our alley.

Synopsis: How I Met Your Mother is a US television sitcom created by Carter Bays and Craig Tomas for CBS. The show has received quite a number of nominations and awards as well throughout the course of its run.

It is the year 2030 and an older Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) has decided to sit his two kids down to tell them the story of how he met their mother. And this we go back to 2005 (when the show debuted) and we start to follow the life the younger Ted (Josh Radnor) while he was living in New York working as an architect. Back then he was sharing an apartment with his best friends - the couple Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), along with Ted's bachelor friend Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

The first key plot point involves Ted encountering local news reporter Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), whom Ted falls for. But Robin isn't at a point in her life when she wants anything serious and this crushes Ted. He spends a lot of the season flip-flopping in terms of his feelings for Robin and whether or not he should wait for her. At the same time, Marshall and Lily finally get engaged after 9 years of dating (since college). And Barney - well Barney is determined to make the most of his single life as much as possible.

The show truly plays out like a romantic comedy - and a pretty good one at that. As much as the day-to-day activities of the group seem peculiar enough, put all together it all makes sense in a strange sort of way. And as you watch the interaction between the different characters, you find yourself seeing aspects of your own close friends in the various roles. It just goes to show that we're all a little crazy inside and it take someone holding up a mirror to our faces to better appreciate this.

Ted seems almost too good to be true at first. He's a hopeless romantic and is not beyond the potential embarrassment of grand gestures in order to demonstrate his love for one girl or another. And we get to watch him jump head first into new romances quite a number of times in the season.

The role of Marshall and Lily with respect to Ted is an interesting one. Both do their best to be good friends to Ted, but this doesn't necessarily mean taking his side. This is specially notable once Robin joins the crew since either Marshall or Lily seem to take it upon themselves to take one side or another in order to mediate disputes, give sound advice and basically be the best sort of friends - ones who can be honest enough to tell you when you're making a ridiculous mistake.

And Barney - well Barney seems larger than life. He's ridiculously sleazy with his bad pick-up lines and elaborate cons just to get into bed with different women. And he doesn't want a relationship - he just wants to have that one night of fulfillment and then he's off to the next woman. And it seems even funnier to think that (1) Neil Patrick Harris was once the lovably Doogie Howser MD and (2) he's an out and proud gay man in real life. He plays the role of the womanizer quite brilliantly and it's pretty safe to say that this movie played a big role in kickstarting this second part of his acting career.

How I Met Your Mother starts off pretty strong with this first season and I can see why so many people have fallen in love with the show. And I look forward to the rest of this journey down the many seasons of the show. But this first season fully deserves a full 5 red herrings thrown in by future Ted in terms of how the Mother may be out of 5.

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