On Nostalgia And Hope In How I Met Your Mother

Somewhere between the sips of beer and scotch at MacLaren’s, the high fives, “awesomes”, and “legendarys”, breathes a quiet whisper, an essence almost, of a man and his life — or at least the story that he tells about it. In 2005, or rather the imagined future of 2030, a man sat down his two kids to tell him the “incredible story” of how he met their mother. As the beloved nine year series comes to a close, most viewers will remember the running gags and crazy antics of the shows more audacious characters, as well they should. The show is, after all, a comedy — a 21.5 minute sitcom amongst that waded out into a primetime spot seeped in the height of reality television. A show that was almost canceled in its third season in the throes of the infamous 2007-2008 writer’s strike, but was thankfully saved by Sarah Chalke, but more importantly, a not-half bad cameo by Britney Spears (You wanna drive in those ratings? You better work, bitch.).
However, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ really hit its stride in syndication, and more importantly in Netflix. In fact, it could be argued that Netflix is the best way to watch the show. (Let’s take a moment for the sheer joy that is binge watching streaming television in the 21st century … Ok, we’re back in.) In fact, Netflix holds the crux of this reflection in the palm of its digital hand: that there is something significant about the overarching narrative structure of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and that this structure, more than the Playbook and BroCode, more than Robin Sparkles and all the Canadian jokes in the world, more than (Qu)Interventions and not-so-funny fish-related stand-up (“What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fsssssshhhh.”), is what keeps us hooked. Its what keeps us from stopping the next episode from autoplaying at 4 am on a Sunday night. Its what keeps us watching the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time through in sickness and in health like Ted Mosby marathons ‘Star Wars.’ Mostly, its what makes this show stand out from its frighteningly similar predecessor (Ross was a professor? Ted Mosby was a professor? Freaky!).

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