Starring Josh Radnor, Jason Segal, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan
The 70’s had The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The 80’s had Cheers. The 90’s had Friends, and this generation has How I Met Your Mother. These are the quintessential show that defines late 20’s-early 30 somethings in their era. The story lines are pretty much always the same. There’s always a group of friends in their late 20’s/early 30’s who are “figuring out life.” At least two of these people will end up married… and there will always be the one couple that will be on again off again… and EVERYONE will compare themselves to one or more of the characters. Oddly enough, I’m a Rhoda, Dianne, Phoebe, and Robin… which either makes me clinically insane or a 20-something still figuring out my life. I’m gonna go with the latter. Anyways, How I Met Your Mother, is one of the most beloved sitcoms of this generation not only for their relatable and quirky characters, but for their off the wall, campy antics, usually ending in a large song and dance sequences (hence why I adore this show). Now, let’s see how the penultimate season measures up to the rest of the series.
How I Met Your Mother circles around the lives of five New York City friends. There’s ex-bad ass, art expert/kindergarten teacher Lily (Hannigan) who is married to Marshall (Segal) who is an exceptionally optimistic environmental lawyer. Then there’s womanizing, business man Barney (Harris), who has a sort of “Ross and Rachel thing” with ex- Canadian pop star and now TV news reporter, Robin. And of course all of these stories are narrated by wishy-washy, architect, Ted Mosby. It is actually Ted in the future, telling his kids how all of these crazy antics led up to him meeting their mother.
In this season, we finally find out not only HOW Ted meets the mother, but… (SPOILER ALERT) we also FINALLY see her face! WHAT?!?!?!! But, my friends, it is all about the journey and not the destination. In this season, we start with Lily and Marshall and their new baby Marvin Wait-for-it Erikson (Barney got to choose the middle name in the last season, piggy-backing on Barney’s catch phrase “Legend… wait for it… dary. Legendary.”) We see the two juggling full time jobs, being married, keeping up their friendships, AND being new parents… a struggle for a lot of people my age. Then, you see Barney and Robin’s on again, off again relationship become permanently “on” (and this really isn’t a spoiler since the first episode is really a flash forward to Robin and Barney’s wedding). And you see Ted go through another round of crazy ladies before he finally meets “the mother.”
I love watching this series and this season doesn’t disappoint. My personal favorite episodes are “Who Wants to Be a Godparent” and “P.S. I Love You,” although most of these episodes are fantastical. “Who wants to Be a Godparent” is obviously all about Lily and Marshall choosing a suitable Godparent for sweet Marvin. Barney, Robin, and Ted all fall over each other for that coveted Godparent title, culminating in an actual game show… hence the title of the episode. This is a fun little ride as you get to see the trios personalities’ shine through in their various game show answers. Take talking about the “facts of life,” Ted vows to use a rapping dinosaur puppet, Barney vows to take Marvin to Amsterdam, and Robin… shamelessly kisses Marshal’s butt.
Then there’s “P.S. I Love You,” which is another example of how crazy brilliant this show is. As I mentioned before, Robin used to be a pop superstar in Canada… eh? After Robin hits the top of the pop charts, she decides that she wants to go darker. Sound familiar… maybe a little like Alanis Morrisette? The whole episode culminates in her “Behind the Music” story, complete with a music video to the grunge-tastic “P.S. I Love You.” My snort worthy moment was when they started interviewing all of the biggest Canadian celebrities of the 1990’s to ask who the song was about. They then cut to Dave Coullier (who Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” is rumored to be about), and he says “That song isn’t about me! You guys keep accusing me of stuff like this! Cut it out!”
This is definitely one of my favorite seasons of this show. Although, I would love a little more song, dance, and silliness… they’ve had to mold and shape the characters into actual adults and they can’t be silly all the time. It’s the most serious season yet, but it’s really good watch.
Video is pretty darn good. In Widescreen 1.78:1, it looks just like it does on TV. Nothing out of place, but nothing to really write home about either. If you’re watching this show, you know you’re not watching the most beautifully shot show, but a rather a really well scripted, acted, and directed series.
Now SOUND is where this show is fantastical. Not only are these actors crazy amounts of talented (most of them are for realsies musical theatre performers- Harris has been on Broadway, and Segal starred in the latest Muppet Movie). They actually write their own music for this show… the most brilliant being Robin’s songs from her Canadian pop star days. And honestly, “P.S. I Love You,” as silly as the lyrics are, could be a song on the radio! The songs are INSANELY well done. Not to mention all of the other auditory hi-jinx that go on in the show, can be perfectly well heard.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The good people of How I Met Your Mother know exactly how to treat their fans. The packaging is really, really great. The three discs come in clear DVD packaging with fun graphics and pics as far as the eye can see. On the inside cover, there is a list of all of the episodes and bonus features on each disc. This is great, but I would have loved a plot synopsis for each episode as well.
The bonus features are great too. There are deleted scenes from most of the episodes, a set tour with Ted Mosby himself, a gag reel, and commentary on two of the episodes. I will say, I would have loved more commentary, especially from Harris, who is well spoken and hilarious in his commentary. The best features are the “P.S. I Love You” music video, and the “Making of ‘P.S. I Love You.’” In these, we really get to see the mad cap hilarity that happens when making one of these crazy, off the wall, fantasy worlds. And to be quite honest, I am SUPER jealous of Smulders. They actually show her recording in the studio, and the whole time she’s trying to find this voice that’s in between Robin Sparkles and Alanis Morrisette. Definitely not to be missed… just leaves me wanting a smidge more.
Overall (Not an Average)
A word to the wise, although this show is packed with lots of laughs, do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch this show single and under the influence of alcohol! Or if you do, please have a box of tissues, some chocolates, AND hide your phone… you do not wanna call up your ex thinking that if Barney Stinson can change, so can he/she. But just like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, and Friends this show is heartfelt, hilarious, and timeless. Yeah, your 20’s and 30’s are the best years of your life, but they can also be the hardest. This is the last time in your life to be selfish, but you also want to start creating the life that you will have til you die. Not to get serious or anything like that. But this series shows that all you need to get by in these wonderfully tough times are your best friends… that and your local bar/coffee shop.