Attempting to fill in the gap between January’s run of great TV shows and the annual fall onslaught, I’ve been working our way through some shows I’ve missed over the years and have only now found the time to catch up on. So far we’ve explored Judd Apatow’s cancelled but highly regarded shows Undeclared and Freaks And Geeks and dark comedy Eastbound & Down so next up is something a little more light-hearted and fun, and possibly the funniest show of the lot…
Following the classic ‘bunch of friends in the city’ route that is so overused amongst today’s sit-coms, How I Met Your Mother stands heads and shoulders above the crowd thanks to witty, entertaining writing and, what on the surface might be generic stories, thanks to funny quirks and wonderful acting, a hugely compelling and utterly hilarious plot.
How I Met Your Mother takes its name from the initial lead-in into the show. Built around central character Ted Mosby (Radnor), throughout the opening season, each episode starts with a brief interjection set in the year 2030 within which Ted retells his children the titular, how he met their mother. The rest of the show is then set in the present day as Ted trudges on a seemingly never-ending quest to find love.
Though Ted is a great character on his own, it’s with his four other best friends that really sets the show apart. Jason Segel plays romantic Marshall Eriksen, his love interest Lily Aldrin is played by Alyson Hannigan, one-time mother candidate and TV-presenter wannabe Robin Scherbatsky is played by Cobie Smulders and the funniest of the bunch, womaniser Barney Stinson is wonderfully brought to you by the hilarious Neil Patrick Harris.
As a group, the central ensemble do a fantastic job in the weird and wonderful situations they’re presented with, but it’s Neil Patrick Harris that takes How I Met Your Mother to greater heights. With his many Barneyisms, such as telling his friends to ‘suit up!’, giving high fives and the catchphrase ‘legendary’, breaking the word up into its syllables, one time, splitting each half between seasons, Harris will have you in tears with laughter not merely a handful of times a season but a handful of times each episode.
Recently starting in the UK on digital channel E4, it has been billed as the next Friends, and while over the four season you’ll build up a very strong affinity with Ted et all, as you did for Ross and the gang, Friends was much more of a comedy-drama, where as How I Met Your Mother is a straight out sit-com.
Learning from their critics, the show starting with a truly excellent debut season, creators Carter Bay and Craig Thomas developed the narrative, slowly cutting out the future scenes with Ted’s kids and further bring Barney to the fore alongside Ted.
As the fifth season approaches on September 21st, if there’s one frustration it’s that we still don’t know who the mother is yet, and in the fourth season in particular it felt like Ted took one step forward then two steps back, but the signs are this upcoming run will at last shed light on the mystery woman. Still, if to reach season double figures it’ll have to take Ted that long to find his dream girl, I sure don’t mind. How I Met Your Mother has quickly become my favourite sit-com of all time, a big claim to make I know, but it really is worth the praise. Season 5 is going to be legen… wait for it… dary!