Kids, let me tell you a story. The year was 2005. Friends had ended the previous year, leaving a vacant hole in the hearts of sitcom lovers everywhere. But in September 2005, How I Met Your Mother aired and filled that hole in a legendary way.
Running for nine whole seasons, How I Met Your Mother is considered one of the best sitcoms, followed the exploits of twentysomething Ted Mosby as he endeavours to find his one true love. Initially seen as a soulless Friends rip-off, HIMYM grew into something entirely of its own. But what made the show so great? Here are the top 10 possible reasons.
10) That Theme Song
It’s only 15 seconds long, but damn, it is good. How I Met Your Mother‘s theme song is catchy, cool, and legendary. No matter how many episodes you sit through, the opening theme is a welcome guest.
9) The Cast is Awesome
The How I Met Your Mother casting director was obviously doing their best sitcom-casting work. It’s hard to imagine these iconic roles being played by any other actors. As a whole, the cast is remarkable in hitting both the comedic and dramatic beats of the show.
Neil Patrick Harris really owns Barney’s wild charisma and sleazy womanizing personality but manages to bring some sincerity to the role when Barney falls in love with Robin. Likewise, Jason Sudekis and Alison Hannigan have excellent chemistry as Marshall and Lily and are a huge reason why we find the relationship so endearing to watch.
8) An Impressive List of Guest Stars
Of course, the quality of a show isn’t necessarily defined by how famous the faces are. It comes down to the quality of the acting, writing, direction and the standard of production. But when you’ve already established those factors, a few extra famous faces is a real bonus. In fact, it kind of validates them.
Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Nicole Scherzinger, and Enrique Iglesias are among the show’s special guests. Meanwhile, Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk play early recurring characters in the show a little while before Walter White and Saul Goodman became icons of TV history.
7) It Was Never Afraid to Get Serious
While being a sitcom, HIMYM isn’t just a meaningless twenty-minute laugh-a-thon. Its episodes are regularly peppered with deep, profound moments that validated the seriousness of the character’s situations.
For example, Ted’s unrequited love for Robin isn’t always portrayed comically. For example, in the case of Victoria, it’s genuinely portrayed as a serious barrier to his future romantic connections – she leaves for the second time in Season 8, realizing that Ted still wants Robin. The show also turns to drama when Lily leaves Marshall to go to art college in Season 4 because she doesn’t know who she is outside their relationship. The show is a crazy comedy that actually possesses real narrative consequences for its cast.
6) It Portrays A Stable, Committed Relationship
Many sitcoms at the time of HIMYM had casts of single, ready-to-mingle characters. So, in some sense, the young power couple that is Marshall and Lily was a breath of fresh air in the genre. Usually, such stable relationships were restricted to the older couples of the genre.
But having a stable, committed relationship in the form of Marshall and Lily helped give How I Met Your Mother a legendary edge. It shows us that soulmates are not found, but rather, made. Despite being together, Marshmellow and Lily Pad still encounter struggles keeping their bond alive. Yet, when they overcome these challenges, it’s all the more rewarding for them and us, the audience, because they are such an unconventional and likeable couple.
5) The Side Characters Are Memorable
One of the great things about How I Met Your Mother is that even the recurring characters are legendary. Given they don’t get the same screen-time or focus as the main cast, it would have been easy not to achieve this. Yet, these recurring characters help define the absurdity and quirky nature of the show’s universe.
From Barney’s gay black brother, James Stinson, to Gary Blauman and even relatively background characters like Carl the Bartender and Wendy the Waitress help build the show’s sense of identity.
4) It Has A Killer Hook
While HIMYM retains the conventions of single-camera sitcoms (regular hangouts, recurring side characters, an attractive cast), it does something that many of its peers don’t. It has a compelling overhanging mystery that audiences are compelled to solve – who is the titular Mother?
This is a killer hook, especially for this genre of television. It means the show isn’t constrained merely to its jokes and quirky characters (though both are solid). It has a profound question for which we are compelled to find the answer. Every woman Ted gets involved with on the show has us wondering “is she the one?”and keeps us watching.
3) HIMYM‘s Awesome Running Gags
The legendary thing about How I Met Your Mother is that its jokes aren’t confined to individual episodes. Rather, many of its best jokes run throughout the course of the series, giving it a humorous connective tissue non-existent in many comedy series.
From the Slap Bet to Robin Sparkles to the Doppelgangers and, of course, the Bro Code, How I Met Your Mother crafts an idiosyncratic, humorous universe that makes it one of the best sitcoms around. It creates its own charming language and rules, that its universe feels like a home away from home for its audience. This is something that not all long-running comedy shows are adept at doing.
2) Ted Moseby and Company Are Awesome Characters
The endearing characters of HIMYM are one of the main reasons fans tuned in every week. It’s also the reason newcomers will be binging the series endlessly online. Each character is so beautifully defined with endearing quirks and defined personalities. At the same time, they develop during the course of the series as they chase their goals.
Unlike, say, Seinfeld, the characters change over the series. As with any sitcom, there are the usual bizarre situations and laugh-inducing jokes, but they are not just there to make us laugh. They exist to let us grow alongside them and cheer them on as they progress on their journies.
1) HIMYM‘s Underlying Message
While How I Met Your Mother has its fair share of crude jokes and bizarre situations, underneath it all, it’s a show about love and legendary friendship. It explores the journeys of its beloved characters as they endeavor to find love and happiness in their turbulent lives. In short, it’s a sitcom with heart.
In fact, that’s part of what makes How I Met Your Mother one of the best sitcoms. Its meaningful connective tissue makes it feel far more profound than your average single-camera sitcom. It’s a show that not only makes you laugh but also makes you ponder your own life and relationships.
Now, with How I Met Your Father currently in the works, fans can enjoy this heartwarming tale of finding one’s true love all over again. Are you looking forward to seeing Hilary Duff and Co. revive this concept? What are your favorite moments ever in How I Met Your Mother? Share your thoughts in the comments below.