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The Problem with How I Met Your Mother

I’ve been a fan of How I Met Your Mother for years. The show has always had its problems, but it was a fun comedy about friendship, with the optimistic perspective that everything happens for a reason and that things are leading towards happiness in the end.

I’m still watching the show, but I’m finding it harder and harder to bear. And although the show’s quality in general has gone downhill, my problem can be summed up with two words: Barney and Robin.

I’ve been supporting Barney and Robin’s relationship almost since the beginning. She was a fun, career driven character who could bro out with Barney and who didn’t want marriage or kids, and he was a caricature of a player who was, arguably, a good friend with plenty in common with Robin, who saw the harm that his games could cause, and who turned over a new leaf when he fell in love with Ms Scherbatsky. But then things fell apart.

After Barney and Robin broke up, Barney went straight back to his womanizing ways, but the tone was very different. Barney was no longer an amusing caricature. He had been given a plot line of emotional growth. And then he went back to the person he was before, with us once again expected to laugh at his sexist comments and at the young women who were stupid enough to fall for his tricks. Worse, to me, the show eventually decided to give Barney some more traditional romance stories, first with Nora and then with stripper Quinn. He even gets a brief engagement. But unlike in his relationship with Robin, his personality remains the same. He remains a sexist jerk who tries to get his fiance to sign a prenup promising to get repeated boob jobs and dreaming about his own personal harem. It’s difficult to support his future marriage to Robin when this is his attitude.

Meanwhile, Robin has suffered severe character degeneration over the past few seasons. She’s ceased to be a realistic character who is driven in her career and knows how to handle a gun. Instead, she is a screeching cartoon of a woman in a breakdown. She rarely has plot lines of her own, and when she does appear, she spends most of her time shouting and being overemotional (particularly at her poor coworker Patrice). Robin has changed from a character that we connect and laugh with to a character that we are supposed to laugh at. Unless, of course, they’re using to for ratings-related fake pregnancies during November sweeps.

I do still watch How I Met Your Mother, and I frequently enjoy at least parts of the show. But if the writers don’t seem to care about the characters or treat them as real people, why should we?

Rhiannon

Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

2 thoughts on “The Problem with How I Met Your Mother

  1. First of all: sorry 4 my English, although I’m living in Uk it’s stil terrible. Honestly, I don’t think you got at 100% HIMYM because you are looking at this tv show like it were a fiction, something not related to the real file. Now you’re thinking WTF, it’s a tv show! Yes, but IMHO it’s one of the the best script of the all times. I think it’s the only tv show with real actor that shows all the powerful of writing a good plot with REAL character not with fictional ones who follow ancient rules written by Aristotele or whatever, centuries ago. I think a human being doesn’t change personality or attitude. He change only his body,his face, maybe the style of living and dressing, but he is alway the same. A fictional character needs to change – they say “to involve” or “get mature” like a fruit or a vegetable, but it’s not true – a human being not, he doesn’t, like Coldplay say “we never change” or like in Italy we say, following the Gattardo’s teaching, All has changed to be the the same (again, sorry 4 my poor English) – Robin and Barney has never acted like two mono dimensional characters,not at all. They were acting like they were: the most not confident characters have never played in a tv show. In the real life, that one you are actually living the ones who mind only about their careers or their sexual partners are the most unconfident human being you could ever come across. It’s easy: et your mind busy with those things and you will never be sad or upset. Every day they haves a new goal to reach so no times to regret or to save for your tear drops. There is always a new task at work or a new girl/boy to fuck. But like anyone they are crying and suffering inside. In their guts. So we they can’t get what they really want they are nervous, uptight. Like Robin with her colleague. That’s awful true. Robin and Barney are true human being more than anyone, maybe more than us too. She is the girl who loves unconfident assholes and he loves girls with a lack of confidence like a character in a black and white movie has a lack of colour. That’s it. Most of the girls are like Robin and mot the boys as got to be like to be like Barney, unless they love jerk off a lot I loneliness the funny thing is that in HIMYM Ted seems the most unconfident but it’s not true. Like any hero, like any good guy, he is the most confident. for eating everyday shit and being always a good one, with no regrets, you must be very confident. Why do I say this? Because I wish I were Barney, but I am like Ted although it’s very hard and I don’t tell my story to my kids. Cheers, Pierpaolo

    1. The end sounded a little Nice Guy-ish, but I agree about character development. As I know, an adult personality hardly changes radically, especially not because of a love interest who is just that special.

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