Every year I consider my birthday present from the television networks to be the gift of television premieres. Yes, I’m lucky enough to have a September birthday (the 23rd) that tends to fall the week that all of the glorious programming returns. And, what better way to say Happy Birthday than the return of my personal favorite, “How I Met Your Mother?”
I’ve been a “How I Met Your Mother” (HIMYM for those of us devoted followers) fan since its premiere in 2006, back when I was still toting backpacks full of 11th grade trig and US History. I quickly became a fan. Since “Friends” entered the sitcom scene in the mid-90s, networks have been struggling to find the same chemistry among a group of good looking twenty-somethings battling life in the big city. Most attempts have failed, although some were certainly worthy of the air time–CBS’s “The Class” comes to mind, a show that included Jason Ritter and the adorable now Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. But HIMYM has something that works. Like “Friends,” we have couples and best friends since more youthful days, and like “Friends” we have a constant hang out–this time a coffee shop traded in for a pub. But the show pushes the edge with womanizing Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and goofy plot lines that are unbelievable yet believable enough to work, like the gang’s discovery of the cockamouse: a flying half mouse, half cockroach creature. And, unlike “Friends,” we’re giving something to work toward. The mystery of who the mother is remains strong in the entrance of the seventh season. Some find it incredibly obnoxious. I love the journey of piecing together the clues along the way. Which brings me to my favorite aspect. From a writer’s standpoint, I respect this show more than any other sitcom (okay, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family” staff deserve nods for their brilliance, as well) for its complicated interweaving of stories, characters, and motifs–all elements that require incredible detailed planning. But unlike “Lost,” I’ve never been completely, well, lost.
The surprising aspect of the show has always been how many people actually haven’t been watching it through the years. In college it became a personal mission to get people to watch. As a result, I created three HIMYM addicts. I’m not even sorry. And if you’re one of those people who has never given the show a chance and you’re interested in honoring me for my 23rd birthday, then go watch it. Start with some of my personal favorites: Season 1’s “Okay Awesome,” or Season 2’s “Arrivederci, Fiero.” You’ll laugh. I promise.