Is “How I Met Your Mother” Really Any Good?

How I Met Your Mother

Alright dammit.  It’s time to talk about How I Met Your Mother already.   I don’t get it.  I really don’t.  Sure I understand that Neil Patrick Harris’s character is pretty funny.  He’s a super male egotistical guy that gets laid a lot and wears a suit.  But doesn’t that kind of get old for a while?  And believe me I’ve given it a shot.  I’ve seen the show over 10 times because my wife swears by it.

I feel like it’s a pseudo Friends that’s not nearly as good (and I didn’t even like Friends).  And what the hell?  Are there any groups of five people that are this close in New York City or any city for that matter? Not to mention a married couple included in this group?  Who the hell hangs out at the same bar every single day with the exception of alcoholics?

And come on.  The characters?  They’re not good!  Alyson Hannigan is just annoying, period.  And every time they try to make her sexy I throw up a little in my mouth.   Jason Segel is decent but he’s WAY better in movies when he can curse and be lewd.  This show limits him way too much.   Cobie Smulders is not that hot.  Can people please admit to this?  And her tough character?  Give it a rest.   Josh Radnor (Ted) is eh.  I mean he’s kind of cute I guess but still pathetic and annoying.   And of course  Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

I just feel like the show gets old very very quickly and when you look at past sitcoms and the likes of Seinfeld, Cheers, Family Ties, Cosby Show, the list goes on, How I Met Your Mother is far from adequate.

Is it entertaining?  Sure.  Is it legitimately good?  Hardly.  Discuss….

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47 Comments

  1. I used to like the show but stopped watching a few years ago. The two things I liked were Barney (broCode, techniques etc) and the friendship between Ted and Jason Segel. I agree that Alyson H is annoying (and not sexy) but the other one is hot.

    And the thing that bothered me the most is they would not show who the mother is! They stretched that mystery to the point where I did not care.

  2. Nobody would call it original by any means, as it is really just a combination of Seinfeld and Cheers updated for 2010. However, the actors are talented, the characters are mostly likable, and the writing is smart.

  3. Short answer?: This show sucks.

    Longer, more involved answer?: I watch it for NPH. He’s so watchable, the one can actually put up with Ted’s whiny bitch of a character. The possimpible? Need i say more?

    This show also appeals to the desperately lonely (see the aforementioned whiny bitch ted character) and the kind of people trying to convince themselves that they’re only trying internet dating as a joke.

    Must admit however, having watched some contemporary (quality) sitcoms like Arrested Development and Always Sunny in Philadelphia the laugh track in this show just slays me.

  4. I remember once I laughed at a joke on that show. It was “suit up.” Then the laughter stopped and never came back. That was the first and last time I watched this show.

  5. @ #Icecream, I’ve never watched this show but now that I know there’s a laugh track, I’m not interested. The best comedy is the subtle smart comedy that doesn’t need to be thrown in the audiences face. You can’t do this with a laugh track. After The Office, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development and even Modern Family (which I admit I really enjoyed) with great ensemble casts and top notch writing, traditional sitcoms just don’t hold up anymore.

  6. @ Guy Incognito, they use a laugh track due the large number of sets they have to shoot per episode. With all the flashing around, this is a higher number of sets than normal sitcoms.

  7. @Squish That doesn’t mean you have to use a laugh track You can just let the comedy stand on it’s own without telling the audience where it’s supposed to be laughing. Just tell your jokes and let the people at home decide if it’s funny.

    I don’t hate how I met your mother, but I also don’t think it’s great. I think the premise is odd, if I asked my dad how he met my mom and he started the story 5-6 years before he met her and then proceeded to tell me about every day of his 20s I’d be pretty pissed.

  8. Well since the end of Arrested Development, there’s no good other good sitcom out there apart from this. Is it as good as Friends or Seinfeld ? Never will be. Is it the best there is for now ? probably.

    The last season was horrible though apart from a few episodes ( still love the songs , especially “you don’t have to bring her to paris or peru… ) Lily and Robin look fat ( post-pregnancy, can’t blame them ), Jason Segel I will always love him, Ted is getting more interesting by the minute ( maybe cause I like his douchiness ), and NPH well, is NPH, pure gold.

    And am I the only one who likes Laugh tracks ? I find them soothing and they bring back good memories from the 90s/early 00s.

    While the writing is not stellar, I have to say that the show is innovative : the constant flashbacks, the tips and tricks, narrator is funny, distorted memories, sequences. They make the episodes memorable. I still remember Season 1 Episode 15 : game night just because of that scene where barney is suiting up even though it was 5 years ago.

    Tl, dr : Nothing better on TV, fun but not smart.

  9. @Warren This isnt cereberal humor. A laugh track is a necessary evil. After its taped, they bring in an audience to record the track as they watch the show. People are dumb and have to be told when to laugh. Its just a fact of life.

  10. I am going to vote on the side of this show being great. I think that it does a lot of subtle things that I find very refreshing to find in a sitcom. It is not however, without its flaws. I find that I really enjoy the way that they have consistently used the mechanic of a story told in flashback to present some fairly standard sitcom fare in a way that makes these potentially stale concepts feel fresh. The strength of this show (at least for me) is in the characters and the way that it has explored the core group dynamic as the show has grown and changed. I think that the dynamic between the main cast feels fairly authentic. (Or at least it does for my own group of friends, and we’ve often debated in a “Sex and the City” fashion who among us personifies each character.) One thing that I like about the characters, especially Barney, is that they are in fact more then they would appear on the surface. Barney Stinson can easily be seen as a very one dimensional character. However, were that the case and he is just the “Steve Urkle” of the group who’s purpose is to simply show up and say some crazy stuff the show could not have had the legs to take it as far as it has gone. You may not believe it, but Barney has a soul and I think that it is largely the contrast between the lecherous Barney persona and the kindness and devotion that Barney displays towards his “family of friends” that gives the show resonance. I think the other main characters have also shown realistic growth as well. Be it Marshall and Lily wrestling with the nature of the relationship during the early seasons. Robin slowly allowing her guard down to the point where she can sacrifice her dream for the chance at love.

    Ted is an interesting character too. Obviously the rock of the show, since it is his story ultimately that we are being told. I think Ted has been very interesting in his growth. He has gone from a character that was hard to identify with due to his constant whining and the will they won’t they nature of the early season romances with Robin. (Even though it was fairly clear Robin would not be the mother as she is called “Aunt Robin” during the first season.) Ted I think has shown the most growth though. When the show began, we had a character who was so hell bent on being married, that he neglected the fact that he as a person wasn’t in a place to be successful with it. As the series has progressed, through the Robin affair, and the Stella engagement I think he has slowly been growing into the ready for marriage person he believed himself to be at the start of the series. The conclusion to the Stella story arc I think proved that he may finally be ready to meet the mother, as he was able to put himself second to someone else’s happiness, and most importantly to not project his believed readiness for marriage on to another person. Ted’s failure to listen to what other people were ready for I think is ultimately what was the biggest reason the relationship with Robin failed.

    As I did say at the top the show is not without flaws. I think one of the main flaws, might be due to a quest for syndication. As the series has gone by the “Is she/isn’t she?” the mother has become a bit labored. It is sad to say this about my favourite show, but I wish that it had ended already. As the seasons have gone on there are basically two plot lines that they have been milking and stretching to the point where I am just ready to have them resolved. Those being of course meeting the mother, and the Barney/Robin love story. I take especial issue with the B/R plot line, as it felt like in an effort to expand the series longer they created a rather arbitrary end to their first relationship. Also, I have once final wish for this shows end. End the series the moment we meet the mother. I don’t want to see Ted court the mother, just meet her.

  11. I think the reason why some non-laugh track comedies work so well compared to laugh track comedies is because of the pacing of the jokes. In a laugh track comedy, there is a set rhythm to the jokes: set-up, punch-line, laugh track, further punch-line, more laugh track, etc. While this works if the joke is particularly funny and memorable, it doesn’t lead to the frenetic laugh-fest that shows like arrested development or it’s always sunny in philadelphia can provide. When the comedy isn’t constrained by placement of the laugh track, they are free to pace and layer their jokes anyway they want, and in the right hands, this leads to hilarious results.

  12. The show is tops in my opinion. Thought if they don’t introduce the mother in the next season, they may end up jumping the shark. Each character is great in their own right (with Barney and Marshall being the best, of course). Also, Robin is hot… and I’m not the only one who thinks Alyson Hannigan is extremely cute.

    However, I must say that when it comes to clever writing, The Big Bang Theory is beating out HIMYM pretty handily.

  13. This show has flashes of brilliance but does not offer the consistency of Arrested, Seinfeld or Cheers. I started the series from the premiere and never missed an episode until this season when it lost a faceoff with something else for its DVR spot. There have been times where it would have me in tears laughing so hard but then other episodes did not get one single laugh out of me so I bailed but will surely finish off the series on dvd or in reruns…..

  14. This show is funny for people who likes dating, road trips, and bar hopping with their friends.

    But if you’re into pokemon, British comedians, and videogames, you will not appreciate the show.

    Also if you judge this show (or any other show) because of the laugh track, then you’re just pathetic.

  15. I tried to watch it, but it got old very fast. I can’t relate to any of the characters and their lives are not that interesting.

    Community, on the other hand, now that is a show for me.

  16. I’ll admit that I’m a guy and I watch How I Met Your Mother. My sister got me started on it when the show was new and the first two seasons were actually very clever (especially the baker girlfriend storyarc). NPH is also a great hook and all and Jason Segel is another reason I watch the show…

    But…

    The show HAS been pretty tame and not nearly as original as before. I find myself watching it these days more out of a sense of loyalty than the desire to get a good laugh like I used to. I’m afraid that if things don’t pick up soon this next season will be its last.

    And really? Robin ISN’T that hot…sorry to all your lovers…

  17. @ Matthuliz

    That’s funny….. I take anywhere from 1-3 out of state roadtrips a year, live about 5 minutes (walking) from all of the main bars near campus and have been in a relationship for longer than this show’s been on the air.

    Yet I love video games, laugh at british comedians and think this show suck dick.

    So where do I fit on your black & white “If you’re not this you’re ______.”

  18. i love this show. i even bought the first 3 seasons and tried to make others like it. some did, others didn’t. it’s one of those shows that i just think you love or hate.

    it’s the same with it’s always sunny in philadelphia and arrested development. they are shows that i can’t fathom anyone not liking, but there are those out there that do not.

    HIMYM is really great because of NPH and Segal. although i find the other characters slightly grating, the story lines are generally really hilarious.

  19. I love the show, it’s one of my top five favorite comedy shows of all time. I’ve never shown it to anyone who didn’t think it was great. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion

  20. This show has a strong continuity and attention to detail that you just don’t find in other sitcoms. If you’re a strong fan of the show and have rewatched most episodes, you can see subtle references to past gags or terms mentioned in the show. I know that itself doesn’t make a great show (which this one is), but its certainly something you just don’t see on most sitcoms. Also there’s nothing wrong with a traditional filmed-on-a-soundstage, laugh-track sitcom verses another Office “fake-documentary” rip-off, which itself is a rip-off.

  21. Your all off your chops. The Cosby Show. Really? HIMYM is at least as good as Seinfeld. NPH is a champ, Jason Segal is by far the funniest, and, while alison hannigan is annoying as all hell, Cobbie and Jason make the show relateable. tell me youv’e never watched an episode and said “that remains me of me”

  22. Agree with the hanging-out-in-bars thing. Married couples don’t really hang out in bars so often with single friends, nor do they live with single friends. Barney’s like a better-looking version of Russell from ‘Rules of Engagement’. Grow up already. I’m sure characters like Barney and Russell try to only pick empty-headed women to sleep with to feel better about themselves, but do so many of them live so close to where they are??? Puh-leeeze.

    The laugh track only adds to how horrendous this show is. Truly embarrassing. I gave it a shot, I really did. With so many shows getting cancelled all the time, I try to look for ones that go on for a number of seasons, so I could watch the same show with characters with whom I’m familiar. This show and the characters are so immature, it makes me cringe.

  23. I too do NOT get it. I tried several times but could not get through a whole episode. Every time I flip past the show now there is ol’ NPH posing with a drink held at chest level or with his hand on his tie/jacket. The dialogue is someone remember something he did or one of them trying to win a bet about scoring a chick. That show is one big anomaly like Third Rock From The Sun. It had some of the highest ratings ever. That was an example of a flaw in the ratings system. Mother is the current example.

  24. Sorry, but I think this show is CORNY. Ted is pathetic.. he’s a twenty-something man who acts like a pre-menopausal woman whose biological clock is not just ticking, it’s banging like a freakin’ gong! Barney is funny, but his shtick does get old. The married couple is so unrealistic they completely destroy any “suspension of belief” required for most sitcoms. Both of the women are very flat, one-sided, and boring.

    Oh yeah, and the posters who said Lilly is annoying – YES SHE IS. She spends most of the time on the show trying to show how cute and vulnerable and dingy she is.. Then suddenly they’ll try to make her look tough or smart and it just does not work. I guess this show is so popular because it’s just rehashed stuff from other shows people liked, and it’s safe. I tried to like it – I really did. I might watch it if nothing else is on and I’m just feeling too lazy to do anything else..

    Also, why the hell does Bob Saget always narrate the intro? Ted isn’t a teenager..would his voice really change that much? He sounds like a completely different person, and it’s just stupid. Sorry for the fans of this show, but this is my opinion.

  25. Barney is the saving grace of the show! Robin is hot, I’d say.

    Alyson H and Jason Segel annoys me like anything, and I stopped watching the show too!

  26. Right!
    1. I agree the comedy isn’t as good as most sitcoms and Alyson is annoying. I’m not (completely) delusional.
    2. This show has survived on writing. It constantly has excellently clever scripts- the playbook, slapsgiving 2, the window, last cigarette ever, girls vs suits (all consecutive). Big Bang Theory is definately funnier but weighing it out, HIMYM is without a doubt better. Not just big bang btw.
    2. Character developments. Especially of Barney, it’s been 4 years watching the guy who “sold a woman” become a massive romantic. Better than of most shows.
    4. Fun. Every sitcom has wild unusual moments in stories, but himym wins. It’s had genuine sci-fi moments in the actual story (time travel, hologram phone, a lightsabre), fantasy (blitz, miracles) and so much more(than other shows).
    5. Continuity. It’s Doctor Who as a sitcom.
    6. Use of framing device. It’s Doctor Who as a sitcom.
    7. Heart. Against other sitcoms, it’s the most: feel-good, heart-breaking, romantic, opposite-of-romantic, and outside the box (and recently the 4th wall) and clever comedy in a while.
    8. “Ten Sessions”, “Three Days of Snow”, “A Change of Heart”, “The Playbook”, “Right Place, Right Time”.
    9. NPH.
    Sorry, I just love this show.
    And most importantly, 10. You have no idea unless you’ve watched all of it

  27. himym is a romantic series rather comedy.its smiling not laughing.nph as good at the begginning.i thinnk jim parson is better than nph.last couple of seasons suuuuccckkk all the way.real insult to our inteligence.i heard that they will extend it to season 10.

  28. I arrived here because I googled “how i met your mother isn’t funny”.

    I googled it, because I’m genuinely curious. What am I missing here? It just isn’t funny. Here in the UK we have a channel called E4 which shows this show pretty much 24/7. Why? Tell me.

  29. I like it. I always wonder why so many people spend time criticizing things they hate. Just human nature I guess. I wouldn’t write a post about why I think Its Always Sunny sucks. I just ignore it.

  30. I tried to like it. I literally tried to, because ALL of my friends (who I no longer talk to) liked it. It’s not funny. It’s better than British humor, but not by much. Here, I can solve the whole damn mystery for you guys..ahem..Ted wakes up as a child and realizes it was all a dream.

  31. I tried to watch HIMYM a couple times, but I just didn’t find it all that funny or interesting. Each person has their own sense of what’s humorous, but I’ll personally pass on this show.

  32. You’re probably one of the people that like shows that are JUST FOR LAUGHS;like Family Guy or Seinfeld.
    How I Met Your Mother is an extremely funny sitcom(IMO)and is one of the only sitcoms that have managed to make me cry(and I’m a dude).Each of the characters are amazing in their own ways,and though my favourite actor among the cast is Neil Patrick Harris,my favourite character is Ted’s(yes;very few people would agree with me).
    I’ve watched both Friends and HIMYM and those shows are in NO WAY similiar,except for the fact that they both happen in New York and that both the shows are a collection of stories that revolve around a group of friends.
    I like How I Met Your Mother better than Friends,but of course we all have our own opinions.

  33. I totally agree with the points of Cobie Smulders and Jason Segel.
    I never understood why people think she´s hot. I don´t want to dissapoint anybody but I just think she looks disgusting. And Segel. His character is played good, I admit that, but not that phenomenal as in his movies (f.e.: Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

    But all in all I do like the series. It is way better than series like TBBT or Scrubs (don´t want to mention crap like Malcolm in the middle).

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