Monday, July 28, 2014

The Esteemed Critic Reviews How I Met Your Mother

Oh Beelzebub, how I loathe the very sight of thee.

I was idly flipping through the channels, trying in vain to find some program of substance, which is nigh impossible, seeing how the cable companies want the populace to complacently hand them money and then go crawl back into their holes, when I landed upon a terrible example of that old boob-tube standby, the situational comedy. After watching several episodes of this incomprehensible drivel, I decided it was my responsibility as a critic to review this show in order to tell my loyal readers what they shouldn't be watching. Is that not the function of the critic? To tell the swine what will rot their meager brains upon repeat viewings? Well, by all means, write your answer down and send it to me. I expect nothing but the worst from you all.

The aforementioned program is called How I Met Your Mother, and Wikipedia tells me this series somehow ran for nine seasons. The main framing device involves Ted, a pretentious twat, telling his children in the voice of Bob Saget the impossibly lengthy and convoluted story of how he met their mother. Ted is a manchild who cannot tear himself from his insufferable friends Marshall, a nitwit with no outstanding character traits, and his wife Lily, a prudish Kindergarten teacher who thinks her feeble profession enables her to solve any problem. This cast of good-looking white people is rounded out by Barney, a Ted Bundyesque sexual predator, and Robin, a waifish female version of Ted. These people live in New York City, just like Seinfeld, and just like Cheers, they loiter in the same bar all of the time. Like Friends, they are an incestuous bunch. Robin dates Ted, Barney dates Robin, Marshall and Lily can barely keep themselves from inviting Ted into their bed, which provides the show's only real sexual tension. This bland and completely unrepresentative group involves themselves in all sorts of wacky and totally implausible adventures, most of which involve Ted looking for true love. Ted, unfortunately, has a narcissistic personality, and like Jerry from Seinfeld, he will always find an unforgivable flaw in his dates. Instead of examining his behavior and pondering whether or not he should change, Ted continues to cling to his unreachable standards, despite the fact that he goes through about one-hundred women over the course of the show. His friend Barney is depicted as the unconscionable playboy, but really it is Ted who is the real sociopath. I kept waiting for an episode involving the two Lotharios bonding over the murder of a prostitute, but alas, this show has not the self awareness to realize the depths of depravity it is endorsing.

This show's greatest accomplishment is making us like a sociopath. Congratulations, HIMYM, you have hastened the decline of Western civilization.

I realize that it is difficult to find true love. I myself have yet to find a female critic to share this seat with me, some angelic being who shares my distaste for pop culture as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of Latin poetry. She may be out there; she may be not, and that is my point: by the second season, it is clear that Ted will never find the Petrarchan woman he longs for. He is too much in love with himself and his friends, the latter being his undoing. What busy professional in New York City keeps the same social circle for nine years? What human being? Ted surrounds himself with these people like a frat boy unwilling to embrace maturity. I kept wanting to grab Ted and scream into his face "You are an individual! You are not part of a collective!" but television has not reached the technological heights to allow me to do so. I have never before encountered a television character as unlikable as Ted Mosby. I think the producers even realized this fact, for in the later seasons, they devote more time to Barney. I can think of an alternate universe version of this show that is actually interesting. In my show, Ted is the exact same character, yet everyone loathes him and pelts him with fruit as he walks down the street. He makes clear his desire to live in a triumvirate with Marshall and Lily, who have protected themselves with a restraining order. Robin, his female reflection, cannot stand the sight of him. His only friend is Barney Stinson, a psychopath who engages Ted in his murderous schemes. As Ted comes closer and closer to becoming Barney, he must stare into the abyss and wonder if he should pull back. Would you watch this show? I would watch this show. I'd give it rave reviews.

In closing, I can only suggest that you avoid How I Met Your Mother. It is degeneracy; it is derivative of a dozen better sitcoms without bringing anything new to the table. Watch Frasier instead. You might learn something.

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