Best of the Small Screen, Comedies No. 5


Over the next 15 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue the countdown with a comedy that some consider a successor to "Friends."

How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 9/208
Network: CBS
Starring: Josh Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel, and Alyson Hannigan
Creator: Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season two, 2.09 "The Slap Bet," 2.16 "Stuff," 3.09 "Slapsgiving," 3.13 "10 Sessions," 5.08 "The Playbook," 5.12 "Girl vs. Suit," 9.16 "How Your Mother Met Me"
About: Let's get this right out of the way at the beginning, the finale for this series was disappointing. I'm not the only one that thinks that. Ending a show is hard, especially after nine seasons, and this one sort of missed the mark. For many, it ruined the series for them. People still complain about it three years later. But it didn't ruin my love for this show. And, with the passage of time, I've come to accept it. I still don't love it, but I understand it. And I still love the series. I was in middle school when "Friends" debuted, and while I watched that show it was never among my favorites. But I was out of college and a young adult in my 20s when "How I Met Your Mother" debuted. That, in part, is likely why it was always among my favorites and a show I looked forward to. For a whole new generation, it was "Friends." And the comparisons were inevitable. A group of friends navigating young adulthood. They all, at one point, lived the in the central apartment and they met every night at the bar below their apartment. It was a similar structure, and it worked. But these were different, goofier characters, and that always appealed to me. I was an early adopter of the series, when it wasn't strongly rated and was on the cancellation bubble, but it developed into a strong performer for CBS, so much so that it probably lasted a season or two longer than it should have. But it remains a great re-watch, and one of my favorite comedy series ever, despite the finale. I have a lot of favorite episodes listed above, but I'm just going to expound on a couple. First, I thought the final season of the show was rough, and I've already made my feelings about the finale known, but it did give us one of the best, most beautiful episodes of the show, "How Your Mother Met Me." The entire series was about Ted telling his kids the story of how he me their mother. In the final season, we met the mother. And in this beautifully told half hour, we got their love story from her perspective. It ends with one of the most touching and beautiful scenes in the history of the show, and it is an episode that always has stuck with me. The other episodes I will focus on is one of my favorite running jokes, the slap bet. It begins in iconic episode 2.09, "The Slap Bet," where we not only get the foundation of the bet, but also the introduction of another long running gag, Robin Sparkles. The bet plays out slowly over a few seasons, but a couple of my favorites are "Stuff," the season two episode that features Barney's ridiculous one man show, and "Slapsgiving," which was a hilarious take on Thanksgiving. If you've never seen "How I Met Your Mother," it's one to dive into this summer.

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