Life lessons are doled out weekly on How I Met Your Mother. In four seasons, the five friends at the center of this CBS comedy have taught us, among many things, that there is never an occasion to not “suit up”; that Canada is an endless source for jokes; that “Have you met ___?” is a foolproof entry into a conversation; and that we should never underestimate our own awesomeness. It’s actually surprising that after all this priceless wisdom (not to mention the quick comebacks and memorable catchphrases), the show is only now earning its first Best Comedy Emmy nomination.
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Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, How I Met Your Mother is one really long flashback told through the eyes of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor). Each episode opens in 2030 with old Ted (voiced by Bob Saget) narrating to his children his stories of single life in New York City with friends Marshall (Jason Segel), Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Robin (Cobie Smulders), and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). While the first three seasons focused on the familiar touchstones of one’s late 20s—building careers, marriage, the joys and heartbreaks of dating—Season 4 tackled more mature scenarios as the characters face their 30s. Ted got jilted at the altar, lost his job, and started his own architecture firm. Marshall and Lily discussed children. Robin re-examined her career, and Barney (gasp!) considered a relationship.
The show’s title remains the ultimate objective of Ted’s story as well as the clever device that keeps us guessing every season, but it’s the hilarious rapport among these five characters that makes the journey more enjoyable than the destination. Season 5 starts on Monday, September 21 and it is bound to be legen…wait for it…dary.
Enid Portuguez is a New York City-based writer and editor. Her work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Antenna magazine.