[I wrote this a few days before the finale, but here are my very colorful thoughts on that]
Through nine seasons, there have been many highs and lows on How I Met Your Mother and while I’ve focused on many lows as the show’s been struggling to recapture its comic charm in the past couple of seasons, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the highs. The series that is ending Monday isn’t a perfect one, but it’s one that stands out as a truly unique vision with an uncanny ability (at its best) to coin catchphrases, make the audience laugh hard and often and to tug at your heartstrings in a special way.
It’s a show that celebrates hopeless romanticism, friendship and young adulthood; a Friends for this generation, in a number of ways. The characters all have their quirks and incessant appeal; they’ve become like family and even though I’ve been critical of the later seasons, I’ll still miss them. As we approach the finale, I wanted to take a look back on some of my favorite moments in chronological order. Head to the comments and share yours!
-From the pilot, “And kids, that’s the story of how I met……your aunt Robin.”
It was just such a ballsy way to conclude the first episode of a show called How I Met Your Mother. For those who hate the show, it was a preview of the frustrating misdirection that was to come, but for the rest of us, it was fun, funny, unexpected and a glimpse at the unpredictable journey we were about to embark on.
-The Pineapple Incident; here’s to unsolved mysteries! We shall never know where that pineapple came from….
-Nothing Good Ever Happens After 2AM; great episode and it gets bonus points because this line always pops into my head anytime it hits 2AM.
-Poor Swarley, he couldn’t convince Ted soon enough that you never trust a girl with Crazy Eyes
-The original “Slap Bet” episode is one the funniest installments of the series, paying off with a music video for one of the best Canadian pop songs of all time
-That time when HIMYM taught us that if you want to reach 200,000 miles, sometimes you need a little help….
-I’m a huge fan of the season three episode “How I Met Everyone Else” because it’s a just a really fun trip down memory lane and features one of the most important scientific innovations of our time: the Hot/Crazy scale.
-One of my all-time favorite episodes is “Slapsgiving”; in fact, it’s probably the episode I watch over the most. From the “Colonel Stuck In My Teeth” bit, to good ol’ Bob, to the glorious seconds-long sequence where Barney taunts Marshall and his “flaccid hand”, Slap Bet Commissioner Lily reverses her decision and gives Marshall the okay to slap causing his face to hilariously light up, this episode is perfection. No trip down HIMYM memory lane would be complete without the inclusion of Marshall’s original composition, “You Just Got Slapped”.
-Season three’s standard of excellence continued with “Ten Sessions”, the episode where Ted meets and pursues Stella over ten sessions of getting his tramp stamp tattoo removed. If the HIMYM romantic gestures do nothing for you, than the two-minute date might not mean much to you, but for the rest of us who are suckers for HIMYM’s particular brand of elaborate gooeyness, this is one of the best moments of the show. And it’s also an opportunity for me to commend director, Pamela Fryman, who does great work on this episode, but also throughout the series. She’s directed the vast majority of episodes and, I believe, plays a big role in establishing the tone and rhythms we love so much. And it appears this is the best quality version of the scene I can find out Youtube….
-“Sandcastles In The Sand” is likely best remembered for the song it’s named after, but I’m particularly fond of the scene where James Van Der Beek’s Simon explains the pressures of his job at a water park. (However, I can’t find that scene on Youtube, so music video it is!)
-“The Best Burger in New York” is a bit of a random episode, but it leads up to this glorious, heartfelt monologue from Marshall about…..a burger. For some reason this scene kills me as does his delivery of the line, “the most playful little pickle….”
-Congrats to Barney Stinson for being the only character in the history of television who could triumphantly celebrate the made up holiday “Not a Father’s Day” and still come off as likeable and not entirely sleazy.
-“The Naked Man”; works 2 out of 3 times…guaranteed. What else can I say about this? It’s a total game-changer!
-I really enjoyed this episode about the “Little Minnesota” and “Little Canada” bars for a number of reasons, but chief among them was the closing scene where Marshall gleefully leads a chorus of Canadian drunks in a karaoke rendition of “Let’s Go To The Mall”.
-Remember when I mentioned being a sucker for HIMYM’s romantic gestures? Well, then it should be no surprise that I really enjoy how crazy Marshall and Lily remain for each other after all these years and all the sweetness packed into the “Three Days of Snow” episode.
-Say what you will about Stella, but I really did enjoy her “as fast as she can” speech in the episode of the same name. Little did we know that “as fast as she can” meant another five seasons, but I digress….
-Classic HIMYM season opening tease launches season 5 when Ted begins a lecture in the wrong class room. Turns out, the mother was there! Teases like this may have grown tiresome in the past couple of seasons, but in season 5, I was still eating em up.
-For those who happen to be especially fond of Barney’s ridiculous womanizing antics, seasons 5’s “The Playbook” is sort of the mother load (pun totally intended).
-In the 100th episode of HIMYM, two pretty significant things happen: 1) Ted catches a glimpse of the Mother’s……foot while dating her roommate Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and 2) the over the top but undeniably enjoyable musical number, “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit”.
-Jason Segel’s comedy chops are well-documented, but in “Bad News”, he proves he’s very capable of breaking our hearts as well in an emotional scene with TV wife, Alyson Hannigan, revealing that his father had died. It’s the gut-wrenching moments like these, delivered with poignancy and heart that always assure HIMYM stands above the rest.
-I gotta say, I was a little nervous about “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns” but I thought it was a terrific episode. Sometimes one gets caught up on false expectations and you need to see your perfect scenario blow up in your face to snap out of it. Katie Holmes did well as Ted’s idealized girl destroyed by terrible chemistry.
-“The Time Travelers” is a pretty preposterous episode, but it works a lot better than some of the other silly departures in the final seasons. It especially comes together in its closing moments where Ted knocks on the door of The Mother and shares his heart about how hard it’s been waiting for her and how he wishes he had met her 45 days earlier so he wouldn’t have to spend another day without her.
-It’s the moment we’ve been waiting eight years for; never have the words “One ticket to Farhampton” carried so much weight.
-The final season of HIMYM has been best when Ted and the Mother are on screen together. “The Lighthouse” revealed how Ted would eventually pop the question in a terrifically moving scene.
-My favorite episode of season nine has been “How Your Mother Met Me”; a really fun change in viewpoint where we discover what the Mother’s been up to for the past eight years and what’s led her to Ted. The sweet scene at the end where she’s singing outside of her room while Ted listens was a really nice moment.
-One of the things about HIMYM that’s always been so great is secondary characters that brings a little something special to the show. It’s only fitting that in “Gary Blauman”, we’d get a nice little summary where they’d all end up in a really fun closing scene.
-Here’s to hoping the finale makes it on this list. HIMYM has its flaws and has made some major missteps, but as this list proves, it’s a show that’s meant a lot to me and I’ve really enjoyed watching it over the past nine years.
BONUS FAVORITE SCENE: Kids Freakout at Ted for taking so long with the story
BONUS BONUS FAVORITE SCENE:
Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel singing “Confrontation” from Les Miserables on Inside the Actor’s Studio. It. Is. Glorious.