There are numerous reasons why How I Met Your Mother was such a huge hit. The original format, in which the main character reflects on how he found love, is a fantastic (and unique) twist on the typical sitcom format. The balance of action and relatable, emotional moments was frequently spot on.
However, as with most sitcoms, the series has some major flaws. Some elements are unrealistic, while others are unexpectedly problematic, and some larger features are simply incomprehensible. Some of these aren’t too bad, and the most observant viewers would only notice others, but they’re all things fans must look past to appreciate the show truly.
Unrealistic Drinking/Sleeping Patterns
The gang spend their time in Lily/Ted/apartment Marshall’s or the bar beneath it. While it’s understandable that a group of twenty-somethings who live above a bar would spend a significant amount of time there, many of their drinking habits don’t add up. Even after being blackout drunk, their hangovers are surprisingly light (Ted wakes up with a tattoo he doesn’t remember getting, but his hangover appears to be only a slight hangover!), and the majority of them appear to drink heavily at night before reporting to work early the next day – even Lily, who works as a kindergarten teacher!
Everything About Barney
Barney is a fan favorite, thanks in part to Neil Patrick Harris’s joyous and vivacious portrayal of him. Barney, on the other hand, is a major headache. He lies to women to sleep with them, is deeply misogynistic, and views women as objects (individually and en masse). On the other hand, many fans find this charming and amusing rather than predatory.
Physical Violence Played For Gags
Kevin, who is a psychiatrist dating Robin at the time, references this in one episode. He tells them all how toxic their relationship is and that the only issue he hasn’t seen is physical violence. Naturally, the show cuts to a montage of all the times the characters have been violent to each other in the past, including the Slap Bet (a fan favorite running gag), punches, full-fledged fights, and more.
Inconsistencies And Plot Holes
It’s rare to find a show with no flaws or plot holes, but How I Met Your Mother has plenty. There have been issues with dates not lining up from season to season. After a scene of them brushing their teeth simultaneously, Marshall and Lily claim they share a toothbrush and more.
Cute Premise, But Inappropriate Stories For Kids
Although the kids appear to be teenagers, Ted reveals a surprising amount about his and his friends’ sex lives. This works well in some cases, such as when he buys a house on the spur of the moment and has it transformed into a set for the kids’ scenes. Other times, it feels ultimately out of place.
Ted ostensibly tells his teen children all about when he competed with ‘Uncle’ Barney to see who could have a threesome first, but he self-censors his stories about smoking weed. This could have been done to appease the network practically, but it’s strange in the context of the universe. Why would a parent feel comfortable telling his teenagers about getting blacked out drunk, fighting, and having all kinds of sexual adventures but censor the story of him smoking weed in college or having a nostalgic joint with Marshall?
Central Character Is Pretty Awful
One of the show’s most significant flaws is that Ted’s main character is a pretty bad person. He’s whiny, self-centered, dramatic and obsessed with finding “the love of his life” and getting married.
Almost No Outside Friends
However, it appears odd that none of these five people have true friends outside of the group in terms of realism. After Ted approaches her in the bar, Robin is new to the social circle. Robin has no other close friends, even when she takes time away from the group to focus on herself. This is a common problem in sitcoms, and it has less to do with realism and more to do with the practicalities of serial storytelling.
While it’s often entertaining to watch the show devolve into total fantasy (the musical number ‘Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit’ is fantastic), there are far too many times when the show fails to deliver. Lily and Marshall’s godparents game isn’t so far out there that it’s pure fantasy fun, but it’s utterly unbelievable as a genuine scene. The financials of the series, like most sitcoms set in Manhattan, are entirely incredible.
The finale, however, is one of the most reviled and divisive in sitcom history, and most fans do not overlook it. At last, the big reveal of who ‘The Mother’ is is pushed to the side with a quick ‘falling in love montage that ends with her dying of cancer… and Ted getting his kids’ permission to go after Robin. Again.