Why "How I Met Your Mother" Is A Terrible Name For The Show

Let me start off by saying I love CBS's show How I Met Your Mother. I've been on a HIMYM kick this weekend and probably have been watching every old episode on Netflix that I have never seen or have not seen in awhile. It's probably one of my all-time favorite television comedies. But the show has run its course and/or we need to fucking meet The Mother already.

The reason the show is poorly titled is because it sets up a premise it did not and does not need to. The whole premise of the show is Ted (slash Bob Saget) is telling his kids the story of how he and his wife met. Therefore, we have episode after episode and season after season of Ted explaining to his children how he met their mother. Think about this logically. Ask anyone how they met their significant other. Ask yourself how you met your significant other. It's a five minute story at most. Realistically, these kids (a.k.a. stock footage) would have walked out on this story four seasons ago.

The writers and creators of the show tried to extend the meeting of The Mother by explaining Ted's past relationships and how those relationships brought Ted in a place he needed to be in to where he could meet The Mother. This could make some sense. Still realistically kind of silly, but at least logical. However, at this point in the show's series, that ship has sailed.

The two relationships that are most important to Ted are Robin and Stella. Especially Stella. Leaving Ted at the alter was one of the most crushing experiences of his life. And Ted is madly in love with Robin but that relationship will never work out because the two just want different things out of life. Sure, Victoria telling Ted this in Season 7 was a good cue to the audience to hear this, but completely and utterly unnecessary.

After Ted dated Robin in Season 2 and Stella in Season 3 the show should have forced Ted to meet The Mother. We later learned that Ted meets The Mother at Barney's wedding and so the show the needed to put Barney at a place where he could not only be in a monogamous relationship but also willing to get married. It's extremely realistic to spend 7 or 8 seasons getting Barney to a place where he's willing to get married. It is extremely UNrealistic to put Ted in a similar situation. It was silly of the writers to have Ted meet his wife at a wedding and then it turns out to be a wedding that wasn't Marshall and Lilly's. Why did they choose that scenario for Ted to meet The Mother? He could have met her in any other way but they choose to make it a wedding and then choose not to make it Marshall and Lilly's. It just prolongs the inevitable and makes the audience furious when they don't need to be.
SIDENOTE: As a man who is soon to be wed, how is Ted the best man in BOTH Barney and Marshall's wedding as opposed to their brothers? Maybe it makes sense for Ted to be the best man in Marshall's because Marshall has two brothers and so choosing Ted wouldn't upset either brother but Barney only has one brother. It's a dick move on Barney's part not to make James his best man and Marshall should have made one his brothers Best Man. My mom has two sisters and she still chose ONE of them to be her Maid Of Honor. Sorry. That is all.

This brings me back to my point why "How I Met Your Mother" is a terrible name for the show. If the show only lasted four seasons or so then, yes, it's a fine name. Eventually by the 4th season we would meet The Mother and Ted's past relationships would make sense in his 2030 story. But since the show is going to at least last for eight seasons, if not more, it is a horrible name.

The reason the show works so well is because of the group dynamic. The show is just a reincarnation of Friends- and that show had a great name. The title of that show told you that it is just six friends hanging out and for 30 minutes every week you got to see a window into these characters lives. That's exactly how HIMYM is. You care deeply about these characters and enjoy how they interact with each other and the relationships they encounter.

But not only did HIMYM go on a tangent and give itself a name that really does not give the audience a good idea of what the show actually is, it gave it a name surrounding one of the "worst" characters of the show. Ted's character and storyline is probably the worst storyline of the series- no matter what the show's title is.

The best two characters on the show are Marshall and Barney. Some of the best episodes in the past two, terrible seasons of the show (A point I will get to later) are ones centering around Marshall and Barney- especially their relationship with their respected father.

Ted works the same way as J.D. did on Scrubs. He is the glue that holds everything together. You may not like the glue and really want to see everything the glue is sticking to, but you need the glue in order to see the other objects around it. It is because of him that he interacts with the rest of the other characters on the show and binds everyone and everything.

If the show had just some generic title, like Friends, then all of Ted's relationships do not matter, per se. In fact, the audience would care MORE about his later relationships. The show could work the exact same way except just take out the premise that Older Ted is telling his kids this story of how he met his wife. If Older Ted was just explaining to someone (hell, it could have been his kids) the story of his late 20's and early 30's and the fun and goofy things that happened in his life and we had the same plot lines then the show would still be growing strong in its later seasons. But it is not.

Part of the reason Season 7 was so bad was because of Ted's relationship with Zoey. If she is not The Mother then why do we care about this relationship? What's even more frustrating with these later seasons is that they are discounting everything they set up in the earlier seasons. Throughout the episodes where Ted is not in a relationship, the show alludes to how he met The Mother or how a particular event caused him to meet The Mother. For example, we learn that The Mother was a student in the Economics class Ted accidentally taught during his first day of teaching. We learn the fact that Ted runs into Stella and Tony with his yellow umbrella is an important milestone in his life (which did cause Ted to get the teaching job). Every episode ends with Ted explaining why this is some amazing event this in his life. But as we trek further and further along, these major plot points start to become irrelevant.

As we watch Seasons 7 and 8, the train is officially off the track and what we as an audience want to see- Ted meeting The Mother- isn't happening yet. We get a great insight into further delving into Barney's psyche that fact that he's willing to settle down and that he's reconciling with his father and we further develop Marshall's character stemming from the death of his father but the story lines revolving around Ted and Robin (nobody cares about Lily) in the later seasons are strenuous to watch. We know Barney is going to marry Robin so this relationship with Kal Penn and the fact that Robin is STILL staying with Penn is asinine.

Shows want to prolong relationships because audience love the tension between two characters who will soon be together but are not together yet. However, at some point, the tension becomes too unbearable for the audience and the writers need to shit or get off the pot. They need to make the characters come together. The Office (successfully) managed to keep Jim and Pam apart for three seasons but as Karen left and as the fourth season started to roll around, the writers realized they needed to make them come together. The show is trying to recapture that with Andy and Erin to get their old spark back (talk about another show that needs to end, but that's for another post) but that is not coming off as successfully as they would like. Parks and Rec (successfully) kept Leslie and Ben apart but after a season and half the show realized the two needed to come together and it's working very well. But for seven plus LONG seasons, the show has kept Ted and The Mother apart. The reason the other shows put characters together is because that was just the natural order to things and that is what the audience wanted and needed. When the show is entitled "How I Met Your Mother" the natural course of events should have been that sooner rather than later The Father and The Mother should meet. What a crazy notion!

A big part of me wants Jason Segel (Marshall) to leave the show and focus full time in movies. The Muppets was a great success and Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my all time favorite movies. With The Five Year Engagement and Jeff Who Lives At Home coming out soon and both looking great, I hope Segel has such great success that he chooses not to resign with CBS after his contract ends and the show comes to its natural resting place. Plus, it's extremely hard for any television program to last more than eight seasons and be good. Jokes and story lines eventually dry the well. I love the show as a whole but I would rather see it conclude properly than keep going on being mediocre at best.