If there was a support group for addicts of fictional characters, I would attend every meeting.
I love when fictional characters and plots weave their way into my life and find a way in my heart. I become addicted to these characters. I relate to the characters. I see pieces of the characters in me. I root for the characters. I am consumed by the characters. And I think that’s why I love reading and writing so much, but also why I chose to go to school to become a Mental Health Counselor. I’m a fan of character development; I love watching (and in work, helping) a person grow, change, and develop over the course of time. I find that the characters in fiction that I latch onto and really obsess over most are the ones that come to me with stories and life lessons when I need them most.
My friend (shout out to Summer!!) told me to watch How I Met Your Mother awhile back. I watched a couple episodes of the first season and I wasn’t into it. For the exception of Friends, it’s really hard for me to connect and commit to a sitcom. I love dramas. I love gut-wrenching, tear jerking plot-lines and character twists. I promised Summer that I would finish watching the first season and if I didn’t like it, I would stop. During the tail end of my spring break, when most students are scrambling to finish up papers and assignments due after the break, and studying for midterms, I binge-watched HIMYM on Netflix. Somewhere between the third or fourth episode of the first season and the season one finale, I got hooked. It took me three weeks from that Sunday when I sat down and watched the entire first season to finish the entire series. Nine years in 21 days.
I said before that I love a good drama. But what I love even more are what I call “dramadies.” Sitcoms with heart. Shows that make you laugh your ass off, but have profound and heartfelt moments. The cheesy stuff, that’s what I love. I think the show came to me at a time when I was struggling with a laundry list of my own demons. Nothing out of the ordinary, but just stuff that makes you think and reevaluate some things. With all the shifts and changes in my life as of late, I was bound to fall into some sort of backwards cycle of self-doubt and self-deprecation and the constant worry of, “what if I took a left instead of a right turn, where would I be now?”
I fell into the show as a means to quiet the noise inside my head. To calm myself down and laugh it off, if only for 208 episodes. What I found was a show where the characters really spoke to me. Their storylines spoke to me. Their growth, development, their hardships, their heartbreak, their love, their journey all spoke to me. I don’t want to give away too much, because I know a few of my friends haven’t finished the entire series yet. But I will say this – as with any show that is on air for nine seasons, there were some parts that I didn’t agree with – some stories that dragged on entirely too long, or episodes that we didn’t need altogether (the rhyming one in season nine is the absolute WORST). But regardless of that, I think the way the show was so well-written and the direction it went and framework behind the episodes – the flashbacks and flash forwards and stories that intertwined and weaved their way into each other made the entire show. I think that was the point of the show – to tell the story of life as a 20 something and 30 something, to viewers who are currently going through it.
In an interview I watched, Josh Radnor (Ted Mosby) talks about how he met a fan of the show, in his early 20s. This particular fan told Josh that he loved the show for more than just the comedy, but for the way that the story is told. It’s an older man looking back on his life and his life being told in present time. The fan said because of the framework of the show, it taught him that 30 years from now, that’s what he’ll be doing and to be more present in his day-to-day life right now. Because our stories that we tell in 30 years are what we do now. This fans reaction to the show really spoke volumes to me, because he’s right.
Life is right now. All the stories we tell our kids are the ones we’re writing right now. It’s incredible how a sitcom can teach you that and remind you to be present and be in the moment. It was a show, but it portrayed real life, even in the weirdest, most outrageous ways. Through the character’s story lines, the show reminded us that life isn’t perfect, but that the universe works in mysterious ways. There are people in our lives who come to us when we need them, and who stay in our lives until we are ready to let someone else in. Not everything goes as planned, not all careers, or dreams work out, sometimes we don’t get what we sought to find, relationships don’t always work, but the ones that are meant to work, do. That there is a fine line between the love of your life and soulmate, and the girl of your dreams. That people get sick, that friendships, no matter how hard you want to cling onto them change when you settle into adulthood, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be there for each other’s ‘big moments.’ The show echoed that at the end of the day, the pieces fall where they’re meant to and that if you have a little faith in the universe, the universe will lead you to where you need to be.
I’m really such a sap, but I’m a huge fan of inspiration and find I’m most inspired by quotes. (If you couldn’t already tell – I end each post with a related quote). So many of the life lessons taught through the years on HIMYM were through their profound quotes. These are obviously only a few of the hundreds of quotable and profound lines said by the characters of what I can now say is one of my favorite shows, with the most influential story lines and characters that I could just relate to.
“And that’s how it goes kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners in crime you loved so much when you’re young, as the years go bye, you just lose touch…. You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why, when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” – Future Ted
“Why not say goodbye to the bad things? Say goodbye to all the times you felt lost. To all the times it was a no, instead of a yes. To all the scrapes and bruises. To all the heartache.” -Lily
“The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do, they’ll also be the things that happen to you. Now, I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life, you have to take action, and you will. But never forget that on any day, you can step out of the front door and your whole life can change forever. You see, the universe has a plan, kids, and that plan is always in motion. A butterfly flaps its wings, and it starts to rain. It’s a scary thought, but it’s also kind of wonderful. Al these little parts of the machine constantly working, making sure that you end up exactly where you’re supposed to be, exactly when you’re supposed to be there.” -Future Ted
The show is about having blind faith in a world where hope is sometimes all we have. It’s about believing in fate, believing that there is something greater out there for us, believing that there is a plan for us, in our careers, in our friendships, in our relationships. It’s about believing, even when the cards are stacked against you. The characters were dynamic, but always real-to-life (maybe for the exception of Barney). I think we know all too well the struggle that Ted went through over the course of nine years, going into terrible, sometimes even destructive, relationships, on his quest for the one. We can relate to all of the characters when they faced difficulties in their careers. I can definitely relate to Lily’s desire to pursue a dream that is bigger than her current occupation, and wondering is it too late? I can relate to Robin on more levels than I can with the others – with being career driven, with putting work before love, with being unsure of feelings and pushing emotions to the side, with clinging to friends, but with also the struggle of realizing everyone’s got someone or something and that even though friendships change, they don’t have to fall apart. I relate to her on the desperation to make her dad proud and I relate to everyone and all of their different issues with their family. I loved the show. Loved the messages it sent, loved all the hysterical twists and turns, and love Summer for introducing me to a show that I love so much I had to write a huge blog post about.
If you ever find yourself stuck in a rut, like myself, and want to find something that’ll entertain you and keep your mind off of it for awhile, catch HIMYM on Netflix. I laughed at every episode and cried at a few too. Either way, the show is definitely one of those shows that helps turn the noise down and slow life down a little bit.. if only for 208 episodes.
“You can ask the universe for signs all you want, but ultimately, we’ll only see what we want to see, when we’re ready to see it.” -How I Met Your Mother