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Lane: A goodbye to How I Met Your Mother

BY JOE LANE | APRIL 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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This past Monday, one of the most popular shows on television came to its long-awaited conclusion. After nine successful seasons, “How I Met Your Mother” is finally over.

“How I Met Your Mother” captured a generation and accurately portrayed the feelings of millennials across the country in television show format.

Its dominance is undeniable; it is how the show achieved and maintained this dominance, however, that makes it unique.

The show was consumed by the masses through online streaming services and syndicated episodes. Despite airing every Monday night during the school year, I mostly watched the show over breaks and long weekends. Through the online streaming service provided by CBS and the streaming giant Netflix, I was able to watch and become interested in the show.

The syndicated episodes airing on nearly every channel at every hour of every day, however, made my feelings for the show grow from interest to infatuation, one that I share with many avid viewers.
The ability to stream “Mother” at any moment of any day was a large contributor to its dominance. However, this alone was not what made it so influential for so many.

For nine years, viewers tuned in for each episode hoping to discover the identity of the mysterious mother. Viewers hypothesized in agony as Bob Saget’s soothing voice explained the story from a point further in the future.

Despite the seemingly silly premise that, in reality, only functioned as a title in virtually every episode except for the first and last few, the show maintained a huge audience. While the concept is cute and is clearly an underlying connector for much of the plot and theme, viewers knew all along that it wouldn’t be until the bitter end that the identity of the mother would be revealed.

This was the brilliance of the show — the ability to trick viewers into thinking they were watching for some end game, when in reality they were simply enjoying a show about life — their life.

That is where the show truly shined (and will continue to shine).

The show touched a generation while simultaneously rebuilding or starting the careers of numerous actors and making a gay actor into the most famous ladies’ man in television history.

In an age during which much, if not most, television is consumed online and away from a television set, “Mother” did something unprecedented — it captured a massive audience of people who didn’t tune in for the original airing.

I know that for years to come, I will propose “slap bets” to my friends, saying such things as “Legend … wait for it … dary” and informing my friends as we meander the Ped Mall late at night that “Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.”

“How I Met Your Mother” holds a special place in my heart and the hearts of millions because it addressed problems and experiences that today’s teens, 20-somethings, and 30-somethings are going through.

Yes, the show was dramatized as any television show is but the themes, ideas, and experiences are relatable, and they matter to people; they matter to me.

Alongside “Friends,” “How I Met Your Mother” is one of the great sitcoms that will live on for a long time to come. I’m sad to see it go, but we all knew it was the right time. I, and many others, will miss “How I Met Your Mother” dearly; it was, and is, wait for it … legendary.


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