What ‘How I Met Your Mother’ got right and wrong

Art by Gian Nicdao

First aired on September 2005,
How I Met Your Mother is an American sitcom featuring a group of friends trying to make something of their lives in New York. The show rose up the charts and captured our hearts; since then it has been one of the most followed and liked shows, running alongside the similar ‘90s sitcom Friends.

Prompted by a tweet in the style of bad tumblr poems, Netflix Philippines announced the show’s availability on their site last July. As someone who grew up binge-watching and finding friends via our shared love for HIMYM,  I was ecstatic and re-watched every season.

In the spirit of the show turning 13 on the 19th, let’s take a look back at some of the show’s golden moments and, er, problematic moments (there, we said it!). Because let’s be honest some of these could probably warrant shade from the woke kings ‘n’ queens of this generation.

What HIMYM got wrong

Objectifying and fetishizing women

Barney Stinson, charming womanizer and problematic character, always threw loose remarks about girls, often liking them to cartons of milk and going so far as creating a Hot/Crazy Scale. Regardless of how I advocate for the usage of “daddy” in popular slang, Uncle Barney usually joked about taking women with daddy issues into his care, and used the term “Daddy’s home”. There’s nothing more cringe-y than that. We un-stan until further notice.


Waiting for the one

Let’s be real blindly believing and waiting for “The One” is counterproductive. In the “Slutty Pumpkin” episode, Ted made a fool of himself by holding on to the idea of a girl he once met at a previous Halloween Party. The night ended with Ted telling Robin: “Look, I know the odds are the love of my life isn’t going to magically walk through that door in a pumpkin costume at 2:43 in the morning. But it just seems as nice a spot as any to just sit and wait.”

When I was 15 years old and should’ve known better, I thought Ted’s vying and waiting for the love of his life was sweet and incredibly charming. In retrospect, it doesn’t make any practical sense. He was a young and talented architect in New York (!!!) who never seemed to do anything except hang out at MacLaren’s with his friends to a) discuss and theorize about Robin’s everything and anything because he’s clearly smitten; b) check out that random chick at the bar who could be his potential lover; c) mull over “The One.” Ted, you’re a young and bright architect in New York! Live!!!


Choosing who’s who in your circle of friends

When I was in high school, I always stressed over who I would consider “my best friend,” similar to how the boys in the gang were always fighting over who was best friends with whom. Like a game of absolutes, we can only choose between the Marshalls and Barneys in our lives, but both kinds of people can co-exist. Similarly, Robin gave us a memorable one-liner about this: “If you keep giving up on people so quickly, you’re gonna miss out on something great.” The fact of the matter is that we can be best friends with multiple people at once.

What HIMYM got right

On holding out for what we deserve

Ted was spot-on when he philosophized “shouldn’t we hold out for the person who doesn’t just tolerate our little quirks, but actually kind of likes them?” There’s a lot of talk about what or who we deserve and sometimes it gets exhausting. But our guy Ted knew that the metric to determining what we’re worthy of is when we’re loved despite and because of whatever little quirks we have.


Knowing when not to give up on people

I’m not so much of a hopeless romantic now, but the show always inculcated the clichéd idea that “there’s always one for everyone” with the quote “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.” And I believe it, a hundred times over.


On going your own dang way and never looking back

If there’s a feeling so visceral and native to 20-somethings, it’s probably hesitating to move forward because the past is what’s comfortable. Our cool aunt Robin Scherbatsky thinks otherwise, saying that “the future is scary, but you can’t just run back to the past because it’s familiar.” So go your own way, kid, and make aunt Robin proud.


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