A Slice of Fried Gold

Top 10 Reasons How I Met Your Mother is the Best Comedy on TV right now

Monday, April 28, 2008

I have a tendency to speak in hyperbole near constantly. It's something I cannot stop and is permanently ingrained into who I am (by the way, while writing this I am eating the best brownies ever made and drinking the best glass of milk ever poured - no kidding). I'll totally admit it too, as even I know I can be ridiculous with some of my statements (I once said Daredevil was a really good adaptation of the comic, which anyone who knows the latter and saw the former knows is an utter lie, sheer denial, and hyperbole up the ying yang) at times.

However, I feel ok with saying this: CBS' How I Met Your Mother is the best comedy on TV right now (shocking, because I hate CBS - this is the first show I've really ever watched on that network). I know I'm rather late to this party and I have not seen the second or the current third season, but I don't care. After tearing through the first season recently (I got on a Jason Segel kick after Forgetting Sarah Marshall) I feel that even though I love 30 Rock, the Office, and Weeds, that this little guy surpasses them all. Why's that? Here's a breakdown in this week's edition of Monday Lists.

1. Arrested Development being cancelled

I figured I'd get this out of the way. It isn't my all-time favorite comedy. That honor goes to Arrested Development, which was prematurely cancelled thus opening the door for HIMYM to take the top spot.

2.Ted Mosby

Ted Mosby is the central character of this show, and is the key to the success of the whole show in reality. His character is from which the majority of the plots spin out of, and his obsession with love and getting married is the key to the whole story. How is this? The central idea to the show is that Ted is telling his kids (in 2030) about how he met their Mother, so the whole show is a big flashback revealing to the kids (and to us) how they got together.

Back to the point though, his love obsession could be grating in others hands, but Josh Radnor (the actor who portrays Ted) handles the situation with a charm and realism that lesser actors likely couldn't lend to the character. If someone besides Radnor had taken the role, the whole thing could have crumbled by now.

3. Heart

Ok, I'm a total sucker for shows with heart. This is of course shocking to some, as my favorite shows all time are Battlestar Galactica and Arrested Development, which are pretty cold really. However, as my Mom used to tell me, I'm a hopeless romantic and frankly, the story to this show really sucks me in. I always loved the concept of a storybook love (or at least the romantic comedy version - also, leave me alone, I can't help it!) and the heart displayed by the characters within this story are fantastically reminiscent of that concept.

Also, in case this is a concern for some...it's full of heart without being cheesy.

4. Marshall and Lily

Marshall and Lily (Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan) are the emotional constant to the show, and one of the funniest on screen couples I've ever seen in TV. Of course, that has a lot to do with the fact that Segel is a comedic genius and Hannigan is unfathomably adorable, but still. Segel and Hannigan manage to be cute without cloying, couply (new word: couple + y) without being annoying, and great together and when apart. They really fit together unbelievably well, and do a great job of tying the rest of the cast together.

5. Chemistry

Speak of the Devil! This cast is greater than the sum of its parts, and that is because each character works so well together. These people seem like the five best friends on the planet, and they did from day one. That's the incredible thing about this cast is how seemless their relationships are. Their relationships remind me of how people described the cast of Friends, except one thing: Friends may have invented this game, but this cast perfected it. Inside jokes feel like inside jokes, ridiculous stories feel like ridiculous stories - everything feels organic, and there is something to be said about that.

6. Robin

Robin (Cobie Smulders) is told by Ted in the very first episode that he loves her. Really, in terms of early frontrunners for being the titual Mother, Robin appears to be a favorite, if not an absolute lock. Her transition into being friends (but perpetual love interest) with Ted and his crew is very well conceived, and Smulders manages to make one of the most thankless and obvious roles in Hollywood (the love interest) her own by imbuing the character with a charm and a wit that are quite often absent from said characters. She feels real, as opposed to just some idealized "dream girl," which ironically makes her the ideal fit for the show.

7. The Music

This is a show that succesfully uses Otis Redding, Belle and Sebastian, and the 88 as plot points. Who couldn't love that? I mean come on, the season ends with Bloc Party's "This Modern Love" playing throughout the final scenes. Want to see how to use music in TV shows? Check that scene, as the instruments and lyrics are perfectly tuned to the on screen happenings.

With so many other shows being considered the harbingers of cool for music, it's incredible that the one that tries less hard than the rest can manage to pull it off better.

8. The Writing

The last sentence of the music breakdown really sums up this show and the writing style. This show seemingly tries less hard to achieve more, and really that stems from the fact that everything is written in an organic and believable fashion. For a sitcom with a (ugh...) laugh track, it's unbelievable that this show can feel so real and that you never feel the disconnect that you do with other shows. The writers cannot be applauded too much for their ability to achieve such a connection with their viewership (or at least with this guy).

Oh yeah, and did I mention the writing is hilarious? Every character is written to be funny, and every episode is packed with laugh out loud moments. There were a number of episodes in which I was crying I was laughing so hard, and those are pretty much the pinnacle of Mt. Laughter.

9. Barney Stinson

Barney is a jerk. Barney is somewhat one note. But Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is pretty much the man and unbelievably funny. Over the past few years (thanks to this show and the Harold and Kumar movies) NPH has subverted his persona and made himself into one of the best comedic actors around. His sex and suit obsessed Barney has been the breakout character for the show, being constantly quotable ("Suit up" needs to be available for me to use more often) and consistently awesome.

Even though NPH himself describes the character as "part David Spade, part David Letterman and part Regis Philbin," don't hold that against him. He's about 425,326 times better than that description. Really, he's like the depravity of George, the bizarre of Kramer, the mean of Elaine, and the sexual success rate of Jerry combined into one character. Essentially, he's the Fantastic Four if you combined them into one character. Barney is legendary, simply put.

10. Relatability

This is what really makes this my favorite right now. While I cannot relate to the horribly awkward situations in the Office always, the office hilarity and askewness in 30 Rock, or the drug dealing in Weeds, I can definitely relate with a twenty something guy looking to find Mrs. Right. Ted and his friends remind me of me and my friends, and being able to picture yourself in that place is the key to the whole show working really. If you went into this show and thought, "well this isn't like me at all," then it isn't for you. For those that sit down during that pilot and say "yeah...that's about right," well, this one's for you.

This show is perfectly relatable for me if only for the episode "The Pineapple Incident," in which Ted's friends get him to drink heavily so he can turn off his brain. Not that they do that to me often, but it's funny how overthinkers seem so different (and impulsive) when drinking. It's pretty hilarious, and hits strangely close to home - just like the rest of the show.


gilbert said...

I agree on all points. It's the best comedy on TV today. Flat out.

Raechelle said...

Agreed! Makes me want to go home and watch it. But you forgot to mention Bob Saget!

sheri said...

Sadly, I've only seen part of one episode (would have been season 1)... But based solely on the fact that the cast includes Willow, Nick Andopolis, and Doogie Howser, I decided that I would love it, and that I needed to watch it. I just need to get on that now I guess..

JManda said...

Did you mention Britney Spears? I don't know, I just looked at the bullet headlines.

Anonymous said...

yeah thats true that these are the main aspects of the show that people love to watch how i met your mother the most and i think such kinda comedy shows are rare.

jarret said...

I have read your post. And I completely agree with you that How I Met Your Mother TV Show is the complete package of entertainment. I like this show very much. This is one of the best show.

charles said...

I like How I Met Your Mother. Its very interesting and funniest show. Really good show to watch online.

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