Think about where you were on September 19, 2005.
Me? I was 23 years old, getting settled into a one-bedroom apartment in Arlington, VA. I was coming off of a year living in Greece, about a month into my first “real” job at a law firm. I had a couch and coffee table we’d acquired for free from coworkers, a reclining chair I’d bought on Craigslist for, I think, $70, a television and entertainment unit I’d inherited from my parents, and a fiancé. I was moving in the direction that I thought a 23-year-old should be moving in, and there was nothing ahead of me but promise.
September 19, 2005 was when How I Met Your Mother premiered. I don’t recall whether I was among the 10.94 million viewers who watched that first episode, but I found the show pretty soon thereafter, and it hooked me completely and never let go. It’s been a constant over the past nine years, as Arlington became Amherst, then New York, then briefly Pittsburgh before New York again. The law firm became grad school, which became a sports agency. The fiance became a husband and then an ex-husband. Friends came and went, crushes and brief relationships did too, weddings happened, babies were born, jobs were lost, but through it all, there were five characters whose lives I followed religiously and which often paralleled my own, becoming a form of comfort every Monday night.
Tonight, March 31, 2014, after nine seasons, 208 episodes, countless Mosby girlfriends, and exactly eight slaps, HIMYM will conclude its run. As you can imagine, knowing the title of this blog, I’m pretty emotional about it.
In 2005, in that apartment in Arlington where I had a DVR for the first time, I was borderline obsessed with exactly four TV shows: American Idol, Lost, The Office, and HIMYM. Idol is a shell of its former self, and we’ve already bid adieu to Lost and The Office, so HIMYM going off the air has made me realize it was the last tie I have to that version of my life – the sunny, hopeful one (Ted Mosby season 1) before becoming frustrated and mopey and jaded by life (Ted Mosby season 8). And that’s what I love most about HIMYM, first and foremost – its character arcs have mirrored my own, and those of my friends. It was always the show that, to me, portrayed the most relatable version of becoming an adult. Friends was too neat. Girls is too messy. But HIMYM found that sweet spot in the middle, where your biggest problem could be whether to go to Robots vs. Wrestlers or a fancy party, or it could be your parent suddenly dying. Life is fun and life is terribly difficult, often in the same day (or the same episode), and HIMYM got that right more often than not.
I can admit there was a significant creative downturn in the later seasons (especially after rewatching seasons one and two in the past few weeks). I can admit that characters suffered as a result, and I can even admit that yes, Ted can be kind of a douche. (But I’ll also refer to you to this and this in his defense.) But I don’t care about any of that. This show means something to me, and there aren’t many that do anymore. I loved Breaking Bad, but it didn’t get me through a tumultuous period of my life. I am really enjoying Bates Motel, but I don’t see myself in any of the characters. I do see myself in Mindy Lahiri, but I don’t expect The Mindy Project to ever make me cry.
HIMYM just got me. And I will miss that so, so much.
I saw pieces of my life in every story – in having your heart broken, searching for your dream job, trying to survive life in New York, the way having a baby can change a friendship, and how no matter how hard you try, sometimes you can never solve the mystery of what happened on a drunken night. (Ted has his pineapple. I have my “how the hell did my roommate break her foot?” night.) I saw pieces of myself in every character – in Lily’s dream of being an artist, in Marshall’s love of the paranormal, in Barney’s loyalty to his friends, in Robin’s career drive and not wanting to have children and being a fun brunette who loves hockey. And in Ted, the guy everyone but me dumps on… in Ted, I saw a hopeless romantic, getting the shit kicked out of him by love but getting back up again, taking pride in his work, supporting his friends through thick and thin, being a little pretentious and know-it-all, an appreciation for old architecture, and an eternal optimist, no matter how bad it got.
This show, as you can see, has left an indelible impact on my life, and like real life itself, the little moments are the ones I’ll remember. So in no particular order, I present my favorite HIMYM memories – a collection of moments (chasing other moments), running gags, quotes, and images that I’ll hold on to long after tonight.
- The two-minute date
- The rain dance
- The kiss after the rain dance
- La Vie En Rose
- Barney learning how to drive
- “Because I will do a lot to get laid, but I am not. going. to New Jersey!“
- Marshall and Lily describing the cockamouse
- Crying on the subway and not caring
- Nothing good ever happens after 2AM.
- “My parents live in Ohio. I live in the moment.”
- Robin Sparkles
- Literally literally literally
- “Another kid just went; now you’ve got a pile-up and Robin’s got something to report on the news.”
- Ted and Victoria’s first/last dance
- Eating a sandwich
- Eating a sandwich whilst at a concert
- Barney after running the marathon
- “Hat. We thought of authentic Native American headdress before we thought of hat.”
- Lebron James references
- Vancouver Canucks references
- The hot/crazy scale
- “This is a pie chart describing my favorite bars. And this is a bar graph describing my favorite pies.”
- The 45 days speech
It’s been a hell of a ride, regardless of whatever happens tonight and how it ends.
Thank you, Ted Mosby and friends, for being there for me for nine years.