“How I Met Your Mother” is one of the few decent American sitcoms on TV. It’s well written, consistently funny, has a great soundtrack and – most importantly – got a whole new generation talking about “Doogie Howser, M.D.”
The biggest problem with the show is that the longer it stretches on, the creepier the premise becomes.
For the uninformed, the show’s framing device is that it’s set in the year 2030 and the lead character Ted is telling his teenage kids the story of how he met their mother.
However, with the show halfway through its seventh season, he still hasn’t met her.
The explanation he provides is that he’s telling the “whole” story — not just the night they met but how he became the man he is and therefore worthy of a woman the calibre of their mother.
But apparently (to paraphrase an old saying) to be old and worthy, you must first bang as many women as you possibly can.
Ted has been no slouch with the ladies up until this point in the show’s run and has detailed his conquests to his kids, from the innocent — his cheating high school sweetheart — to the downright disturbing — having a threesome.
(Just so we’re clear, it’s not the act of the threesome that’s disturbing so much as telling your kids about it.)
At this point in the series Ted has slept with dozens of women and had relationships with at least six. Whilst the show at times implies he isn’t telling his kids everything, they are teenagers i.e. they can figure these things out.
Perhaps most distressing of all for these kids is their Dad outlining in great detail his long and complicated romantic history with the woman they refer to as “Aunt Robin”. He’s related to them how he told this woman he loved her on their first date, spent a year pursuing her, a year dating her, was briefly her fvck-buddy and often second-guessed his decision to ever break up with her.
How the hell are these kids going to look their “Aunt” in the eye when she comes around for Christmas dinner? And perhaps more pressingly, how are they ever going to trust that when their father and she are ever left alone they aren’t reigniting their decades-long sexual tension?
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are friends with their exes and I’m sure there are slightly less people out there whose partners are ok with this friendship — even friends with the ex themselves. But how many people are going to be ok with their kids being told in great detail of this romantic link, not to mention the myriad other sexual partners that parent has had?
I suppose it’s these weird kids’ fault as much as Ted’s. If my Dad ever sat me down to outline the great romantic tale that was the (at least) seven years’ worth of single life he took full advantage of before meeting my Mum I wouldn’t just sit there — I’d hold my mouth and nose as tight as possible in the hope the inevitable vomit would come out my ears instead and the bile would burn away everything he told me.
Despite the fact I have five siblings and a pretty advanced knowledge of where babies come from, I consider my Dad to be a completely sexless individual. It helps me sleep at night. And I’m not bragging when I say “advanced knowledge of where babies come from” — a doctor came to my sex ed. class to explain.
That doctor was my father.
Having the man tell not just me but all my friends about the birds and the bees is, I pray to God, the closest I will ever come to hearing the story of how my father met my mother.
Or, as this show leads me to believe, the legion of women he prescribed free morning after pills to before meeting her.