Before losing steam at the end, How I Met Your Mother was really a charming sitcom. That is largely due to the talent of its cast and appeal of its characters (yes, even Ted Mosby) but it’s also due to the strength of its core premise. How I Met Your Mother was a show about the present (roughly 2005 through 2014) told from the perspective of the future.
By narrating his own story years in the future (2030, which is scarily now only nine years away), Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) got to edit and tailor his story to his will. This meant cutting out some less savory aspects for children to hear (sandwiches instead of marijuana) or casting himself as the hero when he was the villain.
How I Met Your Mother’s main narrative of five young friends finding themselves in the big city was often relatable and entertaining, but it was that meta narrative of a story being told from a flawed memory that made it truly compelling. To a certain extent, we are merely the stories we tell about ourselves to other people. And that’s what How I Met Your Mother was all about.
Shows about (usually white) friends in New York City are an inescapable part of the TV landscape. From Seinfeld to Friends to Girls, they are simply never going to go away as long as there is television and as long as there is New York City. If they’re to be a fact of life, they might as well come along with narrative devices as creative and flexible as HIMYM’s.
Now another group of talented folks will have the chance to pick up that narrative device and run with it. Aptaker and Berger are very capable television storytellers, as evidenced by their previous work. Duff is an appealing presence and has outlasted the stigma of Disney child stardom for a reason. Together, they’ve earned the opportunity to tell a new story with a familiar framing device.
And if none of that is convincing, just remember that if an idea is good enough for Greta Gerwig, it’s good enough for all of us.
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