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Author Topic: Some people say it's like 'Friends' but it's not- How I met your Mother  (Read 6971 times)
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Spacedal11

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« Reply #120 on: 04-29-2014 06:42 »

Well I guess if you're pumpkout you can't be pumpkin.

futurefreak

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« Reply #121 on: 04-30-2014 08:30 »

This thread has some looooing posts.

Having only seen a handful of episodes (each one was pretty much the same anyway, don't hit me) I did find it interesting how the ending with the kids was filmed nine years ago. I did not know this when I went Huh?!? to seeing Lyndsy Fonseca on the show and thinking 1. How could she go from being a badass assassin on Nikita to this, and 2. Damn she aged well. Which she still did. She practically looks the same! Interesting how they had to sign a contract to keep quiet about it this whole time.
Tonya Rodriguez
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« Reply #122 on: 04-30-2014 20:49 »

I've seen all the episodes on Netflix and I really like it.
Motor Oil

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« Reply #123 on: 05-01-2014 23:21 »

Hey look, I can respond to Gorky exactly one month after she responded to me! That was TOTALLY intentional and not at all a result of my forgetting about this thread and then avoiding posting because I felt bad about forgetting about it!

I'm not sure I buy the fact that they're both people who are unable to commit themselves to a relationship; in Robin's case, particularly, she was willing to sacrifice a promotion for her relationship with Don, which the show treated as a huge step for her, choosing love over her career.

It's not that they are unable to commit themselves to a relationship, but that they do not invest themselves in relationships as quickly as (here's the easy example) Ted. Ted (using Marshall's standards) considers a relatively serious relationship to be reached at third base (with an exception to one-night stands). Barney and Robin went beyond this point consistently and many times over without considering themselves to be in a relationship, and even after becoming official boyfriend and girlfriend, they took a while to adjust, and then to progress further in their relationship.

I think the finale also demonstrated that Robin and Barney want different things, too. Barney's desire for children was established in season seven--and, honestly, I think that desire was independent of the fact that his potential child was Robin's; he was willing to adopt a kid with Ted and/or steal his brother's baby--and even though he claimed this past season that Robin's infertility did not bother him, I never completely bought it (by the same token, I did believe Ted's claim in season seven that he loved Robin despite the fact that she never wanted kids. I am totally willing to admit it's possible that I'm skeptical of Barney's coolness with the no-kids thing primarily because I never wanted him to end up with Robin in the first place, so feel free to disregard my reading of his character's motivations and such).

I can see how they do, indeed, want different things. But I do think that Barney would have been satisfied with a life without kids, even if he would have been happier with them. I guess you have convinced me to no longer be in favor of Barney and Robin as a couple, for as I try to think of a way to defend them, nothing worthwhile comes to mind (in fact, everything that does come to mind works against my original point). But I am still strongly against Robin and Ted. They worked decently the first time, and I did enjoy the time when they were friends with benefits (much more than when they were dating), but Ted's obsession over Robin was pretty annoying. They really milked that relationship for all it was worth a long while ago. By the end, they were beating a rotting horse.

I personally think that Robin would be happiest alone, with no romantic partner and few close friends, and even those that she is closest to are somewhat distant from her.

There is certainly something to this--and, in fact, I would have been totally fine with an ending where Robin wound up alone and Ted lived happily ever after with Tracy (assuming she had chosen a life of solitude on her own terms, and not simply because Barney and Ted were no longer interested in her).

I believe that Robin could have been happy with Kevin. I think that she actually did pressure him to break up with her, and I think they could have worked out if she hadn't done that. They always seemed to work well together. In all honesty, I would have been happy if they had stayed together for the whole series and if Barney had stayed with either Nora and Quinn (preferably Quinn), and Ted with Tracy. Once Robin and Kevin had broken up, I really expected her to not get together with anyone, but I did support her and Barney the first time around, so I went with them the second time.
I agree with you that it would not have been okay if Robin had settled with being alone only because everyone else was bored with her. I don't like Robin, but I still would have been upset if that had happened.

I don't think he was trying to replace Tracy, or relive his glory days with Robin; rather, I think he was sharing an inside joke with a friend--one that didn't necessarily have the same Grand Romantic Overture undertones as it did in 2005, but that still represented their friendship and their history. It seemed more playful than anything else, not a symbol of Ted's undying love but a tongue-in-cheek reminder that neither of them were twenty-somethings anymore, but there was enough history between them to perhaps warrant giving a relationship another go. It almost felt like a dare.

I think this is a much more likely interpretation of the writers' intentions. :)

My main dissatisfaction with the series ending was simply the fact that Ted's relationship with Tracy was not developed whatsoever, when all of his others were: Victoria and the cupcakes, Robin and the blue French horn, Zoey and the Arcadian...sure, we saw a few great moments with Tracy, but I don't think any of those could really compare to the romance we saw earlier, with different girls.
Gorky

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« Reply #124 on: 05-03-2014 20:49 »
« Last Edit on: 05-03-2014 20:52 »

Hey look, I can respond to Gorky exactly one month after she responded to me! That was TOTALLY intentional and not at all a result of my forgetting about this thread and then avoiding posting because I felt bad about forgetting about it!

Oh, I just took your silence as a concession to my awesome (read: not awesome at all) argument. :p

It's not that they are unable to commit themselves to a relationship, but that they do not invest themselves in relationships as quickly as (here's the easy example) Ted. Ted (using Marshall's standards) considers a relatively serious relationship to be reached at third base (with an exception to one-night stands). Barney and Robin went beyond this point consistently and many times over without considering themselves to be in a relationship, and even after becoming official boyfriend and girlfriend, they took a while to adjust, and then to progress further in their relationship.

This is a good point. I will say that I wouldn't have minded the Barney/Robin thing if it had remained casual and not necessarily monogamous--I guess because I never really thought they could last in the long-term, and a friends-with-benefits kind of arrangement would've suited their personalities quite nicely.

Here's the main reason a long-term Robin/Barney pairing was so absurd to me: I never got the sense that Robin loved Barney. Her feelings for him just sort of appeared at the end of season four; we didn't get any insight into them beforehand--it's not like she was pining for him post-"Sandcastles in the Sand," and there was no jealousy-over-his-other-flings thing like Robin had going for Ted in season one. It seemed like the writers just wanted her to be in love with Barney because they had gone to such lengths to show us how Barney was in love with her; Robin was like this prize that Barney won for maturing so much in season four.

Don't get me wrong: I loved his arc in season four; the pining-for-Robin thing really deepened his character and made him far more sympathetic and human than he'd previously been. But that character growth would have remained if Robin had rejected Barney, or if their break-up in season five had permanently ended their romantic relationship; afterwards, Barney could've just moved on to the far better-matched Quinn (or, if you'd prefer, Nora; I liked both of 'em well enough), and Robin could've settled down with Kevin.

I mean, a Robin/Kevin pairing probably wouldn't have lasted long-term, either, because of Robin's jet-setting ways--which then would have freed her up to be with Ted in the finale, if that's what the writers wanted. I also think the writers would have been more inclined to allow Robin to sort of still have feelings for Ted if she was married to Kevin--which would have been unconscionable while she was with Barney, because Barney was The Writer's Favorite and Awesome and Legendary and whatever the hell else. I kind of think that's why Robin just magically stopped being interested in Ted from season seven on, whereas you could still sort of buy her being into him from seasons three to six: it would have complicated the already-complicated love triangle--and, more importantly, it would've hurt poor Barney's feelings. It also would have made the series finale make a hell of a lot more emotional sense, but no matter.


I can see how they do, indeed, want different things. But I do think that Barney would have been satisfied with a life without kids, even if he would have been happier with them.

I'll give you that one.

I guess you have convinced me to no longer be in favor of Barney and Robin as a couple, for as I try to think of a way to defend them, nothing worthwhile comes to mind (in fact, everything that does come to mind works against my original point).

Oh, I didn't mean to ruin them as a couple for you or anything; you're certainly entitled to your opinion. I do think Robin and Barney had a nice sexual chemistry on-screen, and the scenes where they're just hanging out as bros are also great; their scenes together are oftentimes just fun to watch.

But I don't think they had the same sort of...I don't know what you'd call it--emotional chemistry?--that Ted and Robin had. I always felt that, despite their differences of opinion on kids and marriage, Robin and Ted had a deep friendship that parlayed nicely into romance. Perhaps they were not as sexually compatible as Robin was with Barney, but I'm the sort of mushy-gushy female who prefers that emotional connection to a purely physical or otherwise superficial one.

My main dissatisfaction with the series ending was simply the fact that Ted's relationship with Tracy was not developed whatsoever, when all of his others were: Victoria and the cupcakes, Robin and the blue French horn, Zoey and the Arcadian...sure, we saw a few great moments with Tracy, but I don't think any of those could really compare to the romance we saw earlier, with different girls.

This is fair: Ted's relationship with Tracy was seriously underdeveloped. But as far as the lack of Big Gestures goes, I think the show was trying to make a point about how, when you meet the right person, you don't need all those over-the-top romantic shenanigans. I mean, Lily and Marshall are the show's Gold Standard for Romance, and the writers always tended to emphasize the small but hugely important things they did for each other: telling each other everything (even silly things, like what they ate for lunch), supporting each other, making sacrifices for each other. The wonderful thing about Lily and Marhsall's relationship is how much they simply enjoy being together, how comfortable they are with each other and the life they share.

And I think we saw that same sense of joy and comfort in every last scene between Ted and Tracy--which was certainly facilitated by the ridiculous amounts of chemistry the two actors had. Ted and Tracy seemed to relish every second they spent together, they had a shared sense of humor, they had similar values. They loved each other. So I guess it doesn't bother me that we didn't see Ted stealing her a blue French horn or taking her on a two-minute date or risking his career for her: the whole point of their relationship is that it didn't need to be flashy because it had a true depth of feeling to it.

And that depth of feeling shone through every scene they had together. Honestly, I think something as simple as that scene where Ted and Tracy are back at the Farhampton Inn a year after the wedding is as wonderful--as romantic, as magical--as something like Ted making it rain for Robin. It's a different kind of romantic, but in its own way it's just as beautiful.
Motor Oil

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« Reply #125 on: 05-13-2014 23:37 »

I wouldn't have minded the Barney/Robin thing if it had remained casual and not necessarily monogamous--I guess because I never really thought they could last in the long-term, and a friends-with-benefits kind of arrangement would've suited their personalities quite nicely.

It would have, definitely, but I did enjoy their moments together. I think the main reason I was so upset with their breakup in the finale was because of how rushed it is: we saw the beginning of their engagement in such incredible detail--why, it was the focus of the whole season!--but they explained the breakup in, what? Two minutes? Less? The explanation really did not have to go on for very long: I was satisfied with their first breakup which, while it was short and sweet, provided enough information for me to support the decision.

Here's the main reason a long-term Robin/Barney pairing was so absurd to me: I never got the sense that Robin loved Barney.

I admit that I did have a problem with that when they were first engaged. Robin had only wanted Barney because of the Lobster Effect, and presumably once she'd gotten him, she'd be satisfied and get tired of him quickly. This was manipulative of Barney, and not particularly smart on his behalf. If he had known that much about the Lobster Effect, he should have also known that its effects were only temporary.
...But that didn't happen, and Barney being my favorite character, I desperately wanted him to get what (let's be honest) he deserved, even if she would not have wanted him in the first place.

I always felt that, despite their differences of opinion on kids and marriage, Robin and Ted had a deep friendship that parlayed nicely into romance.

I also recognized that friendship, but I don't think that they suited each other as anything but friends. Couples need to support each other, and Robin and Ted just don't agree enough to--but that's just my opinion. :p

the writers always tended to emphasize the small but hugely important things

With Lily and Marshall, these things were incredible to watch, but for Ted and Tracy they are almost nonexistent. Their chemistry is noticeable, but we just don't see enough of their relationship to recognize all of these small, simple, beautiful moments.
I mean, it is obvious how much Lily and Marshall love each other, and their relationship has shown that the writers are very much capable of portraying a simple love like theirs. But they decide not to flesh out Ted and Tracy's relationship when they should have. That's the problem I have with it: compared to the other relationships on the show, especially Marshall and Lily's (and Victoria and Ted's, which was a personal favorite), we get to see this simplicity and chemistry, yet with the most important relationship in the show we see hardly anything.
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« Reply #126 on: 10-19-2020 13:33 »

cBot and I have recently re-watched all of Friends and How I Met Your Mother.  And I think it is pretty clear which of the shows hold up a lot better, though they are - if you like light entertainment - both worthy of watching again.

Though the difference, and largely why How I Met Your Mother is so much interesting, comes down to technique more so than characters and setting.  The framing device of HIMYM requires fast editing, which means the elimination of the studio audience.  With the studio audience gone, it's possible to do a lot more sets, because studio time is already lessen.  The laughter you hear on the show comes from an audience watching the final product.

So where Friends feels like a standard situational comedy, HIMYM has something unique to offer for a light entertainment programme.  The frequency with which this quality is used varies from episode to episode, though becomes more prevalent as the show progresses.  And as someone who loves clever writing/filming/editing techniques, that just hands the gauntlet to HIMYM immediately.

But I think it's more fun to compare the shows (as the title of this thread suggests).

First, some quick observations about characters.  Ross is an asshole, that Rachel does not deserve, and she is totally the settler (to use a term from the other show) in that relationship (also with Joey, the whole plot of which seemed more like desperation to have something to do).  I know the show was planned with having Ross, Rachel, Monica and Joey (yeah) being the main characters, while Chandler and Phoebe were just sidekicks.  And while Chandler was definitely given a lot to do, I always felt like Phoebe could have been used more interestingly.  Joey, on the other hand, gets the short end of the stick here.  They never could figure out any more depth to his character.

But Friends kind of suffers from a lack of character development compared to HIMYM.  Some of it definitely had to do with the fact that the writers couldn't easily show flashbacks like they could on HIMYM, but the show never really dealt deep into where the characters came from.  Yes, we see some of Ross' and Monica's past, but the others are varying degrees of enigmas.  Indeed, despite 10 seasons of the show, even at the end, they all kind of felt like writing archetypes to me.

HIMYM manages in fewer episodes to tell far more stories about characters.  And yet despite being more rich in detail, the characters also come off as more extreme versions of real people.  But we accept that, because it is all a retelling of stories from Future Ted's perspective in 2030.  And that makes every episode seem more heightened, faster paced and more entertaining than Friends.

What is abundantly clear on rewatch is that Ted is the antagonist of the show.  His behaviour is extremely destructive, and he never seems to recant for what he did.  The things he tell his future children would also seem to indicate this disconnect of reality.  As such, in all of his relationships (those that last more than a few dates, and perhaps with the exception of Jeanette), he is totally the reacher.

One might wonder, watching HIMYM, why do these characters hang out with Barney?  But one should then also ask; why do they hang out with Ted?  The irony being is that Barney is more honest than Ted.

I can easily list off quickly where each of the characters in HIMYM comes from, whereas I still have a hard time placing where Joey and Chandler are from.

And additional feather in HIMYM's cap is the fact that despite 9 seasons of the show, each season feels different, despite some persistent locations throughout.  In a sense, you could argue that each season was themed, and the settings of the show reflected that.  Again, perhaps of the lack of constraints of a studio audience, it was easier for the writers to built new scenographies between seasons, and even episodes.

In comparison, Friends felt kind of stale by the seventh season, and it never really picks up again.  HIMYM does have duller phases, but it ends on a high note.  Just look how controversial it was!  The series finale of Friends?  Yawn!

I mean, we can remember who they dated on HIMYM, but all I can remember is that Ross dated Bruce Willis' daughter and Phoebe Paul Rudd.  But that's mostly the actors than the characters that make them memorable.

But despite all this talk of how HIMYM is a better show than Friends, the latter is still a good show.  It's a lot funnier and better written than I remembered it.  The episodes tend to be full of well written jokes.  And serves perfectly the kind of light entertainment sitcoms cater for.  And advantage Friends, it can be watched with a more absent mind than HIMYM, which requires the kind of viewer focus that got Police Squad! cancelled.

Both shows, however, serves as excellent time capsules of their respective time frame.  I know Friends got a lot of flak - particularly lately - for only casting white actors in the six main characters.  And while Ross is a shitty guy, David Schwimmer at least had the guts to insist on more diverse dating interests for Ross.  However, I can forgive some of the flak of Friends, considering it piloted in 1994.  HIMYM gets less sympathy for also doing an all white cast in 2005.  By that point, this criticism should already have been levelled on Friends, and it seemed kind of weird that the creators of HIMYM ignored it or were ignorant of it.

Though, HIMYM is more explicit about the issue than Friends ever was.  Pointing out that Ted primarily dates white women, for instance.

Anyway, both excellent shows, and helpful to get one's mind off the current calamity.  To laugh about a simpler, more ignorant time.  And how we wish we all knew that little again.
transgender nerd under canada

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« Reply #127 on: 10-23-2020 06:13 »

HIMYM gets less sympathy for also doing an all white cast in 2005.

Although, weirdly enough, this is also more realistic - the characters in HIMYM are all more likely not to have regular contact with persons of colour, than the characters in Friends.

The main characters in HIMYM also each have a background strongly rooted in (specifically white) American stereotypes, and the characters in HIMYM are all more strongly defined by and therefore bound to thematic tropes than the characters in Friends (who are just kind of bland/have exactly one schtick in lieu of a set of character traits to make them easier both to write by committee and to be identified with by a broader target audience).

I know Friends got a lot of flak - particularly lately - for only casting white actors in the six main characters.

Meanwhile, the characters in Friends may be shallower and less fleshed out than those in HIMYM, but their supporting cast of characters does skew towards complex and well realised as well as rather diverse when compared to other shows about groups of people sharing the mundanities of their lives with each other within a very small geographical area that's in the heart of a major American metropolis (and holy wow, I knew that there were a few of those shows but I didn't realise quite how many until I started looking just now).

Indeed, despite 10 seasons of the show, even at the end, they all kind of felt like writing archetypes to me.

Oh my, yes. The main reason that the more complex and interesting characters pop up in the background of Friends is probably due to the writers needing to keep each of the main characters in the specific box defined by their one, single, overriding personality trait and associated tangential trope.

Ross is a nerd who sucks at relationships. He can't have anything going on which distracts from that. Chandler is a sarcastic manchild who craves attention/affection. Better not imply too often that he also has real feelings, or audiences might start to think. That's bad. They need to be rendered catatonic by the show so that they're more receptive to advertisements! Monica is a control freak who has channeled an eating disorder into a career as a chef - because that's what women do! They have eating disorders! They put all their energy into cooking because that's something they do to feed the men in their lives!*

By contrast, Ted, Barney, et al. all start off as much more fully-realised characters who need more than one sentence to describe them because they all have at least one "backup" personality trait. Barney is a horndog, sure. But he's also a raging egomaniac, has interests like magic tricks, expensive fashion choices, and fine booze. These are all made use of by the writers, and eventually Barney even undergoes character development.

This is at least partially due to the evolution of television writing in general from the mid-nineties style best described as an anaesthetic designed to get to stay still during the commercial break to the more engaging mid-2000s strategy of making you so invested in what's going on with these characters lives that you'll stay sat for fear of missing even a second of the resolution due to either putting the kettle on or channel-surfing during the ads.

Like you said, each show is kind of a time capsule. Each show is also somehow precisely dated by the style in which it was produced and also somewhat timeless due to the interactions between the characters being the main focus and overall the way that humans interact within their peer groups hasn't really changed much in the last few centuries.

Of the two, I think I prefer Friends to HIMYM. This is entirely due to my head not being in a great place the first time I started watching through HIMYM and is not really a reflection on the show itself. It's just an unfortunate mental association that I have thanks to binging the show during a particularly bleak period (and I only got through four seasons of it before deciding that I'd rather download episodes of classic 1980s cartoons like a real functioning adult because I couldn't handle watching people do things like having friends and a good time at that point).

One day, I may give HIMYM another chance, because it is on paper objectively better than Friends. Then again, that's actually true of a lot of shows. Friends hasn't aged terribly - but it's more like a food that has no expiration date than something that actually improves when you let it grow a coat of rare fungus in a certain type of cellar somewhere in a small and very specific region of Europe.


*Disclaimer for the hard-of-thinking: This is sarcasm. I am mocking this attitude towards women rather than condoning it.
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« Reply #128 on: 10-23-2020 06:36 »

I concur that where the Friends characters are so basic, they would each be interchangeable with a person of colour with the same 'traits', HIMYM's characters are not.  However, when designing the characters, they could have created just one character whose background isn't stereotypical white American.  That's where I lay my criticism, because I agree none of the five characters could just be exchanged with a person of colour.  Even James, Barney's brother, isn't just a black and gay Barney.

But it's a good observation that Friends used supporting cast to create more interesting characters, to avoid attaching too much to the main characters.  It's easier to attach a lot of traits, including negative ones, to a character you know you can toss out in a few episodes.

And I will say, Friends is an easier show to watch than HIMYM.  Because its characters are simpler, and the connection between episodes (although there certainly is some) is far less stark.  And less happens in an episode.  And reflecting on your perspective on HIMYM, I do find the characters' obsession with having sex all the time, a little bit of tunnel vision by the writers.  Then again, it kind of serves as a general negative trait for all the main characters.

Your mention of the setting made me think of another point I wanted to remark upon.  While both shows are obviously filmed in California, the setting of New York City is so much more important in HIMYM than it is in Friends.  In Friends, NYC comes off as 'Anywhere City', whereas HIMYM talks about specific locations frequently, and other references only New Yorkers would get.  My impression is that Friends' writers either did not know much about NYC, or - more likely - that they wanted to avoid references a general American audience would not get.

HIMYM's writers, on the other hand, were much more inclined to make the setting lived in, rather than merely a backdrop.  None of the characters on Friends, come off as stereotypical New Yorkers, even though - I believe - a few of them are supposed to be from New York.  Barney is definitely modelled on a stereotypical New Yorker, and Ted the outsider trying to be a real New Yorker.

Put another way, there is so much more richness to HIMYM's universe than Friends'.  Which is also why, re-watching Friends is a lot easier.  Not much happens outside those two flats that serve as the main locations for the entirety of the show.
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« Reply #129 on: 10-23-2020 07:03 »

However, when designing the characters, they could have created just one character whose background isn't stereotypical white American.  That's where I lay my criticism, because I agree none of the five characters could just be exchanged with a person of colour.

The question this raises in my own mind is whether or not either show had a writer who wasn't white, and if they didn't, then was this the reason that nobody thought to include a main character who wasn't white?
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« Reply #130 on: 10-23-2020 12:26 »

Usually main characters are not developed by a large room of writers, but by the show creators.  David Crane and Marta Kauffman (both white) created Friends.  Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (also both white) created HIMYM.  Bays and Thomas specifically say that the characters were based on themselves and friends, and the show is generally based on their own young lives in New York City.

Crane and Kauffman went for the more generic aspect of being young after college, not knowing where the future lies, and all the worries that that bring forth.  Which is why its working title was Insomnia Café.  So I wonder whether Crane and Kauffman saw themselves in their characters, the way Bays and Thomas saw themselves in theirs.
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