8 details of ‘How I met your mother’ that would cause controversy today

Eight years have passed since the end of the famous ‘sitcom’ and almost 20 since it began. In that time, there are many things that have changed in society.

How I Met Your Mother gave us a good laugh for several years, but -and as much as it hurts to admit it-, It is the best example that the series can age badly. And that does not mean that we cannot see them again and enjoy the story, but seeing them from a distance there are things that are better left forgotten. Ted (Josh Radnor), Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Robin (Cobie Smulders), Marshall (Jason Segel), and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) were a group of friends in early 2000s New York – the series began in 2005. and they are the result of a time very different from the current one.

In the case of How I Met Your Mother, most of the plots and characters that have aged badly have to do with the treatment of women. Starting with Barney, a womanizer with very little regard for the girls he dated, and continuing with Lily and Robin, who unwittingly perpetuated harmful stereotypes against the female collective. There are also the occasional jokes that do not fit in the LGBT community and pick-up tactics for which you could earn the occasional lawsuit. All within a context, sure, but an old-fashioned one.

This May 11 premiered on Disney + How I met your father, the ‘spin-off’ of the mythical ‘sitcom’ that continues the legacy by updating a couple of things. In an interview with SensaCine, its creators, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, said that they are aware that 15 years ago we laughed at a type of humor that today has been completely banished. «I think that series started in 2005 and we were finding things that were fun that we don’t have anymore,» says Aptaker.

‘How I met your father’ embraces the legacy of ‘How I met your mother’ and updates it: «In 2005 we found fun things that are no longer»

With their series starring Hilary Duff they don’t want to fix those flaws since they don’t believe there is anything to fix, but they don’t perpetuate them either. «Society and culture always evolve for the better, and looking back, there’s a lot of their behavior that might not be so funny now.»Aptaker notes, “We’re just trying to make a show that in 2022 we find current and appropriate and fun and we know that doesn’t include a character like Barney. We didn’t try not to address it, we just said, what is the group of friends that we want to have? What is the story that we want to tell that seems like it is for this moment?”

How I Met Your Father maintains the format and features Sophie (Duff) telling her son the story of how she met his father, but the environment in which she moves, her relationship with her friends, her dates and with herself is completely different. As we devour the 10 episodes of the first season, we remember those details of How I Met Your Mother that are now seen with different eyes.

Barney and everything around him

During the years that How I Met Your Mother was on the air and especially during the first seasons, the most popular character among viewers of the ‘sitcom’ was undoubtedly Barney Stinson. Incarnated by Neil Patrick Harris -whom many of us remembered from his years as a child actor in A Precocious Doctor-, the character responded to the archetype of the «funny guy of the group», a successful flirt in what were supposedly the important things in life and a constant winning attitude that was always above the problems of his group of friends.

The funny thing is that the series is not too far back in time to not be surprised that a character like Barney was so popular. As much as he later fell in love with Robin and let us see that he had a little heart, Barney’s attitude towards women is pretty despicable. For him, each of her dates is basically an object and he doesn’t hesitate to trick them with the most miserable tricks to achieve his goals and then brag about it. Such despicable acts as unknowingly making sex tapes of him dating, the existence of his infamous pick-up playbook, or his habitual demeaning attitudes toward women are just a few examples, but the list is terribly long.

And, as if that were not enough, Barney is a perfect example of toxic masculinity, who leads his life accompanied by endless stereotypes about how a man should be and transmits them to his environment without any kind of shame (or respect).

Robin as the girl «who is not like the others» and that’s why she is better

Cobie Smulders did a great job bringing Robin to life. She is a fun, endearing character with many edges that makes you grow fond of her in one way or another. However, she is built, perhaps too much, on the basis that she is the only valid model of a girl because she is not like the others.

From the beginning of the series, she is presented as the «cool girl», the one who drinks beer non-stop, appreciates a good whiskey, likes sports and, basically, can fit into a group of boys as it is traditionally conceived. In factshe herself admits that she does not like female company and defines other women as «annoying» and «crybaby».

It is clear that there are infinite models of women, but to present a single archetype as the valid one simply because it rejects feminine stereotypes is a huge mistake. Robin can drink whiskey, beer and play hockey, but she doesn’t need to underestimate other women who have completely different tastes and value just the same.

Ted’s outdated perception of love

Although at first glance we could say that Ted Mosby is the absolute opposite of Barney Stinson, the reality is that the protagonist of How I Met Your Mother is also showed absolutely toxic attitudes throughout the series’ history. Yes, he was a hopeless romantic who dreamed of finding the woman of his life and starting a family, but the idealization he had of love cannot be said to be exactly the healthiest. Not to say that, in the 21st century, this constant search for love and the perfect woman and the firm belief that we all have a better half is quite old-fashioned.

In addition, already in his first dates with Robin he shows that he can be quite insistent and that, despite her rejection, he is not one of those people who simply take ‘no’ for an answer and abandon their target easily. In fact, his tendency to obsess over him is evident on several occasions during the course of the series, as well as his quick rejection of what does not fit into his canons of the perfect partner. Thus, what the series sold us as a sometimes somewhat goofy romantic turned out to be a rather narcissistic character with a rather squared concept of life and love.

Marshall’s 8 slaps to Barney

How I Met Your Mother has very good recurring jokes, but Marshall’s slapping of Barney gets worse episode after episode. In case you don’t remember, it’s revealed in Season 2 that Robin hates shopping malls. Marshall and Barney try to figure out why and bet a slap to see who’s right. After several plays and turns, he ends up winning Marshall, which gives him the right to give his friend 5 slaps whenever he wants.

We will not be the ones to deny that, at first, they had a certain grace, but the truth is that they get worse over time and not only in terms of the level of humor. We cannot forget that Marshall and Barney are friends and that, as much as it is the result of a bet, they continue to be violent attacks between them that can do a lot of mental damage -physical too, but we already know that-.

All the jokes about the «Crazy Eyes» of the girls

It is one of the ‘gags’ of the series that you probably have not forgotten and the truth is that, nowadays, it is easy to realize that it is quite misogynistic. According to Barney and Ted, «crazy eyes» or «crazy eyes» are a clear indicator to run away from a woman before starting a relationship with her, since they are a symptom of a clear instability that can cause many problems in the future. The first time they mention it is in an episode of the second season, when Marshall introduces them to a girl he likes during the time he was separated from Lily. Her friends warn her that she has that look and they remember some episodes with «those kinds of women», while, at the end of the episode, they agree when the young woman destroys a car completely out of her mind. Of course, the «crazy eyes» is a quality attributed only to women and before which men have to be careful.

The famous «Crazy Eyes» are just one example of jokes full of clichés and stereotypes about women, which many times directly started or perpetuated the two female leads of the series, Robin and Lily. Robin’s attitude towards Ted’s girlfriends, comments about the physical appearance of other women, stereotypes about gender roles, her complicity with Barney’s unpleasant actions and all kinds of unpleasant comments including sexist insults. .

The relationship between Robin and Patrice

If there is a character who was unfairly mistreated, it is Patrice, the innocent and endearing partner of Robin in World Wide News. Precisely because of her good nature, she was the focus of Robin’s anger, who responded with shouts every time Patrice tried to help her: «No one has asked you, Patrice!». There are many theories as to why he was so unpleasant with her, from that he paid for her jealousy with Nora – her other co-worker of hers was dating Barney – to that she simply was not used to receiving love and affection of her

The truth is that Robin was yelling at Patrice simply because she could, because she was someone vulnerable who wasn’t going to fight back. Who would want to be friends with someone who constantly yells at you and is mean to you? Someone with emotional dependency. And here we could even enter fatphobia. The cast of How I Met Your Mother isn’t particularly diverse, either by gender or race or non-normative bodies, and the fact that Patrice, one of the show’s few overweight characters, is the focus of jokes and hate is far from what would be correct today.

‘Guess who Scott is’: The LGBT jokes

At this point, it no longer surprises us that the way in which How I Knew Your Mother sometimes referred to the LGBT community and addressed issues related to sexual orientation and identity was also another nonsense. Unfunny jokes, the use of the word ‘gay’ as an insult, the way in which Barney referred to homosexual women or when he bet on disguising himself as a lesbian woman to take a girl to bed are some examples, but the that takes the cake and that has been most criticized to date has been the scene in which Barney and Ted play «guess who Scott» while watching a group of women from afar. Transphobic and unpleasant.

the naked man

Removing your clothes to appear completely naked in the living room of the girl or boy you just met is absolutely not recommended and is probably the worst idea the writers of How I Met Your Father ever had. The naked man, one of Barney’s techniques, is the icing on the cake of things that have aged poorly in the series.

This is how Mitch, the creator of the play and who uses it with Robin -who, by the way, fell- explains it: “You’re on a first date. You’ve had a few drinks. You make up an excuse to go up to the girl’s apartment. Then once she leaves the room, you undress and wait. When she returns, she laughs. She is so charmed by your confidence and bravado that she sleeps with you. Boom! [Funciona] two out of three times. You just have to choose your place. The naked man is best used as a last resort, when you know there won’t be a second one.»

Whichever way you look at it, this would have no place in a series released today.

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