Back in my teenage years, How I Met Your Mother was the show that cool hip people watched. It had everything that sold teenagers and young men needed in sitcoms, which is basically what the whole problem was. Naturally, when I tried watching the show again recently, most of it just seemed pretty f***ed up.
1. The Playbook is one of the most vile and sexist pieces of literature ever written.
The Playbook is a list of elaborate cons that Barney plays on innocent women to get them to have sex with him. To say it is creepy is like staring at the heart of the sun and calling it dimly lit.
2. The show indulges in casual racism making fun of people of colour and often indulging in cultural appropriation.
Firstly, despite being set in New York, the show is extremely white. And as if that wasn’t enough, it regularly making caricatures of people of colour. In one of the episodes, the whole gang dresses up as ‘Chinese’ people and talks in a heavy accent.
3. Ranjit, a supposedly lovable recurring character is only seen as a caricature of what brown people are supposed to be like.
The whole point of his character is to show up and behave in a stereotypical way so that the characters can make jokes out of it.
4. One of Barney’s plays involved showing up naked on dates, or in front of random women because he thought they were likely to sleep with him.
Not just that, the show made up fictional statistics as it always did, about 2 out of 3 women actually ending up sleeping with the person. That is so creepy. I mean, come on guys. Nobody likes seeing other people’s dongs. We have established that as a society.
5. The show also followed some very tired and sexist tropes for jokes. Like, describing women as being emotionally unstable or crazy.
See, every time a guy tells you that his ex was crazy, run the F away in the other direction. Nobody’s crazy. There was one A-hole in that relationship and that dude is talking to you. The show used this trope way too many times, where the women go nuts after being romantically rejected.
6. Pretty much every episode, Barney makes fake identities to trick women into sleep with him and his friends are okay with it because if the women are dumb enough…
See, that’s how creepy predators keep ongoing for years and when someone finally calls them out, their friends are like, ‘Wow, we had no idea’. See, that’s crap. They knew. They just didn’t want to call out their bro.
7. Barney also films women without their consent. That’s illegal. That’s not even borderline. That guy should have been in prison.
WTF! Whoever thought this was funny needs help. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is wrong. God, I hope you weren’t waiting on an explanation!
8. Also, let’s not ignore the fact that Barney has admitted to selling a woman at one point.
Apparently, slavery is funny. BTW, Barney had a brother, who is black. And everyone still thought that was funny and should go on air. Imagine, everyone who was involved with that scene thought that women being sold into slavery was funny.
9. Did I mention, Ted made Robin give up her dogs?
Oh, yeah, that’s right. The dogs were gifts from her ex. So Ted made her give them up. And she gave them up for the idiot who says cheesy stuff and steals from cheap restaurants. That guy. I mean, just break up with the insecure prick.
10. Oh, and the million gay and trans jokes like they were ever funny to begin with.
The gang played ‘hot or scott’ to judge on the level of their attractiveness which was basically a plot to make a lot of trans jokes. Oh, and here’s one that takes the cake- Barney once dressed up as a stereotypical ‘lesbian’ woman to pick up gay women. What part of them being gay he didn’t understand, we’ll never know.
While, I can write a thesis on everything Barney Stinson did on that show, let’s move towards our nice guy Ted Mosby.
11. Ted could never take no for an answer and would badger women into going out with him.
Remember that episode where a woman told Ted, she was getting married on Saturday and he asked if she wanted to go out on Friday. Or the time, he basically made Stella go out with him and then, the two of them had a very bad relationship.
See, the bad relationship was the best-case scenario. Normally, when guys pester women, it ends badly for women. So F you, Ted Mosby.
12. The show also portrayed working women, women with careers, or women who wanted careers are cold, selfish and ‘family breakers’.
Robin’s character is awesome but the show somehow always portrayed her as cold, calculated and incomplete without love. When Lily decided to go to Art School, she was only pursuing the dreams she had her whole life. Instead of empathising with that, HIMYM blamed her for breaking up with Marshall.
13. And how weird is it, that Ted calls weed ‘sandwich’ in front of his kids but talks about all the women he had sex with for about a decade?
Yo, have some boundaries. Your kids don’t need to know how big a ‘playa’ you were back in the day. You’re a 40-year-old architect, who is in love with their best friend’s ex-wife. There are a million ways to approach that subject. Bragging to your kids about your sex life ain’t one.
Now, if I were to write about every time the show did something messed up, this would be longer than the book you need to finish but have been putting off for a while. That said, most of it simply falls in the bracket of everyday misogyny, sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia.