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  1. 1. 1Running Head: OF SITCOMS AND OTHERS Of Sitcoms and Others Deyanira Mora Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
  2. 2. 2 Of Sitcoms and Others Could it be that there is a secret formula for landing a successful and longrunning sitcom? Well, at least one has worked several times: a group offriends living in New York, hanging out at their favorite place and goingthrough never ending relationships and mishaps. Yes, this is definitely theformula ofSeinfeld,Friendsand let’s not forget, the hit British comedyCouplings (of course, with the difference that it was not set in New York).Now, the story is being repeated with How I Met your Mother, a six EmmyAward winning sitcom that is going for its 8thseason coming September("HowI Met your Mother"). Although this television show echoes Friends in manyways, where we have an inseparable gang in their late 20’s which includes aperfect couple, a womanizer and an intellectual career guy with little luck infinding love, in many other ways How I Met your Mother stands on its ownand has earned its success single-handed. You could think that maybe the producers of How I Met your Mother, CraigThomas and Carter Bays, after seeing the success of the programs mentionedabove, especially Friends which ran for ten seasons, said to themselves: “Let’ssee if we can pull it off again”. However, that’s not the story since the show
  3. 3. 3is actually loosely based on their lives andfollowing Craig Thomas’ idea to“write about our friends and the stupid stuff we did in New York”("How I Metyour Mother"). So mirroring Friends, HIMYM is about a group of pals that livein Manhattan and hang out after work at a nearby bar called McClaren’s(remember Central Perk?). Lilly and Marshall, a kindergarten teacher and alawyer, are the happily married couple portrayed in Friends by Monica andChandler. There’s also, of course, the guy whose main purpose in life is tohook up with as many girls as possible,with no interest whatsoever in anykind of meaningful relationship. That’s Joey, right? This character in HIMYMis Barney, a successful businessman with an innocent soul who is always“suited up”, even when it comes to pajamas. Then there’s the Ross of thegroup represented by Ted, a bright architect who constantly annoys the restwith his language corrections and scholarly remarks.Finally we have Robin,the pretty but also silly girl, who like Rachel, comes as a new face in the pilotand quickly bonds with the whole group which, by the way, had started incollege with Ted and Marshall, just like Ross and Chandler. In Spite of allthese similarities, the show would not have been a success if it didn’t presentsomething different. This new ingredient to the formula, this element of
  4. 4. 4surprise is not onlyin the plot, but also in the fact that in How I Met yourMother there is only one main character, Ted. In the year 2030, Ted Mosby, a successful architect, sits down his teenagechildren, a boy and a girl,in the family living room and begins to tell them thestory of how he met their mother. This framing device differs from thechronological order used in Friends. Ted’s anecdote begins in 2005 when hewas 25 and living with his college roommate, Marshall and his girlfriend Lily.After Marshall and Lily get engaged, Ted decides that it is time for him to findthe right woman. That’s where his frustrated journey begins; dating one girlafter another and always hoping she is the one. Along with his story, we alsoget to know about his friends and the humorous events of their lives. Everyepisodes starts as a flashback and tells an adventure or situation that one ofthe characters or the whole group encounters. On some occasions, theproducers also use a flash-forwardwithin the flashback, creating increasingexpectation to finally knowing the identity of Ted’s future wife. Every time anew girl comes into Ted’s life, the spectators are lead to think she mightfinally be the mother of his children, as a matter of fact, on one occasion Tedalmost gets married.Another interesting and new ingredientadded to theformula in HIMYM is the use of euphemisms for culturally sensitive issues:
  5. 5. 5 These include “eating a sandwich” for smoking marijuana and… "playing the bagpipes" for loud, raucous sex acts. These euphemisms, among others, have been used extensively throughout the series and have even been used as central plot themes ("How I Met your Mother"). In spite of the similarities between Seinfeld, Friends, Couplings and HowI Met Your Mother, each show presents a unique way of doing comedy.Whether you are a fan of any of these sitcoms or not, How I Met YourMother offers a fresh new kind of entertainment full of laughter andexcitement, and above all great writing.ReferenceWikipedia.(n.d). Retrieved on August 8, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_I_Met_Your_Mother
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