OK so last and final blog. I finished the season of How I Met Your Mother and this is what I learned…..
1) It is possible to make a show last using the same characters year after year with the same basic storyline
2) New York is basically just white people who hang out all day and only work for a couple of hours a day
3) Men are looking for love too
4) This show is funny!!!
So how does this relate to youth? Well, they can watch this show from all over the world and think that New York is a homogenous city with just a bunch of middle class white young adults who sit in a bar all day. I say this because my group did a short video on representations and it seems to be like How I Met Your Mother does a terrible job at representing a diverse city like New York. New York is one of the most diverse city in this country, with different cultures, ethnicities, religions, ages, etc. The show only exhibits such a small margin of the people that actually live in this city. Although i know it is only a sitcom, it would legitimize the show by creating my diverse characters and making the ones that are current a little less one dimensional. Sure sometimes we get a glimpse of what lays underneath, but for the most part there is little depth especially for the female characters. I know very little about Lily’s past, but I know everything about Marshalls parents, Teds whacky mom and Barneys absentee father. What about Lily and Robyn? We know Robyn was a pop star in Canada, but is there anything past that?
I love the show, but do think there are some flaws in the representations of New York City as a homogenous city, and the lack of depth of these characters.
So lets take it back to the beginning…i watched all of the seasons of How I Met Your Mother, starting with season 1. When Lily and Marshall get engaged, Ted feels this certain pressure to start figuring out his life and meet THE ONE. Enter Robyn. They meet at a bar and Ted falls head over heals in love. Throughout the season, we see Ted turn into a puppy dog, hopelessly in love with Robyn, whom he barely knows. Robyn soon becomes a member of the group, and then season 2 starts. I have to say that as much as I love the show, not much really changes throughout the seasons, except for the different love scenarios. What stands out to me now more than ever is the misogynistic undertones of the show. Barney is constantly degrading women and reducing them down to just play things and one night stands. He is supposed to be the stereotypical successful New York playboy, and he is quite funny, but i couldnt help but wonder the effect that his persona may have on those watching the show. In our class readings, there is a lot of mention of the representations in the media and how the imagined audience relates to characters. I can see some men seeing Barney as a hero that they want to emulate and think nothing of treating women as toys. This idea really bothers me.
On the other hand, we see Robyn, who I assume is the female version of Barney. She is somewhat of a man eater and doesn’t seem to take men seriously. For instance with Ted, he really liked her, but all she was thinking of was a one night stand or fling. She cares far more about her work then to build a relationship at this point in her life.
I am not suggesting that life is all about relationships, and no one should be in one if they don’t want to..but is this really the modern New York? just a series of flings and casual encounters? is this the correct image to portray to young teenagers and adults? I don’t think there is anything wrong with a women being independent, and I like that Robyn isnt portrayed as a love starved, single desperato (like in many other shows), but I think they take this a little far with characters like Barney…even though it is used for comic relief.
With that said, I do love the show and still find it to be extremely funny. I am just trying to look a little bit deeper into what is being represented to the world.