An open letter to the creators, cast, and crew of How I Met Your Mother

I was going to title this letter “Why I won’t be watching HIMYM Season 9,” but I realized that might make it sound like a laundry list of complaints, and this is the exact opposite of that. I won’t be watching Season 9, not right away, but I’ve got a reason.

If any of you on the show have actually found this letter, I need to say “thank you” up front, in case you don’t make it to the end. So, thank you.

How I Met Your Mother (Season 1)

I guess everyone has a “thing,” and HIMYM has been mine since I found it in 2007. It was a rough time for me; I was living in France, alone except for a small group of new friends, when my father passed away suddenly. Just like that, he was gone, and so was the person I used to be. When I returned to France from the funeral, one of my new friends had the first 2 ½ seasons of How I Met Your Mother on his computer…probably illegally; I’m not going to lie to you. I sat with my new group of friends, huddled around the glow of the laptop, and within a weekend we had binge-watched the entire thing, and then I re-watched it. And re-watched it.

At first, it was just comforting to have something in which I could lose myself, but over time Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney became an extended circle of friends. I don’t mean this in some crazy-stalker-bitch kind of way; I fully understand that the People In The Box are not real. But their stories, their lessons, were, and are. And they saved me from the loneliest time in my life.

When I came back to the States in January of 2008, HIMYM was there again as I transitioned into life with my girlfriend. I was grieving, unemployed, home for hours and hours every day by myself. I bought the first three seasons of the show and plowed through them again. It put me at ease to know what was going to happen next, at a point in my life when I had no direction.

bfast club

At the time, HIMYM was halfway through its new season’s first run on TV, and it didn’t feel right to jump in the middle…or to watch only thirty minutes at a time. So I waited, all the way until October, to get the next boxed set. From that, a tradition was born. Since then, I have waited until the fall after the show airs to get the DVDs and watch all of the episodes, one after the next, barely breaking for food, water, or sleep, only being satisfied when I’ve seen everything there is: the deleted scenes, the gag reels, the episodes with commentary. And when it’s all done? You guessed it. Back to the beginning I go.

I own all of the DVDs, but I still DVR the episodes in syndication and watch them. I’ve often joked that you should hire me to be some kind of continuity adviser; I would put money on being the girl who’s watched this show more than anyone else on earth. (But seriously, do you need someone for Season 9?)

The show is such a part of me that it, at times, seems to parallel my life. While there are lots of fun and/or silly similarities, it’s the big coincidence that resonates. The first time I saw “Bad News,” when Marshall’s father, like mine, dies of a sudden heart attack, it was 2007 all over again. I was right back there in that moment.

robin daggersThis episode was so difficult to watch, and still is—I usually skip over it—but it was also cathartic to watch Marshall grieve over the next few episodes, and watch him become himself again. It took me a long time to get back to that place of normalcy, and this episode helped put a little more of my grief to rest.

I remember when I decided I would write you this letter. I was watching “Do I Know You?” for the umpteenth time. Marshall started to tell Stella how much Ted loves Star Wars:

He watches it when he’s home sick with the flu. He watches it on rainy Sunday afternoons in the fall. He…he watches it on Christmas Eve! Ted watches Star Wars in sickness and in health, in good times and bad.”

It was then I realized that HIMYM is my Star Wars. And I knew I had to let you know.

barney sense depSo, in honor of the end of a show that, hyperbole aside, kind of saved my life, I am keeping tradition alive. I will put on my figurative Sensory Deprivator 5000 during this final season’s TV broadcast this fall and, as I have done for every season before, I will wait. I will wait until every episode is in one place, and then I will start at the beginning. No: not at Season 9, Episode 1—at Season 1, Episode 1. On the Friday of Columbus Day weekend. And I will relive every moment, and every memory it holds for me, one last time, before basking in the sunset of the final season.

And just in case you made it this far: thank you, again. Thank you for giving me, by way of the world, the most meaningful show to ever come into my life. I will miss these characters like I would miss a dear friend. You all have helped and healed me in so many ways.

And good job on picking the mother. I never doubted you’d come through.


Your number one fan (but not in a Kathy Bates kind of way).

PS: You can now read an update on all the awesome stuff that’s happened to me since writing this letter here!

101 thoughts on “An open letter to the creators, cast, and crew of How I Met Your Mother

  1. Wow, this is so heartbreaking like I cried when I read this, I’m a huuuuge HIMYM fan too but I don’t have something like this … This is just so overwhelming and please tell me your twitter name because the HIMYM family is so small and we are totally nice so please join us.

  2. WOW…. I liked so much …. I make your words like mine, because a I had almost the same feeling for HIMYM and I had almost the same experience… Lily, Marshal, Ted, Robin and Barney are my best friends too… I know , they are my laugh when all seems dark, then I back to life with their stories…
    sorry.. I’ve made a mistake write, cause I’m from Brasil and I don’t know much of english…. and Congratulations for the beatiful text!

  3. I became now a following of your blog… I have two friends that are crazy about HIMYM because I show them the HIMYM and they loved it… since then I have someone to talk about … but I’ve never found other huge fan like me …. that have THE EXPERIENCE with HIMYM… =)

  4. It’s great to see others that find the show as comforting. There is an entirely separate camp that claims the show is “dumb”. Of course, they are the ones that are dumb 😛

    I love HIMYM as well, though not nearly as much as you, clearly. It’s the Friends of the next generation.

    • Yeah… I’ve never found others that like HIMYM so much… Of course, the others are dumb for criticize the show… We found the spirit of the show… That all our problems could be lighter with friendship, with laugh, if we have fun, and know ourselfs better … and so on…

  5. This is another example of a show that, by all rights, should not have been so successful but it was allowed to grow and it found its groove. I’m not going to say it’s mind-blowing but, if it saved your life, that’s cool. You’ll also find life-affirming exhilaration in many other ways. The best in life is yet to come, my dear friend. You won’t even have to wait for the DVD boxed set.

  6. i instantly felt a connection with you. :)) i almost cried, i wouldve if i was at home. i’m also not comfortable watching the “bad News”…i shall have a HIMYM marathon one of these weekends

  7. It is funny how we relate to our extended family on television. The usual run of a series is less than ten years. And after that we see them again and again as the vital young people they were. I loved the Magnificient Seven movie. Now sadly all save one of the stars have left the stage. In Taxi, a program I grew up with some are now gone and the others have aged and not well. Louie de Palma is still short and playing in Philie. I use to love the dead beat humor of Mary Tyler Moore and now sadly Dick and Mary are showing the ravages of time. How could Mary Richards be near ninety. It was only the other day she was in the newsroom with the spunk of youth. Thanks for the article, you put it into perspective.

  8. Not going to lie, I love this show. And reading your post shows how much this show has affected everyone(who has watched it) in some sort of way. Every person can take some sort of ‘lesson’ and gather whatever he or she may be feeling. Life’s tough and I love how they don’t sugar coat that in any sort of way. The emotions are truly raw and you feel the happiness, heartbreak, joy and sadness. You can relate on either end. Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter. It’s crazy the affect one show can have on a persons outlook on life.

  9. I really never watched How I Met Your Mother – some bits and pieces, it seems pretty funny – but I do have a series that has done for me exactly what this did for you, so I know what you mean.

    • And that’s the important thing: having something, anything, that does the same thing for you. So glad you can relate, even if HIMYM isn’t necessarily your thing 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  10. It’s my story too. I have watched this show all over again and again and they have become my friends since when I can’t remember. Thank you for this post just so I know there are people like me whose “Star war” is HIMYM.

    I once told myself that if my other half ever appeared, he had to be one of us too. He got to love this show too because this show is part of me. The Lily and Marshal part, the Robin part, the Barney part and the ultimate Ted part.

    To me, this new season is not the end. It’s just the beginning! 🙂

  11. This is how I felt about Chuck. I started watching it about a week before my mom ended up in the hospital in 2011 and the characters became almost like friends to me because they provided comfort to me when i needed it. Each time something bad happens in my life, I go back and watch certain episodes (Chuck vs. The Beard, Chuck vs. The Angel de la Muerte, Chuck vs. the Subway).

  12. I adores this. My method of watching himym one-season-in-one-day is more a product of me not having cable and relying on Netflix lol. But I hear ya. Well said!

  13. Love this! Not just for the show (although we like watching it), but the idea of connecting to a show like that. I can remember feeling that way about “Friends’. That was my college/post-college years, and friends are your world at that age. It’s when characters become real-life – and really, they are from someone else’s real life, I think – so it makes sense.

    And, I love doing the series binge. What did we do before DVD/DVR?

  14. Great post about a great show. Brings tears and laughs just like the show has done for many years. Been watching since the very first episode and will be there for the last. It even brought me to your blog.

  15. Excellent post. Strangely I think HIMYM resonates with a lot of people in the same way. I know it does with me. Is actually really sad it is coming to an end…

  16. I love it…seriously.
    I have always loved HIMYM but not in the way you’ve done. HIMYM made me go crazy and I would go on watching all the episodes without taking a break. I haven’t yet watched the 7th and 8th season because I started finding it a little repetitive but your post made me want to…like badly want to…watch it. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful it always felt when I watched them…those friends together and how I wanted to go to New York to live their life for a few days..Haha!

  17. This is weak but i’m totally going to say it. Before the new season comes out are your going to…wait for it? Do you think it will be…legendary? self hi five.Barney is my hero.

  18. Sarah, I do hope nobody “rosebuds” you (gives away spoilers). I only recently picked up on HIMYM and I realize, I’ll have to use our Netflix and start from the beginning. It is an addictive show – smart, funny, and at times quite poignant (I wasn’t watching when he lost his dad… but that’s not a spoiler for me; my folks died years ago).

    I have rituals like that… in fact, Lex and I only have “rabbit ears” for our TV (we refuse to pay “cable ransom”) and get whole seasons of Mad Men, etc. through Netflix, whereupon we “pig out” and without commercials!

    Congrats on your rituals, and good luck with the boxed set. I predict you and your DVDs will spend many happy years together and they’ll bring you lots of joy, and a few tears. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed, too! This is a wonderful blog; formatted as though one is reading the newspaper.

    Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore, Madison, WI

  19. I just love this, I also have shows that I connect with on such a huge level! Love the waiting till the season is over to watch episode after episode. I’ve found myself on a Friday night watching 5 episodes of homeland back to back!! It’s so much fun to get immersed! Tina 🙂

  20. Hi I just discovered the show…funny, heh, and am now voraciously consuming it in my lonely hours….I get where you’re coming from. Thanks for sharing!

  21. This post made my night, as I too am a lover of HIMYM. Do you know the funny part, I haven’t been watching the last two seasons on tv cuz I want to make sure I’ve seen season 7. When I saw you mention the mother towards the end, I quickly scrolled down just in case you named the character. I would’ve been heart broken. haha

  22. Great post! It’s fantastic that you can see the show in that way – to connect with the characters in the way that I reckon the directors and actors wanted it them to be connected with! Good for you!

  23. It is difficult to express how this letter made me feel. The best part is, it speaks for you. It is in emotion, and its linguistic virtuosity that it almost reaches out the person reading it at the other end of the screen, pulls him/her over, and whispers every word right in the ear. It is that effective; it is that true, and THAT beautiful. Thank you for dedicating a piece of my heart as well to the team of HIMYM! Do read my blog if you will, I’d love some word on it!

  24. My muse and I are fans of the show. We like to save them on DVR to watch together. 🙂 It will be a shame when it ends but we will be glad to finally know how he met the mother of his children.

  25. My wife and I do something pretty similar. We’ve watched pretty much every episode, but never once when they first aired. We watch via netflix or syndication. We’ve never quite been caught up at any point in these years. Great post!

  26. HIMYM has always been a source of nostalgia for me. The show itself reminds me of the show Friends so much. People told me they disliked the show because they took so much from Friends, but in the end, it is still one of my favorite shows. The character development is a bit ridiculous. You don’t see shows like this where you become almost intertwined with the characters and begin to relate to them. I am on the same page with you on the death of Marshall’s father. It was hard to watch. It broke something inside me and the urge to skip past it was so strong. You only feel that when these so-called fictional characters have become more real that you’d like to admit. Everyone needs a go-to rainy day activity or a sick day activity; I’m glad you found yours

  27. I feel the same way about some of my favorites, like Friends or The Office. There is something comforting in seeing “your old friends” (even though you know they aren’t real) and reliving the episodes with them. It can be nice to have something familiar and predictable when you are going through the opposite in life. Great post!

  28. LIked your post… I admit, I am not such a big fan as yourself, sometimes missing episodes… but yes, I could identify with much of what you wrote… Believe it or not, I had come across HIMYM in Vietnam, sometime in ’09. (was based there for several years for work). The laughs helped me to destress after a long day at work.. and besides, there were life lessons too! Yup, in a strange way, I miss it.

  29. Used to love it but gave up before they finally id’d the mother! Who is it??? May have to tune in for the last season :-). Love that the show exec saw your tweet, that’s really great! And congrats on FP

  30. Just in case you didn’t know, in ‘Bad News’ there’s a countdown from 30 to 0, where Marshall gets the news about his dad, all the way through the episode, like taxi cab numbers or on a picture in the background. It’s such a clever show! Really moving piece, I’m glad you made it through such an awful time of your life x

  31. Kinda like Déjà vu! As I read your words, they somehow resonated with how strongly I’ve felt about different TV shows and the way they’ve helped me through my life and been my “Star Wars”. I lost my dad at a young age as well, to a sudden heart attack, and it has never been easy for me. The very fact that I wasn’t with him in his last moments kill me from the inside out. That with other incidents from my past which trouble me and haunt me to this day, I find it odd that the simplest thing as a TV Show has helped me tremendously.

    I admittedly am not a die-hard fan of HIMYM. I love it, and I’ve watched every single episode thus far, but I honestly don’t relate to it as much as you’ve portrayed. But there have been various shows that have been the same for me.

    PS. I absolutely love your admission to the fact that you’ve rewatched entire seasons of the show numerous times. I am, pretty much, the only one that I know personally who has sat through entire seasons of the same show more than ten times. Even my wife can’t watch the same thing twice!

    • If I had one show that I wanted to pick that best resonated with my life, it’d be Friday Night Lights!.Ironically, I am not a football/sports fan at all! There are other shows that I’ve enjoyed just as much and which have made me cry at the top of my lungs at times as well as soothe me and laugh out like a crazy kid… But FNL is simply one of the best! Give that a watch if you get the chance.

  32. This ‘was’ my one of the favourite show we also used to title ourself with the charcaters in different situations. But now I think this show should conclude I feel its draagig bit just like gum.

  33. I loved this post, not because I watch HIMYM now (though I did watch the first five or six seasons and loved them) but because I have done (and continue to do) the same thing with Parks and Recreation. I have lost close friends and quite a few years back I lost my father-in-law, who I loved dearly, but I have not lost a parent so I cannot identify with that kind of pain. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    This past February, however, as I was working to finish my Masters thesis my best friend in the world (besides my husband) died very suddenly and very unexpectedly. We brought him to the vet on the night of my husband’s birthday and the following evening he was gone. I was beside myself with grief. If I was awake I was crying. When I was asleep I was dreaming of him and crying. I couldn’t work, did not go to school, and felt nauseous every time I even thought about food. My only comfort during that time was watching Parks and Recreation over and over and over for hours at a time. When I watched P&R I could let go of the grief for a short time and that kind of gave me the hope that someday I might be able to smile again without Ron and Leslie and Jerry. It was tough but I did get through it and I have P&R to thank for that (well, that and my husband and friends).

    Thank you again for this post.

  34. Pingback: The Art of the Open Letter | The Daily Post

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