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.
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.
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.
This 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.
So, 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!