There's this unfathomably great sandwich shop here in Seattle. I go there nearly once a week, sometimes more, and I cannot have enough. If, for some insane and convoluted reason, I had gone their once, eaten the best sandwich of my life (which is what they serve, to be clear), then forgotten where the shop was and was unable to find it again, I would flip out. I would act exactly like Marshall did on last night's How I Met Your Mother
. Your level of enjoyment during How I Met Your Mother's
second season four episode was likely predicated upon how highly you value a good sandwich. You see – there are sandwich people and then there are people who hate food. If you hate food, then last night's How I Met Your Mother
probably wasn't up your alley.
I've always contended that How I Met Your Mother
is an extremely hit and miss series. When it's good, it's great. In its lesser episodes, How I Met Your Mother
is relatively devoid of laughs, but still enjoyable. The characters are so good, so well-drawn, that regardless of the laugh rate it's always fun to spend twenty-two minutes in the How I Met Your Mother
world. The hamburger episode last night wasn't one of Mother's best, there weren't a ton of laughs, but it was still a good time. And, obviously, any time you get Regis Philbin playing a much stronger version of himself who is fiending for a burger, your show won't be totally irredeemable.
Aside from a lack of the usual amount of laughs, the episode last night was about Marshall. It may have seemed like a one-off, inconsequential type of episode, but it wasn't. Marshall's plight, I imagine, hits close to home for many viewers out there. Idealism versus pragmatism is a constant battle in today's world, and probably no more so than for new lawyers. There are student loans to pay, a long career to think about – what would you do in that situation? Take the soul-crushing, high-paying job or the low-paying one close to your heart? What if you also had a wife to think about?
Being idealistic is great and all, but oftentimes it doesn't pay the bills. The way How I Met Your Mother has portrayed Marshall is painfully honest. There was a sense of inevitability in Marshall's attitude from the moment the episode started. He knew that he was going to have to take the self-hating corporate job. The hamburger quest was symbolic, in a very poignant way, of Marshall searching for the lost innocence of youth. He wanted to revisit a time in his life when becoming an environmental lawyer was a real possibility, almost a certainty.
How I Met Your Mother continues to be one of network television's best comedies. But, on top of the funny Mother brings, it is also a great chronicle of what it's like to grow up, what it's like to be in your twenties and being forced to navigate an uncertain future. Because of that, How I Met Your Mother is always worth watching, no matter how many laughs it gives you.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)