Essay on How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother is an American sitcom about five friends who live in New York City and look for their happiness in different ways. The main character is Ted Mosby who in 2030 tells his children the story of meeting their mother. Looking for the love of his life, Ted spends much time in doomed relationships. At the same time, two of his friends, Marshall and Lily inspire him as an example of true love and commitment. Another friend, Barney Stinson, is, on the contrary, mad about women and spends his time abusing them in different ways, which he has particularly described in his legendary Playbook. One of the main characters, Robin Scherbatsky ends marrying Barney, but being focused on her career, feels her marriage as a burden and gets divorced. She also used to date with Ted, and in 2030 Ted receives his children’s blessing for being with Robin as their mother died six years ago.
Robin Scherbatsky is an emigrant from Canada who came to New York to make the career of a news anchor. The show bristles with jokes about Canada and its citizens, and these jokes may be interpreted as cultural oppression. However, most of the chauvinist jokes are expressed by Barney who also appears to be a quarter Canadian himself. In the meantime, it should be underlined that while the Canadians are allegedly lashed in the show, the creators tried their best to make a positive image of this nation focusing on their politeness, fortitude, and faithfulness.
Further on, another example of cultural oppression is James Stinson, Barney’s stepbrother. James is an African American who prefers men to women. Being an effective homosexual charmer, he suddenly marries Tom despite the initial protests of Barney. It is necessary to stress that Barney is not against a gay marriage, but at the moment James and Tom are engaged, he is totally against monogamy and lifetime commitment (von Matterhorn). Unfortunately, James is still a playboy by the end of the series, and his marriage is going to break up because of his endless cheating. The only continual African American character in the show is simultaneously homosexual and having problems with steadiness in relationship, but the authors of the show managed to make him charismatic, talented, and possessing a number of positive features like helpfulness, sympathy, and, of course, sense of humor.
The two examples listed above demonstrate how uncomfortable themes concerning cultural and social differences can be played up effectively and carefully at the same time. It seems to be a fascinating trick to express tolerance when these differences are focused on instead of being ignored or mitigated like they are something unpleasant or inconvenient. Instead, the authors afford themselves to laugh at the differences sincerely and in this way to make the similarities more visible.
What is more, it is typical for How I Met Your Mother to use comic euphemisms for culturally sensitive issues (Krause) including smoking marijuana, giving the middle finger or loud sex acts. Extensive use of euphemisms makes the show free from abusive scenes that can injure vulnerable social strata. Besides, the role of euphemisms even became the ground for one of the episodes in which the need to visit a bathroom is substituted by the need “to read a magazine.”
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