"How I Met Your Mother" is not a show I started watching from the get-go, but it's one that I refuse to miss when it's on...I've been privately promoting the show to friends for years and have been frequently teased about doing so on many occasions.
From the uninformed, I can see where people don't expect it to be a GREAT show. For starters - it's on CBS, which isn't what I would consider the "hippest" of broadcasters. It also is not heavily promoted nor widely critically acclaimed...
This said - I HIGHLY recommend anyone who has not followed the 4 seasons of the show, to put Seasons 1-3 on the top of your Netflix queue right now. While it's not necessarily a show where you absolutely have to watch in chronological order, you do certainly have to understand and know the genius character development in order to appreciate the show. So, if you watch an episode or two (which is becoming more and more possible now that it plays on Lifetime in syndication) and "don't get it" at first ... It's not because it's not funny ... it's because you don't have the background on the characters - which is a huge part of the genius.
The other part of the genius is the writing. Anyone ages 25-40, living in NYC can attest that the writers constantly NAIL the time period, life stage, and comedic relevancy of that reality. (So yes - now that I'm thinking about it, I could perhaps relate HIMYM to Seinfeld...).
As dorky as it sounds, I've actually thought of who my favorite character is on the show - and I cannot come to a conclusion... I love them all.
- Barney is possibly the best character on Television (and one of the best acting jobs going)
- Marshall is so funny/interesting that his character was unintentionally the star of a very successful movie (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
- Ted is probably considered the "main" character - but he's not always the focus of the show.
- Robin has arguably had the best and most memorably funny story lines of the 4 seasons
- Lilly is the perfect fit for Marshall and a great Slap-bet Commissioner (The role also successfully un-type-casted the very difficult to overcome - "one time in band camp" character from American Pie. I mean - who thought she was ever going to be anything but that??)
If you want to buy my a birthday present and can't think of what to get me -- get me a HIMYM T-shirt (here's my current favorite - but the site is updated regularly) ;)
And if you do watch it and want to talk about how funny it is ... Then email me.... I'm happy to oblige. ;)