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'How I Met Your Mother': An Ideological Character Analysis

The CBS comedy hit “How I Met Your Mother” stars Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris and Neil Patrick Harris’ suits. What I’ve come to appreciate about the show is its ability to portray various situations that happen in real life, for instance, the death of a family member, the thought and reaction of a fiancée leaving you, or your parents getting a divorce.

All of these have happened to characters on the show. At the same time, the show has its surreal moments that I like to whine about; mainly the fact the show has become the “Lost” of TV comedies. While muddling through seasons, trying to get a glimpse of Ted’s future wife, the series seems to generate more questions than it answers. And these questions aren’t able to form into theories somewhere down the line. It’s more of a, “How does a story with a goat in the bathroom help Ted find his one true love?” kind of question. But I digress.

What I’ve come to witness is the balance of the political spectrum the show offers. While there have been a few references to Republicans, I tend to look past my eye-rolling and focus on the characters and their values. Say what you will about this show, the characters have some clever niche added to them nearly every episode. Therefore, I proclaim to know where Lily, Marshall, Barney, Robin, and Ted will vote on their ballots in the upcoming election. Let us start from stage left:

Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) – Lily graduated from NYU with Marshall and Ted (you can go ahead and chalk up one liberal point each to them). In college she partook in smoking, let’s just say, “sandwiches” in case Ted’s future children are reading. Combine these with teaching (probably in a teacher’s union) and spending money she doesn’t have, thus giving her and Marshall a terrible credit ranking. The writers have beefed up her character in some respects. While flawed, she redeems herself as seasons progress. After leaving Marshall and the gang for San Francisco, Lily rights her wrong and later not only re-commits herself to Marshall, but also what it takes to be a wife, and eventually a mother. But what’s with not taking Marshall’s last name? Voting for: Obama 2012.

Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel): Born and bred in Minnesota, the Fiero-driving lawyer is best friend to main character Ted Mosby. More often than not, Marshall is the guiding light for Ted. I’d argue he is probably the most “real” character on the show. We’ve all experienced the goofy, singing-about-every-thing-he-does, winning every game imaginable, humble best friend. But the dude left a high paying Goliath job to work for the David of all causes: the environment. Sigh. Hopefully it wasn’t a company mentioned in the news recently and received taxpayer money. His dedication to Lily goes unmatched. I have high respect for the guy who would walk 500 miles for his wife. But still. It’s the environment. Lawyered. Voting for: Obama 2012.

Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor): I appreciate Radnor’s portrayal of Ted. Many complain the actor is cheesy, but the character is supposed to be cheesy. I’m convinced he holds some merits of conservatism. He is desperately in search of a long, monogamous relationship (called marriage in some places), is independent, and an accomplished architect. These, and his moralistic stance on his younger sister’s “first time” suggest Ted holds a strong compass near his T-square. The biggest drawback of the character is that while he makes some decisions on his own every now and then, he usually ends up taking Marshall’s advice on the subject. Hence, Voting for: Obama 2012.

Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris): Stinson is the second-most developed character on the series, behind Ted. His quick wit and Harris’ impeccable timing is the reason most audiences tune in, constituting his performance as LEGEN- wait for it… While he may have been conceived as the off-the-wall character, he has grown into an individual taking charge. Barney was at one point the fantasy that we want to see in ourselves, whether it’s being able to convince others of his (fake) family, owning a television so big the burning sensation doesn’t go away, or sporting a pajama-suit. Without giving anything away, the writers have changed this up quite a bit. When he is not “working” in his high paying job, ordering merch from Sky Mall, or convincing Ted to think for himself, he is probably hanging out with his gay brother played by Wayne Brady. Rich, pro-individualism, and tolerant. Voting for: Ron Paul, Write-in Ballot.

Robin Scherbatsky (Colbie Smulders): Ah Robin, my right-wing lady. Robin hails from the great white north. While it’s true that Canada is seen as a more liberal nation, there are parts of Canada conservative as the Deep South. I’ll go ahead and throw out that Robin comes from the latter. Besides, it’s obvious from the way she holds her pistol at the shooting range this is not her first rodeo. She has been known to order Johnny Walker Blue and enjoy a fine cigar while pant-suiting up. She is the dog-loving yuppie news anchor minus the Wall Street cash. Without a doubt, her biggest conservative quality is her individualism. While her talents regarding malls and sandcastles fell by the wayside, she applied herself and became a familiar face on televisions of New York. God Bless hard work and determination. Voting for: Republican Nominee and/or Sarah Palin 2012.

Dary.

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