One thing I’m very aware of with “How I Met Your Mother” is the “thing.”
Every episode seems to have a subject matter that they talk about – doppelgangers, the Bro Code, The Threesome Belt. I feel ambivalent about it.
Take the Woo Girls for instance. The first time I ever saw this show, it was a few minutes of discussion between Robin and Lily about Robin being surprised her friend is a Woo Girl, and maybe she only celebrates the High Woo Girl Holidays. It was distracting. It was obvious. And it turned me off from the show.
Until my wife started Netflixing it. Now, watching it, I really enjoy the characters, and I even look for the “thing-of-the-week.” Although sometimes it could be more subtle, and it smacks of Puffy Shirts and Man Hands from Seinfeld, I’ve come to enjoy them.
The writers are smart. They know that people talk about TV shows in terms like this: “Hey, remember Slapsgiving!?” (Hell, I’m talking about it right now.)
What I Learned: Just as you have to have characters be distinct, the topics they talk about should be distinct as well. They can talk about things that are complex, but it’s so much better if it can be described by one word or a short phrase.