I wanted to start this post off with a crazy title because I want to talk about our societies seemingly insatiable need to quantify and rank everything. Why do we do that? Why can’t we just enjoy something for what it is instead of wondering if it is better than something else?
If you don’t think it is a problem check out watchmojo.com. They have lists for everything and when I say everything I mean everything. Like here is their list of the Top 10 Ruthless Dictators (this is wrong on so many levels).
They also have a Top 10 Infamous Mass Shootings and a Top 10 Worst Humans of All Time. Why? Why does such a thing need to exist and what does it say about human nature that it does? I think we feel an innate need to make order out of chaos and somehow ranking everything makes us make sense of what we don’t understand. But I think just because it is a natural impulse does not necessarily mean it is good.
Why would we never rank the people we love? Why do most people refuse to admit they have a favorite kid? Well because we love them all in different ways. The things I love about my Dad are so different than my Mom that ranking one above another is completely impossible.
The more I’ve thought about it I think that is the case with almost all rankings (or hate them all equally depending on the list!). I always want to have about 10 ties because I like things the same or I appreciate different things in different ways.
I first thought about this when I was ranking the Disney Canon for my Disney blog. I’m happy with my list. It is fairly accurate of my feelings but I am also a little frustrated with it. A lot of people were upset with me having The Lion King at 13 and I was upset too because I love that movie. Same with Aladdin which got pushed down to 19!
My rationale was Lion King humor is a little annoying and a few of the songs are a little corny but it’s great. I love it. It has a fantastic villain, amazing artistry and a story that pulls at my heartstrings. Aladdin was 20 simply because I think the 18 other films are more artistically special but I love Aladdin so it’s very frustrating.
In a way it is kind of silly to compare the movies. I mean there isn’t much in common between Fantasia and Aladdin aside from being animated movies and yet there I was comparing them. Why? Because I felt I had to make a list after watching all 54 films. I felt my readers wanted it and I felt a need to do it myself as a conclusion of the project.
I’ve also seen this list making tendencies in my Survivor forum that I’m a part of. People are constantly wanting to rank Survivor winners, contestants, and seasons. The great thing about Survivor is no two winners are the same (except for Sandra who won twice!). Meaning each one has used a different strategy and won in a different way, so ranking them becomes kind of futile.
I guarantee you if I were to make a ranking of winners there would be people who would be upset with me for putting so and so too high, and so and so too low. People would debate it for hours and not the pleasant kind of debate (at least IMO). The kind of debate that is exhausting.
Just like I was left frustrated at Aladdin at 19 I am sure I would be frustrated with a winner I love not being high enough on my own list!
I prefer lists that are in no particular order and just a bunch of things I like but even those can be frustrating because I invariably forget to include something. Like the other day I made a list of my favorite Disney sidekicks and going into it was going to put Sgt Tibbs from 101 Dalmatians and I completely forgot about him!
What do you think about this tendency of our society to quantify, list and rank everything? Do you like it or are you sick of it like I am? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section. Thanks!
Gather round folks let me tell you about a little show I have loved called How I Met Your Mother. Back in 2009 I wrote about it in one of my first posts to get a decent amount of hits. Regina Spektor and the Murtaugh List
At that point I described it as ‘my favorite show’ and while it has fallen on hard times in the writing department the last 3 years, it will always be one of my favorite shows ever.
If you don’t know the conceit of the show is a middle aged man named Ted sits his kids down and tells them how he met their mother. This narration continues each episode for all 9 seasons- long story! (It really should have ended at season 6).
In truth, the title might have been more correct as ‘How WE met your mother’ because it is not just Ted’s story but also his best friends Marshall (Jason Segal), Lily (Allison Hannigan), Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). The cast is legend-wait for it- dary.
The key to this type of sitcom is a likable cast and they are incredibly likable. Enough so to keep me interested even when the writing got super lame.
Ted is that friend we all have who wants a relationship so badly they never seem to be able to keep a relationship. Lilly and Marshall are the sweet married couple we all wish we could be like.
Robin is the career obsessed, practical girlfriend most of us girls know (or are) and Barney, well there’s nobody I know like Barney (thankfully). He’s the womanizing cheese ball who admittedly gets most of the good laughs.
Anyway, with the finale airing tomorrow night, I thought it would be fun to share with all of you my favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother.
All of these episodes are available for streaming on netflix so give them a watch and see if you think it as charming a show as I do. I really loved getting to know these characters over 9 years.
Top 10 How I Met Your Mother Episodes
1. Murtaugh (episode 19 season 4)
Let’s start with the episode that inspired me to blog. Ted creates a list of things things he’s too old to do now that he has turned 30 including attending a rave, getting an ear piercing, toilet papering, sleeping on a cot at a friends house etc.
Barney then decides to do everything on the list to prove he is still young and it sends him to the ER. I related enough to this idea enough to create my own list.
2. Monday Night Football (season 2 episode 14)-
Every year the group meets up to watch the Super Bowl but this year a guy from their favorite bar dies and the funeral stops them from watching. So, they DVR the game and have to go 24 hours without finding out the score. This proves to be especially difficult for Robin given she is a news reporter.
Given my recent rant on spoiler complainers it is probably of no surprise I find this episode funny. The effort each one must go to in order to stay away from the Super Bowl winner is very entertaining and it made me think of the good times I’ve had with friends over the years watching something on TV.
3. Lucky Penny (season 2 episode 15)-
Ted and Robin are racing through the airport trying to make a flight to Chicago for the interview of his dreams. As they run, they try to figure out who is to blame for them being late.
Is it Barney running the NY Marathon and then losing his ability to use his legs? Or perhaps Lilly for wanting to camp out in front of a bridal salon next to a car alarm going off? Maybe it is Marshall breaking his toe?
As they unwind the events that caused them to be late we can’t help but think back to similar moments in our own lives and the seemingly insignificant puzzle pieces that led up to them.
4. Slap Bet (Season 2 Episode 9)-
Robin refuses to go to the mall with the gang and everyone starts guessing why. Marshall and Barney make a bet called a slap bet where the person who wins gets to slap the loser as hard as they can.
The results of said bet are carried out through each season creating one of the best story threads for the show. It is also the introduction of Robin Sparkles, Robin’s teenage popstar alter ego.
5. Arrivederci, Fiero (Season 2 Episode 20. Season 2 had a lot of my favorites)-
In this episode Marshall’s beloved car, the Fiero, finally conks out after nearly 200k miles. For Marshall this is a symbol of his youth and it turns out to have sentimental value for all of the gang.
Perhaps the reason this season really hit me so hard is that it was 2007 when I was so unhappy at work and both Marshall and Ted are struggling with work-related issues. Marshall had dreamed of doing environmental law but with a new wife and her spending habits he is forced to take a corporate sell-out job.
At the same time Ted is working for a pompous idiot who has stifled his creativity and yells at him. I just related to the story of becoming an adult and how the work-world isn’t always what you thought it would be when you were in college.
The other day I was going through my dishes with my roommate and I still have my melmac plates from college. The idea of getting rid of them made me cry. That’s what Marshall feels with the death of his car.
There is also probably more backstory to the characters in this episode than any others. In a funny scene we learn that Barney doesn’t know how to drive:
6. Matchmaker- (Season 1, Episode 7)
I really only like this episode because of the B storyline. The A story is about Ted and Barney going to a matchmaker service and Ted finding out there are 8 women for him in the fishbowl that is New York City. In fact, there may not even be 8…
The B story is one of my favorites because it shows off Marshall’s innocence and charm. He is extremely superstitious and one afternoon He and Lilly see a creature in their apartment. She thinks it’s a cockroach. He thinks it’s a mouse.
After seeing it again they conclude it is the ‘cockamouse’. Skeptic Robin doesn’t believe them and scoffs at their crazy notions.
7. Spoiler Alert (Season 3 episode 8)-
Ted is dating what he see’s as the perfect girl but his friends can’t stand her. He can’t figure out what the problem is and they warn him about spoiling the image he has created of this girl.
Finally after incessant begging they tell him how she talks and talks and suddenly it starts driving him crazy. He didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out but once they did he can’t get it out of his head.
Through the course of the episode each of the friends has a similar spoil behavior- Lilly chews to loudly, Robin says literally all the time, Ted corrects everyone, Marshall is always singing etc…
I think most people who have friends or family can relate to this episode. We all put up with our friends bad habits because we know they are putting up with ours.
8. Intervention (Season 4 episode 4)-
Ted is engaged to Stella who he has only known for 6 months and the gang is concerned he is rushing into things. He is about to move to New Jersey to be closer to her when he finds out his friends are going to hold an intervention to show how worried they are.
It turns out this intervention strategy has been used many times before by the gang for things like Marshall’s ugly pants or Lilly’s Scottish accent.
We see the intervention come up in later episodes and it is a funny plot device. It’s just a well written funny episode.
9. Dowistroplia (Season 3 episode 7)-
Marshall and Lilly are thinking of buying an apartment but Lilly has a secret credit card debt she hasn’t told Marshall about. What makes this episode funny is the narrator gives us what the friends ‘should have said’ and then quickly what they actually said. For example, when Marshall see’s the apartment:
Marshall Eriksen: I’m going to stop you right there. Don’t bother with the hard sell. We can’t afford this place just now, and besides, we just started looking.
Narrator: Is what Marshall should have said.
Marshall Eriksen: I’m going to stop you right there. I love it! We’ll take it!
This rang true for me. How many times have friends asked you for feedback when what they really want is just a reassurance of what they have already done? It is also a great Marshall and Lilly episode because she finally has to admit she has a huge problem and debt.
10. Stuff (Season 2 Episode 16)-
Ted and Robin start off the episode with a fight. She doesn’t like how most of the items in his apartment were given to him by ex-girlfriends. She wants him to get rid of all the ‘stuff’. Then he finds out that her 5 dogs are presents from boyfriends and Ted get’s upset calling Robin a hypocrite. Instead of dogs he now see’s her 5 ex-boyfriends hanging around her all the time.
That is all funny but the true cream of this episode is when Lilly asks the gang to come to her avant garde play which is awful. Barney is the only one who tells her he hated it and she’s offended.
To show her his side Barney makes them all go to his play where he dresses up like a robot, says the word moist over again and sprays Lilly with a squirt gun. It is also the 2nd showing of the slapbet. ,
I found this episode funny because haven’t we all been to that terrible recital or play to support a friend? I have no doubt that some have done that for me, that’s for sure!
So that’s my list. What are some of your favorites? I didn’t have any later episodes. Any those that you particularly like?
If you haven’t watched the show and have Netflix check out these episodes. I’d be surprised if they don’t at least make you smile.
(Oh another one I love at Christmas is How Lilly Stole Christmas)