For a while now, I’ve belonged to that group of people in fandom hell—those who aren’t sure just how they feel about a certain TV show. How I Met Your Mother (which will henceforth be referred to as HIMYM) has been on the air for eight seasons (around 7 years), and still no mother has been introduced. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show with all my heart, but there is a certain part of me that yearns for closure.
I’m not alone in this, mind you–there are even ex-fans who slowly became bitter and just wanted the show to end already. Regardless of all that, however, there is no denying that HIMYM is a great show, just like FRIENDS was in its heyday. And, like the awesome concepts that FRIENDS made up or popularized–who can forget the lobster theory or that shark porn episode?–HIMYM has also been a treasure trove of great ideas.
Here are some of my favorites:
Note: I’ll be using a lot of gifs here, and they are not the best when it comes to size so I apologize. But if you’re a HIMYM fan, you’d know exactly where they’re from.
The Olive Theory
The Olive Theory is all about opposites. If you can’t read the small text in that gif above, it says that the Olive Theory is based on Lily and Marshall: he hates olives and she loves them. In a weird way, that’s what makes them such a great couple: perfect balance.
Of course, the idea that opposites attract has been around for a long time, but I liked how the show focused on one small thing that set the two characters apart and stated that that was what made them work. It really brings to focus what a relationship is all about–we fight over the smallest things all the damn time without realizing that all these little differences are what makes us a great couple, because they prove that we are different, that we are not two peas in a pod. We are individuals who chose to love each other despite those differences, and that makes the relationship worth fighting for.
In the end of that episode, however, we find out that Marshall actually likes olives and just said that he didn’t so Lily can have his olives. A lot of people said that this undermined the theory, but I think they’re wrong. Marshall gave up something he loved to strengthen their relationship, and what could be more commendable than that?
Okay, this can be a bit hard to understand, especially if you’re not a sci-fi or Doctor Who fan. Everybody knows that anything that is beyond the realm of possibility is impossible, correct? But what about what’s beyond impossible? Well, that’s the place where possible and impossible meet, where nothing and everything can happen–the possimpible.
I don’t exactly know why but when I first heard this word, what came to mind were the works of Neil Gaiman. Have you read Good Omens? Neverwhere? The Graveyard Book? All these books are fantastical–with plots so out of this world to be considered sci-fi–but they are grounded on possibility, on a world that is ours (or, at the least, very similar to ours). So can we say that they can’t happen? Are they possible? Impossible? Possimpible?
In layman’s terms, the possimpible is something that we choose to be true. What’s possible and impossible is just something that we decide; we can say that one thing is possible while another person can call the same thing impossible. In that case, everything is possimpible, just waiting for you to come along and decide whether it’s going to be possible or not.
Your head in pain yet?
The Mermaid Theory
Hundreds of years ago, sailors who are forced to spend months on a ship in the middle of nowhere would get so desperate for female companionship that the manatees they see while sailing start looking like sexy women with fish tails and seashell bras. And that is where mermaids come from. (I am so telling my children this story.)
This story just proves the Mermaid Theory: that a man will eventually want to sleep with any woman after a period of time, no matter how initially repugnant. You see, every woman, no matter how ugly at first, has a Mermaid Clock, the time it takes for you to realize you want to bone her. The Mermaid Clock can tick for weeks, or months, or even years, but there will be a time when that girl you always considered a manatee will start turning into a beautiful mermaid, and you’re gonna be screwed.
Screwed is right, because the Mermaid Theory usually works for people you see all the time. Like your teacher. Or your secretary. Or that girl your bro has a crush on. Basically, people you do not want to get involved with. Three words: The Platinum Rule.
The Platinum Rule
Actually, there’s another Platinum Rule, and it takes off–like Barney’s version–from the Golden Rule taken from the Bible. Also known as the Ethic of Reciprocity, the Golden Rule states that you should ‘Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you’. The other Platinum Rule, instead of following the Golden Rule’s Treat others as you would like to be treated suggestion, bends it a bit and turns it to Treat others as they would like to be treated. This “rule” was initiated by Dr. Tony Alessandra and is associated with the Jung Personality Traits–he believes that once you find what kind of personality a person has, you can act accordingly and thus be good friends with that person.
Barney’s version is a little different.
He takes the Golden Rule and boils it down to a simple suggestion: love thy neighbor, which would lead into his Platinum Rule: “Never ever, ever, ever love thy neighbor.” According to Wikipedia, his point was that one should never date someone seen on a regular basis, e.g. someone at the same workplace, a next door neighbor, etc. because such relationships never work out in the end and lead to never-ending suffering, as those involved would see each other constantly.
I’ve always considered this as one of the most important rules of life, mostly because I grew up reading Dirk Pitt books and this is one of his unbreakable principles. Both Dirk Pitt and Barney believe that sleeping with someone you need to work with or someone you see everyday just leads to too many problems, and that’s something you can live without. Definitely.
We all have that one person we hate so much, or that one person that we’ve held a grudge against for so long that we no longer know how it is not to hate them. These are the people we refer to as a pit person–or someone you are obsessed with and/or hate so much that you’d throw them in a pit in your basement like that weirdo from Silence of the Lambs.
I think this episode (The Final Page, Part 1) was very philosophical, in a way, and offered a real way to let us know ourselves better. The episode mentioned a pit person. Who’s your pit person? Do you hate someone so much that you’d love to throw them in a pit and mock them everyday while they suffer? Did someone laugh at you and call you names when you were a kid, and you blame them for you not succeeding in life? Don’t you think it’s time to let that go?
This episode ended with the idea that maybe people who have a pit person in their life are just trying to shift the blame to something or someone else. They feel like they’re failing at life, so they try to blame it on that kid who bullied them at school , or the girl their ex-boyfriend ended up marrying. But, in the end, the person in the pit is them. They’re the ones down there, and they put themselves there. Maybe it’s time for a change. So help yourself out of that pit and live life without regrets, without looking back.
Who knows what might happen once you let go of all that baggage?
Being on the Hook
A few days ago, I wrote about being in the Friendzone and how much it sucks. Today, I realized that there is a much worse kind of hell than the Friendzone, and it is called being on the hook. My friend explained it to me in a very imaginative way. She said that being in the Friendzone is like being a fish in an aquarium with one of those decorative castles. The girl you like is in the castle, waving at you and even coming out to swim with you from time to time. She has no idea you like her, and considers you as a friend she can hang out with.
In her words: “When you’re on the hook, you’re not just inside the same aquarium – you’re tethered right outside her little castle like one of those plastic divers is holding you there in a death grip. When she wants you, you’re there – when she doesn’t want you, you’re still there. You get even less freedom than one of those dumb ass friend zone guppies, who at least gets to swim around and smash his face into the bowl to forget. When the other fish are ignoring her, or she doesn’t get enough food, or she gets fin rot, she comes down and you’re there to console her. When things start looking up again, or a bigger, manlier fish comes along, you’re left waiting while she swims off to get her swerve on.”
Some people call this phenomenon the ‘safety net’. But it’s not quite that. A safety net is your Plan B–if it doesn’t work out with the guy you really like, there’s another guy that you also like you can always settle for. Being on the hook is different because you’re never gonna end up with that guy, you just enjoy leading him on because you know he’s always gonna be there. So if you do this, know that you’re being a bitch and you should stop.
The Front Porch Test
In the course of our lives, we’re gonna have different kinds of relationships. There are gonna be people we really don’t know that much, people who are just casual acquaintances, Facebook friends that we added just to stalk their pretty pictures, pals from the past that we gradually lost touch with, family members we don’t really like, and ex-partners we just can’t seem to get rid of. And then there are the people who pass the ‘Front Porch test’.
The Front Porch Test goes like this: Think of your circle of friends right now. Then think ahead about fifty or so years into the future. You’re sitting on your front porch, with your white hair and your glasses, playing board games or whatever with the lifetime friends you’ve met along the way. Will your current friends be on that front porch with you? Do they belong there? Do you think they’ll stick around for that long? Do you want them to?
That’s the Front Porch Test. And whoever passes it is worth holding on to.
Of course, just because you can’t imagine someone you know right now being on that front porch with you doesn’t mean they’re not good friends. Give it time, things can change fast.
Rabbit or Duck
The episode that has this trope, which is also called Rabbit or Duck, revolves around a single image:
Like The Mermaid Theory, the point here is that given enough time, things will always change. And that’s the same thing with relationships. Something that seems gigantic right now might seem teeny-tiny when you look back on it a week from now. I think this applies best to misunderstandings. Couples fight over the smallest things–who holds the remote, which apartment to sleep in tonight, who gets to be on top–and they don’t realize that they’re looking at it all wrong. They’re sure that what they’re arguing about is so big that they’re willing to split up over it, only to realize later that it was too small to break up something so magical–but they gave it the power to do so.
I’m big on perspectives–because a change of perspective can do a lot. Which is why I really liked this concept and how it applies to relationships and life in general. You can look at something for hours and be sure that it’s a rabbit. But, if you look at it again after a few days, you’ll realize that it’s actually a duck. Relationships are like that.
Here’s another perspective-centric concept that I like–the graduation goggles. I believe in this because I’ve felt it, and I know you have too. And it’s not just with graduation, even though that’s the best example I have.
Remember when you were in high school? Statistically speaking, your high school experience was crap. It was filled with arrogant jerks, bitch-filled cliques, and those weird kids who can’t seem to stop bursting into song.
But remember the days leading up to graduation? High school didn’t seem so bad during those days. I bet you even started seeing scenes from your high school life flash before your eyes in sepia tone while Vitamin C’s Friends Forever played in the background. That’s what you call graduation goggles.
And, as I said above, this isn’t limited to graduation. About a year ago, I started thinking about quitting my job. I worked as a writer for some company and I hated the job. I clock in early in the morning, sit in my little cubicle while sipping coffee that tasted like monkey piss mixed with battery acid, and write until my fingers were sore and bleeding. But, after I’ve made the decision to quit, things no longer seemed so bad. Waking up wasn’t as hard. My little cubicle felt comfortable as hell. I even liked the taste of the coffee.
The same thing happens when you want to break up with someone. And this is where it can get dangerous, because all of the things you hate about them–which are the primary reasons why you wanna break up–wouldn’t seem so bad anymore. But remember: you cannot trust graduation goggles. Like Robin said, graduation goggles is the nostalgic feeling one has about a time or someone in their life when it is about to end, even if the time was completely miserable. But you can’t trust ’em. They are just as misleading as beer goggles, bridesmaid goggles, and that’s just a bulky outdated cell phone in his front pocket goggles.
This is one of the really original concepts that show why I love HIMYM. With this concept, Barney shows that a woman is allowed to be crazy as long as she is equally hot, meaning that on the Hot/Crazy Scale, she has to be above the diagonal line, or the Vicky Mendoza Diagonal.
Vicky Mendoza is a girl that Barney once dated and is, as far as I know, the only one who managed to go above and below the diagonal multiple times.
If you’ve read The Bro Code, you can see that there’s also a guide there for beginners who can’t differentiate crazy from hot (because come on, some things are both crazy and hot). Here’s a look-see for rookies:
Remember, she has to be above the diagonal or you’re screwed. Have you seen the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme? Yeah, that’s gonna be you.
The Cheerleader Effect
This is one of those things that have always been true but you only noticed it once someone has pointed it out. And in this case, that someone is Barney Stinson, who deserves the highest of fives.
Basically, The Cheerleader Effect states that when a group of women seem hot, you may not think the same when you view them individually. In other words, they’re only hot because they move as a pack–you get distracted by the overabundance of women that you automatically assume that everyone in the pack is hot. But, once you take a closer look, you’ll find that you won’t intentionally pick up any one of them.
The same is true for guys, I guess, but not so much. When I look at a group of guys, I usually feel sorry for them because they keep falling into a cliche–like the nerdy group, or that asshole clique.
Try it out. Google a picture of cheerleaders, and your brain will automatically tell you that everyone in the picture is hot. But then when you zoom in—BAM. Monobrows, chipped teeth, and crappy complexions galore.
Think about how you act when you’re with your parents. Needless to say, it’s very different from how you act when you’re with friends. In some cases, it might even be the same as how you acted when you were a kid. This is revertigo–when specific people trigger actions from us that are based on how we used to act when we were with them.
Urban Dictionary provided a perfect example for this: When Linda, the 50-year old elegant socialite, would squeal with delight, bounce on her heels, and speak in 70’s youth-vernacular whenever she got together with her sorority sister Patty. Her husband explained to his friend, “It’s just Revertigo.” (source)
This also happens to me whenever I spend time with my high school buddies. I keep finding myself acting like I did back in high school, and in some cases it was not at all cool. And it can also be a bit of a surprise for people around you who have never seen you act that way. So keep it classy, people.
The Lemon Law
Everyone knows what a ‘lemon’ is, even if you’ve never driven a crappy car before. Basically, a lemon is something that doesn’t and never will match up to certain standards–in this case, yours. So Barney’s Lemon Law goes like this: you agree to go on a blind date with a girl, sit at a table and appraise them for five minutes, then decide whether or not you want to commit to an entire evening. If you decide that she’s not worth it, you give them a Lemon Law card and say, “I’m sorry. I’m going to have to Lemon Law you.” and leave.
This is actually a pretty nifty idea, if it actually became a thing (it didn’t). You gotta admit that it’s a great way to get out of what’s looking like a bad date–at least you don’t have to fake sickness by sticking a finger in your mouth. Note: if you want to fake sickness, eat half a cigarette–after a few minutes, you’ll be puking your guts out. Trust me, it works.
Look, I know this post is getting pretty long so I promise, the next one is the last. I just wanted to commemorate the love month with this last HIMYM concept:
February 14th is Valentine’s Day–the day when flower shop sales skyrocket, when motel and hotel rates go through the roof, when condoms go out of stock, when babies are made, when chocolates are eaten by the box, when every Lover’s Lane is occupied, and when romantic restaurants are on Code Red. Ah, love is in the air.
It is also the day when most women wish they had someone to spend it with, because a woman with no date on Valentine’s Day is going to be ridiculed by the rest of the pack. The bullying starts well before the event itself, with questions like “What are you going to do on Valentine’s?” or “Who are you spending Valentine’s with?”. This is why our best bro Barney Stinson has realized that the 13th is when all this neediness reaches its climax, which is why that day is called Desperation Day.
And this is when you have to make your move. So go for it, tiger.
Why did I write this post? Well, you can say that I was watching How I Met Your Mother the other day and I just thought:
For more Valentine’s-themed posts, click here.