Sitcoms have almost disappeared from network television these days. Since the “Golden Era of Sitcoms” in the 1990s, with Seinfeld and Friends leading the way, comedies have really been replaced by dramas. If you look at the list of the most watched television shows each week, you will find serial dramas and reality shows. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any great comedies on TV today. There are plenty, but they mostly get overshadowed by the big-name dramas out there. But perhaps the most underrated sitcom on network television today is How I Met Your Mother. Still going strong into its fourth season, How I Met Your Mother has proven wrong the belief that this show couldn’t last past one season due to the “limited” premise.
For those that don’t know, How I Met Your Mother is set in both current days and in 2030, where a middle-aged Ted Mosby (the voice of Bob Saget) decides to tell his teenage children how he met and fell in love with their mother. The identity of the mother will likely be kept a mystery until the series finale. But meanwhile the series is filled of episodes with often indirectly related misadventures featuring a late 20-something Ted (Josh Radnor) and friends Marshall (Jason Segel), Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders).
The third season of How I Met Your Mother could perhaps be considered as the “climax” of the series. No one knows how long this show will last but during this season a lot of changes took place between the relationships of the core cast. Ted finally gets in a serious relationship that could perhaps lead to the revelation of the mother of his children. Robin progress in her newscaster career and her “friendly” relationship with Ted in the future starts to become more believable. Marshall and Lily faced serious relationship problems revolving around money issues, which every couple can relate to. We are even lead to believe that Barney might have fallen in love with one “special” girl. But don’t think that one of the most entertaining and unique characters in television comedy history isn’t the same old Barney. In fact, his antics could be better than ever this season.
The cast is still on top of their game during this season. They all have developed into a tight of group of friends that holds this show together and makes it better than most every other sitcom that has come out in recent years. This season also added a possible new “central” cast member in Sarah Chalke, who plays Ted’s potential “children’s mother”, Stella. She is a natural in this role and is also someone you can root for to be the mother, if that is where this storyline leads. This could lead to some trouble, if Stella turns out to not be the future mother, but that debate is left for another season. In addition, to a potential mother, there were a couple of notable guest appearances in Heidi Klum and Britney Spears. Both did respectable jobs, and Spears actually is less annoying as an actress than as a singer. She shouldn’t become an integral part of How I Met Your Mother, but at least her appearances during this season weren’t totally embarrassing for the show.
Despite the more “mature” tone of the show this season, the comedy and silliness were still on a high level. From a new ’80s pop music video featuring Robin Sparkles to the very special “Slapsgiving” episode to Barney deciding which former one-night-stand girl hates him the most using an NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket, this season keeps the momentum going that was created from the first two seasons. Just when you think How I Met Your Mother is ready to flame out, the writers and actors on the show continue to impress and put out their very best effort. It’s hard to compare the first three seasons of this show to each other, since each one was just as good as the previous one. That is the mark of a consisently funny and well-written sitcom. Season three could be the climax of How I Met Your Mother, but by this point this series looks like it could last as long as the writers and actors want to do it. That’s a far cry from the beginning when the show appeared to be limited to only one season.
Episode 1 – Wait For It
When Robin shows up with an Argentinean Adonis by her side, Ted decides he is ready to hit the town with Barney, and his performance is legen-wait for it-dary!
Episode 2 – We’re Not From Here
After seeing girls get weak in the knees over Robin’s man, Gael, who’s from Argentina, Barney and Ted decide to pose as out-of-towners, in order to meet chicks.
Episode 3 – Third Wheel
When two beautiful women show that they are both very attracted to Ted, they take the party to his place, where the gang helps Ted realize that bad luck doesn’t always come in threes.
Episode 4 – Little Boys
When “kid unfriendly” Robin surprisingly forms a bond with the young son of the guy she is dating, she decides it is too serious and must figure out a way to let the little guy down.
Episode 5 – How I Met Everyone Else
When Ted’s new girl becomes jealous that the story of how he and his pals met is better than the story of how she and Ted met, her ranking on Barney’s “crazy scale” skyrockets.
Episode 6 – I’m Not That Guy
When a corporate law firm courts Marshall, lawyer Jeff Coatsworth wins him over, forcing him to let go of his dream of saving the earth in favor of the almighty dollar.
Episode 7 – Dowisetrepla
When Lily and Marshall decide to buy an apartment, not only do they make every mistake in the book, but Marshall also discovers Lily’s dirty little financial secret when they apply for a loan.
Episode 8 – Spoiler Alert
When Ted thinks he has met a wonderful girl, the gang can’t help but point out a deal-breaking flaw, eventually leading to a heated exchange of barbs among the group.
Episode 9 – Slapsgiving
As Lily and Marshall host their first Thanksgiving as a married couple, Barney is tortured by the tick-tock of the slap bet countdown clock and the uncertainty of the exact moment the slap is going to be delivered.
Episode 10 – The Yips
When Barney loses his “mojo,” he attends the Victoria’s Secret Fall Fashion Show after-party to get himself back on track, but his smooth operating skills are put to the test when he meets supermodel Heidi Klum.
Episode 11 – The Platinum Rule
When the gang finds out that Ted is taking his doctor on a date, they try to convince him, through examples of their own toxic experiences, why it’s never a good idea to get into a relationship with someone you see on a regular basis.
Episode 12 – No Tomorrow
When Ted takes a page from Barney’s book and lives like there’s no tomorrow, he gets a post St. Patty’s Day reality check from Marshall.
Episode 13 – Ten Sessions
Continuing his passionate quest to find the woman who will one day be his wife, Ted pursues his beautiful dermatologist, Stella. While Stella turns down his repeated efforts for a date, her office receptionist, Abby, becomes smitten with Ted.
Episode 14 – The Final Four
When Barney’s love life is sabotaged by a mystery woman, he turns to tournament bracketology to narrow down the field of 64 women with the most cause to hate his guts.
Episode 15 – The Chain of Screaming
After Marshall is verbally emasculated by his boss, he struggles with the fact that taking a job with a “big bad” corporate law firm may have been a major mistake.
Episode 16 – Sandcastles In the Sand
When Robin rekindles things with an old flame, he crushes her again, but Barney, in his own inimitable style, helps her realize that she is awesome.
Episode 17 – The Goat
When a guilt-ridden Barney breaks the “Bro Code,” he struggles with the ramifications of his misstep.
Episode 18 – Rebound Bro
When Ted tells the gang Stella’s intimate secret, he must face the consequences of breaking her trust.
Episode 19 – Everything Must Go
When Barney and Abby realize that they have one thing in common – their mutual hatred of Ted – the “couple” decides to go to the bar to flaunt their new relationship in Ted’s face.
Episode 20 – Miracles
When Ted is in an accident, he re-evaluates his life and relationship with Stella.
The video is available in either anamorphic widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 or fullscreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is great and pretty much the same as you would find on the original high-definition presentation of this series. No major problems at all.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. The audio is just as strong as the video. No major problems here either.
Audio Commentaries –
There are 7 total audio commentaries for 7 different episodes this season. Carter Bays (creator), Craig Thomas (creator), Pam Fryman (director), and Sue Federman (editor) comment on “The Platinum Rule” episode. Carter Bays (creator), Craig Thomas (creator), Josh Radnor (actor), and Sarah Chalke (actress) comment on “The Ten Sessions” episode. Carter Bays (creator), Craig Thomas (creator), Neil Patrick Harris (actor), and Joe Kelly (writer) comment on “The Bracket” episode. Carter Bays (creator), Craig Thomas (creator), Cobie Smulders (actress), Pam Fryman (director) and Kourtney Kang (writer) comment on the “Sandcastles in the Sand” episode. Carter Bays (creator), Craig Thomas (creator), Cobie Smulders (actress), and Pam Fryman (director) comment on the “Miracles” episode. Alyson Hannigan (actress) and Jonathan Groff (consulting producer) comment on the “Everything Must Go” episode. comment on “The Chain of Screaming” episode. This is a good mix of entertaining and informative commentaries. The inclusion of both cast and crew is almost always a good recipe for watchable audio commentaries.
“Series Retrospective” Featurette –
This runs 3 minutes and it’s a basic Clip-filled recap of the first two seasons.
Lily and Marshall’s Honeymoon Video –
There are 4 home videos that total 11 minutes. These chronicle Marshall and Lily’s Scotland honeymoon that became less than ideal because of Marshall’s obsession with the Loch Ness Monster.
“Cast Favorites” Featurette –
This runs 5 minutes and it features the major cast members talking about their favorite episodes thus far. Pretty interesting to learn their thoughts.
“Behind the Scenes of ‘We’re Not From Here'” Featurette –
This runs 6 minutes and this is video footage from table reads, rehearsals and various aspects of production on an episode that included a flash forward to an old Marshall and Lily and Robin interacting with her “vacation self.” Pretty entertaining and informative at the same time, but a little too short to go really in-depth like it should.
“Additional Scenes: How It Really Happened”
These are basically 6 deleted scenes from the season that total 8 and half minutes. These mostly all revolve around sex.
Unrated Gag Reel –
This is 11 minutes worth of production bloopers with lots of “uncensored” language. A little long, but still very funny stuff.
“You Just Got Slapped” Music Video –
This is a full two minute version of Marshall’s slap-themed music video.
“Ted Mosby is A Jerk” Audio Track –
This is the complete 20-minute revenge song from TedMosbyIsAJerk.com set to the relevant episode, “The Bracket.” Craziness, but worth a watch.
Robin Sparkles’ “Sandcastles in the Sand” Music Video –
The complete music video for Robin Sparkles’ love ballad, featuring Cobie Smulders as Sparkles, James Van Der Beek as the Boyfriend and a cameo from Tiffany.
This was another solid season for How I Met Your Mother. If you are new to the show, you could jump right in with this season. Everyone should at least check this show out and give it a chance, because it has consistently proven to be one of the funniest shows on television today. The Office may get all the love, but HIMYM is right on the same level. In addition, fans of the series already won’t be disappointed in the extras in this season’s set.
20th Century FOX Home Entertainment presents How I Met Your Mother: Season Three. Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. Starring Josh Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, and Bob Saget. Running time: 429 minutes. NOT RATED. Released on DVD: October 7, 2008.Available at Amazon