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DVD Review: How I Met Your Mother – Season Four

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After years of what felt like a collection of stale broadcast TV sitcoms, I was introduced to How I Met Your Mother. While I’ve never been a big fan of any particular sitcom, this show got me excited about the genre for the first time ever. I was introduced to it by my sister, who brought a borrowed copy of the third season on DVD home with her from college. I ended up watching a few episodes and was very pleasantly surprised by How I Met Your Mother — it was absolutely hilarious. While I always thought that sitcoms were just full of overly used jokes and cardboard characters, How I Met Your Mother was not only funny and fresh, but felt like it had more depth than the typical sitcom. I was hooked.

How I Met Your Mother
has a unique storytelling style that continues into season four. The overarching story is being told by an older Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) to his children. The series consists of a series of flashbacks from Ted's 20s and 30s about the lives of himself and his friends living in New York City and, ultimately, how he met his future wife. This frame may seem complex, especially if you haven't tuned in from the beginning, but it's done in a breezy, comfortable manner that feels natural and doesn't confuse viewers. I felt like it was a story that my father could have been telling me because sometimes there are flashbacks within the overarching flashback and scenes and timing are not perfectly linear, which is more like how a person would share memories — as they are triggered by something else, rather than chronologically.

In season four, the gang continues to mature as they enter their 30s. Ted successfully proposes to Stella (Sarah Chalke), but is left at the altar. Ted fights to come to terms with it, and later reenters the dating scene after becoming roommates with ex-girlfriend Robin (Cobie Smulders). Ted is later laid off from his job, and he decides to begin his own architecture firm. Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) struggles with growing feelings for Robin. While Barney continues his usual womanizing ways, tension grows between him and Robin as Barney's feelings start to come out. Meanwhile, Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) move into their new apartment and struggle with whether or not they're ready to have children. Each character's world changes throughout the series, building up for more antics in season five.

The cast of How I Met Your Mother does a perfect job of playing off one another, making the jokes and punch lines feel snappy and well-utilized. While many comedies run the risk of overdoing jokes, How I Met Your Mother does a fantastic job of balancing the joke surrounding an episode with all of the characters. By far, the best (and most hilarious) character in this show is the awe-(wait for it…)-some Barney Stinson with his unnamed corporate job, endless supply of suits, and constant bedding of various women. Barney is always up to something off-the-wall and funny, no matter what's happening in the lives of the other characters.

The season four DVD set includes all 24 episode on three discs in widescreen format with English 5.1 Dolby Surround sound plus English, French, and Spanish subtitles — not to mention a great selection of bonus features. These features include a recap of season three, episode commentaries, a gag reel, "A Night with Your Mother" special featuring an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion, a hilarious gag video about how awesome Barney is, and an extended scene from "The Fight."

Season four is another great chapter in the How I Met Your Mother saga. The series is just as humorous as when it first began, and the characters continue to be interesting and funny. The amazing thing for me about this series is how it can cover such a range of emotions in just one episode. I don't usually respond to TV or movies emotionally, but How I Met Your Mother can make me roll around laughing and takes me to the brink of tears in the same episode. I can't wait for the new season to start.

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