Written by Caballero Oscuro
While it may always carry some stigma of being a Friends clone, How I Met Your Mother is a consistently entertaining and sharply written show that stands strongly on its own merits. Led by the breakout performance of Neil Patrick Harris as charming womanizer Barney, and ably abetted by his amiable co-stars, the show has somehow managed to eke out nearly 100 episodes while still concealing the identity of the titular mother.
Each episode begins with a narrator (Bob Saget) as the “father” in the future as he regales his kids with never-ending tales of his bachelorhood. If I was one of the kids, I would have walked out around episode two, but at this point the framing device is more of an in-joke than anything else. The real show is the father’s present-day bachelor adventures with his group of friends as he continues his search for a wife. Just like Friends, it’s odd how much time the friends spend with each other and how they fund their comfortable lives in Manhattan with so little focus on work, but put aside the logic and just let the snappy writing work its magic.
Near the end of Season 3, Ted the father (Josh Radnor) had entered a serious relationship with Stella (Sarah Chalke), while Barney set his sights on Robin (Cobie Smulders), and Marshall and Lily (Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan) continued their happy marriage. Could Stella be the mother? Nope. Season 4 quickly dispels that theory with a traumatic near-wedding that leaves Ted emotionally scarred. This being a comedy, he recovers fairly quickly and continues his quest for his soul mate. Barney’s affections are also put on the back burner for the bulk of the season while he continues his legendary bachelorhood, while Marshall and Lily continue being Marshall and Lily. In short, it’s more of the same from the previous three seasons, with a new assortment of memorable moments that include the introduction of the “Woo Girls,” an extreme dating technique called the "Naked Man," and Barney’s unique approach to video resumés.
The DVD box set condenses the full series onto three discs. The bonus features are scattered throughout the discs and include commentaries, a Season 3 recap, a Barney music video, a gag reel, and footage from the cast’s appearance at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
How I Met Your Mother Season 4 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.