Practical Media Discernment

I have a love/hate relationship with How I Met Your Mother. It is very similar to my relationship with Grey’s Anatomy. They are both TV shows that I love and will make an effort to stay current on, although I am regularly still at work when they air. (That hasn’t been true for Grey’s in a while, but only because Thursday night work activities don’t require my presence as regularly.) They are both shows with great characterization, which is really what I need in a TV show. If I’m not laughing constantly, I need someone to identify with, to root for, to hate, and to love. And yes, those can be the same person, depending on how the show goes. HIMYM isn’t even really about how Ted met his kids’ mother anymore, and I love it for and in spite of that. (I love Friends, too!)

love and hate playing cards

photo by Patricia Lobo

At the same time, I hate them both so much. The characters make so many life decisions that I think are ill-advised at best and idiotic at worst. Barney Stinson is the scum of the Earth. None of the Grey’s characters can have a healthy marriage to save their lives (not even Meredith and Derek, though they’re doing the best so far). Almost all the things I consider morally objectionable have been done by characters on those shows.

Yet I can’t stop watching. I’m secure enough in myself to watch without the urge to imitate, but I never forget that many people will judge me as a hypocrite for not just avoiding that content altogether. I’m not willing to live in a bubble, though. I might pick and choose what morally offensive content I’m willing to put up with, but it’s still my prerogative to do so. I’m a big girl. I stand by my decisions.



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