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Love’s the best thing we do: saying goodbye to How I Met Your Mother

I noticed something during the penultimate episode of How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) which (a) will prove what a religion geek I can be even when watching television, and (b) prompted me to write this post. Last Monday, during three pivotal scenes, pictures of Jesus were displayed in the background – I re-watched the episode recently to be sure. On the wall in the bridal suite where Robin is talking with Ted about being tempted to leave Barney at the altar and run away with him, hangs a portrait of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the next scene Ted is in the hallway holding a locket Robin had been looking for, the one she’d hoped would be a sign of who she ought to marry (it’s a long story). On the wall behind Ted is a picture of Jesus, the Good Shepherd holding a lamb. Later, and maybe the one that is intended just for humor, in Barney’s Groom Suite is a picture of DaVinci’s Last Supper – perhaps an allusion to Barney the playboy’s legend—wait-for-it—dary string of one night stands coming to an end. I’m not sure what (if anything) the writers/directors were going for with use of the religious imagery, but through the years of watching HIMYM I have been impressed with what they have been doing with this show.

All this reminded me once again that while this show has been crude and sexist at times, there has also been this streak of goodness in it. We Christians are good at pointing out what is wrong with things – we have quite a reputation for doing that – but I think we have a higher calling to celebrate what is good. As the Apostle Paul puts it in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (NRSV). On the day when Ted will finally tells us how he met his wife and the mother of his children, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate something right about How I Met Your Mother.