Ooh! Ooh! My turn! My turn! My five favorite things:
5. How I Met Your Mother‘s Sly References to My Life
I realize that this may not interest anyone but me, but that’s why it’s at No. 5. And I also realize that a lot of people also say, “That show is just like my LIFE!” when, in fact, the similarities are not all that impressive. (Wow, you wear overpriced clothes and guzzle down pink drinks at horrible, sceney bars? You’re just like the people on Sex and the City.) In fact, if you’re around my age, and especially if you’re my age and you live in New York, there are probably a lot of things about How I Met Your Mother that resemble situations from your life.
But there are a couple really, really specific references to my life in How I Met Your Mother, and I love seeing them turn up. The first is that the creator went to my college, and he’s always including little nods to the alma mater. At first it was just a college tee-shirt here and there, until they finally admitted that the characters went to my school. But even better than the outright admission are the little references: For example, Marshall briefly worked at a law firm called Nicholson, Hewitt, and West—which happened to be the names of our three freshmen dorms.
But even better than that is my favorite reference of all—which, fine, happened in 2007, but like Dan I didn’t see the episode until 2008, so it counts—is the episode where they make fun of my favorite hometown amusement park: Rye Playland. In HIMYM it turns up as “Tuckahoe Funland,” probably because they make reference to a myriad of deaths that have happened there. Sadly, this is true for my park as well.
4. Cameron’s Small Wonder Moments
When prompted to justify why I still watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I usually say I tune in to see robots fight other robots. And yes, that is probably the reason why I watch the show—it sure ain’t to hear a thoughtful and sound meditation on time travel.
But really, my favorite parts on the show are when they make fun of Cameron’s robotic cluelessness. She’s needlessly literal, like Amelia Bedelia! She has no social graces and tells people their exact weight to their faces! She learned how to say, “That’s tight!” Really, it’s kind of hilarious. This is probably my favorite exchange on the whole series, and it starts with Cameron looking blank-eyed in the middle of the living room:
Cameron: This is the absolute center of the house.
John: Excellent, good work.
Cameron: The house is moving.
Cameron: Moving. The east by southeast section of the house is moving.
John: Really. Where’s it going?
Cameron: Down. At a rate of point nine three millimeters per year.
John: And what? Does that affect the security system or, uh, sightlines with the night scope—how does this affect the safety of one John Connor?
Cameron: It doesn’t. But next summer, we’re going to have to repaint.
Yes, it has nothing to do with fighting cyborgs or saving the universe from Skynet, but I like when they take the time to consider the actual real-life complications of living with a robot.
3. Amy Ryan’s Earnestness
I thought she was good as a toughened Southie in Gone, Baby, Gone, but Amy Ryan is even better as a guileless dork-match for Michael Scott on The Office. His life depresses me, and somehow it was even sadder to learn that there were two of them out there. Then it was even more heartbreaking that they didn’t get to stay together.
The most heart-wrenching fact of all is knowing that they have no immediate plans to bring her back. I know she’s super-talented and probably is moving on to bigger and better things, and it would’ve been hard to sustain Holly and Michael together without it getting sickening. But it’s not as easy as it looks to so goofy and so likable, and she was a good member of the ensemble.
2. Futurama‘s Nerdly Goodness
Futurama gives me hope that every canceled show I love might somehow find a second life somewhere. (I try not to be bitter that a uglier, less funny animated show got canceled around the same time, and brought back to spawn a rip-off and a spin-off, but that’s besides the point.) The best thing about 2008 is that it saw TWO Futurama movies: Beast with a Billion Backs and Bender’s Game. What’s even better is that both of these movies manage to be very different: the first is kind of a B-movie that, if I’m honest, grosses me out a little. (They use the word “genticle,” as in a cross between “genital” and “tentacle.”) As a result, I prefer the second, which is more of a sci-fi fantasy epic, which I like because it sticks it to the Lord of the Rings movies. Keep ’em coming, geeks!
1. Olive Snook’s Musical Interludes
I love Pushing Daisies. I love it when Olive Snook sings. I promised myself I wouldn’t overuse the clip of her doing “Eternal Flame,” but oh, what the heck. Watch and try not to be moved.
They earn extra points for the way Ned interrupts every time she says, “Say my name!”
Here are the five things I shout most often at the television. I’ll let you guess which shows I’m talking about.
5. “It’s not lupus!”
4. “I don’t think we should record this next season.”
3. “She’s a robot!”
2. “Is this a flashback or a flash-forward?!”