Disclaimer: The following article refers to fictional depictions of sexual assault, transphobia, homophobia, and racism. Reader discretion is advised.
how I Met Your Motheris certainly legendary when it comes to sitcoms for its lovable ensemble cast, heartwarming storytelling, and hilarious in-between jokes. But, like many shows from the early 2000s, it’s not immune to things that haven’t aged well.
From racist behavior to slut-shaming to very unexpected and unfunny transphobia, HIMYM — while one of CBS’ The best comedies with far more good than bad – always had its goofy and downright disrespectful moments.
Ranjit (Marshal Manesh) was the gang’s favorite taxi driver from Bangladesh, who greeted them with a “Hello!” each time, they all piled into his taxi. As adorable of a recurring character as he was, he was also portrayed in an incredibly racist way.
While Ranjit revealed he was from Bangladesh in the first episode, the show gave him an Indian name while having him speak Farsi in some episodes, throwing features from many counties together to make him the image. of a foreign taxi driver in New York. .
For a show set in New York with an openly gay lead actor, it was still surprising to see so many homophobic jokes. You could attribute this to early 2000s humor, but nonetheless, it still wouldn’t fly today.
Between how Lily is (Alyson Hannigan) attraction to Robin (Cobie Smulders) was used simply for comic relief, Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) attempt to “dress like” a lesbian to hit on a queer woman, and the male character’s constant use of the word “gay” as a slur for anything remotely “feminine” leaves a bad taste in the mouth after watching.
Barney’s sexual assaults
Barney Stinson’s character was meant to be a gambler, a womanizer, someone whose sole purpose in life was to sleep with women. But there were plenty of instances where the show took Barney’s personality and antics too far and bordered on sexual assault.
If it’s not Barney’s constant tricks and ploys to get a woman to bed, it’s the fact that he films their intimate moments without their consent, keeps a list of all the women he’s slept with, and describes himself. like a guy who always has a “yes.”
It was an unfortunate trend of early 2000s shows – Friends, The Office, and even how I Met Your Mother – to make big direct jokes. On several occasions, the characters would insult a person’s weight, but no one did as much as Patrice.
Aside from the obvious abuse in the workplace, Robin constantly ridiculed his colleague Patrice (Ellen D. Williams) ballast. While the point of the race was for Robin to go after Patrice’s cuteness, it often came at the expense of poking fun at the character’s weight.
Slut-shaming happened most often on HIMYM, especially by the female characters. Lily and Robin would always put the girls Barney slept with to shame, and Robin herself was considered a bitch for once falling in love with one of Barney’s plays.
The show even had an entire episode titled “Slutty Pumpkin” which – while a notable episode in the HIMYM timeline – always shameful Katie Holmes‘, who dressed up in a skimpy pumpkin costume one Halloween.
The Hot/Crazy Scale
HIMYM was famous for calling women “crazy”, whether in a relationship or after ending it. The men on the show sucked and joked about it, even though they weren’t very humorous then or now.
Barney even admits to having a “hot/crazy” scale, in which he weighs a girl’s hotness with her “craziness” and decides she has a right to be “crazy” as long as she’s equally hot, which must be the pinnacle of misogyny for this show.
“Who’s Hot and Who’s Scott?”
Probably the most problematic “joke” of HIMYM was the game Who’s Hot and Who’s Scott played by the gang, in which they observed a group of women and tried to choose the transgender woman.
It’s offensive in so many ways and it would never get done in a sitcom today, the way Chandler from FRIENDS has always been humiliated by the fact that his father was a transgender woman. And if the HIMYM a gang’s careless use of transphobic slurs isn’t bigoted enough, so this so-called game certainly is.
Jokes about female sides of male characters
It’s a trope that’s slowly but surely moving away from TV now, but back then HIMYM aired, it was typical for a male character’s femininity to be the subject of one joke – or more.
It was usually at Ted’s (Josh Radnor) feminine side that was mocked, but Marshall certainly had his moment, during which Lily would often respond with “Stop being such a girl!” while Barney tossed out a fascinating 90s and early 2000s insult: “Gay!”
The racist episode
As if Ranjit’s character wasn’t racist enough, the show had to have the entire main cast engage in cultural appropriation.
It was in the season 9 episode “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment In Slapmarra” where the entire white main cast dressed as Chinese, even using fake Chinese accents. Unsurprisingly, this naked display of racism sparked outrage online after it aired in 2014.
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