The Emotional & Generational Resonance of How I Met Your MotherI feel like I’ve been playing emotional chicken with myself.

After watching the first eight seasons of How I Met Your Mother from start to finish – two or three times, I might point out – I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the ninth and final season.

I also put off getting the DVD. You know how these things are – they take so long to come out, and by the time they do, you forget.

But even more than that, I could feel the emotional content ramping up in the series, and that added to my reservations. Plus, I’d heard things. One of my roommates – should I point out she’s Asian? – said, “So serious.”

More recently, she also pointed out, “It ends with the two people you’d suspected all along getting together.”

Hmm… I began to wonder if I could even live with the ending.

Why was I so invested in this series? Well, even I think I’m a tad irrational about this whole thing, but to understand that, we’re going to have to play jump rope with timelines a bit (a style I’m sure my fellow Motherians will appreciate – I’m sorry, I won’t say Motherians again).

And for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I’m not going to do a deep analysis of every season, touch on all of the classic inside jokes and references, or obsess about the little inconsistencies (ever notice how Barney is deathly afraid of driving Ted’s car in one season, and in a subsequent one he’s seen speeding so he can attempt to talk his way out of speeding tickets?).

I’m sure I could talk about that stuff for hours, so let’s move right along.

Oh, and if you’ve never watched the show, there will most definitely be spoilers ahead. Be forewarned.

***

I’m not going to do a lot of explaining here, because I’m sure anyone reading this is a fan of the show… or you just like to read my stuff (in which case, thanks for reading!).

How I Met Your Mother is a sitcom that ran from 2005 to 2014. It had a really good run.

When it first came out, it was one of those shows that, if it was on TV, I would watch it (that’s a long time ago now – I haven’t had TV in years). I’d catch a few episodes here and there, and I really loved it.

But what really solidified my love for the show was a family trip down to Portland and California (I live in Canada, by the way – insert some joke about maple-glazed donuts and Zambonis here).

While in California, my step sister was having her graduation, and I ended up not being able to attend due to a lack of seats or some such.

So I had a night alone with a laptop… No, it’s not what you think. It was my step brother’s friend’s laptop, and on it he happened to have a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

Actually, I’m a little foggy on the details. I think my step brother was around while I was watching, at least part of the time.

Anyway, when I sat down to enjoy a few episodes, I just felt that the show got me. The humor was undeniable, and I was hooked.

***

That was around 2009. In retrospect, you probably only had to say three names to get my attention. Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, and Bob Saget? I’m in!

But let’s not forget that they also brought us The Karate Kid himself Ralph Macchio and his opponent William Zabka (the true hero), who was present for a good chunk of the final season. Wow, they so get me. I didn’t mind a lot of the other cameos either, even if they felt a little more canned.

Britney Spears, Alan Thicke, Nicole Scherzinger, Mandy Moore, Jorge Garcia, some of the cast from NewsRadio… these were some of the better picks.

So it was around that time, after returning from California, that I started collecting the DVDs. Strange how irrelevant DVDs have become since that time – but I do have the full HIMYM collection now.

And after watching the first couple of seasons, the perfect balance of comedy and sentimentality grabbed me anew. The sentimental aspect was mostly lost on me until I started watching every episode.

In subsequent seasons, the show started getting a little edgier (a little), and began emphasizing the comedy over the sentimental part. But you knew that the emotional content would return. Let me come back to that.

***

I am convinced that How I Met Your Mother is really the show for my generation. Or, at least, it is for people like me.

It really made me feel stuff – some stuff that, when I was watching the first couple of seasons, wasn’t too distant in my memory.

Amazingly, I was actually able to interpret some of my life events through the show too.

For example, in 2008, for the first time ever, I fell head over heels for a girl I met. Unfortunately, within a three-month time period, we fell out of touch for good (well, I still haven’t heard from her some seven and a half years later – I’m pretty sure it’s not happening).

I was left reeling for months after that… maybe even years. But time did indeed heal that wound.

Anyway, there’s a scene in the show – in the first season if I’m not mistaken – where Robin says to Ted something to the effect of, “you’re giving me those eyes… like you want to kiss, and merry, and have kids, and settle down, but I can’t give you that. I’m not that girl.”

Right there I got the answer and the closure that I surely deserved, but never got from my ex. She wasn’t ready.

But even if not for the eerie parallels that existed between what was happening in my life and what was happening on-screen, I also related to the characters.

Like Ted, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. But I’m definitely not an architecture or history buff, wine connoisseur, or, for that matter, a total nerd.

Like Marshall, I’m tall. I also have a frame very similar to Jason Segel’s. But I’m nowhere near as spazzy as the character he plays.

Like Barney, I use catchphrases and movie quotes in conversation without people even knowing it. But I’m not a sociopath, womanizer, or suit collector.

As for Lily and Robin… Well, I’m not a girl, but Robin reminds me of my sister quite a bit. Lily just seems to spend a lot of her on-screen time getting angry (ever notice that?).

And I’m also not much of a bar-dweller like the crowd on the show. What a way to spend your life. But for the intents and purposes of the show, it works.

I’m not sure that I’m totally coming across here, but for these and other reasons, I am making a sweeping declaration that How I Met Your Mother was – and is – an important show for me, and for my generation.

***

How I Met Your Mother: The Ninth and Final SeasonI promised to touch on the emotional content a little more. Well, this also relates to my previous point about how I was drawing parallels between the show and events in my life.

Marshall loses his dad. I also lost my dad, though it was much earlier in life – when I was 13, in fact. I’ve since lost my grandpa, a cousin, and an uncle too.

Robin finds out she can’t have kids. I have no basis for relating to that, but the episode where she says to her imaginary kids that they aren’t “real”, wow.

Like Ted, I’ve considered giving up on the idea of love altogether, though there’s a part of me that wants to hang on. I’ve also experienced prolonged periods of loneliness.

And I can also remember leaving friends behind. Shortly after my dad passed away, my family moved back to Canada. Up until that point, we were living in Japan. I had built some amazing friendships as I was going through grade school, but after my dad passed on, we had to make some choices that were right for the family.

So, this type of emotional content was building, particularly in season seven and eight. It made you wonder what was coming in the final season – what they were liable to pull off. To quote from the commentary track, “we felt like we’d earned that with our audience.”

Look, at the risk of sounding like a softie – and maybe I am – the show has brought me to tears multiple times. I could relate to what many of the characters were going through.

It seems silly to say in reference to a sitcom, which is why I’ve held off on saying it until now. But things got real ‘o clock fast.

That’s why I was so hesitant to delve into the final season.

***

I know I’ve been jumping around quite a bit already, but I’m going to veer completely off track for just a moment (it still relates to the subject matter at hand, however).

The reality is that I’ve always had this kind of relationship with the arts and entertainment. “Real life”, it seems, is monotonous. I feel kind of numb about it at times.

Don’t get me wrong – I still have intense moments of elation, sadness, or anger. I have a lot going on in my life, and one thing I can say – with a lot of gratitude, in fact – is that it’s never dull.

But there is something about comic books, TV shows, movies, or video games that have really pulled my heartstrings through the years, at least periodically. Let me show you my work.

I remember playing through the PlayStation 2 “classic”, Final Fantasy X (definitely not deserving of the high marks it earned with gamer mags, by the way) for the first time, probably around 2003. I’d bought and moved into my first house around that time.

There’s an emotional moment where the main characters, Tidus and Yuna embrace in the Macalania Spring (well, some call it a love scene – it’s not that graphic).

If I remember right, it had something to do with the fact that Yuna was going to die, and Tidus learned it for the first time. I could be wrong on the exact details, but you’ll have to forgive me as it has been a while.

Here’s what I’m getting at. After watching that scene, I couldn’t even play the game for a month or two.

No, I wasn’t disgusted. The emotional content was so real, so resonant, and so heavy that I just couldn’t bring myself to go on. It was a really odd experience, even for me.

One more example, if you’ll permit me – Californication.

Yep, it had drugs, it had sex, it had nudity, it had suggestive language, and it was even a tad violent at times (look, I’m not telling you to watch it). But there was something about that show that was very real for me as well.

I think what it showed me, in a weird sort of way, was that there is life after your 20s. There are things to look forward to, like marriage, kids, work, opportunities… Well, I guess that depends on who you ask.

But when I was watching it, it was kind of a dark period in my life. I wasn’t exactly feeling ecstatic about where things were going at the time, and for some reason I just couldn’t seem to comprehend why I was even here – like I had outstayed my welcome on earth or something.

I’ve since come to the conclusion that you have to attach your own meaning and purpose to life.

Californication made me realize that there could still be fun times ahead, things to look forward to.

I’ve been saying, for a while, that there are two shows that ruined TV for me – one is Californication, the other is How I Met Your Mother. Well, it’s really the latter that did a number on me.

I guess all I’m really doing here is painting a picture of how sensitive I can be, and how uninvolved I can be at other times. I care deeply about the outcome of some things, but could be totally detached in other situations, for reasons that aren’t totally apparent to me.

There are actually several other examples I could bring up from my past, but I’m sure you get the point.

I’ve come full circle, so let’s get back to the topic at hand.

***

So, can I live with the final season of How I Met Your Mother?

As it turns out, the answer is “yes.” I just watched the final episode last night, and I think I will sleep just fine (I didn’t).

Before I say anything else, don’t you think they did a great job with the final season? The callbacks, the characters, the inside jokes, the new jokes, the references… they really went all-out here, and it makes me – watcher of every single episode – very happy.

But they did do a couple of things I wasn’t expecting. And no, I’m not referring to the final scene with Ted and Robin.

The first is the mother whose name we don’t even learn until the very, very end (Tracy). She was built up for so long, you just knew that she had to be a heck of a woman – and she was.

But not revealing her name had a way of dehumanizing her, almost as if she wasn’t even there. It was creepy. In an earlier season, Lily went on about how she would be “the same size”  and get to share clothes, but she barely even acknowledges her existence once she’s in their lives.

But in the end, it’s exactly like Ted’s kids say. He was always more invested in Robin, and Tracy was (unfortunately) a much smaller part of the story.

The other surprise was how they kept moving the story further and further into the future. I guess it was necessary to “kill off” Tracy and break up Barney and Robin for Ted and Robin to wind up together. That story probably couldn’t have been wrapped up any other way.

But, as for me, I think it would have been okay if it had ended at Ted and Tracy getting together at the train station. This is actually what they did with the alternate ending on the DVD – it was simple and cute, very in character with the entire series. But then it sort of makes “the rest of your life” portion less meaningful.

And I also can’t help but feel that the fast-forwarding killed the generational and sentimental resonance a little bit. We could – or at least I could – relate to the characters because of how close in age they were to me.

With that in mind, this is the story that Ted was sharing with his kids, so it makes sense that it would end many years ahead of when Ted met his wife-to-be.

***

So that, as they say, is that.

I probably seem obsessed in a way, and I’m definitely gushing, but honest to God, I don’t watch that much TV. It’s really a rare thing for me to sit through an entire series, let alone an entire season or episode of any given show (I haven’t watched a single episode of Breaking Bad or Orange Is The New Black). That should tell you something.

Entertainment is a small part of my life. I do enjoy myself from time to time, but for the most part I am far too ambitious to sit around and watch others live.

But I feel like we had something special with How I Met Your Mother. Thanks to everyone that was involved with this project – you did amazing.

Now it’s time for me to get back to living a legen – wait for it – dary. Legendary life!

How I Met Your Mother: The Whole StoryWell, I’m not one to put my “stamp of approval” on too many things (at least, I don’t think I am). If I do, it’s only because I consume a lot of content.

I recently found out that How I Met Your Mother: The Whole Story is available on DVD (get it at Amazon or Amazon Canada). It includes all nine seasons.

If you like sitcoms, then I don’t think you’ll regret checking it out. The humor, surprisingly, still holds up, and you’ve already heard me talk about the emotional side of things.

I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase through one of the provided links, I will earn a small commission at no additional expense to you.

Thanks again for checking out this post.

Hey, gang! I wanted to let you know about a special performance I have coming up with Jonathan Ferguson aka Long Jon Lev.

Deanne Matley is hosting “The Listening Room” series over at Café Blanca, and Jonathan and I will be performing on February 17, 2016.

Now you may be wondering, “what’s so special about that”?

Well, The Listening Room is a performance in which the audience is there to listen, much the same way a house concert works.

This is a one-of-a-kind series here in Calgary, Alberta, and it’s sure to be an experience unlike any you’ve had in a while.

So, if you’d like to be a part of this intimate concert experience, you’ll want to get your tickets early. Seating is limited to 50.

Doors are at 6 PM, and the show goes from 7 PM to 9 PM.

You can also click on the image below to learn about more upcoming shows.

We’ll see you there!

Deanne Matley Music Presents The Listening Room Series

The 2016 Reset: Why I'm Changing & Where I'm GoingI’ve talked a little bit about this already on episode 91 and 92 of my podcast, DAWCast: Music Entrepreneurship, which is now officially on extended hiatus.

After years of dedication and hard work, and glimpses of traction, it almost seems wrong to be stepping away from something that has meant so much to me over the years.

But based on what I want to accomplish and where I want to go in life, it makes perfect sense.

Why I’m Changing

If I had to sum it up in a few bullet points, it would be because:

  • I’ve become too unfocused. I have tons of client work to do, never mind the many personal projects I’ve continued to throw myself into.
  • My personal vision has become clearer. I’m starting to get a better sense of what I want out of life, and how to go about getting it.
  • I can always come back to it later. Whatever I’m leaving behind, odds are I will be able to revisit it later. There are no certainties in life, but given the choice, I would prefer to put my time into creating music – at this stage of my life.

But on a bigger scale, there have been several other sources of inspiration. Let’s get into those.

Session 191 of the SPI Podcast

After listening to Pat talk about the methods he suggested Robert Kibbe use to promote his deadweight course in this session of SPI, I came to some of my own realizations. They weren’t fully formed yet, but soon enough they would be cemented when I listened to…

Episode 305 of Internet Business Mastery

I have been a long time listener of Internet Business Mastery. In episode 305, they talked about the three things you need to focus on to build wealth in your business. Wow. I wish I had learned this stuff sooner.

According to them, the three things are:

  1. Traffic
  2. Creating new value to sell
  3. Automating or streamlining your sales systems

Maybe this isn’t terribly revolutionary for you, but when they broke it down like that, I quickly began to realize how much time I was wasting chasing shiny objects.

I came to understand that every blog post you write needs to have a purpose, and if you want to create passive streams of income online, you need to create value and sales funnels to sell that value.

But there is one more podcast episode that really pushed me over the edge. It was…

Derek Sivers on The Tim Ferriss Show

I’ve been following Derek Sivers for many years now (probably around eight), and the way he lives his life continues to inspire and motivate me.

On The Tim Ferriss Show, he talked about:

  • Putting systems in place at CD Baby to free up more of his time. Employees were constantly coming to him with questions, and it was bugging the crap out of him. He had to find a way to streamline employee activity.
  • Writing from 7 AM to midnight. And when he says writing, I assume he means “writing code”. But what I realized from this was that if you put 100% of your focus on a project until it’s done (and work on something you enjoy), not only will it get done quicker, it will also be better.
  • The fact that most of us will live to be 80. This means that, if you’re 30 now, and there are four or five things you really want to accomplish in this lifetime, you will have about 10 years to dedicate to each. I quickly realized I didn’t want to wait another 10 years to start making music again.

How does all this fit together?

What I learned from SPI and IBM will be used to improve my product promotion strategy moving forward.

This will also help with creating clear boundaries for the projects I take on, and knowing exactly what to focus on.

As for what Derek said, it has really helped me achieve more clarity around what I want out of life and what my underlying priorities are.

I say “underlying”, because, even I wasn’t really sure what I was working towards until recently. But all the input I’ve been taking in has really helped me with that.

Come to think of it, Cameron Herold’s Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less (affiliate link – definitely recommended) has also been a major source of inspiration.

The Death of Serial/Episodic Content

One more thing on why I’m changing.

Ultimately, I’m not planning on taking down The Music Entrepreneur site, nor am I looking to discontinue my efforts there completely and indefinitely.

I’m also interested in doing more interviews and talking to more musicians, experts, authors, and so on.

What I am proposing is the temporary discontinuation of serial or episodic content – by that I mean any content that I have to produce regularly on an ongoing, consistent basis (keeping in mind that I also have other sites I’ve committed to producing regular content for).

I’ve talked about the project capsule idea before, and it’s an idea whose time has finally come for me. I want to focus on one thing at a time, not be torn in a dozen different directions.

I’m not saying that I will never do anything that’s serial in nature. As I begin to work on my music and other projects I want to take on, I will be creating content around those creations to promote and support them. It’s inevitable.

But there are a few things I want to complete without being constantly interrupted by another content piece that has to be finished by a certain deadline.

By the way, I really do enjoy writing and creating content – as you can see, it’s been both a blessing and a curse.

Where I’m Going

If I were to sum it up in a few bullet points, I’m:

  • Working towards becoming debt free. This is not far off, especially if things go according to plan around tax season.
  • Going to continue promoting my book, The New Music Industry: Adapting, Growing, and Thriving in The Information Age. I’m going to need to do some more planning around that.
  • Going to work on music. Finally.
  • Looking to streamline my work and passion life. Write content by day, work on music by night.
  • Wanting to find a life partner. It’s time to start meeting more beautiful young women.
  • Planning on going to Japan every single year for two weeks. I grew up there, have many friends, and want to reconnect with them. It has been too long.
  • Interested in moving. I don’t know where yet – possibly Canmore, Alberta, or somewhere in British Columbia. A nice, quiet and spacious place (preferably with a fireplace near a large window) that isn’t too disconnected from people, places, and things to do.

Are You Resetting?

Are you hitting the “reset” button on your life?

If so, I want to hear about it.

Please leave a comment below letting me know why you’re changing and where you’re planning on going next.

You may have noticed an upcoming show on my calendar with the band, Long Jon Lev, on November 27.

Well, this is no ordinary “show”. First of all, it is being held at a beautiful church (see below):

The Lantern Community Church

Second of all, there will be 10 Calgary music luminaries performing together. Yes, Long Jon Lev, at least on this occasion, will be a 10-piece band (seven members pictured below)!

Long Jon Lev - 10 Piece Band

The band is comprised of:

  • Jonathan Ferguson – Reluctant Showboat
  • David Andrew Wiebe (yeah, yeah, that’s me) – Master of Zen
  • Eugene Kirton – Straight-Shooting Sage
  • Emma Rouleau – Confident Storyteller
  • Joanna Drummond – Carefully Precise Mountain Peaker
  • Harry Faunt – Time (Signature Traveler)
  • Mercy Lemola – Quietly Intense Peace Provoker
  • Nikki Romeril – Witty Truth Teller
  • Ben Comeau – Humble Wizard
  • Mike Jones – Patiently Energetic, Casually Cool Cat

Yes, those are the instruments we’ll be playing.

Third of all, this is the official release of Long Jon Lev’s Telltale Heart, an album I had the pleasure of playing way too many guitars on (Strats, Teles, Gibsons, hollow bodies, lap slides, etc.).

Jonathan Ferguson - Telltale Heart

I’ve listened to the album a lot (does that make me weird?), and yes, I am very biased, but I happen to think it’s the best project I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of so far.

And did I mention that the tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 at the door? It’s a steal of a deal either way.

And you thought this was going to be “no big deal” right? No way, dude!

So what are you waiting for? If you live in and around Calgary, go get your tickets right away.