Why HIMYM Fans Can't Stop Rewatching Despite The Flawed Characters

The first few seasons of "How I Met Your Mother" didn't have the greatest ratings success, but the story of how Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) meets his future wife and the mother of his children eventually became one of CBS' longest-running hits (via Hindustan Times). The show ended up lasting nine seasons in total, concluding in 2014 with an epic storyline where Ted, at last, encountered "the mother," Tracy (Cristin Milioti).

However, it's easy to notice a major problem when you're revisiting the show: almost all of the main characters are, frankly, very flawed. The breakout star of the series, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), is a sexual predator who uses disguises and maneuvers to pick up women. Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) makes numerous selfish and questionable decisions, and Ted outright calls Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) "a sociopath" because of her manipulative behavior. Even Ted, the "nice guy" romantic hero, makes some truly awful, hurtful choices in pursuit of an idealized family. If you really scrutinize the ethics of the gang, only environmental lawyer Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) comes off as a truly good person.

But while some "HIMYM" fans may agree that the characters are often terrible, they still feel that they have good reasons to continue watching the show anyway.

Redditors like that the characters are flawed

A post on the r/HIMYM subreddit generated lots of affirmative responses when it put up a "Crying Wojak vs Chad" meme about the show. The meme by u/dogslover420 showed how "Other sitcom fans" tend to argue over things like whether "'Friends' should have had another season." In contrast, "How I Met Your Mother" fans all agree that the ending is bad and that the characters "suck," but have continued revisiting the series anyway.

In reply, u/bing_07 wrote, "Personally speaking, I love how they have explored the characteristic flaws so well ... No one is perfect and it works out so well." According to this user's opinion, "How I Met Your Mother" knows how ridiculous Ted and Robin can be, but that's also what makes the show funny and relatable. These personal flaws also inspire real consequences when, for example, Ted's romanticism backfires, or Barney tries to use the "Naked Man" move on an appalled woman. 

Another user believed the ramifications of the characters' bad behavior add a layer of realism to what can be an otherwise abundantly corny show. This user, u/IamJimmyNeutron, wrote, "It makes it feel more real and not just like another sitcom where every episode kinda exists in a vacuum."

Of course, like with any abundantly popular series, some fans have different reasons for revisiting the show years later.

The writing and humor make the show worthwhile

The notorious series finale of "How I Met Your Mother," in which Barney and Robin get divorced, Tracy dies of an undisclosed illness, and Ted gets the approval of his teenage children to pursue "Aunt Robin" once again, remains controversial with fans to this day. One Redditor even indicated that the show's ending ruined the series' rewatch value for them. However, despite abundant complaints about the finale, many fans continue to revisit the series on occasion.

In addition to loving the characters, fans say they return to the show for the witty banter. For example, in a post to the r/television subredditu/MrglBrglGrgl wrote that they love the "weird combo of sophomoric yet still slightly subtle humor." According to a number of other respondents, the ensemble of actors also displays unique chemistry, something that gives the jokes an extra zing. 

The story structure where an older Ted, voiced by Bob Saget, narrates a slightly edited version of the past to his teenage children, is also beloved by many of the show's dedicated followers. U/ctlls22 wrote, "I love sitcoms and watch a lot, but this is the first time I've seen one with such great storytelling." The final episode, "Last Forever," is not exactly well-liked (via USA Today), and the show has some problematic moments, but the strong characters and writing overcome a lot of those objections for hardcore fans. Besides, you can always choose to watch the alternative ending over the original.