The Second Reason Why How I Met Your Mother is Ruining Your Love Life

Photo: CBS

In How I Met Your Mother, perhaps the most effective character arc that one goes through is Barney. He comes from the broken playboy who can never be satisfied from his masterminded sexual schemes to the man who decides to “win” once and for all, opening himself up to and dwelling in love. Needless to say, it is an incredible creative stroke to the credit of the writers. However, if one steps closer to the bigger picture and examines a more localized section of the artistry, one can clearly examine that there is an incredible depravity that is promoted all throughout the series. This notion could not ring truer than it does in Season 3, Episode 10 “The Yips”.

Photo: CBS

The episode starts with Barney taking Ted on a day trip to the fitness center to “show-and-tell” his “investments”: women (specifically, women who are trying to get themselves in good shape). As per Barney’s usual antics, Barney explains his psychological cleverness of manipulation to capture himself his usual morsel of sexual gratification. Afterwards, Robin tells him it’d be a great idea to increase her own strength so that she can “punch him really hard in the face”. And honestly, why not? What is Barney doing with his life at this point? To him, women are sexual livestock. Isn’t that sad? According to the attitude that the creators project, no.

In his next visit to the gym, Barney reencounters Rhonda, formally known as “The Man-Maker”. Quickly, he shares with his friends the significance of Rhonda in his personal life. Rhonda is the woman he “lost” his virginity to.

Photo: How I Met Your Mother Season 3, Episode 10— “The Yips” — CBS

It is a curious notion — this phrase of “losing” one’s virginity; because indeed, it is a loss. After all, once it’s lost, it can never be obtained again, can it? One could speculate that “loss” is used in the same manner one loses a candy wrapper and throws it away in the trash. But is it really trash if it’s something precious? If sex is so casual in nature, why are there men in the world who’ll create ten steps to get into a woman’s pants; support groups for women (and men) for when sex is misused against them; emotional histories permeated from when one first has sex; and children born from it? Surely, there is something more precious about sex — even sacred.

This philosophy is interestingly reintroduced in the episode merely minutes later. Barney recounts the “epic tale” of how he lost his virginity merely moments after he lost his college girlfriend to a bureaucratic playboy. They were “saving themselves”. Could it be that Barney once believed in the value that sex has? That it is a value rich with high price and value, not one that is tossed away in the streets?

Photo: CBS

As the tale continues, Barney recollects the advice his brother James gave him: “You need to find a girl and have sex with her A.S.A.P. That is what dudes do after a breakup”. It is this manner of statement that constantly has dehumanizing undertones directed towards women. After all, the woman has become the proverbial bag of meat that Barney will seep gratification from in the midst of agony — like medicine, only the tablet has legs. And once the tale has concluded, Barney finishes it with some praise towards his “Armani-clad and fully awesome” self. Is there a counteracting moral voice, offering any rebuttal to this objectification? Absolutely not.

Photo: CBS

As the immorality slowly skyrockets towards the atmosphere, Barney brings Ted and Marshall to one of his favorite hunting grounds: a high-end afterparty to a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. In it, he essentially says what’s on his mind up-front: sex. Some are disgusted, some laugh it off; Heidi Klum even gives him advice. One, Alesandria Ambrosio, is even nice to him and offers to dance with him; in spite of this, Barney’s “honker” fetish loses the encounter. Underneath the whole scene, it’s all a game — a game that, in a way, is promoted by the women themselves. After all, in Consequence Free Land, one can be as foolish and demeaning to women to their heart’s content; “it doesn’t really affect the women”.

And to finally penetrate this dim and cloudy stratosphere are the almost life-changing moments Barney has with Rhonda. Rhonda, a soul who used to sell her body for the sake of “charity”, consoles Barney as he desperately wants to reclaim his sexuality (which, to his own admission, is his entire identity). Rhonda starts in saying that after five years, she recognized an incredible void within her — one that meaningless sex just couldn’t fill. Finally! We as an audience are about to get a spoonful as she unveils the deeper and greater meaning that has filled her vacuum. It must be a meaning that can bring us to peace and understanding and contentment — in spite of whatever wrongdoings we’ve done! Surely, this must be profound? The answer: “Indian casinos.” Spoonful whacked.

Photo: How I Met Your Mother Season 3, Episode 10 — “The Yips” — CBS

Again, Rhonda — this soul who, in spite of what she says, carries about her with a cleansed vibe — attempts to console Barney. She tells him the truth: that sex isn’t everything. She takes him back to her home and the two play a game of Go Fish. “See, Barney, isn’t it nice to just sit and have an evening with a woman, no agenda? Just make nice conversation?” Of course, why wouldn’t it be? Sounds like an evening of connection. That’s what we all crave, right? Connection. Why do people have meaningless sex when “meaningless” is in the name? Why do people absorb themselves in a 3x5 piece of hardware, endlessly scrolling through others’ posed snapshots of adventure? Why do people stay awake until 1:00 in the morning, watching their favorite Disney movie, dreaming about intimacy more than they’re trying to partake in it? If there’s one thing this coronavirus has taught humanity is that we need connection — we hunger for it; we thirst for it. Experiencing a simple card game just to get to know another person more deeply seems like a more fulfilling experience to this author.

But instead, what is the answer they both arrive at? “Connection sucks, let’s go have sex.” “Let’s continue down our venture of cheap, short-term thrills and suck the air dry of any meaningful connection.” Just when something grand that needs to be said is about to be said, the ball is dropped.

In a previous article, “The Primary Reason Why How I Met Your Mother is Ruining Your Love Life”, I discuss how the show constantly feeds the audience with the message that a woman can fulfill a man (and vice versa), and how another person could never fill that role. While this article divulges much, the root cause of the issue is the misplaced priority towards sex and women. In my culture, sex is something more than an emotional and physical experience: it’s spiritual. It celebrates the union of two souls — experiencing an intimacy rare and priceless and cherished (sounds like a Disney movie, right?). The person that one has sex with is the person they bind a piece of their soul with; when two people who’ve had this experience split, it’s like that person has a left a piece of themselves with the other — and that piece with the other person is always just out of reach. When two people canoodle after they’re married, it is an act of worship towards God; they experience a taste of the everlasting love and commitment between God and mankind.

Instead of treating women like a means to emotional gratification or fulfillment through sex, let’s treat women as people who we can relate with. While sexual desire will always be present within us, let us not be consumed by it to the point where we ignore our human obligation to love and respect and understand. Let us be men.

God bless, God first,

David Hyland

FanFare

pop culture conversations

David Brandon Hyland

Written by

BEA 2020 Scriptwriting Award-Winner; FanFare Publications writer; God-follower; a man wanting to help and entertain others and provide for himself.

FanFare

FanFare

pop culture conversations

David Brandon Hyland

Written by

BEA 2020 Scriptwriting Award-Winner; FanFare Publications writer; God-follower; a man wanting to help and entertain others and provide for himself.

FanFare

FanFare

pop culture conversations

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