O Come Let Us Adore… Holiday-Themed Sitcom Episodes

ATTENTION: IT IS DECEMBER. IT IS THE LAST MONTH OF 2014. WHAT HOW HUH.

Ok now that I’ve made you feel like you’ve done nothing this year, it’s time to introduce you to our special holiday playlists of the month, because we like spreading joy here at Cookies + Sangria.

If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you know that we usually have a Playlist of the Month featuring our favorite songs based on the given theme. For December, we decided to give our gifts to you early (yay!) and have THREE ‘playlists’ that are all holiday themed. Today we’re kicking it off with some of our favorite holiday sitcom episodes. If you’re like us, you enjoy watching stuff like this to get into the spirit, so break out the egg nog (or just like, wine or something) and kick back with some of the best Christmasukkah crap TV has to offer!

Molly’s Picks

Parks and Recreation – Citizen Knope
{Season 4, Episode 1}

Guaranteed to bring on my annual Yuletide happy-cry, in this episode Leslie learns that as much love and dedication as she has for her friends and community, they have for her. Leslie always gives almost obsessively perfect presents, but after her rough suspension she receives the best gifts a gal could ask for: the love of her friends, a gingerbread facsimile of her workplace, and a campaign staff.

Seinfeld – The Strike
{Season 9, Episode 10}

Yes, my family has celebrated Festivus. The Feats of Strength were a real bummer because my brothers are both 6’5, but I think the Airing Of Grievances hurt more. If you don’t know what those things mean, you need to watch this episode.

The Office – Christmas Party
{Season 2, Episode 10}

Remember those sweet, early ‘will they/won’t they’ days of Jim and Pam’s relationship? When a Christmas gift exchange turns into a forced Yankee Swap, Jim’s gift to Pam is in jeopardy. She ultimately gets the teapot he bought her, but not before Jim removes the note he wrote her … then gives it to her like 7 years later.

Guys. I really miss this show sometimes.

Friends – The One With The Routine
{Season 6, Episode 10}

Do you guys remember Millennium Fever? Survivalists were freaking out about Y2K and everyone else was under heavy pressure to have the best New Year’s ever. When Monica and Ross land a spot on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, they decide to bust out their childhood dance routine.

Surest sign you were a tweenaged Friends fanatic in the late 90s: you watched the episode (taped on VHS, naturally) over and over until you had that routine down. Guilty.

30 Rock – Ludachristmas
{Season 2, Episode 9}

This one had me at the title. What can I say, I love a good portmanteau. But the episode itself seriously delivered. Jack’s mom (Elaine Stritch) is in town, as is Liz’s family (including her brother, whose brain injury makes him believe that it is perpetually 1985). The TGS Christmas party is ruined when Kenneth takes it upon himself to teach everyone the Real Meaning Of Christmas, and saved when Tracy decides to ignore his alcohol monitoring bracelet.

The Simpsons – The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire
{Season 1, Episode 1}

I was a big Simpsons fan as a little kid, and this is probably my favorite of their Christmas episodes. Homer gets a job as a mall Santa, but still comes up short on Christmas Eve. He and Bart hit the racetrack, and come home with the best present of all – Santa’s Little Helper, the losing greyhound they bet on.

Traci’s Picks

The Office – A Benihana Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 11}

This isn’t just one of my favorite Christmas episodes, it’s one of my favorite episodes of The Office – ever. There is so much going on in this episode that I don’t even know which storyline is my favorite. So let’s break it down. First we have Michael, whose realtor girlfriend, Carol (and Steve’s IRL wife) breaks up with him, leading him into a spiral of depression. To help him with the pain, he goes out to lunch at Japanese restaurant Benihana with some of the guys in the office. Michael and Andy pick up two of the waitresses (Kulap!) and bring them back to the office for the annual Christmas party. Except Michael can’t remember which Asian waitress was the one he was hoping to hook up with, and after a heart to heart with Jim, Michael realizes he really likes someone else and invites them to go to Jamaica with him (spoiler alert, it’s Jan). Speaking of the party, there are actually two dueling parties between Angela’s Party Planning Committee and Pam and Karen’s margarita-karaoke party. This is important because it’s the first time Pam and Karen are actually getting along despite the fact there’s the whole Jim love triangle. Eventually the two parties merge, and all is fine. Oh and as a Christmas present to Jim, Pam has been playing an elaborate trick on Dwight which involves the CIA. This episode is The Office at its finest. It has the perfect mix of humor, heart, and plot progression that will fit in a special hour-long episode. Ugh, I miss this show.

Friends – The One With The Holiday Armadillo
{Season 7, Episode 10}

This is obviously one of the more iconic moments of Friends – even though it’s from one of the much-debated later seasons. Ross wants to teach Ben about Haunukkah, since he’s half Jewish, but all Ben wants to do is talk about that Santa dude. Ross gives in, but it’s too late into the season that all the Christmas-related costumes are sold out, so he settles for an armadillo – the Holiday Armadillo to be exact (who is Santa’s representative for all the southern states. Annnnnd Mexico!) But because Ben has uncles who love him a lot and want to help out, Joey and Chandler dress up too, and the result looks like the Easter Bunny’s funeral.

Full House – Our Very First Christmas Show
{Season 2, Episode 9}

When I was a kid, I always thought Corduroy and his story was just the coolest. The fact that this bear came to life and gets to wander around a department store at night when it was closed just seemed so intriguing to me. Basically, any plot that involves people (or inanimate objects coming to life, I guess) being stuck in a place where they’re not usually supposed to be is great to me. In the first Christmas episode from Full House, the fam is on its way to Colorado for the holidays, but a blizzard forces the plane to land in a rando small airport and they have to spend the Christmas Eve in the baggage claim waiting room. Jesse’s dad tries to get Jesse to kiss Becky under the mistletoe, Deej is mad that their gifts have gone missing, Steph is upset because she doesn’t think Santa will find her in the stupid airport, and Joey doesn’t get a real storyline because this is Full House. Eventually some guy Steph was afraid of on the plane turns out to be the real Santa, and they all get their presents. It’s full of cheese, but what else do you expect from this show?

Parks and Recreation – Ron and Diane
{Season 5, Episode 9}

Because Leslie Knope is the greatest, she dresses up in this elf/santa’s workshop worker costume to tell Ron he is nominated for an award from the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association for a chair he recently built. Ron invites Diane to the ceremony and Leslie invites herself, and therefore meets Diane for the first time (cameo appearance from Tammy 2). Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are planning their annual Jerry Dinner – every time Jerry does something stupid, they put a dollar in the box, and at the end of the year, they use the money to treat themselves to a dinner. But on their way to spend the $500, Tom, Donna, April and Andy pass by Jerry’s house only to find out that the Gengriches, including Christie Brinkley, are having a big Christmas party without them. Ann, who is a guest at the party, won’t let them in, but they finally apologize and end up giving the Jerry Dinner money to Jerry to help pay for his hospital bills after his fart attack.

How I Met Your Mother – How Lily Stole Christmas
{Season 2, Episode 11}

Lily finds an old message on their answering machine that Ted left for Marshall after Lily left him to go off to San Francisco. He called her a grinch (bitch) and urged Marshall to get over her. Ted tells her that in all fairness she was being a huge grinch during that time, and refuses to apologize, which makes Lily furious. She takes away “Lily’s Winter Wonderland”, in which she decorates the entire apartment full of snow and Christmas items, and it’s Marshall’s favorite part about the holidays, especially this year since he’s busy studying for the bar exam. There are a lot of episodes in HIMYM focusing on Marshall/Lily and Ted/Marshall/Barney, but there are a few which get to focus on Lily/Ted, and this is one of them. Throughout college, it was Mashall, Lily, and Ted as a trio, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that with the Marshall/Lily ship, so seeing them fight and ultimately reconcile in this episode is certainly a Christmas miracle.

Saved By The Bell – A Home For Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 24}

Boy, do I love/hate a teen show which tries to incorporate adult subject matter. We briefly talked about how this show handled drunk driving and drugs during our SBTB Week a few months ago,  and this is no different. Most of the gang has jobs at the mall, and Zack lit’rally runs into this blonde girl and hits on her but he turns around for one second and she’s gone. Separately, Zack and Screech run into a man in the bathroom who they realize is homeless. Turns out, the blonde, Laura, not only works with Kelly at a department store, but is the homeless man’s daughter, and they’ve been living in their car after he lost his job. Zack’s mom offers to let them stay at their house until they find a place to stay. At the same time, the crew is putting up A Christmas Carol, which IRONICALLY mirrors a similar story between Laura and Kelly and their mean scroogey boss Mr. Moody. The episode ends with everyone singing Silent Night around a piano, and S2G, if I watched this episode as an adult I would hate it, but because I watched it so many times as a kid, the corny factor doesn’t even bother me. God bless us every one (esp Zack Morris).

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Pop Culture Moments That Make Me Cry

Some pop culture moments are engineered to make you cry. Any time they show you an old man who is alone, or a beloved dog bravely facing his mortality, you know they’re trying to make you bawl.

Others aren’t supposed to be sad, but for some reason they grab onto your feelings and twist them until your eyes water. For instance: any time a child sings and it’s very beautiful.

Then there are those moments that were meant to be sad, but came out hilarious instead. I present for your approval:

This is the rare tearjerker scene that makes us weep – because we’re laughing so hard. So with Dawson Leery as our patron saint of pop culture crying, we’re listing those moments in entertainment that brought us to tears. Our scale stretches from one Crying Dawson (your eyes are lightly watering, but there’s no real tearstorm) to five Crying Dawsons (or as we like to call it, a Full Leery). And disclaimer: there will be spoilers ahead. Consider yourself warned.

One Crying Dawson1 crying dawson

  • The final, heartrending scenes of The Notebook. And I’m only putting it here because zero crying Dawsons wasn’t an option. I’m a monster, I know.
  • The end of Bridesmaids where Maya gives one last glance back at Kristen before she gets in the limo with her new husband. There’s an unspoken understanding between two best friends that just gets me.
  • Any time an actor/actress that is announcing Emmy/Oscar/Golden Globe nominations at the asscrack of dawn, only to announce their own name as one of the nominees.
  • Cyrus realizing he was the reason his hubs got killed on Scandal. You brought it on yourself dude.
  • When Little Michael Scott wants to grow up and have 100 kids so he can have 100 friends and no one can say no to being his friend.
  • The end of City Lights (taking it way back to the 1930s here!), when the blind girl sees the tramp for the first time.
  • When Mary is sort of mean to Martha in A Secret Garden but it’s because she doesn’t know how to play or love and her parents are dead and she lives in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere.
  • The “Love Is A Dream” sketch with Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, serving the one-two punch of old people thinking about their youth, and people who died before their time.
  • When the now-elderly Peaches take a team picture and sing their song one last time in A League Of Their Own.
  • In The Great Gatsby, both the book and film adaptations, when Daisy delivers the “beautiful fool” line. Gut punch.

Two Crying Dawsons2 crying dawsons

  • When Papouli taught us about Greek dance, the love of family, and brief character arcs on Full House.
  • The look on Louis’ face when his daughter plays the violin duet with the neighbor on Louie.
  • The episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets the crayon lodged in his brain removed and suddenly becomes smart. At the end Lisa reads a letter he wrote her from before he got dumb again and it was the first time anyone in her family understood her.
  • Also, after Maggie is born and Homer goes back to work at the plant, he covers the mean plaque from Burns “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever” with her pictures so that it now reads “Do it for her.”
  • When Brian Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News that his daughter Allison Williams had been cast in the live version of Peter Pan. No matter what you think about the casting decision itself, you have no soul if you don’t get emotional watching him be so proud of his daughter.
  • Mr. Feeny dismissing class one final time.
  • Jen Lindley’s final conversation with Jack. And TBH, I might have cried more when Jack and Dougie declared their commitment to each other on the beach.
  • When Will believes his father isn’t going to leave him again on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but Pops lets him down again, and Will breaks down in the arms of Uncle Phil asking why his dad doesn’t want him.
  • The voiceover at the end of The Time Travelers episode of How I Met Your Mother, when Future Ted says that he wants 45 extra days with The Mother… probably because at that point I had a pretty good idea of what that darn show was going to do to us.
  • Leslie saying goodbye to Ann on Parks and Rec. Uteruses before duderuses.
  • When Mel Gibson is getting ready to leave in The Patriot, and his mute daughter runs after him screaming “I’ll say anything!” Doubly so now that she’s passed away.

Three Crying Dawsons

3 crying dawsons

  • The final moments of that old dog in Homeward Bound.
  • The Muppets (2012), just in general. It made both of us cry and neither of us knows why.
  • Jessie singing When Somebody Loved Me in Toy Story 2.
  • The little girl singing Desperado in In America.
  • I was in a hotel a few months ago and came across a documentary on like the Travel Channel or something that was about the new Diagon Alley attraction in Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Orlando, and the planning, construction and attention to detail that went into it before they opened the doors. Before opening it to the public, a select group of young HP fans were let into the park as a sneak peak and the look of awe was astounding. I can’t imagine being a kid, being obsessed with the books & movies and finally being in Diagon Alley for real.
  •  In what is one of my favorite dances over all the seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, golden child Travis Wall choreographed an emotional contemporary (and Emmy nominated) piece to Coldplay’s Fix You, a dance based on his own experience of helping his mom through her bout with cancer. While Fix You is always a tearjerker, add on the brilliant dancing by Robert Roldan and Allison Holker and you have a piece of pure art that will leave you breathless.
  • Speaking of SYTYCD, season 11’s Ricky Ubeda was one of those winners who actually deserved the victory, thanks to his combination of talent and personality. But during Hollywood week, it was his solo that made me (and a lot of other viewers) single him out from the crowd, thanks to vulnerability and emotion he brought to the dance.
  • Lily telling Marshall his dad died on How I Met Your Mother.
  • The final scene in Friends when they all walk out of Monica & Chandler’s to go to Central Perk and there’s one final sweep of the empty apartment with swelling music in the background.

Four Crying Dawsons

4 Crying Dawsons

  • Carrie Underwood singing. Pretty much singing anything. Especially if it’s live. I’ve seen her in concert three times and every single time I was brought to tears. She sings with such passion and conviction. And if she’s singing any kind of religious song, you know she’s channeling the big JC, making her voice even more powerful for some reason.
  • The scene in both the book and movie version of The Fault in our Stars where Hazel is giving the ‘eulogy’ for Gus in the church.
  • The Normal Heart. All of it.
  • Friday Night Lights – pretty much the entire show. However, I’ll pinpoint one that stands out, which is when Coach throws Matt Saracen into the shower, but QB1 breaks down, insisting that his loved ones always abandon him. And to continue this Zach Gilford lovefest, the entire episode of The Son is heartwrenching, but I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it.
  • Call it the Jason Katims effect because Parenthood also makes me cry during every episode, no matter what. Again, it’s hard to pick just one, so the scene where Kristina tells the family that she has cancer – a scene so powerful with no words at all. This current season hasn’t been lucky for Zeek, and because of personal reasons, I’ve found his storyline extremely upsetting. Also Mae Whitman crying. Legit the best crier in the biz.
  • The series finale of Gilmore Girls in which Rory assures Lorelai that she’s “already given her everything she needs” before she goes on the road following Senator Barack Obama. In fact the final like 20 minutes of that show including Rory’s speech under the tent make me cry so hard that I’ve only watched the finale approx thrice, as opposed to like the 30 times for all the other episodes.
  • The finale of I ❤ Nick Carter where he and Lauren get married. Legit stayed up til 4am watching it and it was totally worth it. His family sucks but good thing they have the rest of BSB and other friends and family – that’s what got me.
  •  Jim Halpert learning he and Pam are having a baby after she injures herself at the company picnic. The whole office singing Seasons of Love to Michael on his last episode. The ‘Forever’ flash mob at Jim & Pam’s wedding and them getting married on the Maid of the Mist and Jim cutting off his tie. The entire series finale. I had a hard time saying goodbye to The Office.
  • The first 5-ish minutes of Up.
  • When Mary and Edith realize that they’re the only ones left after Sybil dies.
  • I was never big into Buffy, but that scene where Buffy tells Dawn that their mom has died, and you’re watching it through the window of her classroom? Nope.
  • DOBBY. RIP.

Five Crying Dawsons

5 crying dawsons

  • The Quarterback episode of Glee where Finn (Cory Monteith) dies. I literally went through almost an entire box of tissues during that and I’m not even a huge Glee fan. The pain on everyone’s face was real, and watching Lea Michele sing – forget it.
  • The end of The Best Man Holiday – what in the fuck was that all about?! I paid $15 to see Taye Diggs and his fellow HBM co-stars possibly take their clothes off and it turned out that I needed extra sleeves because my tears and snot were all over the shirt I went in with.
  • Right before Leslie and Ben get married, when she’s talking with Ron in the hallway. I’m a wedding crier anyway, but jeez.
  • In Little Women, when Jo is going through the trunk in the attic after Beth has died (note: Beth’s death gets knocked down to 4 Crying Dawsons because of the weird brogue Claire Danes starts speaking in).
  • Everything that happens after Sara Crewe goes to live in the attic in A Little Princess. This is the second Frances Hodgson Burnett appearance on this list so I hope wherever she is, she’s proud of her vast legacy of children’s tears.
  • The funeral scene in Philadelphia, when they show the home movies of Beckett as a kid with his mom.
  • Good Will Hunting: 4 words – “It’s not your fault.”
  • My Girl: 6 words – “He can’t see without his glasses!”
  • Dead Poets Society: 4 words – “O Captain! My Captain!”

Playlist of the Month: Canadians We’re Thankful For

Our neighbor to the north. Our frigid-weather friends. The land of maple and honey. Ladies and gentlemen, today is all about Canada. Or more specifically, Canadian Thanksgiving.

Like most things, Thanksgiving is a situation where Canada looked at what the U.S. had done, considered it carefully, then did it more rationally and logically. An earlier Thanksgiving means that you don’t have to travel in a snowstorm, that you can play that post-dinner football game without your fingers turning blue, and that you have an entire extra month-and-a-half between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So today, when Canadians give thanks, we give thanks for Canadians.

Traci’s Picks

Nelly Furtado – Say It Right

Important: where is Nelly Furtado? In Canada? Am I missing something? I know she had a kid but like, that was a while ago, right? Am I just not hearing her new stuff? IS SHE JUST LIKE A BIRD AND JUST WANTED TO FLY AWAY?? Well she needs to come back and make more songs like Say It Right, because this song was my JAM  back in ’06.

soulDecision – Ooh It’s Kinda Crazy

If you’re not Canadian or a die hard TRL teenybopper like I was, you might not know who soulDecision was. The band made of boys (*not a boy band) had a – you guessed it – soul sound to their music, and it was more along that genre, despite the fact they were white dudes from Vancouver. Not gonna lie, I sometimes listen to this song and their other hit Faded, because I think they’re just that good.

Drake – Find Your Love

Ah, Aubrey. From wheelchair-bound Degrassi star to hip-hop superstar, you have done your country proud, sir. Can’t say the same for other current popular artists *cough*bieber*cough. It’s hard for people to take you seriously if they know you as the disabled kid from the most famous Canadian teen drama, so props to Drake for proving to everyone that a half-Jewish kid from Toronto can make it.

The Weeknd – Wicked Games

I had always categorized The Weeknd as an R&B singer, but according to Wikipedia, he’s a “PBR&B” artist, which is a term coined by music journalists to describe a new subgenre of R&B that uses more synth and indie beach rock sounds. Also, PBR stands for what you think it does – Pabst Blue Ribbon. Aka the beer of hipsters. Aka PBR&B is slang for hipster R&B (think Frank Ocean, Theophilus London, Jhene Aiko, Miguel, etc.). I’m learning so much! Anyways, it doesn’t matter what genre The Weeknd is, he is dope and has great music, including this song that sounds incredibly sexy but I’m pretty sure it has to do with drugs.

Robin Sparkles & Jessica Glitter – The Beaver Song

Let’s Go To The Mall? Played out. Sandcastles in the Sand? Overrated. The Beaver Song is where it’s at. You guys watched Space Teens as a kid, right? Starring Robin Sparkles, Jessica Glitter, and Canada’s favourite dad Alan Thicke? Of course you did. And what is better than a song aboot friendship? Absolutely nothing.

Molly’s Picks

Barenaked Ladies – Jane

In the 90s, BNL was a big favorite in our hometown – probably because we were right across the lake from Toronto.  I pondered over which BNL song would be the most Canadian, and settled on the one named after a girl named after a Toronto intersection. You can also listen to If I Had A Million Dollars, because they say “chesterfield.”

Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet

I really could have kept going with the 90s artists: Bryan Adams, Sarah McLaughlin, Crash Test Dummies. The 90s, with all of their flannel, outdoor activewear, and left-leaning social policies, were probably the U.S.A.’s most Canadian decade, so this comes as no surprise. We really fell head over feet for you, Canada, didn’t we?

Neil Young – Rockin’ In The Free World

The freest world of all? Why, that would be Canada, of course.

Tegan And Sara – Back In Your Head

When I lived 10 minutes from the Canadian border, I never  knew when I was listening to Canadian radio and when I was listening to American radio. But years later I’ve learned that some albums I thought were ubiquitous – like The Con – were only all over the Canadian airwaves.  I’m still thankful for these Canadians, because a few of their tracks are on rotation at my gym and it’s some of the only good music they play.

Zit Remedy – Everybody Wants Something

Degrassi is a Canadian treasure. This song is not.

Canada Can Keep The Following Artists:

Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, Nickleback, Celine Dion, Sarah McLaughlin.

But thanks for these guys:

Joni Mitchell, deadmau5, Gordon Lightfoot, I guess Shania Twain. In exchange for your troubles, you can have this fine piece of Canadian art by my small nephew. The tests haven’t come back, but I’m pretty sure this kid came out Canadian.

TV Finales As Written By The How I Met Your Mother Writers

What a finale! During the last episode of How I Met Your Mother, we learned that Ted met The Mother at the train station after the wedding and stayed in New York, that Robin and Barney got divorced, that The Mother died of a nameless, convenient disease, that if you’re a career-focused lady your marriage will probably end but maybe in a decade your friend’s wife will die and he’ll hit you up, and that the writers must have liked Lily and Marshall the best. We also learned that the past nine years have been — in many Twitter users’ opinions anyway —  either a waste of time or a lie. Neither of us 100% hated the finale, but we sure didn’t love it, either.

The plus is, we now have a sitcom finale format that we can use to ruin the ending of any TV show that you ever came to love! Take a look:

Full House

Wait, we already knew the mother was dead the whole time, right?  It seemed like Danny would never find love – until Jesse and Rebecca get divorced. Then Danny gets with Becky, which is convenient because he was already keeping her and her children in his attic.

The purpose of the whole series was for Bob Saget to explain to his daughters why their cousins were becoming their step-siblings.

All of this is able to happen because Danny’s real love (Uncle Joey, natch) dies. Danny can finally go for Becky once that puppeteering, Popeye-impersonating cock-block is out of the way thanks to … I don’t know, cancer or something? Consumption? Some sort of vague, beautiful illness. It doesn’t matter.

I Love Lucy

Fred and Ethel get divorced. Ricky dies. Lucy confesses that she loved Fred all along. And the whole series was just a traumatizing story-session in which Lucy fishes for dating advice from Little Ricky.

Also Ricky Ricardo was really from Milwaukee. Because everything you thought was true was a lie.

Friends

The thing we were waiting for for years finally happened – Ross and Rachel got back together and tied the knot! Then, quicker than you can say “four divorces,” the marriage ended. Rachel didn’t hang out much anymore. Then Monica died. And Chandler married Rachel, which makes Emma and the twins some sort of cousin-siblings. And the whole series was just a way to explain to the twins why daddy’s trying to get with Auntie Rachel.

Joey gives his last “how YOU doin’.” To an accident-baby.

M.A.S.H.

How could you possibly improve on arguably the best TV finale of all time? Easy, using the HIMYM Series-Ruining Format. The good news is that the events that viewers spent years waiting for finally happened.  Klinger and Soon-Lee get married. And divorced. But it’s cool, she hooks up with Father Mulcahy. The war ends! Hawkeye boards a helicopter, and looks fondly down at  the goodbye message that B.J. wrote in the camp.

Then the helicopter crashes. Onto Sophie the Horse.  Because if you wait seasons and seasons for something to happen, the writers just might give it to you – but true to the HIMYM Series-Ruining Format, you can be sure that they’ll take it away by the end of the episode.

Seinfeld

Make the Seinfeld finale worse? Sure! The HIMYM writers are up to the challenge. When the gang’s plane makes a crash-landing, they see a man getting carjacked and fail to help him. Under the jurisdiction’s Good Samaritan Law, they are put on trial, and all of their old acquaintances come back as character references. Elaine gets reluctant about hanging out with her friends – maybe because she’s in a separate facility, maybe because bitches be crazy and have too many feelings to maintain friendships –  which makes things real weird between everyone. Then, she and Jerry get together and get married by a justice of the peace in the local jail! But they get divorced real quick. They are all found guilty.

And sentenced to death.

Roseanne

Everyone remembers the real Roseanne finale, right? We learned that Dan actually died of a heart attack at Darlene’s wedding. His survival – and everything that happened afterward, including winning the lottery – was a story created in Roseanne’s imagination to cope with the immeasurable sorrow that filled her days.

Actually, this one can stay just how it is.

St. Elsewhere

NEVER SHAKE A DOCTOR. NEVER.

The audience learns that the whole show took place in the imagination of a little boy who has autism, who gazes at a snow-globe containing the titular hospital. The boy drops the snow-globe as he – the kid you hadn’t even met until this episode but who was the key to the entire show – dies. You see the main characters, in miniature, all fall out of the tiny snow-globe hospital. Maybe some of them die too. Were any of them married? Cool. They divorce.

The Office

Remember the wedding between Dwight and Angela? Well, they hadn’t finished paying it off before they got divorced. Jim dies. Pam marries Dwight. I guess Kelly and Ryan can be the Lily and Marshall of this operation, and nothing bad really happens to them. Toby fathers some sort of baby.

Newhart

Dick and Joanna split up. Joanna takes up with George Utley.

THEN, Dick wakes up and we find out that the whole thing was a dream. His name is Bob, he does NOT live in Vermont, and he did NOT divorce Joanna. Really dodged a bullet there! We meet the woman that he actually married. She is wonderful.

She dies.

In the last frame, Bob has taken a train to Vermont in order to track down the woman of his (literal) dreams – Prudence Goddard.

 

Lost

The whole time, you thought you might have been in purgatory.

Actually, you were in hell.

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

Kids, after nine seasons, 208 episodes, eight slaps, three Canadian pop star music videos, countless girlfriends and one person revealed to be the perfect mother, How I Met Your Mother is coming to an end.

himym

I’ve been a HIMYM fan since season one, which I suppose is rare in this day and age, especially since the show has lasted this long. And while my level of obsession never quite hit an embarrassing peak like I did with The Office, I can’t help but compare  the two. Both are sitcoms that will forever have a mark on television, both have loyal fan followings, both ended (are ending) with nine seasons to their resume. Like The Office, fans were given a year’s worth warning that it would be the final season, but that doesn’t mean the end comes any easier. It’s been a year since I’ve watched a full episode of The Office, because it hurts my heart too much to know there will most likely never be another new episode again.

And with every episode of HIMYM that passes by, with every last slap, every last high five, every last ‘legendary’ uttered, the reality of the show ending is hitting me like a brick wall, and I’m unable to keep my emotions in tact. I’m like pregnant Lily with the non-stop crying. But let’s not focus on the show ending, but rather what we’ve been able to learn over the past nine years.

We all know that the point of us hearing Ted tell all these stories is to explain to his kids how he met and fell in love with their mother. But in that nine year span of storytelling, we watched him and the gang experience love, heartbreak, births, deaths, and overall, grow up. I mean think about yourself nine years ago compared to who you are now. You’ve gone through shit and it’s changed you for the better or worse, but either way it has changed you. Everything Ted recalled to his kids over nine seasons helped explain how and why it’s led to meeting the love of his life. Like Ted, I’m a very big ‘everything happens for a reason’ person, and this entire series is the epitome of that. So in the spirit of that mantra, here are the best life lessons we’ve gleaned from HIMYM, the ones that help shape who we are, and the ones we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Because sometimes, even if you know how something’s gonna end, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride. – Ted Mosby

Get out of the house, Go for a walk, Get a bagel

Season 4, Episode 22: Right Place, Right Time

Architect Ted is down in the dumps because he was commissioned to design a chain restaurant called Rib Town in the shape of a giant cowboy hat. Not exactly what he imagined he would be doing with his life. Clearly frustrated, Robin suggests he get out of the house, go for a walk and get a bagel. A series of circumstances lead him to crosswalk where his ex-fiancee, Stella runs into him. That meeting led to his eventual hiring at Columbia University where he taught an architecture class – which is where The Mother, a student, sees Ted for the first time.

In times of frustration or when we feel like we’re at a dead end, it’s hard to figure out what our next move will be. But maybe the best move you can make is one that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe the best move you can make is just go out and do something. Period. We don’t know what we’ll find when we go off the beaten path, but it might turn out to change your life forever.

Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Season 1, Episode 18: Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Ted relays to his kids that his mom used to say, ‘Nothing good happens after 2am.’ Proving this theory right, he recalls the time he was waiting up for a phone call from his girlfriend Victoria, who lived in Germany. However, Robin (Ted’s ex and forever one of the great loves of his life) was feeling depressed and alone, and called Ted asking him to come over. It was past 2am, and he should have gone to bed, but he went to Robin’s instead. One thing leads to another, Ted tells Robin that he & Victoria broke up (they hadn’t), Ted starts making out with Robin, Ted goes to the bathroom to call Victoria to break-up with her, only to go back out to the living room to see he had Robin’s phone, and Robin is on the phone talking to Victoria and everything in Ted’s life crumbles down like the Arcadian.

Just quit while you’re ahead. Or behind. Better yet, just go to sleep. Stay in. Whatever you do, don’t go out after 2am. It’s too late for anything good to happen.

The Front Porch Test

Season 4, Episode 17: The Front Porch

Lily admits she has been conducting a secret test with all of Ted’s paramours, and if they don’t pass it, she attempts to break them up. Called The Front Porch Test, Lily would picture said significant other of Ted when they’re old and playing bridge on their front porch, and if she can’t imagine them being a part of their tight-knit group years from now, she’d smoke ’em out.

I’m not suggesting you purposely break your friends up with their boyfriends/girlfriends here. The point is that Lily knew that they would be best friends for the rest of their lives. She didn’t just imagine growing old with Marshall and their kid(s), but with Ted, Barney, Robin and The Mother too. While this show is largely about finding out who the love of Ted’s life is, it’s really about these friends who become each other’s family. They’ve already been through so much together in nine seasons, and it’s crazy to think that it’s just a little slice of their entire lives. And if we’re lucky enough, we have these friends that easily pass the Front Porch Test too.

Admit You Actually ARE Too Old For This Shit

Season 4, Episode 19: Murtaugh

Any fan of HIMYM can tell you that one of Barney Stinson’s favorite pasttimes is laser tag. In this episode, he tries to get Ted to go play laser tag with him, but Ted refuses, citing his Murtaugh List. Named after Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series, whose signature phrase is ‘I’m too old for this shit!’, the Murtaugh List is a record of things he believes he has become too old to do anymore. Among the activities are pulling an all nighter, put off going to the doctor, going to a rave and using a beer bong.

Somewhere around the age of 27 it kind of hits you like a ton of bricks that you’re not getting any younger. Well, it was for me, at least. You’re checking off the next level of age range boxes on forms and looking around you only to see that it’s like everyone you know is getting married or having a baby – because we’re old enough that it’s normal to do so. For example, some of the things on my Murtaugh List include but are not limited to: going to midnight premieres of movies, drinking to vomit-inducing levels, sleeping past noon, using my undated college ID for discounts, shopping at Forever 21 (which is probably the hardest thing on this list for me to stop doing), and wasting my time.

There’s No Escaping Your Embarrassing Past

Season 2, Episode 9: Slap Bet

For the record, this episode was a complete gamechanger in the world of HIMYM – and one of the best in the entire series. The gang finds out Robin doesn’t like going to malls, and they set out on a quest as to why. They have their own theories – Marshall thinks she got married in a mall, Barney is adamant Robin did porn – so the two agree to a Slap Bet, in which the winner of the bet gets to slap the loser as hard as they can. Barney finds a video of someone named Robin Sparkles, and thinking he won, slaps Marshall. However, it turns out the tape is actually of Robin as a teen pop star in her native Canada, whose hit single was called Let’s Go To The Mall. Because of his premature slap, slap bet commissioner Lily allows Marshall to dole out 10 slaps in succession or five for all eternity, and Barney chooses the latter. Hence the reason the slaps were randomly placed throughout the series.

I’m assuming there are very few of people out there who lived a past life as a pop star, so let’s put this in layman’s terms. Whether there’s physical evidence of your less-than-stellar years past or emotional remnants leftover, the things that have happened to you yesterday never really leave you. But you can either choose to run away from it or embrace it. Use your personal Robin Sparkles to empower you, to make you a better person.

Some People Have Expiration Dates

Season 2, Episode 22: Something Blue

Ted: Seriously, where do you see yourself in five years?
Robin: Where do you see yourself?
Ted: Honestly, in five years, I’d probably want to be married.
Robin: And I’d probably want to be in Argentina.
Ted: Argentina?
Robin: Or Tokyo, or Paris. Look Ted, I don’t know where I’m gonna be in five years. I don’t wanna know. I want my life to be an adventure.
Ted: We have an expiration date, don’t we?

Spoiler alert: Ted and Robin’s romantic relationship didn’t really legit expire until this past week, TBH. But in general, we have to accept that sometimes we’re not meant to be friends or in a relationship with people that are currently in our lives – even if you think they pass the Front Porch Test. Like I mentioned in my Murtaugh List, I’m too old to waste my time. That applies to people too. If a relationship in your life feels ‘rotten’ or on its way out, it’s time to accept the fact there’s an end date, and you just need to throw it away.

Never Miss Big Events, If You Don’t Want To Know The End

Season 2, Episode 14: Monday Night Football

The gang makes it an annual tradition to watch the Super Bowl together, but this particular year, Mark from their favorite pub dies – and his funeral is the night of the Super Bowl. The wake lasts all night, so they’re forced to watch it all together the next day. However as you know, avoiding big news like who won the biggest game of the year in America is not an easy task. Ted even wears the “Sensory Deprivator 5000” (made of sunglasses with tiny holes to see out of and blinders duct taped to the side made out of an old cereal box) to avoid seeing and hearing anything while he goes to pick up their favorite wings from a sports bar. Hilarity ensues.

I hate spoilers. I am that person who avoids social media starting at 5pm PST if I know a show I love will have a strong social media presence, because I don’t want to know what happens. On #Scandal Thursdays? Forget it. I avoid Twitter like the plague. I often wish I had Ted’s Sensory Deprivator 5000, because I’m that serious about not getting spoiled. That being said, no one can complain about getting spoilers while online, because then you’re just being an idiot. Like our head Gladiator, Kerry Washington recently tweeted:

“Folks mad about spoilers are making me laugh. I feel u’re pain but thats what EVENT TV is! If u dont wanna know the score, dont follow ESPN.”

Challenge Accepted

Most people know that this phrase is used throughout the series by Barney, mainly, even taking on things that aren’t necessarily challenges as challenges anyways. For example, he’s accepted the challenges of sleeping with Marshall’s professor, talking his way out of a speeding ticket, hook up with a girl while wearing Marshall’s old overalls, get a girl’s number while talking like a dolphin, and perhaps my favorite, get a girl’s number in a garbage bag, without using the letter ‘e’.

While I’m not judging if you decide to you Barney’s ‘Challenge Accepted’ to pick up girls/guys (well not that much anyways), perhaps we can accept challenges in our lives a different way. Go out of your way to do something you’re never done before . It can be as simple as trying a new item on the menu of your fave restaurant or as big as deciding to move to another city. Another big theme of HIMYM is taking chances. Don’t be afraid of the possibility of making a mistake. And sometimes even when you know something is a mistake – you just have to make it anyways. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Stagnancy is the ruin of life – how do we expect to be better if we don’t at least try?

Some Things Are Better Left Unspoken, Enjoy Each Others’ Company Instead

And it’s funny, in a moment like that, when what’s really happening is too intense to deal with, sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken, and just enjoy each other’s company instead. {x}

Season 9, Episode 19: Vesuvius

The final season, the writers have been focused on one weekend, that of Barney and Robin’s wedding. That’s 24 episodes taking place over the course of three days. A lot happens in that span of time, and by episode 19, Ted’s planning to go off to Chicago and Marshall and Lily are saying Arrivederci to NY and Ciao to Italy. It’s this very moment that the group realizes an epic era is coming to and end and it might be a while before all five of them are in a room together again.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, because as characters, it hits them that they’re not going to see each other every day. As actors, I imagine they thought the same thing. As a viewer, it hit me that the show is actually ending. It has an expiration date. Shit is getting real. But like Future Ted says, ‘sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken and enjoy each other’s company instead.’ It reminds me of when our group of high school friends were all together one last time before we each went our separate ways for college. It hurt like a motherfucker, knowing it was going to be different when we returned. We would never have that time together again. While I obviously still love them to this day and we go back to our old rhythms as if nothing’s passed when we do see each other, nothing will ever compare to the time we spent in high school. The best we can ever do is enjoy the moment while it’s here.

Wait For It…

Ultimately, HIMYM has always been a lesson in patience. Patience for Ted to find the love of his life and patience for the audience to find out who that person is. We live in a world where we expect everything right away. Our food delivered to us speedily, the scores of the game, information about the exports of Guyana at the click of a button. I mean we live in a world where binge-watching exists, and we want more as soon as it’s over.

Ted had to go through a number of heart-wrenching breakups and a slew of women he didn’t care about (lit’rally called someone ‘Blah Blah’ because he couldn’t remember her name. Carol. It was Carol.) – and if he didn’t experience all those years of frustration in that exact sequence of events, he would have never met The Mother. While it may be inexplicable why you’re going through what you’re going through now, there’s a bigger picture than we can see or even imagine. All we have to do is trust that everything will work itself out the way it’s meant to be.

One of my favorite quotes is by Lewis Smedes, and he says,

“Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.’ Waiting is the hardest work of hope; waiting is the land between where things were and where things will be; and you don’t get to choose when you get to a waiting room, but you certainly get to choose how you will respond to waiting.”

So thank you cast, crew, writers, producers, everyone involved with How I Met Your Mother. It’s clear that you didn’t just create a classic sitcom forever etched in the history of television, but have also inspired millions of people to be better, to do better, to live their best lives, and to love – because it’s the best thing we do.