Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Trilogy Tradition

Traditions begin in odd ways. Especially in sitcoms. Take the episode of How I Met Your Mother that first aired on this night in 2012, "Trilogy Time," as an example.

In the case of Ted (Josh Radnor) and Marshall (Jason Segel), they began a tradition of watching the original "Star Wars" trilogy when they were roommates in college. Stressed out over an economics exam that was looming, they opted to watch the trilogy rather than study. They also agreed that, no matter what, they would get together and watch the trilogy every three years — and then speculate on where they expected to be and what they expected to be doing three years down the road.

Using decidedly flimsy logic, Ted and Marshall reasoned that they would ace the exam and, therefore, had no reason to study. They were wrong.

But back to their speculation.

Each time Ted imagined himself being a successful architect in three years with a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Robin (Cobie Smulders) — a clue that the mother of the show's title and Robin would be revealed to be connected in some way.

Marshall imagined himself to be a successful lawyer (with a mustache) in three years and married to Lily (Alyson Hannigan) with an ever–increasing number of children. By the end of the episode they had three children with a fourth on the way and a fifth already conceived because, as Marshall put it, "I'm just that good."

Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) kept imagining himself having one–night stands, which, given Barney's history in the series, hardly qualified as speculation — but by the end of the episode Barney surprised everyone, possibly even himself, when he told Ted and Marshall that he didn't want to be having one–night stands in three years. He wanted to be settled in with one girl.

For the most part the speculations were thoroughly unrealistic, little more than fantasies, really. And sometimes the fantasies took dark turns. Marshall's expectations of being a successful lawyer never seemed to pan out, and at one point he fantasized that Lily had taken up with a guy with a mustache and a trucker hat — and was carrying his child, who, it was revealed in a sonogram, was wearing a trucker hat in the womb.

Sure, the guys indulged in some wild flights of fancy — but they were always grounded in life as it really was.

The unmistakable signal that one is maturing.