How I Met Your Mother co-creator Carter Bays is from the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, so Cleveland magazine tracked him down and did a long article on him and the autobiographical nature of the show. Ted and Marshall are based, respectively, on Bays and his writing/producing partner Craig Thomas — Bays was the single guy from Ohio, Thomas was the guy who’d been in a relationship with one woman seemingly forever — and the catchphrase “Have You Met Ted?” is based on the way a friend of theirs used to introduce Bays to women. I think one reason why HIMYM has developed the following it has is that, like Seinfeld, it has that unusual balance between realism and craziness: most of the plots are based on things that could, and did, happen to real people, but the working-out of those plots tends to be wacky and crazy. Usually the crazy shows are the ones that have less down-to-earth stories — look at 30 Rock, which only became good once it more or less abandoned the reality of working on a late-niht comedy show — and the shows that are recognizably realistic are not particularly wacky (Everybody Loves Raymond was another show where most plots were based on real things that happened, but it rarely went “big” with those stories). A show that feels realistic and unrealistic at the same time is a fun and unusual mix for sitcom viewers.
The article was written by Rebecca Meiser, who talks a bit more about it at her blog and links to a special wedding video made by the cast of HIMYM.
I did a YouTube search and I found that that HIMYM video was available there, so hopefully it’s acceptable for me to embed it. It’s like a lost episode, complete with mushy song choices and Wendy the Waitress.